In 2007, I [Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer] learned that the state of Virginia passed a
resolution apologizing for slavery and the exploitation of Native Americans.
Therefore, I decided to ask Rep. Mike Jaros if he would like to introduce a
Minnesota resolution that would apologize for this state's
exploitation of Native Americans, a resolution that would accompany the bill to replace
Minnesota's derogatory geographic place names. In response, Rep. Jaros told me that he would
like to introduce a Minnesota resolution apologizing for the exploitation of
In 2007 I also learned that the Episcopal Church apologized for ties to slavery. I, therefore,
came to believe that it would also be a good idea to ask the Minnesota Council of
Churches, Minnesota Catholic Conference, Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in
Minnesota, Greater Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Councils of Churches, Episcopal
Diocese of Minnesota, Minnesota Baptist Conference and the Diocese of Saint Cloud to
apologize for ties to the exploitation of Minnesota's
Correspondence with Minnesota's Christian Church leaders associated with my requests
for apology letters:
I sent an e-mail to Chris Leifeld, the Execution Director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference,
wherein I informed him that Rep. Jaros was expected to introduce a resolution to apologize for the
exploitation of our state's Native Americans. I also informed Mr. Leifeld that the National Episcopal
Church has apologized for ties to slavery and that I would like for the MCC to
apologize for Minnesota's Catholic Church ties to our state's exploitation of
In a reply e-mail message Chris Leifeld wrote: "Certainly I intend to consult with the Catholic
Bishops of Minnesota regarding your request. The bishops, as the board of the
Minnesota Catholic Conference do not meet again until June.
I also sent an e-mail to Reverend Mark Peters, the Execution Director of
the Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota, wherein I informed him that
I would be grateful if the Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota would write an
apology letter for Minnesota's Lutheran church ties to the exploitation of our state's Native Americans.
Reverend Mark Peters informed me that he was going to
send me a, bicentennial of the United States,
Lutheran Church public apology letter for the exploitaion of Native Americans.
I also sent an e-mail to Reverend Dr, Gary B. Reierson, the Execution
Director of the Greater Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Councils of Churches,
wherein I let him know that I would be grateful if Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Councils
of Churches would write an apology letter for the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area churches' ties to
the exploitation of our state's Native Americans.
In a reply e-mail Reverend Dr. Gary B.
Reierson wrote: "Thank you for your e-mail message. I'll
get back to you after consulting with the leadership of our Division of Indian Work."
I also sent an e-mail to Truett Lawson, the Execution Director of the
Minnesota Baptist Conference, wherein I informed him that I would be grateful
if the Minnesota Baptist
Conference would write an apology letter
for Minnesota's Baptist Church ties to the exploitation of our state's Native Americans.
I also sent an e-mail to Bishop James L. Jelinek, the
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of
Minnesota, wherein I informed him that I would be grateful if the Episcopal Diocese of
Minnesota would write an apology
letter for Minnesota's Episcopal Church ties to the exploitation of our
state's Native Americans.
From Bishop Jelinek April 26, 2007
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer: The Rev. Canon Robert Two Bulls (on my staff) and
I shall discuss your suggestion and request
and then I will take it to some of the elected leadership councils of the diocese. There is
merit to your request, but for an (elected)
bishop to speak on his own has limited value and impact. We have been doing ministry as a
diocese with, for, among and by Native
Americans since 1848 when the first Episcopal priest came here. We are not perfect today nor
have we been, but we work very
hard to heal the wounds of the past and deal with our institutional racism in the present.
With regard to your renaming venture
and concerns: we would be likely to sign onto that if and when a significant majority of
Native American organizations and/or
people do so. We believe it appropriate to support what they "own" as issues and concerns.
I trust you will understand that.
Sincerely yours, The Rt. Rev. James L. Jelinek VIII Bishop, Diocese of Minnesota.
My reply email message to Bishop James L. Jelinek:
Dear Bishop James L. Jelinek,
After sending my bishop, Bishop John Kinney, the following on-line articles of mine, articles
that I suggested could help the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Saint Cloud to make a good apology, he in turn sent me a letter supporting my and
Rep. Mike Jaros' effort to change our state's
offensive names and requests for apologies.
Combating White Racism Against Indigenous Peoples
Solving The Alcohol Abuse Epidemic
Regaining the Mdewakanton's Mille Lacs Ancestral Homeland
Mdewakanton Rights Activist Initiatives
Director of Rum River Name Change organization, Inc.
I also sent an e-mail to Bishop Sally Dyck,
Resident Bishop of Minnesota United Methodist
Church, wherein he informed her that we would be grateful if she would write an apology
letter for Minnesota's United Methodist Church
ties to the exploitation of our state's Native Americans. In a
reply e-mail to our director Bishop Sally Dyck wrote:
"I have received your request for an apology from the religious body of the United Methodist
Church. In order to do that in a meaningful way,
it means that we need to work it through a variety of systems so people are actually educated
and committed to such an apology. I could just
write you a letter but it wouldn't be as meaningful as if the annual conference took action
on it. If they do that, it would take a year to
do but it would be something that had some "backing" to it from the people in Minnesota who
are UM. I'm making the assumption that you would
prefer that we work it through appropriate and extensive channels rather than to make it a
formality. Please let me know what you
I also sent a letter to Rev. Peg Chemberlin, the Executive Director
of Minnesota Council Of Churches (MCC),
wherein he asked if the MCC would like to apologize for our state's churches'
ties to the exploitation of our state's Native Americans.
Note: In an March 19, 2007 letter Rev. Peg Chemberlin wrote:
"Thank you for your letter of March 6. We can
and are discussing your concerns. We will get back to you soon in this regard."
I also sent a letter to Archbishop Harry Flynn to
inform him know about these new developments.
He mentioned in the letter that if the Minnesota Catholic Conference decides to apologize
for the exploitation of American Indians that
he would like to help write the apology letter.
I also sent a letter to Bishop John Kinney,
wherein he asked Bishop Kinney if Saint Cloud Diocese would like to
make an official apology for its ties to the exploitation of our state's Native Americans.
Our director mentioned in his letter to
Bishop Kinney that he believed that an apology would serve as a part of the reconciliation
process associated with the effort to
change our state's offensive geographic place names.
April 10, 2007 letter form Bishop John Kinney:
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer:
Thank you for your recent letters and information about your efforts and those of
Representative of Mike Jaros with respect to Indian
names and an apology for exploitation of the Native Americans. Your continuing work on
these issues is admirable.
We will continue to support efforts on behalf of the Native Americans of the Mille Lacs
Band Ojibwe here in Saint Cloud Diocese and
also those beyond the boundaries regards of these sixteen counties.
With kind personal regards, I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
John F. Kinney
Bishop of Saint Cloud
We believe that apology letters from Christian church organizations, letters that would go
along with a MN resolution to apologize
for the exploitation of our state's Native Americans, would give our state's tribes
an understanding that this campaign to change our state's
offensive names will, hopefully, not only replace our state's offensive names but
also bring about significant reconciliatory social
change that will be beneficial to them as well as to all other residents of our state. We
also believe that if the tribes that have
not yet given their support gain this new understanding they will be encouraged to give
After sending an e-mail to a leader of Minnesota's Mdewakanton Dakota people, an
e-mail wherein I informed him about
our soliciting apology letters mission he asked my to called Lyle Rustad, the
Executive Director of the
Foundation, and ask for assistance with writing apology letters.
Our director called Lyle Rustad and spoke with him for about 10
minutes. During their conversation Mr. Rustad told our director that during Winona,
Minnesota's Great Dakota Homecoming Gathering,
a reconciliation event sponsored by the Diversity Foundation, Roman Catholic Bishop
Bernard J. Harrington apologized for his diocese's ties
to the exploitation of the Dakota people.
Elizabeth Morgan, a Diversity Foundation cultural and elder advisor & Cultural Resource
Management Director for Spirit Lake Reservation
in North Dakota wrote, in her Support & Testimony letter: "Over the past several years,
other ceremonies have been held where
representatives and mayors from Redwood Falls, New Ulm, Sleepy Eye, Mankato, St. Peter
and Mendota attended with each extending
apologies and sorrow for the past and a wish for improved relations between our cultures."
To read more of Morgan's Support &
Testimony letter click
"apologies and sorrow for the past"
Representative Jaros' plan to introduce a resolution to apologize for the
exploitation of Minnesota Indians as well as our mission
to influence Christian church organizations to write apology letters seems to be
helping to influence more of our state's Native Americans
and the Diversity Foundation to get involved with our name-changing reconciliation
August 2009: Mike Jaros retired and Rep. Dean Urdahl introduced a Minnesota apology resolution.