The following "letter to the editor" was published in the October 5, 2005
edition of the Mille Lacs Mesenger, Mille Lacs County's official newspaper.
My international movement to rename the Rum River is steadily gaining more and
more support. Plus, several Minnesota legislators have written me and thanked me
for the work that I am doing to change this river's derogatory name.
One of these legislators has given his support and some of the other legislators
who I have received letters from are interested in possibly sponsoring a purposed
Minnesota bill that I wrote and have displayed on my website. If a legislator or
legislators would decide to sponsor this purposed bill and our state's legislators
passed this bill several of our state's geographic place names that are offensive
and derogatory to Native Americans would be replaced. Including, the Rum River,
West Branch Rum River, Redskin Lake, Cut foot Sioux Lake, Sioux River, Sioux Lake,
Little Sioux Lake, Savage Lake, Devil Track Lake and Devil Track River.
Now-a-days, all across our county, Redskin, and Savage are considered offensive
and derogatory names for Native Americans. And the name Sioux for the Dakota
people is an offensive and derogatory name.
And on the Minnesota Historical Society's website there are the words: "Devil
Track River, wrote Gilfillan, "is Manido bimadagakowini zibi, meaning the spirits
(or God) walking-place-on-the-ice river." The Ojibwe applied this name primarily
to Devil Track Lake, and thence, according to their custom, to the out-flowing
river. The name implies mystery or something supernatural about the lake and its
winter covering of ice, but without the supremely evil idea that is given in the
white men's translation."
Therefore, I believe that our state's names for Devil Track Lake and Devil Track
River are names that are offensive and derogatory to the Ojibwe. I would like
these names changed to Manido Track Lake and Manido Track River. Manido
translates as Great Spirit or God.
And I have also received two letter from U.S. Senator Mark Dayton. Senator Dayton
has been giving and offering me assistance.
On September 27, I met with Christopher Leifeld, the executive director of the
Minnesota Catholic Conference. The MCC is the public policy voice of our state's
Catholic bishops. The MCC sometimes helps legislators author bills, plus it also
gives its support for some bills. I recently had received a letter from Archbishop
Harry Flynn wherein he thanked me for my update letter on my Catholic social
activist ministry to rename the Rum River and "related visionary ministry".
And the National Catholic Reported published a peace of mine about my effort to
rename the Rum River. NCR is a news weekly that reports news about global peace
and justice issues. It has over 120,000 loyal readers in 96 countries. The NCR
describes me as a "Catholic social activist". And I am also being described as
a Catholic visionary prophet with a world view behind the word "wahkon". This
word translates as sacred. And in some circles that promote a single global
culture, a culture made up of the best of the past of all the different people's
cultures and traditions, a culture wherein humanity will hopefully be united,
it represents the culture(s) of the aboriginal people of the Americas.
Thomas Dahlheimer - Wahkon