On September 5, 2012 ~ Indian Country Today Media Network, the world's largest Indian news source, published the following article/letter of mine. It was orginally posted as a comment to Peter d'Errico article The U.S. Has a Holocaust Museum, But Why no American Indian Holocaust Museum? This ICTMN article/letter/comment of mine can be viewed and read on ICTMN's web site, located here. It is also presented below.

This ICTMN article/letter/comment of mine reads:
An article of mine about this topic was published in Indigenous Peoples Literature.

U.S. and States should establish Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

By Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer

On June 14, 2008, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a speech to Parliament in which he formally apologized for the Canadian government's native residential school program. The apology begins a 5-year process led by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission supported with a $60 million budget.

Those involved in truth and reconciliation commissions seek to uncover facts and distinguish truth from lies. The process allows for acknowledgement, appropriate public mourning, forgiveness and healing.

Senator Sam Brownback first introduced Native American Apology Resolution in 2004. Brownback, in partnership with former Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, and Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) first introduced the Native American Apology Resolution on the evening of May 6, 2004, the National Day of Prayer.

The Senate finally passed a version of the resolution in October 2009 and President Obama signed it into law on Saturday, December 19, 2009. This should be used to help launch a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

At the state level, Colorado Legislature passed a resolution in which it compared the deaths of millions of American Indians to the Holocaust and other acts of genocide around the world.

In May, 2010, the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission posted the following statement on its web site:

"Yet we remain either unaware of or unable to look at our own history and acknowledge the painful wounds of ethnocide and genocide right here in Minnesota. We have a very hard time acknowledging that the pain remains and that it has affected much of our history thru to the present day."

The Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission created a web site to "bear witness to the tragic side of Minnesota Statehood in 1858 and acknowledge the pain, loss and suffering of the Native American culture in Minnesota."

On June 15, 2010, Griff Wigley, Project Leader, Sesquicentennial Advisory Committee for Native American Partnering, posted the following statements on the MN Sesquicentennial Commission's "Native American Minnesota - A journey of learning and understanding" web site:

"Last week, Thomas Dahlheimer (Rum River Name Change Movement) had a guest column in the Winona Daily News titled State looks to settle up with the past

http://www.towahkon.org/Winonaletter.html "And in December, Louis Stanley Schoen, a consultant and trainer on racial justice in the Episcopal Church, authored a commentary in the StarTribune titled We must talk about race, despite the difficult emotions it stirs. (Thanks to Thomas Dahlheimer for alerting me to it) In it, Schoen suggests the formation of a Commission:

"How might serious, healing racial dialogue occur? A series of thoughtful, sensitive commentary in news media might be a starter. Sermons and study groups on race in churches would help, as would discussions in all kinds of community groups. Official public bodies must get engaged. What if a public commission were to begin to examine the American (and European) history of white supremacy...and, here, how that doctrine shaped the formation of Minnesota and its public and private institutions? What if such a commission learned how to offer leadership and resources to dismantle this evil doctrine?"

"The results could be transforming for us and for all the world. What a magnificent legacy this might be to our celebration of Minnesota's sesquicentennial."

Griff Wigley wrote:

"It seems to me that it would be most meaningful for each state to debate the need for its own Truth and Reconciliation Commission and then to fund it."

In the (mentioned above) Winona Daily News guest column I wrote:

"When Minnesotans become aware of or able to look at their own history and acknowledge the painful wounds of ethnocide and genocide right in their own state, they will be inspired to go through a radical social, political and religious transformation."

"A peaceful cultural revolution will occur, and Minnesotans will be changed for the better. And this will help to heal the Dakota Oyate's painful wounds caused by ethnocide and genocide."

"Leonard Wabasha, a hereditary chief of the Dakota and director of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community Cultural Resource Department, invited me to address the Dakota tribal leaders and government officials during the May 16, 2010 reconciliatory ceremony in Winona, Minnesota."

"During the reconciliatory ceremony, I spoke about the 15th century papal bull (Inter Caetera). A papal bull that was primarily responsible for Minnesota's ethnocide and genocide against the Dakota Oyate."

"A movement to revoke the papal bull has been ongoing for a number of years. It was initiated by the Indigenous Law Institute in 1992. At the Parliament of World Religions in 1994 over 60 indigenous delegates drafted a Declaration of Vision."

"It reads, in part: 'We call upon the people of conscience in the Roman Catholic hierarchy to persuade Pope John II to formally revoke the Inter Caetera Bull of May 4, 1493, which will restore our fundamental human rights. That papal document called for our Nations and Peoples to be subjugated so the Christian Empire and its doctrines would be propagated. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson vs. McIntosh (in 1823) adopted the same principle of subjugation expressed in the Inter Caetera Bull. This papal bull has been, and continues to be, devastating to our religions, our cultures, and the survival of our populations.'"

Steve Newcomb and Tony Castanha, two internationally renowned leaders of the movement to influence Pope Benedict XVI to formally revoke the Inter Caetera Bull, have contacted me and told me that I am doing "good work".

Newcomb supported my draft reconciliation resolution that was introduced on March 17, 2010. This house concurrent resolution expresses regret for conflicts between Native Americans and European settlers. A section of it reads:

"WHEREAS, because of the United States of America's belief in the "doctrines of discovery," collectively called the Doctrine of Discovery, Minnesota Dakota and Ojibwe tribes were denied their fundamental human rights and denied their rights to be fully independent sovereign nations and have absolute root ownership of land within Minnesota."

and, "Commend other state governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourage all state governments similarly to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries."

The Minnesota Reconciliation Resolution is located at: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/resolutions/ls86/0/HC0004.htm

------ Home