Our mission statement is an important guide for the direction of our movement to restore the sacred Dakota/Native name to a Minnesota river that is currently named "Rum River".

Here we highlight several significant issues that pertain to our movement.


We believe that if we are successful at restoring this river's name to its sacred Dakota/Native name, we will have succeeded in elevating the dignity of Minnesota by showing, in respect to one of our state's geographic place names, due respect for Native Americans.

In our efforts to restore this river's name to its original sacred Dakota/Native name [Wakan], we believe that we are contributing to our country's popular multicultural movement. And that through multicultural education and social/political activism we appreciate others more and understand others more. And that by doing so, we can change to be better people. We equate our efforts to rename the river to other name changes, such as schools dropping mascot names such as Redmen and Indians.


According to historical documents found in the book, "Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origins and Historical Significances" by Warren Upham, published by the Minnesota Historical Society, 1969 (reprint of 1920)...in the late 1700s, white men gave the Rum River its current name by way of a "punning translation" that "perverted the ancient Sioux name Wakan". Note: The "Sioux" (Dakota) name Wakan, was spelled Wahkon when given as the name for a village on the south end of Mille Lacs Lake. This village (Wahkon, Minnesota) is now the headquarters of our Rum River Name-Change Organization.

Explanation: The ancient and sacred Dakota name for the "Rum River" is Wakan, it translates as Spirit or Great Spirit. In the late 1700s white men took the sacred Dakota name for the "Rum River" Wakan, and then, by way of a desecrating "punning translation", translated the sacred Dakota name Wakan to mean an alcohol spirit, the alcohol spirit rum. They then, unfortunately, named the river Rum. By doing so, the Dakota name for the river was "perverted" or desecrated. And because the ancient Dakota name Wakan means (Great) Spirit the the profane "Rum River" name also desecrates the ancient Dakota name for their Great Spirit. And we believe that what makes the white men's naming the river "Rum" even worse is the fact that...at the time when the river was named Rum, rum was bringing (according to Upham)"misery and ruin, as Du Luth observed of brandy, to many of the Indians".


Glen Yakel, Minnesota's geographic name keeper, and hydrographics supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has determined that it is reasonable for our director, an American citizen and resident of Minnesota, to believe that the Rum River's current name is derogatory and offensive to Native Americans. Therefore, he is now officially helping us to understand how the name-changing process works. He is also helping us with our mission to change one of the Rum River's tributaries, the West Branch Rum River.


*Minnesota Historical Society's Indian Advisory Committee


An e-mail to our director from Susanna Short, MHS's Indian Advisory Director: "We had a discussion of the Rum River change at our Indian Advisory Committee on March 30, 2004. They agreed to support the change. Our chair, Jeff Savage will be sending you a letter of support from the committee. Thanks for all of your work on this and your patience with our long process.

A letter from Jeff Savage, chairman of the Minnesota Historical Society's Indian Advisory Committee.

August 9, 2004

Tom Dahlheimer
P.O. Box 24
Wahkon, MN 56386

Greetings, I am the chairman of the Minnesota Historical Society's Indian Advisory Committee. In March 2004 we held a meeting in the Shakopee Community and discussed your efforts to change the name of the Rum River to the Wahkon River. Our membership voted overwhelmingly to support changing the name of the Rum River to more accurately reflect its past. Thank you for your work on this important issue.


Jeff Savage
Chairperson, Indian Advisory Committee


* Mike Jaros, a (DFL) Minnesota State Legislator.


Mike Jaros' e-mail statement of support is presented below.

I am against derogatory language and treatment of anybody. I grew up as an ethnic and religious minority in Bosnia and know how much insults and discrimination can hurt. Therefore, I decided when I was a kid that I would not consciously discriminate against anyone. I support your effort and lend my name to it.


* Cambridge, Minnesota (population 5,520), a city located on the Rum River corridor.


In an article published in Minnesota's best-selling state-wide daily newspaper, the Star Tribune, there are the words: Last month, the Cambridge City Council took its own stand in Dahlheimer's crusade, voting to rename "West Rum River Drive to Spirit River Drive. Along with the Cambridge campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the Isanti County Active Living by Design, the city also has named a part of a new community trail system Spirit River Nature Area." "We understand we can't rename the river on our own, but we wanted to at least recognize the Native American history of this area," said Stoney Hiljus, Cambridge's city administrator.


* Upper Sioux, a Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. This community is one of five Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Communities. _______________________________________________________________________________

The follwing e-mail is from Brad J. Lerschen, Upper Sioux Community's Tribal Council Secretary.

Mr. Dahlheimer

The Board of Trustees has received and reviewed your request to address them regarding the Rum River name change. However, due to our heavy schedules, this simply is not feasible. We continue to support your efforts and will be sending you another letter of support stating such in the near future. Thank you.


Brad J. Lerschen
Tribal Council Secretary
Board of Trustees
Upper Sioux Community-Pejuhutazizi Kapi Oyate


*Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, a non-federally recognized 250-member Mdewakanton Dakota Community.


The following email is from the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community's Tribal Council Administrative Assistant Linda Brown:

We thank you for your efforts to change the Rum River's name. We would be happy to meet with you. Thank you again for your efforts.

Linda Brown,
Administrative Asst
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community Tribal Council


* Jim Anderson, Cultural Chair and Historian for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community.


Jim Anderson is helping us to spearheading the movement to change the Rum River's derogatory name.

Jim Anderson's Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community letter of support is presented below.

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 damaging name. 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 damaging name.

Respectfully yours,

Jim Anderson Cultural Chairman
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community


* Leonard Wabasha, hereditary chief of the Mdewakanton Dakota people and, both, a prominent member of the Lower Sioux Mdewakanton Community as well as an employee of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community Cultural Resource Department.


In an August 2004 telephone conversation, Leonard Wabasha told our director that he wants the Rum River's name changed.


C. D. Floro, the editor of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota - Lake Traverse Reservation newspaper, a newspaper named Sota. Lake Traverse Reservation is located in the northeast corner of South Dakota, bordering Minnesota and North Dakota. It is home to 10,840 Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota.


C. D. Floro wrote:


Thank you for your letter and for your effort to rename the river. I hope you get lots of positive feedback and support.


* Alfred Bone Shirt (Sicangu), a nationally renowned Native American activist. Mr. Shirt is the contact person for the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota Human Rights Advocacy Coalition.


* Chuck Benson, of Lakota/Dakota descent and a relative of Petit Corbeau, the original "Little Crow" (great-grandfather of the famous Little Crow aka Taoyate Duta of 1862 "uprising" fame).


Mr. Benson wrote "yes" for the name-change in a petition form. And then later in an e-mail he wrote the mentioned above resume with the additional words: "We oppose the derogatory names used to describe Native sacred places.


*Kathleen Franklin, an on-line teacher of the Lakota langage.


*Tekakwitha Conference, an international Catholic Native American organization. In 2003, 172 tribes were represented at this organization's annual conference. And Tekakwitha Conference prayer circles, called Kateri Prayer Circles, have been formed on nearly all U.S. Reservations.


The following letter is from the Kateri Mitchell, the Executive Director of the Tekakwitha Conference.

Mr. Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer
P.O. Box 11
Wahkon, MN 56386

Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
Greetings to you from the beautiful white blanket of snow covering the land of Great Falls.

Your letter and articles were presented to the Tekakwitha Conference Board of Directors meeting this month.

At their request, I am responding to your correspondence and newspaper articles regarding the name change for Rum River. The members of the board commend you for your many efforts to have this derogatory name for a river changed.

The Board stated that, "though this is definitely a worthy cause for Native Americans as a whole but, it is a matter that should be dealt with the state of Minnesota and that our national organization would have no jurisdiction over state legislation".

The board members will give you prayerful support in the time, energy, commitment and publicity you have given to give this river a new name so that it be less offense especially for the Native Americans of Minnesota. May God continue to give you a strong sense of obligation to right a wrong and to help give your people greater dignity and pride in the heritage of First Peoples of this land.

Yours truly,

Sister Kateri Mitchell
Executive Director


* Rev. Stan Maudlin, abbot of Blue Cloud Abbey and founder and Executive Director of BCA�s American Indian Research Center. Rev. Maudlin has been a prominent leader of the Tekakwitha Conference since its origins and he is in constant correspondence with the Vatican Commission on Traditional Religions. During the 1983 Tekakwitha Conference, Rev Maudlin addressed a large group of conference participants and said "there is a whole world view behind the word wakan". And in 2003, Rev. Maudlin won the South Dakota Hall of Fame reward.

Note: Our director went to the 1983 Tekakwitha Conference with a combined Catholic and youth of the 1960s countercultural world-view behind the word wakan visionary ministry. And at the time, he presented his world view to the conference's keynote speaker.


Rev. Stan Maudlin wrote: "Put me down as someone who gives you my name in support of changing the name of Rum River."


* Division of Indian Work (DIW) , an organization that is in partnership with the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) . The Board of Directors and staff of GMCC and DIW are committed to continuing their evolution into an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization that works for racial justice in the Minneapolis area.


The following letter of support is from Noya Woodrich, Executive Director for Division of Indian Work.

Dear Mr. Dahlheimer

I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Division of Indian Work. After spending a few months reviewing your materials the board voted on August 19th to offer our support of your efforts to get the name of the Rum River changed. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavor to make this change happen.


Noya Woodrich, MSW, LISW
Executive Director


*Cankdeska Cikana Community College, a Sioux college established to bring higher education opportunities to the people of the Spirit Lake Tribe while preserving their language and culture.


The following email is from Louie Grace, Dakota Studies Instructor.
Hau Tom:
The president of our college gave me your letter requesting support.
I am the local historian.
Mille Lacs is called in Dakota Mdewakan (M'daywahkon) or Sacred Lake. The Rum River is called Miniwakan Wakpa (Sacred Water River). Miniwakan also means Whiskey (Rum) the water which makes you holy or sacred. The Rum River was also called Mdewakan Wakpa or Sacred Lake River.

Wakan can be translated Spirit. That is why spirit and rum got mixed up.(wa = noun marker; kan = so old it is mysterious). The Ojibway name of Mille Lacs is Misa Sagaiigun or Everywhere Lakes (thousand lakes). The Rum River which flows from the lake (as you well know) is called Ishkode Wabo or Fire Water River. Sometime in the early 1800's the French fur traders were selling spirits an this river and hence the name change.

We support you efforts to change the name to Mille Lacs River or something of your choosing.
Louis Garcia
Dakota Studies Instructor,
Cankdeska Cikana Community College
Ft. Totten, ND


*The United Nations' Secretariat of the Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues


An email letter of support from John Gordon Scott of the Secretariat of the United Nations' Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues:

Dear Tom,

Many thanks for keeping us informed about this issue. I was an active member of the Aboriginal Reconciliation Movement in Australia - and this process lead to many name changes (many of which were blatantly racist).

We wish you success.


John Scott

Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA.


* Dr. Peggy McIntoch a world-renowned lecturer, she consults with higher education institutions throughout the United States and the world on creating multi-cultural and gender-fair curricula. Author of many influential articles on curriculum change, women's studies and systems of unearned privilege, she has taught at Harvard University, Trinity College (Washington, DC) and the University of Durham (England), among other institutions.


Dr. Peggy McIntosh wrote: "I support the idea of changing Minnesota geographic names to the names that indigenous people gave them, in cases where indigenous people are asking for the change. In a number of places around the world during the 20th century this has happened, most notably in Africa and Asia, where many names of nations have been changed. Though I grew up with Anglicized names on the north American continent, I have understood the changes made in Canada at the request of indigenous peoples. I would respect the same kinds of changes in the continental U.S. in cases where I knew that First Nations' people were requesting them."


* Professor Christine Sleeter, a nationally and internationally renowned multicultural educator and social activist. Cristine Sleeter won the National Association for Multicultural Education Research Award.


Christine Sleeter wrote:

Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,

I am writing to express my full support of the effort to return the "Rum River" to its original name, Wakan. I believe that this is the right and honorable thing to do for two reasons. First, there has been a long history among colonizers of changing names of the people and places as part of the process of conquest. As you know, schools have a history of Anglicizing children's names, which I see as a comparable practice to changing existing place names, as if the place did not already have a name. Names are valuable symbols of identity that should be respected.

Second, when I found out why Europeans selected the name "Rum," I was appalled. Keeping that name maintains a racist, derogatory characterization of Mdewakanton Dakota peoples. U.S. citizens today do not need to perpetuate legacies of racism. The right thing to do would be to return the River to its original name, and get rid of the racist label that the name "Rum" keeps alive. I support the work you are doing to bring about this redress.


Christine Sleeter
Professor Emerita


* American Indian Genocide Museum

....The purpose of this museum is to bring historical truth to light through the means of education using actual documentation of events that have transpired in the near extermination, and in some cases, the total extermination of native tribes and cultures. It will be a memorial to the victims of ethnic cleansing. Racism, discrimination and injustice will be addressed with the purpose of promoting public awareness that these elements of genocide which existed in the past, continue to exist today. A further purpose of the museum will be to address prejudice which is generated toward native peoples through biased reporting of history. The goal of influencing authors of school textbooks with irrefutable documentation shall be of major importance. A library and microfilm archive will be available. The visual use of art, sculpture and film will create a memorable learning experience.


On July 26, 2005 we recieved the following letter of support from the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum.

To Whom it may concern:

The board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum lends our support to change the Rum River�s derogatory name to its sacred name of Wahkon. This would be a just and honorable thing to do. We have struggled for years to throw off the negative, stereotypical, and fictional image of Indians. We, as American Indians, do find it offensive and disrespectful. One of the greatest lessons adults can teach our children is the lesson of "Respect". We are not people that have passed into history, we are still here. We must stress to our children the importance of respecting our culture and those of others. It�s our heartfelt prayer that the City of Wahkon, Minnesota will be one of the first in setting a precedence of doing the right thing. Thank you.


Steve Melendez - President

A statement about why the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum mentioned the City of Wahkon in their letter of support is presented below.

In an e-mail that I (Thomas Dahlheimer) wrote and sent to the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum, I presented some information about why I and the other members of my organization, as well as Archbishop Harry Flynn, believe that the City of Wahkon, Minnesota is (currently) being disrespectful toward the Mdewakanton Dakota people. And doing so, by not being aware of, and then showing due respect for the special Mdewakanton Dakota sensitivities associated with the City of Wahkon being named after the scared Mdewakanton Dakota name for Mille Lacs Lake (Wahkon). reference

Note: The City of Wahkon is located on the south shore of Mille Lacs Lake. And this Wakan/Mille-Lacs lake's outlet river is the badly named "Rum River". And the Mdewakanton call the river by the name of the lake that it flows out of.

We believe, as does also the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum that if the City of Wahkon, Minnesota (especially Wahkon's City Council) would become aware of, and then start showing due respect for Mdewakanton Dakota sensitivities associated with the sacred Mdewakanton Dakota name for the city, then the City of Wahkon, Minnesota would most likely also give its support for the effort to revert the "Rum" River's derogatory name back to its sacred Mdewakanton Dakota name, or to its sacred Mdewakanton Dakota root word name (Wahkon) . And in doing so, be one of the first cities, if not the first city, "to set a precedence of doing the right thing".


* STAR (Students and Teachers Against Racism), this organization seeks to bring the image of Native Americans into the present, to support the well being of Native children in schools through the accurate depiction of history and by raising awareness of the need for sensitivity to Native culture as well bringing recognition to the ongoing contributions of Native Peoples today, and to celebrate the varied and rich cultural traditions of all Native people in the United States.


The following letter of support is from STAR's Executive Director, Christine Rose.

July 6, 2005

Dear Thomas;

Thank you so much for sending us information about your quest to return the Rum River to its original name. The disrespectful appropriation of the river name is so indicative of the ways Indian people have been mistreated and their spiritual ways dishonored. STAR is proud to support you in your efforts and is prepared to help you in any way possible.

Please continue to inform us of your progress.


Christine Rose

Executive Director

Note: CHRISTINE ROSE is the editor and occasional writer for STAR's editorial material. "Understanding The Mascot Issue" which contains important writings, essays, studies, surveys, law issues, articles and personal writings by Native people regarding the mascot and has been used extensively by school boards and State Departments of Education as well as by many individual schools in determining the removal of Native-based mascots.

At present, she is working with schools that are dealing with racism in their student community and curriculum. She investigates and writes reports regarding the situations and calls on a vast array of professional people who all work to bring change in these schools that in many cases aren't even aware of the problems.

Ms. Rose works to bring education to schools and school boards nationally. She has spoken and debated at universities and conferences and has had several articles about the mascot published. Her essay, "The Tears of Strangers are Only Water" was published in the summer 2002 edition of the University of Virginia Law Review's issue on Sports and Entertainment.


*National Environmental Coalition of Native Americans. The President of this organization is the daughter of the famous Olympic athlete Jim Thrope. Her name is Grace Thrope.


The following email is from Grace Thorpe.
Grace Thorpe...........RE: Supporter............8/25/2003 1:42PM
hi tom; ok to use my organizations name- National Environmental Coalition of Native Americans, as a supporter. Good Luck.......Grace Thorpe


*First Nations Environmental Network, "Voices of Mother Earth" http://www.fnen.org/contacts.html. - circle of First Nations people committed to protecting, defending, and restoring the balance of all life by honouring traditional Indigenous values and the path of our ancestors. Canada


Steven Lawson, a FNEN steering committee representative, sent the following e-mail letter of support.

Dear Tom, Thank you for this information, we have sent it out across Canada and into the US via the IEN (Indigenous Environmental Network) and will post this on our network web site as well as pass on this information. You can add our support to your petition to have this river renamed and if there is any further help we can offer, please let us know. Restoring the sacred context of human relations to the land is a mandate of ours. All the best to you, For All Our Relations, Steve Lawson


* Kathryn Wild, PhD, CEO (Karuk Tribe of Northern California) - Kathryn is developing an Environmental Education Retreat for California school teachers, offering university credit to learn gold rush history from an indigenous perspective.


Kathryn wrote: "I read about your mission through IndigousNewsNetwork.com and support you wholly. I have been seeking to establish a list of Indian environmentalists, so please add my name to your growing list of supporters. Keep me informed on your noble endeavor."


*Native Earth Works Preservation Group, born out of the need to preserve the heritage and culture of the indigenous people of North America.


We at Native Earth Works Preservation Group give you our full support on the renaming of Rum River to Wahkon River.

We as a preservation group not only want to preserve our sacred lands, but restore to our people the dignity of our past and that which is sacred to us.


Linda Benfield

Director of Native Earth Works Preservation Group


*Alliance for Native American Indian Rights, an intertribal organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Native American burial grounds and other culturally significant places.


In response to my request for Alliance for Native American Indian Rights to both support the effort to change the Rum River's name as well as list my web site on its web page I recieved the following e-mail.

You bet! We are glad to help. It might take a day or two but we will get your link on our site.

Thanks for asking,

Pat Cummins / President

Alliance for Native American Indian Rights of Tennessee Inc.


*Russell Means, an internationally renown American Indian activist and movie star. The LA times has described him as the most famous American Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse."


Russell Means' Nov. 04, 2003 letter of support:

To Whom it may Concern:

I hereby support the movement to change the derogatory name of a Minnesota River, the White Man named Rum River. In my language, "Wakan" is Holy. I support the effort to return this Minnesota River to its rightful name Holy Water. Perhaps it will quit being polluted as well.

Russell Means

Oglala Lakota Patriot


* Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Ph. D., a nationally and internationally renown American Indian educator and activist, who has served as a rapporteur for the health and human rights working group during the Indigenous Peoples International Day at the United Nations, and has been a featured speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics important to the well being of Indigenous communities. And he is also the Founder and Director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples' Critical and Intuitive Thinking and Associate Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies University of Kansas.


Dr. Michael Yelow Bird, Ph. D. wrote:

Hello Thomas,

I am happy to lend my support to your efforts and excellent, necessary work. All the best, Michael


*Mike L. Graham, a member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation and founder of United Native America, a national organization with a membership of 30.000.
Link to United Native America's Web site
Comment By Mike L. Graham: "It's time to make this happen"


*Clyde Bellecourt, an internationally renown American Indian activist.


Jim Anderson, Cultural Chair and Historian for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota was with Clyde Bellecourt at the 2004 Pipe Stone, Minnesota Pow Wow. And, at the time, our director called Jim Anderson. And during that conversation Jim Anderson told our director that Clyde Bellecourt supports our effort to change the name and that he would be sending us a letter expressing his support for the effort to change the name.


*Rev. Sequoyah Ade, an internationally regarded essayist and Indigenist political commentator. He has been called one of North America's most articulate and uncompromising post-colonialist voices examining the motives, means and end results of 500 years of pro-Eurocentric global exploitation. His highly informative writings and public discussions have been studied in university courses and political action groups in the U.S. and abroad.

Nearly one hundred of his essays and commentaries have appeared in various international political journals and periodicals.

His written works and recorded interviews have been translated into Mandarin, German, French, Japanese, Tagalog, Spanish and Korean.

Rev. Sequoyah Ade's web site is http://www.geocities.com/angryindian/


The following email is from Rev. Sequoyah Ade.

Throughout the 500-plus years of European colonial presence in the Americas, the practice of heaping indignities upon those displaced has served only to solidify the resolve of those so imposed. By naming this sacred body of water the "Rum" River, Europeans sought to extinguish the ancestral ties these Aboriginal people have with the land, their ancestors and the spirit world. Evidence of this practice has shown itself time and time again throughout the Americas and is now facing international pressure in an effort to correct the sins of the present by recognizing and addressing the history of this nation.

By Rev. Sequoyah Ade: "I fully support the effort to rename this special body of water in respect for the people who belong to the river. We will win."


* Steve Russell (Cherokee), a Texas state judge, twice past President, Texas Indian Bar Association, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Indiana University.


Steve Russell�s comment: "This campaign is a valuable history lesson!"


*Kevin Annett, an internationally renown aboriginal rights activist. Mr. Annett is the author of two books and numerous articles on the genocide of aboriginal peoples in Canada. He is a regular columnist for the Republic of East Vancouver and The Radical, and hosts a bi-weekly public affairs program on Vancouver Co-op Radio. His writings have appeared in such international publications as The New Internationalist, Nexus, Against The Current and Canadian Dimension.

Kevin is a recipient of the Canada Trust Writers' Achievement Award, and was appointed as the Consultant and Archivist for the first international human rights Tribunal into Indian residential schools, held in Vancouver in June, 1998 by a United Nations affiliate, IHRAAM. He is the pastor of All Peoples' Church in New Westminster, B.C., a multi-faith congregation of native and non-native people.

He has worked as an advocate and counselor in aboriginal healing circles on Canada's west coast. And he is working with aboriginal and human rights groups around the world in an effort to bring charges of complicity in Genocide against the government of Canada, the Anglican, United and Roman Catholic churches, and the RCMP. He is serving as the secretary of the recently-established Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, and has authored a book about his experiences, "Love and Death in the Valley". His website is: www.hiddenfromhistory.org.


The following email is from Kevin Annett.

Thank you brother - I will pass on your website and work through our network - please keep me apprised of what happens. Let's cross post each other's websites? Mine is: www.hiddenfromhistory.org

Kevin / Caoimhin


* Tom Wisner, a singer and song writer who is known nationally for his song "Chesapeake Born". Mr. Wisner is writing a song in support of renaming the Rum River. "Chesapeake Born" became the title song for the 1987 National Geographic Special on the Bay region. Wisner's classroom techniques were filmed by Washington-area NBC-TV and other stations, and he received national, state, and local awards for excellence in teaching. He was given citations by two governors and was named a major figure in land-conservation work by President Reagan's Commission on the Out-of-Doors. His website can be found by clicking the following link Tom Wisner.


*Dr. Tom Pinkson, a psychologist, author, and founder of Wakan, a spiritual community dedicated to the sacredness of life. Dr. Pinkson has worked with indigenous elders all over the world.


The following e-mail is from Dr. Tom Pinkson.

hello tom--thank you for sending me information about the good work you are doing. may your efforts bear good healing fruit opening minds and hearts and spirits to respectful right-relationship with your People and the powers of beautiful Mother Earth. may it be so.

tom pinkson


*Pat Albers, the Chair of the University of Minnesota's American Indian Studies Department.


The following email is from Patricia C. Albers, Chair Department of American Indian Studies.

Dear Mr. Dahlheimer:
I will bring this to the attention of my faculty and staff. I am not able to predict whether the department as a whole would support this, although I am sure that many individuals, including myself, would be willing to sign on to support changing the name of what is now called the Rum River.

Professor Patricia C. Albers, Chair
Department of American Indian Studies
Room 2 Scott Hall, 72 Pleasant Ave SE
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455


*Colin G. Calloway, Chair of Darmouth College Native American Studies Research Center.


Colin G. Calloway wrote: "You can add my name to your list."


* Kristin and Curtis Ryan, the owners of a Web site that helps protect sacred Native American sites. It's located at: www.twilightspirit.com. This Web site has a gallery that will include pictures of the Mdoteminiwakan/"Rum" River.


Kristin Ryan wrote: "The Sacred River must be Protected and Respected! The River, WAKAN. must be properly and respectfully given its original name with honor."

Curtis Ryan wrote" I fully support your effort to change this unfortunate name. Thank you for your efforts.


* Jeanne Svhiyeyi Aga Chadwick, the publisher/editor/webmaster of an American Indian/Indigenous online news ezine, called My Two Beads Worth. It has been visited by over 3 million people from all over the world.


Jeanne Svhiyeyi Aga Chadwick wrote: "As a Cherokee woman, I am very happy to see this movement taking place. Thank you for all your efforts.


*Jacki Rand (Choctaw), a Professor of History and American Indian and Native Studies at the
University of Iowa


Jacki Rand wrote: "Please add my name to your list of supporters."


*LaVonne Ruoff, a Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ruoff is a specialist
in Native American literature.


LaVonne Ruoff wrote: "Please add A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff to your list."


*Michelene Pesantubbee, an assistant professor of Religious Studies and American Indian and Native Studies at the University of Iowa.


Michelene Pesantubbee wrote: "Please add my name to your list of support. I wholly support your efforts to end the use of such a demeaning place name."

*Angela Cavender Wilson, Ph.D., an Arizona State University Assistant Professor of American Indian History.


Angela Cavender Wilson wrote: "Yes, I definitely support this."


*Devon Abbott Mihesuah (Choctaw), an University of Nebraska professor of Applied Indigenous Studies, serves as Editor of the award winning journal, the American Indian Quarterly and edits University of Nebraska Press's book series, "Contemporary Indigenous Issues.


Devon Abbott Mihesah wrote: "This is interesting and a necessary protest Thomas..."


*Charles E. Trimble, (Oglala Lakota) the Interim Director of the Institute of American Indian Studies at the University of South Dakota. Mr. Trimble is founder and president of Charles Trimble Company, a national consulting firm specializing in economic development on Indian Reservations. He is also president of the Red Willow Institute, a non-profit corporation he founded to provide technical and management assistance to Native American non-profit organizations.

Trimble has served as executive director of the American Indian Press Association, which he helped found; executive director of the National Congress of American Indians; a director of the American Indian National Bank in Washington D.C.; trustee and president of the Nebraska State Historical Society; trustee of the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress; and president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation in Omaha. He represented U.S. tribes at the founding of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples in Denmark in 1975, served as U.S. delegate at the U.N. Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in Switzerland; and a U.S. delegate to the Human Rights Experts meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Accord) in Ottawa, Canada.


Charles E. Trimble wrote: "You have my support. Best Wishes."


*Ernest Moristo (Tohono O'Odham), when addressing the participants of a United Nation's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues meeting, he called for an assessment of the status of sacred sites of indigenous nations.


Ernest Moristo wrote: "We are a grassroots org. of Tohono O'odham Indians in Az. trying to protect our sacred sites. Interested in networking."


*Hunter Gray, a nationally renown Native American social justice organizer. He was the University of North Dakota's American Indian Studies Department Chair. Currently, he is the Chairman of Native American Commission SPUSA, a national Native advocate organization. And he is also the Regional Organizer of the Anti-Racist DSA.(web site: http://www.hunterbear.org/native_american_commission_page.htm


*National Trust Historic Preservation, a national, non-profit organization that has provided leadership, education and advocacy to save America's divers historic places and revitalize our communities for over four decades..


Christina Morris, Field Representative of Midwest Office for Historical Preservation wrote:

Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
Thank you for your request for support in your efforts to change the geographic name of the Rum River. The National Trust Historic Preservation is a national, non-profit organization that has provided leadership, education and advocacy to save America's divers historic places and revitalize our communities for over four decades.

We recognize the historic and cultural significance of the Wakan River to the peoples of Minnesota, and we commend you in your research of its history, and your efforts to revitalize the Mdewakanton Dakota Community by raising awareness of their heritage.


*AymaraNet, a South American organization with the world's only internet site with information on the Aymaras Natives in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador.


The following email is from Marina Ari:
Dear brother,

We couldn't write you because our country lived two sad months, many indigenous Aymara people were killed and injured.

We are with you and we'll write (in Spanish) about the right that the Indigenous Peoples have to name their territories with the Indians names. If you need some specific solidarity we'll help. We think that the indigenous languages must be rescued and we have to keep to reborn them for our future. Thanks for write, and please remember that the indigenous people in the Abya Yala (the Americas) we are brothers and sisters.

Jikhisinkama (We'll find us in the future)


*University Creation Spirituality. Creation Spirituality (CS) honors all of creation as an original blessing. Creation Spirituality integrates the wisdom of Western spirituality and global indigenous cultures with the emerging post-modern scientific understanding of the universe and the awakening artistic passion for creativity which reveals the inter-relatedness of all beings. The Creation Spirituality movement seeks to integrate the wisdom of western spirituality and global indigenous cultures with the emerging scientific understanding of the universe and the passionate creativity of art.

The following email is from Mel Bricker, Co-Director UCS D Min. Program:

Dear Tom,

Thank you so much for sending us this information on your movement. I'm going to forward it to Matthew Fox. I'm also going to print it and send it to Jose Hobday, a Seneca woman, who teaches in our programs. She might also be interested. Jos� is an official story teller of the Seneca Tribe, a Franciscan Nun, and international lecturer on Native American Spirituality.

Our best wishes to you on the success of your attempt to change the name.

Mel Bricker, Co-Director UCS D.Min. Program


Carole Van Valkenburg, Reporter/Anchor WCCO-TV. WCCO-TV or WCCO 4 is a television station that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota. It broadcasts on channels 4 (analog) and 32 (digital). Additional TV transmitters in the north serve Alexandria (KCCO 7, 24 DT.


Matthew Fox. Fox is the founder and president of University Creation Spirituality. In addition to his work as founder of UCS, writer, and teacher in the San Francisco Bay area, Fox lectures throughout North America, Central America, Europe, and Australia.


Matthew Fox's email letter to our director:
Dear Tom:

Blessings on your effort to heal by confessing past mistakes of the dominant culture and to return the sacred river to a fitting name such as the Indigenous people originally gave it.

Matthew Fox


*KOLA supports our efforts to change the river's name. KOLA is an international grass roots human rights organization that is helping indigenous communities around the world. It was founded on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota. KOLA's main objectives is to spread correct information on every issue concerning American, Canadian & Australian indigenous people(s): culture, politics, environment, education, philosophy & religion, judicial matters, history; and to attempt to better and/or remedy existing situations on/in the indigenous communities: land & treaty rights, fishing/hunting & gathering rights, freedom of religion, exploitation of natural resources, anti-defamation, repratriation of artifacts & human remains; and to form a bridge between people of different cultures.


The following email is from Els Herten.
Dear Thomas, of course, you can add KOLA & International Peltier Forum to the list of organizations that support the name change !

We'll also post your message via our daily email newslist, and forward it to other Native American organizations and European support groups for indigenous peoples.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Els Herten

KOLA / International Peltier Forum
Van Boeckel St. 20
B - 1140 Brussels
Tel +32-2-241-8322


*KOLA's International Peltier Forum supports our efforts to change the Rum River's name. This forum considers Peltier to be an indigenous activist who stood up for the rights of his people and was silenced by the government. This forum is trying to get the "unjustly convicted" Peltier released from prison.


*Pax Christi USA

The following email is from Dave Robinson:

Dave Robinson is the national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace and justice movement. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of disarmament and nuclear deterrence.

Dave has represented Pax Christi International on disarmament issues at the United Nations, and regularly serves as a consultant to NGOs working on issues of disarmament, nuclear weapons, international peace and conflict resolution. He was a member of the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objection (NISBCO) for six years, serving as chair of the board for four years. Dave is the Executive Editor of The Catholic Peace Voice.

Dear Thomas,
Greetings of peace! Thank you for the correspondence regarding your geographic name-change initiative for the Rum River in Minnesota. We applaud your work in this sensitive area wish you the very best.

As you continue in your efforts, we encourage you to contact our local regional affiliate Pax Christi Minnesota regarding potential endorsement. Florence Steichen, C.S.J. is the contact person and may be reached via-email at fsteichen@csjstpaul.org. This group will be better acclimated to the issue and will perhaps be able to provide valuable insight. May you be blessed for all that you do to promote peace with Justice in our world.

In Christ's peace,

Dave Robinson

*Pax Christi Minnesota

The following e-mail is from Florence Steichen, coordinator Pax Christi MN
dear thomas,

YES, count Pax Christi MN among your supporters. We endorse your efforts to change the name of the Rum River.

Good luck on this.

peace, florence steichen, coordinator, Pax Christi MN


*Barbara Gerner De Garcia, the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the board of directors of the National Association For Multicultural Education. The National Association for Multicultural Education is the leading international and national organization in the area of multicultural education.


*Lyn Miller-Lachman, the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review, "a quarterly trade journal and book review for educators and librarians at all levels" supports our efforts to change the "pejorative" name of the river. This trade journal publishes articles about current issues related to multiculturalism in the United States.




The following letter is from Rev. Stanislaus Maudlin, Executive Director of AICRC.
November 9, 2003
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer
The AMERICAN INDIAN CULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER will join you in your movement to address a name change for the Rum River in Minnesota.
Rev. Stanislaus Maudlin, OSB


*Pastors of Christian Churches. In the four counties wherein the Rum River is located, we have found that there is almost unanimous support for the efforts to change the Rum River's name by the pastors of Christian churches. We have many of their signatures on our Rum River name-change petition.


*Bishop John F. Kinney of the Diocese of Saint Cloud supports our efforts to change the Rum River's derogatory name. A long strech of the Rum River is located within Bishop John F. Kinney's Diocese.


Bishop John F. Kinney's letter of support is presented below.

October 24, 2005

Mr. Thomas I. Dahlheimer
P.O. Box 24
Wahkon, Minnesota

Dear Thomas:

Thank you for your letter that I received on October 4, 2005 in which you shared your continuing efforts to change the name of Rum River, located near the site of the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Band tribal lands.

I also took note of your letter in the October 20, 2005 issue of the Saint Cloud Visitor which further described your international effort to change derogatory names that are offensive to Native American peoples and to many others as well. This will help raise awareness regarding the need to take corrective action.

May appropriate support continue to grow to assist you. I pray blessings upon you and yours.

With kind personal regards, I remain,

Sincerely yours, in Christ,

John F. Kinney
Bishop of Saint Cloud



*Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Achiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul supports our efforts to change the Rum River's derogatory name. A part of the Rum River is located within Archbishop Flynn's Archdiocese.


A letter from Archbishop Harry J. Flynn is presented below.

226 Summit Avenue
Office of the Archbishop
Saint Paul, Minnesota
April 3, 1998
Thomas Dahlheimer
1932 Cressy AvenueAnoka, MN 55303

Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
Thank you for your March 25,1998 letter detailing your efforts to change the name of the Rum River to the Wakan River.

Your obviously have invested a considerable amount of time and energy in this campaign and I commend your willingness to do so. If, as you state in your letter, the current name Is derogatory to our Native American brothers and sisters, then I support your efforts to rectify this injustice. Again, thank you for writing me and I will keep your work in my prayers.

With blessings and good wishes, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Harry J Flynn, D. D.
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

After our director sent Archbishop Harry Flynn a letter with a list of supporters in it (including his name) our director received the following letter from Archbishop Flynn. January 8, 2004

Dear Thomas,

I want to thank you for your kindness in writing to me on December 23, 2003. In that letter you brought me up-to-date on the efforts that you have made to change the Rum River's name. I am glad that my support for your efforts to change the name has helped you to gain support from several national and international organizations.

I write to express my gratitude to you and to thank you for your kindness in apprising me of the progress that has been made.

With blessing and good wishes, I remain.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, D.D.


*Joe Day, both the Executive Director of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council as well as President of the Governor's Interstate Indian Council.


In a Saint Paul Pioneer Press newspaper article about the Rum River name-change initiative, Joe Day, the Executive Director of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, stated that he supports the effort to change the Rum River's name. And he also mentioned that the MIAC "informally" supports the efforts to change the name. The following quote is from a Saint Paul Pioneer Press article: Joe Day, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, has given Dahlheimer his "blessing," but the council is not formally supporting the change. And our director has talked on the telephone with Joe Day a number of times and during their telephone conversations Joe Day has expressed his support for the efforts to change the river's name. joseph.day@state.mn.us


*Don Wedll, an American Indian rights activist who is well known throughout the state of Minnesota.


Don Wedll signed the Rum River name change petition. And after reading the list of supporters, Don Wedll wrote the following email:

Been reading your mail and you are making interesting progress. It looks like you are making good contacts and have gotten good comments. Have not been to your website but will try to get there soon. Good luck and Thank You for keeping me inform on your progress. don wedll.



We believe that the restoration of the river's original name would help uplift the Indian community, which has been historically plagued by alcohol.

When Europeans came to the Americas, the homelands of Native people, they brought rum and other alcoholic beverages with them. And at the time the Natives had no cultural controls in place for their usage. Hence, because of alcohol abuse, things for the Natives moved into degradation and multitudes of premature deaths. And this situation was made even worse by the White's frequent use of alcohol in ruthless genocidal attacks, alcohol was given to the Natives in order to kill, subdue, or cheat them.

We believe that by drawing attention to the Rum River name change issue "white guilt" will increase, because of a heightened awareness of the catastrophic consequences caused by white settlers introducing and selling alcohol to Native Americans; and that this increase of "white guilt" will, in a lot of ways, cause white Euro-Americans to offer all Native Americans their long over due restitution justice. Especially when it comes to making amends to help Native Americans to free themselves from the plague of alcoholism.

We believe that, by reverting the derogatory name of the Rum River back to its original Native American name Wakan, we would be honoring the importance of spirituality for American Indians.

We believe that the Rum River name has become like a joke - an antagonistic joke that's very antagonistic, and that by changing the river's name we would be putting an end to a source of racial antagonism.

Our goal is to educate the public and encourage you to get involved with our organization's name change movement

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