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The Peace Seekers

Stories and Reflections

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The Peace Seekers
Indian Christians and the Dakota Conflict

Copyright © 2005 by Elden Lawrence

Chapter One

Affliction and Loss

Most elders that I’ve talked with say that when a part of the culture dies it can never return. When people try to revive and re-construct it, it’s never the same and it’s better left alone.

Topic:

Culture

Chapter Three

“Let Them Eat Grass!”
The essence of hopelessness is the feeling and acceptance that things will never change regardless of what may happen. Today is just like yesterday, and tomorrow will be like today.
Chapter Four

The Tinder Is Ignited

Note (Hal’s): The following is part of a collection about the causes of the 1862 Dakota War. The whole set may be read in sequence by following links where indicated.

— end note

Leaders like Little Crow and Shakopee didn’t have the power of their influential fathers. Some who knew the older Shakopee said that if he (Old Shakopee) had been alive in 1862, there would have been no attack on the whites.

This may have been true, but it’s also possible that the culture had changed enough to where the old traditional system was no longer effective. The U.S. government had done much of the dismantling of the traditional Dakota government by ignoring the general Indian population during treaties and by appointing leaders who were partial to the government’s initiatives. The common people among the Dakotas who traditionally held the decision-making power, were considered non-essential constituents.

Dictators and evil rulers don’t come out of strong governments, but rather they arise when the system is so weakened, the people lose control of their destiny.
Chapter Five

The Fire Spreads Rapidly
Some wars are fought to conquer and others to protect. But underneath the outward manifestations, there is an inward desire and lust for things you don’t have. Greedy and overly ambitious individuals become obsessed with the things they covet and cannot obtain. The Americans were determined to take away the Indians’ land through whatever means necessary. The Indians on the other hand, fought battles to protect their women and children, their hunting grounds, their traditional way of life, and their cultural beliefs and practices. Ironically, these things are similar to the things America now claims as its reasons for going to war. When the Indians fought for the United States, they were noble freedom fighters. When they fought to protect their lands and their way of life they were savage insurgents. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

Note (Hal’s): Collected readings on causes of the 1862 Dakota War continue with Little Paul: Christian Leader of the Dakota Peace Party by Mark Diedrich.

— end note

Chapter Seven

The Dakota Christians
It’s possible, in both traditional and Christian religions to perform all the practices and rituals and yet never be committed in faith. In other words, some people miss the Kingdom of God by eighteen inches, the distance from their minds to their hearts. They can worship through their rituals and in their minds, but their hearts remain closed to the things of God.

Topic:

Religion

A stray cat came to our house one day. It was unkempt and probably felt unloved, and didn’t seem to care about itself. My grandchildren asked if they could keep it and clean it up. But I told them to accept it as it was, feed it and show it love. In a few days, the cat began to clean itself and show signs of responding to the love. True Disciples of Christ should accept you as you are and give you that unconditional love and let the outer appearance take care of itself. Some want to change the outer appearances to make them more loveable. That’s not a ministry of love, but of fear.

Chapter Nine

The Friendly Camp Emerges

I maintain a simple philosophy regarding peace. It derives from an old Indian proverb: “I searched for my enemies and I found I had no friends. Then I searched for my friends and found I had no enemies.”

text checked (see note) May 2010

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Stories and Reflections
from an Indian Perspective

Copyright © 2008 by Elden Lawrence

Prologue

We live in a “now” generation. The leisure that is needed for reflection is thought to be unnecessary and a thing reserved for the aged. Therefore, only a few who are young in years or in imagination, will give quality time to listen and even less to read. [...]

Knowledge is the result of disciplined and concentrated study that rather than expanding and extending the horizons of enlightenment, measures and fits you into a coffin of preconceived and predetermined sanctions. Wisdom, on the other hand, comes through open minds and times of leisure set aside for that opportunity. The relaxed, untroubled mind can be fed and refreshed by wise thoughts that come from the reflections of the wise ones who are the seldom heard voices of the past.

Hogan The epigram had no known author and it read, “Inside me, it’s like there are two dogs. One of them is a good dog and the other is a bad dog. The bad dog is always fighting the good dog.” When asked which dog wins, the elder responded, “The one I feed the most.”
Anpetu Num Numpa Wi
“Moon of Two Days”
Meeting basic survival needs kept life simple. However, I believe, like many of my elders, that our people are at their best when surviving. In a survivalist culture, a common struggle seems to bring the people closer together and make them more sensitive toward the needs of each other. By contrast, the competitive, selfish lifestyle brings out the worst in us. It is when we are surviving that our senses and intuitive knowledge are also at their peak and when we share oneness with all creation.
Alvin

It has been said that if you want to know and not be known, live in a city. The city is a place where you can sharpen your talents, and dull your virtues; strengthen your minds and weaken your morals.

Topic:

Cities

The Real Survivors

The biggest reason assimilation tactics failed is because two forces were used on the Indian at the same time—one was to get him out of his way of life and the other to keep him out of the white man’s life.

Paha Sapa: The Spiritual Mecca The fallacy of mankind is that his desire to have truth on his side is greater than his desire to be on the side of truth.

Topic:

Truth

My Christmas Story I’m convinced the preachers thought this was their last chance to reach us and they let it all out. [...] They probably wasted some good sermons on us because we already knew we were condemned people, living on the edge. They were long on law and short on grace.

Topic:

Clergy

The Greatest of These Is Love Sensuality is not real happiness, if it were, then we should have great envy for the beasts. Real happiness is imbedded in the soul and not in the flesh.
The Dream

Whenever a person is headed for trouble there are what I call caution, warning and stop signs along the way. A wise man will heed these signs and take a different way; but a foolish man or a man in rebellion will ignore them to his own detriment.

Deceived! With a long history of deceit and lies I see government as a cat’s litter box. The cat uses it and then covers it up. After so many times, the box is full and every time they cover their mess, they uncover more.

Topic:

Government

The wise man is set apart from the foolish man not so much by the absence of foolishness, but by being aware of its presence and what to do with it. The wise man’s foolishness is known to him, but is hidden from the world, the foolish man’s follies are known to the world, but are hidden from him.

text checked (see note) May 2010

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