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
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
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
"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
"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
The Minnesota Reconciliation Resolution is located at: