On November 12, 2014, the Mille Lacs Messenger, a Minnesota county newspaper, published the following letter of mine. It is also displayed on the Messenger's website.



Reconciliation

Indian Country Today Media Network, the world's largest Indian new source, recently published an article by Kevin Leecy, Chair of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. The article, which is titled The Truth About Our Origins Will Set Us All Free, has three selective comments. The third comment is my comment.

A couple of excepts from the article read: "In Germany, students in grades K-12 receive mandatory instruction about the Holocaust. In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission bore witness to the injustices of Apartheid. These countries took such public steps because they understand that casting light on the dark chapters of history is the only way to move beyond guilt and anger to real healing."

"When Europeans began their influx into this continent, there were tens of millions of Native people here with distinct cultures, communities and forms of governance. Europeans, and later Americans, who wanted the indigenous peoples' lands and resources reacted in a variety of ways that included deception, outright lies and genocide."

My comment reads: This Kevin Leecy's article is a sign among a number of other signs that indicate that Minnesota is coming into the forefront of the American and global movement that is shining a light on the dark chapters of colonialism, with the aim "to move beyond guilt and anger to real healing." I (Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer) am an activist who has worked with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council in the past. Rep. Dean Urdalh recently told me that he will soon honor my request to introduce a bill to change some of Minnesota's derogatory geographic place names, including a lake named "Redskin Lake". Several years ago, during a meeting with Minnesota Dakota tribal leaders and Rep. Urdahl I was asked to write and present a draft Minnesota apology resolution to Urdahl. After he received my draft resolution he edited it and introduced it to the Minnesota Legislature. It has the Doctrine of Discovery in it, mentioning the harm it has caused Indian people. Because of recent developments in Minnesota, Urdahl informed me that we can go ahead now with more legislation to resolve these issues. After sending a link to a recent article of mine that has a statement in it about the Doctrine of Discovery to the Minnesota Council Of Churches I received a message from Kim Olstad, the Interfaith/Multi-faith Program Director at Minnesota Council of Churches. She informed me that she is involved with a Saint Paul Christian interfaith organization named SPIN and that it was going to have a fall series on the Doctrine of Discovery, called, "Disavowing the Doctrine of Discovery". After corresponding with Kim Olstad I sent messages to both, Archbishop John Nienstedt, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and Jason Adkins, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference. In the messages I stated that I believed that Minnesota was coming into the forefront of this global movement and that the church should participate in SPIN's fall series. It was not long after I sent this message that I received a reply message from Jason Adkins. We began to dialogue. I then received a message from Archbishop Nienstedt wherein he informed me that Father Erick Rutten, the Head of the Commission on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs would meet with me. We met and had a good dialogue session. We continue to correspond. I was told that the Archdiocese is honoring my request for it to get involved in SPIN's fall series and to also connect with Rep. Urdahl, in order to help him get future legislation passed.

Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer
Wahkon

A related article of mine: Healing the Dakota People's Painful Wounds Of Ethnocide and Genocide

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