I sit on my bed now contemplating the day past, as I consider the words spoken and the deeds done, I am aware of how little I know and how little I am. Yet I am encouraged at how big God is an good his people are.
After eating dinner together in the Crow Creek community center, (we corralled the horses and drove back for the night) Peter Lengkeek shared how thankful he is for the group and the opportunity again to ride. He went on to say, “I want you to be aware of something. Tomorrow we will ride though the town of Wessington Springs.” Peter explained that we are going to be hosted to lunch at the Legion Hall by several families who want to welcome and support the Dakota 38 ride. We are very thankful for their hospitality, he said, however, it is important to know that many of the first citizens of this town were bounty hunters, who came to track down and kill our people as they fled MN. Bounty hunters were paid $25 – $200 for the scalp of a Dakota.
Peter went on to say that in the 1970’s two white men drove to Crow Creek with several boxes. The men were the schools’ principals. In the boxes were bones of Dakota who who had been killed by the bounty hunters. Up until that time the bones had been displayed in the school. The Dakota leaders took the bones and gave them a proper burial. Peter shared that there are many great people in the town of Wessington Springs, however the history of hostility has not completely ended. Just a short time ago a basketball game had an ugly aftermath. The Crow Creek Chieftains had badly defeated the Wessington Springs Spartans and a mob of angry students and fans cornered and intimidated the Crow Creek students who were gripped with fear.
Peter concluded his talk by saying, “There are many good people in this town, yet there are still some who hate us. So tonight as you go to bed, tomorrow when you wake, pray for those people who hate. Pray for them that one day we may be able to walk side by side as brothers on this earth.” This is the call of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” also found in Matthew 5:44.
There is much to learn so that we can walk side-by-side in peace.
More from today –
Ceremony at the memorial site on the Missouri river dam.
The dam is close to the point of Old Fort Thompson, the landing where the Dakota exiles where taken by barge in 1863. I wanted to walk and reflect on the opening ceremony and the horrific history, yet stunning bravery, that occurred in this place. Many times in the last 2 days have I heard the bravery and strength of the Dakota people who survived the horrific conditions they faced when deposited in this place.
Today was a day of walking, working, listening and learning!