The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) asked me (Thomas Dahlheimer) to write and
send Annamarie Hill-Kleinhans, the council's executive director, a MIAC draft resolution endorsing
the bill to replace Minnesota's derogatory geographic site names that are offensive to Indians.
My draft resolution is presented below. It has not yet been approved by the MIAC. And this posting of the draft
is not posted on behalf of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.
Alfred Bone Shirt (Sigangu), a nationally renowned Indian activist who is the contact person
for the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota Human Rights Advocacy Coalition,
published the following Minnesota Indian Affairs Council draft resolution.
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council Draft Resolution
Dear Minnesota Legislators,
In respect to Representative Mike Jaros'
bill to change our state's derogatory and, in some cases,
also profane geographic site names, names that are offensive to American Indians as well as to a
lot of other people, we, the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, request
that you pass this important bill.
We find our state's geographic site name that refers to the Dakota people as a snake, as does,
according to the Minnesota Historical Society's Web site, Snake River, to be very demeaning and
insulting. And because some of our state's Dakota/Sioux people, consider
the name Sioux to be a derogatory and offensive name, we therefore request that the geographic
site names, Sioux River, Little Sioux River, Cut Foot Sioux Lake and Indian Sioux River be
considered derogatory and therefore included with the other geographic place
names that we would like for you to replace by passing this bill.
The name Dakota, a Dakota language name meaning friend or ally, is the name that we would like for
you to use to replace the name
Sioux. The name Sioux was given to the Dakota people by colonial Frenchmen. It is an
abbreviation of a past derogatory Ojibwe
name for the Dakota people (Nadouesioux), a term of hatred, meaning "snakes, enemies".
We also find the geographic site name that refers to both the Dakota and Ojibwe people as redskins,
as does Redskin Lake, to be
demeaning and insulting. We also find the geographic site names that refer to Dakota and Ojibwe
people as savages, as does,
according to the Minnesota Historical Society's Web site, Savage Lake and East Savage Lake
to be very demeaning and insulting.
We also find it very demeaning and insulting that our state has two geographic site names that are
the White man's faulty translation
names for a lake and river that the Ojibwe named to honor their Great Spirit (Manido), Manido
bimadagakowini zibi is the Ojibwe name
for this lake and its outlet river, it means the spirits (or God) walking-place-on-the-ice river.
However, white men mistranslated
Manido as Devil, hence our state, unfortunately, has a lake named Devil Track Lake and a river
named Devil Track River. We not
only find these names demeaning and insulting, but also very disrespectful toward the Ojibwe
's traditional religion and
In a book published by the Minnesota Historical Society, a book titled, "Minnesota Geographic Names:
Their Origins and Historic
Significances", Warren Upham wrote that the Rum River name is "the white men's perversion of the
ancient Sioux name Wakan". He
also wrote, in this same book, that: "The name of Rum river, which Carver in 1766 and Pike in
1805 found in use by English-speaking
fur traders, was indirectly derived from the Sioux. Their name of Mille Lacs, Mde Wakan,
translated Spirit lake, was given to its
river, but was changed by the white man to the most common spirituous liquor brought into the
Northwest, rum, which brought misery
and ruin, as Du Luth observed of brandy, to many of the Indians..."
We find it very demeaning and insulting that the Dakota people's sacred "name" for a river
(Wakan River), translated as (Great)
Spirit River was mistranslated by white men to mean the alcohol spirit rum, and that the
river was then give the faulty and punning
translation name (Rum).
And we believe that what makes this "Rum" River name even worst is the fact that, at the time
when the river was named Rum, rum was
not only bringing misery and ruin to many of the Dakota people, it was also being used to help
steal their land.
White European rum runners were transporting rum from the trading posts on the Mississippi River
to the Dakota people's villages
on the headwaters of the badly named "Rum River". They were supplying them with enough alcohol
to cause a lot of the Dakota people
to become alcoholic drunkards. This was a method that the European settlers used to separate the
Dakota from their traditional
religion and spirituality, a religion and spirituality that was intimately connected with their
sacred relationship with their
land and consequently to their attachment to it. This made it easier to lure a lot of the
Dakota people to leave their sacred
homeland and go to where they could get a steady supply of rum to satisfy their alcoholic
According to colonial European international law, after Duluth planted the flag of France on the
Dakota people's land it officially
belonged to France, provided the French annex the Dakota people from their land. The French not
only supplied these Dakota people
with a lot of alcohol they also supplied a band of Ojibwe people (a band that had recently
migrated from the east coast into the
Dakota people's territory) with a lot of alcohol. According to information presented on our
state's DNR Web site, "Early
White/Indian intervention played an important role in the settlement of the area by white men. The
French, instigated fights
between the Ojibwe and Dakota so as to ally themselves with the Ojibwe." The Dakota and
people were abusing alcohol and
the French knew that they were abusing it. And the French also knew that by continuing to
supply them with a lot of alcohol
they would cause the Dakota and Ojibwe people to become hateful and violent toward each
other. This occurred, and when it
occurred, the French sided with the Ojibwe, including providing them with gun powder.
They did this in order to be successful
in using the Ojibwe (in a radically abusive way) to drive all of the Dakota people
from their sacred land on the headwaters of
the "Rum River". And by doing so, they finalize their land grabbing transaction.
We believe that these derogatory and, in some cases, also profane names demean our traditional
cultures and languages, and in some
cases, also desecrate sacred sites of ours, and that they are legacies of racism that are a
shameful scandal to our wonderful state
In addition, we believe that replacing the derogatory and profane "Rum River" name would help our
people who are suffering from
alcohol abuse to increase their appreciation of our/their traditional cultures and values and that
this would help to heal the wounds
that are contributing to their drinking problems, and that this, in turn, would be good for
all of our Minnesota Indian communities.
We appreciate the local, national and international support for the effort to change the derogatory
and profane name of the "Rum River".
We are aware that there is a United Nations Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
promoted international movement to
change derogatory and profane geographic site names that are offensive to indigenous peoples who
are still suffering from the oppressive
effects of colonialism. We are more than happy to participate in this international movement by
endorsing our state's name-changing bill.
We believe that indigenous people all around the world will be helped by, both, our endorsement
of this bill as well as by, hopefully,
your passage of it.
We are also aware that there is a national movement to replace derogatory and profane geographic
site names that are offensive to
American Indians and we are more than happy to also participate in this movement by endorsing
our state's name-changing bill. We
believe that our endorsement of this bill sets another national precedent and that if you pass
this bill, it will also set another
national precedent that will help our nation to replace all of its racists names, names that
demean American Indian cultures and
languages and, in some cases, also desecrate sacred American Indian sites. We believe that our
endorsement of this bill and,
hopefully, your passage of it will help promote the national movement to replace all of our
nation's derogatory and profane
geographic site names, and that this will help our nation to become a better place to live.
We also believe that this campaign to change our state's derogatory and profane geographic site names
is a valuable history lesson
and that if you pass this bill, this valuable history lesson will even more so help to transform our
wonderful state so that the
people of the dominate culture more fully respect and appreciate our people's traditional cultures
We also believe that in the wake of a recently published on-line document by the United
Nations' World Conference Against Racism that
the true history of what happened to our people will be revealed to the general public, and be
revealed by (1.) the campaign to
replace our state's derogatory and profane names, (2.) our endorsement of this bill as well as
(3.), hopefully, your passage of it,
and that this true history will cause both our state's Ojibwe people, especially the Mille
Lacs Band of Ojiwe, as well as the
dominate culture to apologize to the Dakota people as well as offer them restitution justice.
In addition, we also believe that the
revealing of this true history of our people will cause the dominate culture to also apologize
and offer restitution justice to
our state's Ojibwe people, and especially to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, for the injustices
committed against them, and that
everyone will benefit from our endorsement of this bill as well as, hopefully,
your passage of it.
After reading a recent United Nations' World Conference Against Racism document and then searching to
find out why our state has these
derogatory and profane names it becomes clear as to why our state has these derogatory names. Thanks
to both this World Conference
Against Racism document and campaign to replace our state's derogatory geographic place
names, for the first time, the true history
of what happened to our state's Dakota and Ojibwe people is fully revealed. On-line articles
about what happened to our state's
Dakota and Ojibwe people can be viewed at:
Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer, the person who originally drafted the name-changing bill and who also asked
Representative Jaros if he would like to
introduce an apology resolution, which Rep. Jaros said he would, has, so far, also asked the Minnesota
Council of Churches, Greater
Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Councils of Churches, the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the Lutheran
Coalition for Public Policy in
Minnesota, the Diocese of Saint Cloud, the Bishop of Minnesota's United Methodist Church
and the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of
Minnesota to not only apologize for their ties to the exploitation of our people, but to
also radically repent and reform their lives,
and do so, in order to treat our people with due respect.
Mr. Dahlheimer has been corresponding with the leaders of these Christian organizations and churches
and this causes us to believe
that our endorsement of this bill as well as, hopefully, your passage of it will help influence
the establishment and promotion of an,
indigenous peoples rights, social and political movement that will greatly transform our state, and
that this movement will spread
throughout our nation as well as throughout the Americas, setting all of the Americas' indigenous
peoples free from the subjugated
state of existence imposed upon us by Pope Alexandria the VI's 15th century Papal Bull (Inter Caetera).
A Papal Bull that continues
to be the source of the oppressive White racism being perpetrated against us to this present-day.
We believe that Pope Alexandria
the VI's present-day predecessor as well as the leaders of both the Eastern Orthodox Church and
Protestant Churches continue to
abide by this papal bull's, subjugation of indigenous peoples, racist edicts.
In the Papal Bull (Inter Caetera) Pope Alexandria the VI called for the "subjugation of the New
World's barbarous nations and their
lands". And ever since, first colonial and then successor States have subjugated our people and our
lands as well as kept our people
and our lands in subjugation. According to the Papal Bull (Inter Caetrea) and colonial European
international law (law basis on this
Papal Bull) a law that was later incorporated into U.S. law only White European Christian nations
could own land. Therefore, we
believe that there is a need for the leaders of Christian Churches as well as their people to
radically repent and reform their
lives. Christian leaders and colonial European international law denied us two of our basic
human rights. And U.S. law, currently,
denies us these same basic human rights. We had, and still have, a right to absolute root
ownership of our homelands as well as
full sovereignty rights. However, thanks to, primarily, Christian Church leaders we are
still being denied these two basic human
rights. This has to change to make things right.
And we also believe that this Christian reformation will occur, primarily, because of our
endorsement of this bill as well as, hopefully,
your passage of it, and that this Christian reformation will cause a great and wonderful
transformation of our state, our nation and the
This campaign to change our state's derogatory and profane names is revitalizing our appreciation of
our traditional cultures and languages.
And we believe that your passage of this bill would even more so help us to preserve what is left
of our traditional cultures as well as
restore that which has been lost. And we believe that this would be good for everyone, and
especially for everyone living in our
wonderful state of Minnesota.
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
apology resolution to view and read my draft Minnesota Apology
Resolution for the
of Minnesota's Native Americans
truth and reconciliation commission to view and read my article U.S. and states should
----- establish truth and