19th Century, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Native Americans, State Government, war

U.S. – Dakota War Battle of Birch Coulee Sep 2, 1862

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Just before sunrise the sharp crack of a warning shot signaled the start of the Battle of Birch Coulee, one of the hardest fought battles of the U.S.-Dakota War. The Dakota kept U.S. soldiers under siege for 36 hours before a relief detachment arrived from Fort Ridgely.*

A coulee is a three-sided valley, and they are fairly common in Southern Minnesota. It seems a fitting symbol for this chapter of history. In conflict, we often take the easy road into a valley, find ourselves surrounded by high ground, and try to fight like mad to get out from a position of disadvantage.

Lord, will You intervene in long-term aftermath of this battle? We have sinned against You and the place of Birch Coulee. Will You forgive the bitter judgments of all participants; whether those charging from high ground, or looking  uphill in terror? Will You make this place a holy site of conflict resolution? To the Minnesotan, American, and Dakotan of this event, and their generations, I speak this truth; “…A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

To many of my contemporaries, even the concept of a Savior, or needing a Savior, is offensive. Yet, I wish to add a confession of behalf of myself, my peers, and especially the Church of this State. We live in a time where “self-determination” is esteemed as a political right, and sometimes as a worldview that shapes much of our decision-making. Will You forgive us this offense, and the places we have become imbalanced in terms of “self”?

We correctly see that we have a right to our “self”, but our trust is broken and incomplete . We don’t see another’s right to “self” because we trust in our rational human abilities, or irrational human emotions. We do not seek, believe in, or rely on an “other” perspective greater than our “self”. So, we do battle, both parties attempting to preserve their precious “selves”.

Yet there is an “other” way! You are the rightful Advocate and Mediator of all our relationships because only You completely see the Infinite worth of every human, every life, all matter, all Spirit under the sun! You would bring Infinity and timeless perspective to our moments of potential conflict if we only inquired, listened, and received Your insights. Will You show us the eternal “win-win”, “honor-honor”, and “mercy-mercy” of our negotiations? Will You teach us the ways of “other-determination”?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3,4

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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19th Century, Civics, Culture, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics, State Government, war

Civil War Troops 1861  

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Governor Alexander Ramsey is in Washington when the Civil War breaks out. He rushes to the White House and is the first to pledge troops for defense of the Union.

Slavery has never been legal in Minnesota, but not everyone feels the issue is worth going to war over. Yet when war comes, most of Minnesota is gripped by patriotic excitement. Flags wave as troops are sent off to a long and bloody battle that tears America apart.

In Fillmore County, patriotism is so high that men “leave their reapers in the field, their grain uncut, their stacks half-built” to gather in Preston for a recruiting drive. Thousands of troops train at Fort Snelling before leaving for battle.

More than 100 black men from Minnesota enlist in the Union Army. If captured by Confederate troops, black soldiers are not treated as prisoners of war but as escaped slaves. (The 1860 census lists a total African American population in the state of only 259 men, women, and children.)*

Only 259 black Minnesotans in 1860 Jesus! Wow! Will You visit this piece of history Jesus with you healing presence? Especially for these 259 American citizens? Will you honor the 100 who enlisted to fight slavery? Will You remember their bravery to future generations? As Your friend, I bless these 259 African American children of God in the name of Jesus. I bless them, their generations backwards and forwards, and their dwellings. Holy Spirit, will You remove the curse the enemy has tried to put on them through the heritage of slavery, of being the vanquished? Jesus, through Your omnipresence will you send these words to them?

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Roman 8:37-39

As to the patriotism of Minnesotans’, thank you for the love of this place that would make men choose to lay down their lives and fortunes for the sake of defending the most vulnerable Americans. Thank you that our state was the first to lend a hand to the black freedom! Jesus will you temper our patriotism or humanistic idealism with honesty and forbearance? Will You take our love of state and country, and place it in proper perspective with the love of Your kingdom? Will you clear the channels starting in this generation of the extremes of statism, or the nihilism manifesting as ambiguity towards human suffering?

Will you bring Your wisdom to our heritage? Protect my house and this present generation from harsh judgments of our forbearers! We are often in the same boat as they! We hate to see and hear of the suffering in Muslim nations: Egypt, Libya, Iran, Iraq, etc., but does this mean we should engage in war here or abroad to correct what we perceive as injustices? Will we raise the status of Your daughters’ behind the burqa by slaying their men, or praying for their men? How do we intersect with the sects of Islam that have openly bound themselves to conquest?

There is a difference between self-defense and aggression; will You show this boundary to us? Even under interrogation by Pontius Pilate, You often chose to stand firmly and silently. Jesus, bring Your marvelous wisdom to this state of Minnesota! We need You to guide us, and guide our zealousness into paths that bring Your dominion of grace, safety and truth!

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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19th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, justice, Minnesota

Rebuffing Slavery 1860  

Eliza Winston

Eliza Winston, nanny,  circa 1860

Slave Eliza Winston accompanies a Mississippi family to Minneapolis. When free blacks and white abolitionists learn that Eliza wants her freedom, they complain to a judge who orders her freed.

Some pro-slavery people become angry at the court’s decision; Eliza is sent to Canada for her safety.*

Thank you for Eliza Winston, and that You had a purpose in her trip to Minneapolis long before she knew about it. Thank you for Your awareness of every pain, and every tragedy she experienced on her pathway to freedom. Thank you that spoke through the Apostle Paul in favor of the freeing the slave Onesimus, and therefore, it can be assured that freeing Eliza was so dear to Your heart!

Jesus, I know so little of this case, and I appeal to You to fill the blanks. Will You forgive the hostility Eliza received from her detractors here, in the state of Mississippi, and perhaps from the Minnesota’s Courts? Will You forgive those who harbored hostility towards her despite the legal decision in her favor?

G-d, I see the exposed roots of ethnocentrism and racism. Will You dry up these bad roots in Minnesota, and bless the heritage of Eliza Winston? Will You free her heritage from counter judgments of our legal system, or any who would diminish a person’s value based on skin color? Will You shield us from making bad decisions today because we are the object of wrath and anger?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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19th Century, History, Intercession, Jesus, justice, law, Minnesota, Native Americans

Reservations Halved 1858

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The U.S. government seeks more land to accommodate an influx of European settlers into Minnesota. As a result, 26 Dakota leaders are pressured to negotiate yet another treaty. After four long months spent in Washington, D.C., the Dakota are forced to sell the north half of their reservation in exchange for goods and annuities and the continuing right to live on the southern strip of their reservation.*

Jesus, I do not know the complexities of our laws’ surrounding the Dakota. I can see, with my limited vision and knowledge, that the Federal government with the state government of Minnesota as beneficiary, had a motive to acquire and to redistribute more land from them. This could be a non-issue, were it an amiable deal with a complete and clear understanding of terms.

However, I see the phrases here “are pressured” and “forced to sell”. A forced sale is not a sale, but coercion or extortion. Again, who would choose to submit to high pressure sales tactics of their own volition? Will You forgive this offense of coercion towards these 26 Dakota leaders and all their people and lands?

We have offended You by offending these exact Dakota bands? Will You forgive us this debt officially done in the name of Minnesota and our Federal government? Will You lift the spirit of coercion that still binds this specific Dakota land? Will You lift the spirit of harassment from the shoulders of these 26 Dakota representatives, their nation, and all their generations? Will You free our government and it’s Representatives from the bondages incurred through this event? Will You create remorse that leads to right relationship in those who specifically forced this “sale”, and their figurative children today?

With President Abraham Lincoln, today I pray for “a new birth of freedom”! Will you inspire us to create new means to legally restore such historic cases? Furthermore, will You teach us ways to unravel the generational damages to our bodies’, minds’, wills’, emotions’, and physical environments?

Good Father, how I love Your freedom! You do not force us to follow You, but have said, “Choose this day who you will serve.” (Joshua 24:16) May we forever cherish the Messiah’s example of laying down His life for both friend and enemy! He blessed those that cursed Him even during His execution!? May we consciously choose to love our neighbor! May we seek Your blessing, and the double blessing of our neighbors!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!

 

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