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