19th Century, Culture, education, Faith, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans

Lake Harriet Mission School July 19, 1836  


Six students attend the opening of the Lake Harriet Mission School for the Dakota, founded by the Reverend Jedediah D. Stevens. An early example of education within the boundaries of present-day Minnesota, the school was sponsored by the Presbyterian Missions Board and taught by the founder’s niece, Lucy C. Stevens, in a cabin built by Gideon H. and Samuel W. Pond.*

Good Teacher, thank you for the benefits of the Lake Harriet Mission School for the Dakota. Thank you for the heart of providing education to all! It’s so good to share what we know and have it received.

It is not easy to be the first. It takes boldness to reach out across cultural lines. On one side of this picture we have Dakota students who are reaching out to Stevens. Conversely, he is stepping out of his comfort zone to meet and teach members of an unfamiliar culture. Will You bless both sides of this exchange? Will You remember their boldness and trust to know each other? Each group is an exploratory party of sorts. May we never forget what its like to be an alien!

Lord, I also want to acknowledge our separations that may begin as academic pride. We assume our knowledge will change our ‘underprivileged’. We often fail to pass on wisdom (good judgment), and even foster an academic culture that hesitates to recognize the merits of wisdom. As moderns, we cringe at even the word ‘judgement’, although one could argue that good judgment is the root of justice?!

I feel prompted to acknowledge the potential judgments of Stevens and Williamson against the Pond brothers, and perhaps a spirit of competitiveness. Lord, will you forgive any heritage of academic  or religious pride stemming from  them forward to us if this is the case? Will you forgive the stinging pain of criticism towards or counter-judgments from the Ponds, the Dakotas, these first six students, or any other pertinent unaddressed party? Will You free the land  of Minnesota from these judgments, and bring the blessing of humility that we all have betrayed You, Your peoples, and our selves? Will You make us humble teachers and students of the “knowledge” You have revealed to us? Amen.

*The current URL is www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!

19th Century, Culture, education, History, Intercession, Jesus, Ministry, Minnesota, Native Americans

Pond Brothers arrive in Minnesota 1834


Samuel and Gideon Pond, missionaries at Lake Calhoun, begin a lifelong study of the Dakota language. They compile dictionaries and grammars and put Dakota speech into written form.*

Lord, thanks that you speak to us in ways that we understand. You impress your ideas on us in a plethora of ways, including, but not limited to, our language. Thanks that your light shines through to us where ever and whenever we are in this world! You know the subtleties of our “mother tongue!”

These men, Samuel and Gideon, seem to have captured Your heart in this. They were not out to just meet the Dakota; they meant to live their lifetime with them! Will You bless this commitment to the Dakota peoples and their spoken language?

Furthermore, they rightly represent you as the living “Word” of God. How fitting that they were content to learn the words of the Dakota, and write them down. This was not enough, they wanted these words to flow the way they were thought and spoken, and so undertook to worship You by understanding Dakota grammar! Will You bless them, and their generations who want all Minnesotan languages to be cherished and recorded? May we as a State know you better by knowing the language of our fellow man!

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  The current URL is http://www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/ and only works if typed, not pasted, in browser. It is worth the effort!