The following Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community letter of support was written by Jim Anderson, the Mendota
Mdewakanton Dakota Community’s Cultural Chairman and Historian.
August 12, 2004
To Whom It Should Concern:
I believe that renaming the river "Wakpa Wakan" or "Spirit River" is a great stride in mending the circle that we
share with all four colors of man. We, as Dakotas, are very happy that there are people out there that are trying
to understand that by using names like "rum" and "devil" to label sacred sites and places is degrading to our
children, our elders and also to our ancestors. These places were already named in our language by our people
because of their special meaning. When we have to tell our children why these places have been named after a
poison or the worst words in their language. It is demoralizing to us to have to explain why a place is named
after the same things that helped to steal our land and language. To have to be reminded of the cultural genocide
that has been perpetrated on all Indian people. So, in changing the name back to the Dakota language, it will
help in the healing process that our people continue to deal with.
Many schools and teams have already changed their names in respect to our children and adults. It promotes us to be proud
of our heritage, language and culture, to respect themselves and being Indian in our own homeland. I am writing in
support of the name change of the Rum River.
We, as the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota, request the County Commissioners in the affected counties to support our hope
of righting this wrong. Please do the respectful and moral thing and change this disrespectful and culturally
Jim Anderson Cultural Chairman
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community