March 2, 2016
On March 2, 2016, the Mille Lacs Messenger, a Minnesota county
newspaper, published the following letter of mine. It is located
here on the Mille Lacs Messenger website.
by Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer
Our state's art subcommitee voted on the 5th of February to move the offensive
painting of Father Hennepin out of the Governor's conference room. Leaders of our
state's tribal nations said the Fr. Hennepin painting was "inaccurate and demeaning
to Dakota women." Nor did they like the image of the spreading of Catholicism.
A related issue: I believe that it is radically wrong for our state to have a state
park that is located within the Dakotas' Mille Lacs ancestral homeland named after
Father Hennepin, a subjugator of native peoples and religious sectarian proselytizing
bigot and villain who denied native peoples their fundamental human rights to religious
freedom, absolute root ownership of their homelands, and full independent sovereign
nations status and rights.
Father Hennepin believed in Pope Alexandra VI's 15th century papal bull (Inter Caetera),
or this pope's moral directive to "subjugate the barbaric peoples (natives) and bring
them to the faith."
Hennepin came to the Dakotas' Minnesota homeland to prepare the way for European immigrants
to take possession (steal and occupy) their homelands, including their sacred Mille Lacs
homeland, and to also put an end to their traditional religion in the Mille Lacs area,
by forceful means if necessary.
Christopher Columbus was a devout Catholic and in his journal he wrote: "The Taino people
were "very friendly," "an inoffensive people," "they could be much more easily converted
to our holy faith by gentle means than by force," "weapons they have none," and
that "with weapons and 50 men I could enslave the entire population." He later enslaved the
entire population. We often honor villains to justify our own present-day injustices. We
need to give the aboriginal native people's natural resources and homelands back to them.
What Hennepin "prepared the way for" actually occurred. Euro-Americans (and a band of Ojibwe,
who Europeans tricked and used to force the Dakota from their Mille Lacs homeland) are
now occupying the Dakotas' Mille Lacs homeland and their traditional religion is no
longer being practiced in the Mille Lacs area. And added on to this despicable situation,
there is a Mille Lacs area state park named Father Hennepin State Park.
On a Father Hennepin State Park interpretive sign titled "History of Mille Lacs Lake,"
there are deceptive words that whitewash the history of this area, so that white
Euro-Americans (and other people) who read it and who do not know the true history of the
area will believe that the European explorers and Christian missionaries did not have anything
to do with the Dakota being forced from their sacred Mille Lacs homeland that they had lived
in for hundreds of years. The deceptive words on the interpretive sign read: "In the mid 1700s
people of the Ojibwe Nation began moving into the area, competing with the Dakota
for the rich variety of natural resources. As the Dakota moved south and west,
the Ojibwe became established in the area."
An invading and trespassing band of Ojibwe were stealing the Dakotas' natural resources
not "competing" for them. And the Dakota did not "move," they were forced from their
Mille Lacs homeland. This occurred after Europeans gave the Ojibwe guns and (as stated on
our state's DNR website) "The French instigated fights between the Ojibwe and Dakota so as
to ally themselves with the Ojibwe." Europeans and a band of Ojibwe forced the Dakota from their
Mille Lacs homeland, and it has not yet been given back to them. I believe that the Dakota people
are coming back to regain their sacred Mille Lacs homeland, and I am preparing the way
for them to return and regain it.
A History Of The Dakota People In Minnesota
Another related article:
United Nations, Holy See And The Racist Doctrine of Discovery.
News: March 9th, Indian Country Today Media Network, the world largest Indian
news source, posted this Mille Lacs Messenger letter as a comment (the third
of three selective comments) on an article by Steven Newcomb, a world renowned leader
of the large global movement to set indigenous peoples free from their subjugated,
colonized and exploited predicament. Newcombs' ICTMN article is
titled What Shall We Do? Decolonize
U.S. Federal Indian Law.