Our mission statement is an important guide for the direction of our
movement to restore the sacred Dakota/Native name to a Minnesota river that is
currently named "Rum River".
Here we highlight several significant issues that pertain to our movement.
We believe that if we are successful at restoring this river's name to its sacred
Dakota/Native name, we
will have succeeded in elevating the dignity of Minnesota by showing, in respect to
one of our state's geographic place names, due respect for Native Americans.
In our efforts to restore this river's name to its original sacred Dakota/Native name [Wakan],
we believe that we are
contributing to our country's popular multicultural movement. And that through
multicultural education and social/political activism we appreciate others more and
understand others more. And that by doing so, we can change to be better people. We
equate our efforts to rename the river to other name changes, such as schools dropping
mascot names such as Redmen and Indians.
KEY SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS
According to historical documents found in the book, "Minnesota Geographic Names: Their
Origins and Historical Significances" by Warren Upham, published by the Minnesota
Historical Society, 1969 (reprint of 1920)...in the late 1700s, white men gave the Rum
River its current name by way of a "punning translation" that "perverted the ancient
Sioux name Wakan". Note: The "Sioux" (Dakota) name Wakan, was spelled Wahkon when given
as the name for a village on the south end of Mille Lacs Lake. This village (Wahkon,
Minnesota) is now the headquarters of our Rum River Name-Change Organization.
Explanation: The ancient and sacred Dakota name for the "Rum River" is
Wakan, it translates as Spirit or Great Spirit. In the late 1700s white men took the
sacred Dakota name for the "Rum River" Wakan, and then, by way
of a desecrating "punning translation", translated the sacred Dakota name Wakan to mean an alcohol spirit,
the alcohol spirit rum. They then, unfortunately, named the river Rum. By doing so, the Dakota name for the river was
"perverted" or desecrated. And because the ancient Dakota name Wakan means (Great) Spirit the
the profane "Rum River" name also desecrates the ancient Dakota name for their Great Spirit. And we believe that what
makes the white men's naming the river "Rum" even worse is the fact that...at the time when the river was named Rum,
rum was bringing (according to Upham)"misery and ruin, as Du Luth observed of brandy, to many of the Indians".
Glen Yakel, Minnesota's geographic name keeper, and hydrographics supervisor for the Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources, has determined that it is reasonable for our director, an American
citizen and resident of Minnesota, to believe that the Rum River's current name is derogatory and offensive
to Native Americans. Therefore, he is now officially helping us to understand how the name-changing process works.
He is also helping us with our mission to change one of the Rum River's tributaries, the West Branch Rum River.
CURRENT SUPPORT STATUS
*Minnesota Historical Society's Indian Advisory Committee
An e-mail to our director from Susanna Short, MHS's Indian Advisory Director: "We had a discussion
of the Rum River change at our Indian Advisory Committee on March 30, 2004. They agreed to support
the change. Our chair, Jeff Savage will be sending you a letter of support from the
committee. Thanks for all of your work on this and your patience with our long process.
A letter from Jeff Savage, chairman of the Minnesota Historical Society's Indian Advisory
August 9, 2004
P.O. Box 24
Wahkon, MN 56386
Greetings, I am the chairman of the Minnesota Historical Society's Indian Advisory Committee. In
March 2004 we held a meeting in the Shakopee Community and discussed your efforts to change the
name of the Rum River to the Wahkon River. Our membership voted overwhelmingly to support changing
the name of the Rum River to more accurately reflect its past. Thank you for your work on this
Chairperson, Indian Advisory Committee
* Mike Jaros, a (DFL) Minnesota State Legislator.
Mike Jaros' e-mail statement of support is
I am against derogatory language and treatment of anybody. I grew up as an
ethnic and religious minority in Bosnia and know how much insults and
discrimination can hurt. Therefore, I decided when I was a kid
that I would not consciously discriminate against anyone. I support your
effort and lend my name to it.
* Cambridge, Minnesota (population 5,520),
a city located on the Rum River corridor.
In an article published in Minnesota's best-selling state-wide daily newspaper,
the Star Tribune, there are the words: Last month, the Cambridge
City Council took its own stand in Dahlheimer's crusade, voting to rename "West
Rum River Drive to Spirit River Drive. Along with the Cambridge
campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and the Isanti County Active Living by Design,
the city also has named a part of a new community trail
system Spirit River Nature Area." "We understand we can't rename the river on our
own, but we wanted to at least recognize the Native American
history of this area," said Stoney Hiljus, Cambridge's city administrator.
* Upper Sioux, a Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. This community is one of five
Minnesota Mdewakanton Dakota Communities.
The follwing e-mail is from Brad J. Lerschen, Upper Sioux Community's Tribal Council Secretary.
The Board of Trustees has received and reviewed your request to address them regarding the Rum River
name change. However, due to our heavy schedules, this simply is not feasible. We continue to
support your efforts and will be sending you another letter of support stating such in the near
future. Thank you.
Brad J. Lerschen
Tribal Council Secretary
Board of Trustees
Upper Sioux Community-Pejuhutazizi Kapi Oyate
*Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, a non-federally recognized 250-member Mdewakanton
The following email is from the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community's Tribal Council Administrative
Assistant Linda Brown:
We thank you for your efforts to change the Rum River's name. We would be happy to meet with you.
Thank you again for your efforts.
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community Tribal Council
* Jim Anderson, Cultural Chair and Historian for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community.
Jim Anderson is helping us to spearheading the movement to change the Rum River's derogatory
Jim Anderson's Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community letter of support is presented below.
August 12, 2004
To Whom It Should Concern:
I believe that renaming the river "Wakpa Wakan" or "Spirit River" is a great stride in mending the
circle that we share with all four colors of man. We, as Dakotas, are very happy that there are
people out there that are trying to understand that by using names like "rum" and "devil" to label
sacred sites and places is degrading to our children, our elders and also to our ancestors. These
places were already named in our language by our people because of their special meaning. When we
have to tell our children why these places have been named after a poison or the worst words in
their language. It is demoralizing to us to have to explain why a place is named after the same
things that helped to steal our land and language. To have to be reminded of the cultural genocide
that has been perpetrated on all Indian people. So, in changing the name back to the Dakota
language, it will help in the healing process that our people continue to deal with.
Many schools and teams have already changed their names in respect to our children and adults.
It promotes us to be proud of our heritage, language and culture, to respect themselves and
being Indian in our own homeland. I am writing in support of the name change of the
We, as the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota, request the County Commissioners in the affected counties
to support our hope of righting this wrong. Please do the respectful and moral thing and change
this disrespectful and culturally damaging name. We, as the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota, request
the County Commissioners in the affected counties to support our hope of righting this wrong.
Please do the respectful and moral thing and change this disrespectful and culturally damaging
Jim Anderson Cultural Chairman
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community
* Leonard Wabasha, hereditary chief of the Mdewakanton Dakota people and, both, a prominent member of
the Lower Sioux Mdewakanton Community as well as an employee of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community Cultural Resource
In an August 2004 telephone conversation, Leonard Wabasha told our director that he wants the Rum
River's name changed.
C. D. Floro, the editor of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota - Lake Traverse Reservation newspaper, a
newspaper named Sota. Lake Traverse Reservation is located in the northeast corner of South Dakota, bordering Minnesota and North Dakota.
It is home to 10,840 Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota.
C. D. Floro wrote:
Thank you for your letter and for your effort to rename the river. I hope you get lots of positive feedback and support.
* Alfred Bone Shirt (Sicangu), a nationally renowned Native American activist. Mr. Shirt is the contact person
for the Dakota-Lakota-Nakota Human Rights Advocacy Coalition.
* Chuck Benson, of Lakota/Dakota descent and a relative of Petit Corbeau, the original "Little Crow"
(great-grandfather of the famous Little Crow aka Taoyate Duta of 1862 "uprising" fame).
Mr. Benson wrote "yes" for the name-change in a petition form. And then later in an e-mail he wrote
the mentioned above resume with the additional words: "We oppose the derogatory names used to
describe Native sacred places.
*Kathleen Franklin, an on-line teacher of the Lakota langage.
*Tekakwitha Conference, an international Catholic Native American organization. In 2003, 172 tribes
were represented at this organization's annual conference. And Tekakwitha Conference prayer circles,
called Kateri Prayer Circles, have been formed on nearly all U.S. Reservations.
The following letter is from the Kateri Mitchell, the Executive Director of the Tekakwitha
Mr. Thomas Ivan Dahlheimer
P.O. Box 11
Wahkon, MN 56386
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
Greetings to you from the beautiful white blanket of snow covering the land of Great Falls.
Your letter and articles were presented to the Tekakwitha Conference Board of Directors meeting this
At their request, I am responding to your correspondence and newspaper articles regarding the name
change for Rum River. The members of the board commend you for your many efforts to have this
derogatory name for a river changed.
The Board stated that, "though this is definitely a worthy cause for Native Americans as a whole but,
it is a matter that should be dealt with the state of Minnesota and that our national organization
would have no jurisdiction over state legislation".
The board members will give you prayerful support in the time, energy, commitment and publicity you
have given to give this river a new name so that it be less offense especially for the Native
Americans of Minnesota. May God continue to give you a strong sense of obligation to right a wrong
and to help give your people greater dignity and pride in the heritage of First Peoples of this
Sister Kateri Mitchell
* Rev. Stan Maudlin, abbot of Blue Cloud Abbey and founder and Executive
Director of BCA�s American Indian Research Center. Rev. Maudlin has been a
prominent leader of the Tekakwitha Conference since its origins and he is in
constant correspondence with the Vatican Commission on Traditional Religions.
During the 1983 Tekakwitha Conference, Rev Maudlin addressed a large group of
conference participants and said "there is a whole world view behind the word wakan".
And in 2003, Rev. Maudlin won the South Dakota Hall of Fame reward.
Note: Our director went to the 1983 Tekakwitha Conference with a combined Catholic
and youth of the 1960s countercultural world-view behind the word wakan visionary
ministry. And at the time, he presented his world view to the conference's keynote
Rev. Stan Maudlin wrote: "Put me down as someone who gives you my name in support
of changing the name of Rum River."
* Division of Indian Work (DIW) , an organization that is in partnership with the Greater Minneapolis
Council of Churches (GMCC) . The Board of Directors and staff of GMCC and DIW are committed to
continuing their evolution into an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization that works for racial
justice in the Minneapolis area.
The following letter of support is from Noya Woodrich, Executive Director for Division of
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Division of Indian Work. After spending a
few months reviewing your materials the board voted on August 19th to offer our support of your
efforts to get the name of the Rum River changed. We wish you the best of luck in your endeavor to
make this change happen.
Noya Woodrich, MSW, LISW
*Cankdeska Cikana Community College, a Sioux college established to bring higher education
opportunities to the people of the Spirit Lake Tribe while preserving their language and
The following email is from Louie Grace, Dakota Studies Instructor.
The president of our college gave me your letter requesting support.
I am the local historian.
Mille Lacs is called in Dakota Mdewakan (M'daywahkon) or Sacred Lake. The Rum River is called
Miniwakan Wakpa (Sacred Water River). Miniwakan also means Whiskey (Rum) the water which makes you
holy or sacred. The Rum River was also called Mdewakan Wakpa or Sacred Lake River.
Wakan can be translated Spirit. That is why spirit and rum got mixed up.(wa = noun marker; kan = so
old it is mysterious). The Ojibway name of Mille Lacs is Misa Sagaiigun or Everywhere Lakes
(thousand lakes). The Rum River which flows from the lake (as you well know) is called Ishkode Wabo
or Fire Water River. Sometime in the early 1800's the French fur traders were selling spirits an this
river and hence the name change.
We support you efforts to change the name to Mille Lacs River or something of your choosing.
Dakota Studies Instructor,
Cankdeska Cikana Community College
Ft. Totten, ND
*The United Nations' Secretariat of the Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues
An email letter of support from John Gordon Scott of the Secretariat of the United Nations'
Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues:
Many thanks for keeping us informed about this issue. I was an active member of the Aboriginal
Reconciliation Movement in Australia - and this process lead to many name changes (many of
which were blatantly racist).
We wish you success.
Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA.
* Dr. Peggy McIntoch a world-renowned lecturer, she consults with higher education institutions throughout
the United States and the world on creating multi-cultural and gender-fair curricula. Author of many influential articles on curriculum change,
women's studies and systems of unearned privilege, she has taught at Harvard University, Trinity College (Washington, DC) and the University
of Durham (England), among other institutions.
Dr. Peggy McIntosh wrote: "I support the idea of changing Minnesota geographic names to the names that indigenous people gave them, in cases
where indigenous people are asking for the change. In a number of places around the world during the 20th century this has happened, most
notably in Africa and Asia, where many names of nations have been changed. Though I grew up with Anglicized names on the north American
continent, I have understood the changes made in Canada at the request of indigenous peoples. I would respect the same kinds of changes
in the continental U.S. in cases where I knew that First Nations' people were requesting them."
* Professor Christine Sleeter, a nationally and internationally renowned multicultural educator and social activist.
Cristine Sleeter won the National Association for Multicultural Education Research Award.
Christine Sleeter wrote:
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
I am writing to express my full support of the effort to return the "Rum River" to its original name, Wakan. I believe that this is the
right and honorable thing to do for two reasons. First, there has been a long history among colonizers of changing names of the people
and places as part of the process of conquest. As you know, schools have a history of Anglicizing children's names, which I see as a
comparable practice to changing existing place names, as if the place did not already have a name. Names are valuable symbols of
identity that should be respected.
Second, when I found out why Europeans selected the name "Rum," I was appalled. Keeping that name maintains a racist, derogatory
characterization of Mdewakanton Dakota peoples. U.S. citizens today do not need to perpetuate legacies of racism. The right thing to
do would be to return the River to its original name, and get rid of the racist label that the name "Rum" keeps alive. I support the
work you are doing to bring about this redress.
* American Indian Genocide Museum
....The purpose of this museum is to bring
historical truth to light through the means of education using actual
documentation of events that have transpired in the near extermination, and in
some cases, the total extermination of native tribes and cultures. It will be a
memorial to the victims of ethnic cleansing. Racism, discrimination and
injustice will be addressed with the purpose of promoting public awareness that these
elements of genocide which existed in the past, continue to exist today. A
further purpose of the museum will be to address prejudice which is generated
toward native peoples through biased reporting of history. The goal of influencing
authors of school textbooks with irrefutable documentation shall be of major
importance. A library and microfilm archive will be available. The visual use
of art, sculpture and film will create a memorable learning experience.
On July 26, 2005 we recieved the following letter of support from the board of
directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum.
To Whom it may concern:
The board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum lends our support
to change the Rum River�s derogatory name to its sacred name of Wahkon. This
would be a just and honorable thing to do. We have struggled for years to throw
off the negative, stereotypical, and fictional image of Indians. We, as American
Indians, do find it offensive and disrespectful. One of the greatest lessons
adults can teach our children is the lesson of "Respect". We are not people
that have passed into history, we are still here. We must stress to our children
the importance of respecting our culture and those of others. It�s our heartfelt
prayer that the City of Wahkon, Minnesota will be one of the first in setting a
precedence of doing the right thing. Thank you.
Steve Melendez - President
A statement about why the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide Museum
mentioned the City of Wahkon in their letter of support is presented below.
In an e-mail that I (Thomas Dahlheimer) wrote and sent to the board of directors
of the American Indian Genocide Museum, I presented some information about why I
and the other members of my organization, as well as Archbishop Harry Flynn,
believe that the City of Wahkon, Minnesota is (currently) being disrespectful
toward the Mdewakanton Dakota people. And doing so, by not being aware of, and
then showing due respect for the special Mdewakanton Dakota sensitivities
associated with the City of Wahkon being named after the scared Mdewakanton Dakota
name for Mille Lacs Lake (Wahkon).
Note: The City of Wahkon is located on the south shore of Mille Lacs Lake. And
this Wakan/Mille-Lacs lake's outlet river is the badly
named "Rum River". And the Mdewakanton call the river by the name of the lake that it
flows out of.
We believe, as does also the board of directors of the American Indian Genocide
Museum that if the City of Wahkon, Minnesota (especially Wahkon's City Council)
would become aware of, and then start showing due respect for Mdewakanton Dakota
sensitivities associated with the sacred Mdewakanton Dakota name for the city,
then the City of Wahkon, Minnesota would most likely also give its support for
the effort to revert the "Rum" River's derogatory name back to its sacred
Mdewakanton Dakota name, or to its sacred Mdewakanton Dakota root word name
(Wahkon) . And in doing so, be one of the first cities, if
not the first city, "to set a precedence of doing the right thing".
* STAR (Students and Teachers Against Racism),
this organization seeks to bring the image of Native Americans into the present, to support the well being of Native children in schools
through the accurate depiction of history and by raising awareness of the need for sensitivity
to Native culture as well bringing recognition to the ongoing contributions of Native Peoples
today, and to celebrate the varied and rich cultural traditions of all Native people in the
The following letter of support is from STAR's Executive Director, Christine Rose.
July 6, 2005
Thank you so much for sending us information about your quest to return the Rum River to its
original name. The disrespectful appropriation of the river name is so indicative of the ways
Indian people have been mistreated and their spiritual ways dishonored. STAR is proud to support
you in your efforts and is prepared to help you in any way possible.
Please continue to inform us of your progress.
Note: CHRISTINE ROSE is the editor and occasional writer for STAR's editorial material.
"Understanding The Mascot Issue" which contains important writings, essays, studies, surveys,
law issues, articles and personal writings by Native people regarding the mascot and has been
used extensively by school boards and State Departments of Education as well as by many individual
schools in determining the removal of Native-based mascots.
At present, she is working with schools that are dealing with racism in their student community and
curriculum. She investigates and writes reports regarding the situations and calls on a vast array
of professional people who all work to bring change in these schools that in many cases aren't
even aware of the problems.
Ms. Rose works to bring education to schools and school boards nationally. She has spoken and
debated at universities and conferences and has had several articles about the mascot published.
Her essay, "The Tears of Strangers are Only Water" was published in the summer 2002 edition of
the University of Virginia Law Review's issue on Sports and Entertainment.
*National Environmental Coalition of Native Americans. The President of this organization is
the daughter of the famous Olympic athlete Jim Thrope. Her name is Grace Thrope.
The following email is from Grace Thorpe.
Grace Thorpe...........RE: Supporter............8/25/2003 1:42PM
hi tom; ok to use my organizations name- National Environmental Coalition of Native Americans, as a
supporter. Good Luck.......Grace Thorpe
*First Nations Environmental Network, "Voices of Mother Earth" http://www.fnen.org/contacts.html.
- circle of First Nations people committed to protecting, defending, and restoring the balance of
all life by honouring traditional Indigenous values and the path of our ancestors. Canada
Steven Lawson, a FNEN steering committee representative, sent the following e-mail
letter of support.
Dear Tom, Thank you for this information, we have sent it out across Canada
and into the US via the IEN (Indigenous Environmental Network) and will post
this on our network web site as well as pass on this information. You can add
our support to your petition to have this river renamed and if there is any
further help we can offer, please let us know. Restoring the sacred context of
human relations to the land is a mandate of ours. All the best to you, For
All Our Relations, Steve Lawson
* Kathryn Wild, PhD, CEO (Karuk Tribe of Northern California) - Kathryn is developing
an Environmental Education Retreat for California school teachers, offering university credit to learn gold rush
history from an indigenous perspective.
Kathryn wrote: "I read about your mission through IndigousNewsNetwork.com and support you wholly. I have been seeking
to establish a list of Indian environmentalists, so please add my name to your growing list of supporters. Keep me
informed on your noble endeavor."
*Native Earth Works Preservation Group, born out of the need to preserve the heritage
and culture of the indigenous people of North America.
We at Native Earth Works Preservation Group give you our full support on the renaming of Rum River
to Wahkon River.
We as a preservation group not only want to preserve our sacred lands, but restore to our people the
dignity of our past and that which is sacred to us.
Director of Native Earth Works Preservation Group
*Alliance for Native American Indian Rights, an intertribal organization dedicated to
preserving and protecting Native American burial grounds and other culturally significant
In response to my request for Alliance for Native American Indian Rights to both support the
effort to change the Rum River's name as well as list my web site on its web page I recieved
the following e-mail.
You bet! We are glad to help. It might take a day or two but we will get your link on our site.
Thanks for asking,
Pat Cummins / President
Alliance for Native American Indian Rights of Tennessee Inc.
*Russell Means, an internationally renown American Indian activist and movie star. The LA times
has described him as the most famous American Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse."
Russell Means' Nov. 04, 2003 letter of support:
To Whom it may Concern:
I hereby support the movement to change the derogatory name of a Minnesota River, the White Man
named Rum River. In my language, "Wakan" is Holy. I support the effort to return this
Minnesota River to its rightful name Holy Water. Perhaps it will quit being polluted as well.
Oglala Lakota Patriot
* Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Ph. D., a nationally and internationally renown
American Indian educator and activist, who has served as a rapporteur for the health and human rights working group during the Indigenous
Peoples International Day at the United Nations, and has been a featured speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics important
to the well being of Indigenous communities. And he is also the Founder and Director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples' Critical and
Intuitive Thinking and Associate Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies University of Kansas.
Dr. Michael Yelow Bird, Ph. D. wrote:
I am happy to lend my support to your efforts and excellent, necessary work. All the best, Michael
*Mike L. Graham, a member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation and founder of
United Native America, a national organization with a membership of 30.000.
Link to United Native America's Web site
Comment By Mike L. Graham: "It's time to make this happen"
*Clyde Bellecourt, an internationally renown American Indian activist.
Jim Anderson, Cultural Chair and Historian for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota was
with Clyde Bellecourt at the 2004 Pipe Stone, Minnesota Pow Wow. And, at the time,
our director called Jim Anderson. And during that conversation Jim Anderson told our
director that Clyde Bellecourt supports our effort to change the name and that he
would be sending us a letter expressing his support for the effort to change the name.
*Rev. Sequoyah Ade, an internationally regarded essayist and Indigenist political commentator.
He has been called one of North America's most articulate and uncompromising post-colonialist voices
examining the motives, means and end results of 500 years of pro-Eurocentric global exploitation. His
highly informative writings and public discussions have been studied in university courses and
political action groups in the U.S. and abroad.
Nearly one hundred of his essays and commentaries have appeared in various international political
journals and periodicals.
His written works and recorded interviews have been translated into Mandarin, German, French,
Japanese, Tagalog, Spanish and Korean.
Rev. Sequoyah Ade's web site is http://www.geocities.com/angryindian/
The following email is from Rev. Sequoyah Ade.
Throughout the 500-plus years of European colonial presence in the Americas, the practice of heaping
indignities upon those displaced has served only to solidify the resolve of those so imposed. By
naming this sacred body of water the "Rum" River, Europeans sought to extinguish the ancestral ties
these Aboriginal people have with the land, their ancestors and the spirit world. Evidence of this
practice has shown itself time and time again throughout the Americas and is now facing international
pressure in an effort to correct the sins of the present by recognizing and addressing the history of
By Rev. Sequoyah Ade: "I fully support the effort to rename this special body of water in respect
for the people who belong to the river. We will win."
* Steve Russell (Cherokee), a Texas state judge, twice past President, Texas Indian Bar Association,
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Indiana University.
Steve Russell�s comment: "This campaign is a valuable history lesson!"
*Kevin Annett, an internationally renown aboriginal rights activist. Mr. Annett is the author
of two books and numerous articles on the genocide of aboriginal peoples in Canada. He is a regular columnist for the Republic of
East Vancouver and The Radical, and hosts a bi-weekly public affairs program on Vancouver Co-op Radio. His writings have appeared
in such international publications as The New Internationalist, Nexus, Against The Current and Canadian Dimension.
Kevin is a recipient of the Canada Trust Writers' Achievement Award, and was appointed as the Consultant and Archivist for the
first international human rights Tribunal into Indian residential schools, held in Vancouver in June, 1998 by a United Nations
affiliate, IHRAAM. He is the pastor of All Peoples' Church in New Westminster, B.C., a multi-faith congregation of native and
He has worked as an advocate and counselor in aboriginal healing circles on Canada's west coast. And he is working with
aboriginal and human rights groups around the world in an effort to bring charges of complicity in Genocide against the
government of Canada, the Anglican, United and Roman Catholic churches, and the RCMP. He is serving as the secretary of the
recently-established Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, and has authored a book about his experiences, "Love and Death
in the Valley". His website is: www.hiddenfromhistory.org.
The following email is from Kevin Annett.
Thank you brother - I will pass on your website and
work through our network - please keep me apprised of
what happens. Let's cross post each other's websites?
Mine is: www.hiddenfromhistory.org
Kevin / Caoimhin
* Tom Wisner, a singer and song writer who is known nationally for his song "Chesapeake Born".
Mr. Wisner is writing a song in support of renaming the Rum River. "Chesapeake Born" became the
title song for the 1987 National Geographic Special on the Bay region. Wisner's classroom techniques
were filmed by Washington-area NBC-TV and other stations, and he received national,
state, and local awards for excellence in teaching. He was given citations by two governors and
was named a major figure in land-conservation work by President Reagan's Commission on the
Out-of-Doors. His website can be found by clicking the following
link Tom Wisner.
*Dr. Tom Pinkson, a psychologist, author, and founder of Wakan, a spiritual community
dedicated to the sacredness of life. Dr. Pinkson has worked with indigenous elders all over
The following e-mail is from Dr. Tom Pinkson.
hello tom--thank you for sending me information about the good work you are
doing. may your efforts bear good healing fruit opening minds and hearts
and spirits to respectful right-relationship with your People and the powers
of beautiful Mother Earth. may it be so.
*Pat Albers, the Chair of the University of Minnesota's American
Indian Studies Department.
The following email is from Patricia C. Albers, Chair Department of American Indian Studies.
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer:
I will bring this to the attention of my faculty and staff. I am not able to predict whether the
department as a whole would support this, although I am sure that many individuals, including myself,
would be willing to sign on to support changing the name of what is now called the Rum River.
Professor Patricia C. Albers, Chair
Department of American Indian Studies
Room 2 Scott Hall, 72 Pleasant Ave SE
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
*Colin G. Calloway, Chair of Darmouth College Native American Studies Research Center.
Colin G. Calloway wrote: "You can add my name to your list."
* Kristin and Curtis Ryan, the owners of a Web site that helps protect sacred Native
American sites. It's located at: www.twilightspirit.com. This Web site
has a gallery that will include pictures of the Mdoteminiwakan/"Rum" River.
Kristin Ryan wrote: "The Sacred River must be Protected and Respected! The River, WAKAN. must be properly and
respectfully given its original name with honor."
Curtis Ryan wrote" I fully support your effort to change this unfortunate name. Thank you for your efforts.
* Jeanne Svhiyeyi Aga Chadwick, the publisher/editor/webmaster
of an American Indian/Indigenous online news ezine, called My Two Beads Worth. It has been visited
by over 3 million people from all over the world.
Jeanne Svhiyeyi Aga Chadwick wrote: "As a Cherokee woman, I am very happy to see this movement taking place.
Thank you for all your efforts.
*Jacki Rand (Choctaw), a Professor of History and American Indian and Native Studies at the
University of Iowa
Jacki Rand wrote: "Please add my name to your list of supporters."
*LaVonne Ruoff, a Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ruoff is a specialist
in Native American literature.
LaVonne Ruoff wrote: "Please add A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff to your list."
*Michelene Pesantubbee, an assistant professor of Religious Studies and American Indian and Native
Studies at the University of Iowa.
Michelene Pesantubbee wrote: "Please add my name to your list of support. I wholly support your
efforts to end the use of such a demeaning place name."
*Angela Cavender Wilson, Ph.D., an Arizona State University Assistant Professor of American
Angela Cavender Wilson wrote: "Yes, I definitely support this."
*Devon Abbott Mihesuah (Choctaw), an University of Nebraska professor of Applied Indigenous Studies,
serves as Editor of the award winning journal, the American Indian Quarterly and edits University of
Nebraska Press's book series, "Contemporary Indigenous Issues.
Devon Abbott Mihesah wrote: "This is interesting and a necessary protest Thomas..."
*Charles E. Trimble, (Oglala Lakota) the Interim Director of the Institute of American Indian Studies
at the University of South Dakota. Mr. Trimble is founder and president of Charles Trimble Company, a
national consulting firm specializing in economic development on Indian Reservations. He is also
president of the Red Willow Institute, a non-profit corporation he founded to provide technical and
management assistance to Native American non-profit organizations.
Trimble has served as executive director of the American Indian Press Association, which he helped
found; executive director of the National Congress of American Indians; a director of the American
Indian National Bank in Washington D.C.; trustee and president of the Nebraska State Historical
Society; trustee of the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress; and president of the
John G. Neihardt Foundation in Omaha. He represented U.S. tribes at the founding of the World
Council of Indigenous Peoples in Denmark in 1975, served as U.S. delegate at the U.N. Sub-commission
on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in Switzerland; and a U.S. delegate to
the Human Rights Experts meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki
Accord) in Ottawa, Canada.
Charles E. Trimble wrote: "You have my support. Best Wishes."
*Ernest Moristo (Tohono O'Odham), when addressing the participants of a United Nation's Permanent
Forum on Indigenous Issues meeting, he called for an assessment of the status of sacred sites of
Ernest Moristo wrote: "We are a grassroots org. of Tohono
O'odham Indians in Az. trying to protect our sacred sites. Interested in networking."
*Hunter Gray, a nationally renown Native American social justice organizer. He was the
University of North Dakota's American Indian Studies Department Chair. Currently, he is
the Chairman of Native American Commission SPUSA, a national Native advocate
organization. And he is also the Regional Organizer of the Anti-Racist DSA.(web site:
*National Trust Historic Preservation, a national, non-profit organization that has
provided leadership, education and advocacy to save America's divers historic places and revitalize
our communities for over four decades..
Christina Morris, Field Representative of Midwest Office for Historical Preservation
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
Thank you for your request for support in your efforts to change the geographic name of the Rum
River. The National Trust Historic Preservation is a national, non-profit organization that has
provided leadership, education and advocacy to save America's divers historic places and revitalize
our communities for over four decades.
We recognize the historic and cultural significance of the Wakan River to the peoples of
Minnesota, and we commend you in your research of its history, and your efforts to revitalize
the Mdewakanton Dakota Community by raising awareness of their heritage.
*AymaraNet, a South American organization with the world's only internet site with information on the
Aymaras Natives in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Ecuador.
The following email is from Marina Ari:
We couldn't write you because our country lived two sad months, many indigenous Aymara people were
killed and injured.
We are with you and we'll write (in Spanish) about the right that the Indigenous Peoples have to
name their territories with the Indians names. If you need some specific solidarity we'll help. We
think that the indigenous languages must be rescued and we have to keep to reborn them for our
future. Thanks for write, and please remember that the indigenous people in the Abya Yala
(the Americas) we are brothers and sisters.
Jikhisinkama (We'll find us in the future)
*University Creation Spirituality. Creation Spirituality (CS) honors all of creation as an
original blessing. Creation Spirituality integrates the wisdom of Western spirituality and
global indigenous cultures with the emerging post-modern scientific understanding of the
universe and the awakening artistic passion for creativity which reveals the inter-relatedness
of all beings. The Creation Spirituality movement seeks to integrate the wisdom of western
spirituality and global indigenous cultures with the emerging scientific understanding of
the universe and the passionate creativity of art.
The following email is from Mel Bricker, Co-Director UCS D Min. Program:
Thank you so much for sending us this information on your movement. I'm going to forward it to
Matthew Fox. I'm also going to print it and send it to Jose Hobday, a Seneca woman, who teaches in
our programs. She might also be interested. Jos� is an official story teller of the Seneca Tribe, a
Franciscan Nun, and international lecturer on Native American Spirituality.
Our best wishes to you on the success of your attempt to change the name.
Mel Bricker, Co-Director UCS D.Min. Program
Carole Van Valkenburg, Reporter/Anchor WCCO-TV. WCCO-TV or WCCO 4 is a television station that serves the
Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota. It broadcasts on channels 4 (analog) and 32 (digital). Additional TV transmitters in
the north serve Alexandria (KCCO 7, 24 DT.
Matthew Fox. Fox is the founder and president of University Creation Spirituality. In addition
to his work as founder of UCS, writer, and teacher in the San Francisco Bay area, Fox lectures
throughout North America, Central America, Europe, and Australia.
Matthew Fox's email letter to our director:
Blessings on your effort to heal by confessing past mistakes of the dominant culture and to
return the sacred river to a fitting name such as the Indigenous people originally gave it.
*KOLA supports our efforts to change the river's name. KOLA is an international grass roots human rights
organization that is helping indigenous communities around the world. It was founded on the Cheyenne
River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota. KOLA's main objectives is to spread correct information on every issue concerning American, Canadian & Australian indigenous people(s):
culture, politics, environment, education, philosophy & religion, judicial matters, history; and
to attempt to better and/or remedy existing situations on/in the indigenous communities: land &
treaty rights, fishing/hunting & gathering rights, freedom of religion, exploitation of natural
resources, anti-defamation, repratriation of artifacts & human remains; and to form a bridge between
people of different cultures.
The following email is from Els Herten.
Dear Thomas, of course, you can add KOLA & International Peltier Forum to the list of organizations
that support the name change !
We'll also post your message via our daily email newslist, and forward it to other Native American
organizations and European support groups for indigenous peoples.
Please keep us posted on your progress.
INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE
KOLA / International Peltier Forum
Van Boeckel St. 20
B - 1140 Brussels
*KOLA's International Peltier Forum supports our efforts to change the Rum River's name. This
forum considers Peltier to be an indigenous activist who stood up for the rights of his people and was
silenced by the government. This forum is trying to get the "unjustly convicted" Peltier released
*Pax Christi USA
The following email is from Dave Robinson:
Dave Robinson is the national coordinator of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace and justice
movement. He is an internationally recognized expert in the field of disarmament and nuclear
Dave has represented Pax Christi International on disarmament issues at the United Nations, and
regularly serves as a consultant to NGOs working on issues of disarmament, nuclear weapons,
international peace and conflict resolution. He was a member of the National Interreligious Service
Board for Conscientious Objection (NISBCO) for six years, serving as chair of the board for four
years. Dave is the Executive Editor of The Catholic Peace Voice.
Greetings of peace! Thank you for the correspondence regarding your geographic name-change
initiative for the Rum River in Minnesota. We applaud your work in this sensitive area wish you the
As you continue in your efforts, we encourage you to contact our local regional affiliate Pax
Christi Minnesota regarding potential endorsement. Florence Steichen, C.S.J. is the contact person
and may be reached via-email at email@example.com. This group will be better acclimated to
the issue and will perhaps be able to provide valuable insight. May you be blessed for all that you
do to promote peace with Justice in our world.
In Christ's peace,
*Pax Christi Minnesota
The following e-mail is from Florence Steichen, coordinator Pax Christi MN
YES, count Pax Christi MN among your supporters. We endorse your efforts to change the name of the
Good luck on this.
peace, florence steichen, coordinator, Pax Christi MN
*Barbara Gerner De Garcia, the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the board of directors of the
National Association For Multicultural Education. The National Association for Multicultural Education
is the leading international and national organization in the area of
*Lyn Miller-Lachman, the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review,
"a quarterly trade journal and book review for educators and librarians at all levels" supports
our efforts to change the "pejorative" name of the river. This trade journal publishes articles
about current issues related to multiculturalism in the United States.
*AMERICAN INDIAN CULTURE RESEARCH CENTER at South Dakota's Blue Cloud Abbey.
The following letter is from Rev. Stanislaus Maudlin, Executive Director of AICRC.
November 9, 2003
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer
The AMERICAN INDIAN CULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER will join you in your movement to address a name change
for the Rum River in Minnesota.
Rev. Stanislaus Maudlin, OSB
*Pastors of Christian Churches. In the four counties wherein the Rum River is located, we have
found that there is almost unanimous support for the efforts to change the Rum River's name by the
pastors of Christian churches. We have many of their signatures on our Rum River name-change
*Bishop John F. Kinney of the Diocese of Saint Cloud supports our efforts to change
the Rum River's derogatory name. A long strech of the Rum River is located within Bishop John F.
Bishop John F. Kinney's letter of support is presented below.
October 24, 2005
Mr. Thomas I. Dahlheimer
P.O. Box 24
Thank you for your letter that I received on October 4, 2005 in which you shared
your continuing efforts to change the name of Rum River, located near the site
of the Mille Lacs Ojibwe Band tribal lands.
I also took note of your letter in the October 20, 2005 issue of the Saint Cloud
Visitor which further described your international effort to change derogatory
names that are offensive to Native American peoples and to many others as well.
This will help raise awareness regarding the need to take corrective
May appropriate support continue to grow to assist you. I pray blessings upon
you and yours.
With kind personal regards, I remain,
Sincerely yours, in Christ,
John F. Kinney
Bishop of Saint Cloud
*Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Achiocese of Minneapolis and Saint Paul supports our efforts to change
the Rum River's derogatory name. A part of the Rum River is located within Archbishop Flynn's Archdiocese.
A letter from Archbishop Harry J. Flynn is presented below.
ARCHDIOCESE OF SAINT PAUL AND MINNEAPOLIS
226 Summit Avenue
Office of the Archbishop
Saint Paul, Minnesota
April 3, 1998
1932 Cressy AvenueAnoka, MN 55303
Dear Mr. Dahlheimer,
Thank you for your March 25,1998 letter detailing your efforts to change the name of the Rum River to
the Wakan River.
Your obviously have invested a considerable amount of time and energy in this campaign and I commend
your willingness to do so. If, as you state in your letter, the current name Is derogatory to our
Native American brothers and sisters, then I support your efforts to rectify this injustice. Again,
thank you for writing me and I will keep your work in my prayers.
With blessings and good wishes, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Harry J Flynn, D. D.
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
After our director sent Archbishop Harry Flynn a letter with a list of supporters in it
(including his name) our director received the following letter from Archbishop Flynn.
January 8, 2004
I want to thank you for your kindness in writing to me on December 23, 2003. In that letter you
brought me up-to-date on the efforts that you have made to change the Rum River's name. I am glad
that my support for your efforts to change the name has helped you to gain support from several
national and international organizations.
I write to express my gratitude to you and to thank you for your kindness in apprising me of the
progress that has been made.
With blessing and good wishes, I remain.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, D.D.
*Joe Day, both the Executive Director of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council as well
as President of the Governor's Interstate Indian Council.
In a Saint Paul Pioneer Press newspaper article about the Rum River name-change initiative,
Joe Day, the Executive Director of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, stated that he supports the
effort to change the Rum River's name. And he also mentioned that the MIAC "informally" supports the
efforts to change the name. The following quote is from a Saint Paul Pioneer Press article:
Joe Day, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, has given Dahlheimer his
"blessing," but the council is not formally supporting the change. And our director has talked on
the telephone with Joe Day a number of times and during their telephone conversations Joe Day has
expressed his support for the efforts to change the river's name.
*Don Wedll, an American Indian rights activist who is well known throughout the state of
Don Wedll signed the Rum River name change petition. And after reading the list of
supporters, Don Wedll wrote the following email:
Been reading your mail and you are making interesting progress. It looks like you are making good
contacts and have gotten good comments. Have not been to your website but will try to get there
soon. Good luck and Thank You for keeping me inform on your progress. don wedll.
MORE ABOUT OUR MISSION'S PURPOSE
We believe that the restoration of the river's original name would help uplift the Indian community,
which has been historically plagued by alcohol.
When Europeans came to the Americas, the homelands of Native people, they brought rum and other
alcoholic beverages with them. And at the time the Natives had no cultural controls in place for
their usage. Hence, because of alcohol abuse, things for the Natives moved into degradation and
multitudes of premature deaths. And this situation was made even worse by the White's frequent use of
alcohol in ruthless genocidal attacks, alcohol was given to the Natives in order to kill, subdue, or
We believe that by drawing attention to the Rum River name change issue "white guilt" will increase,
because of a heightened awareness of the catastrophic consequences caused by white settlers
introducing and selling alcohol to Native Americans; and that this increase of "white guilt" will,
in a lot of ways, cause white Euro-Americans to offer all Native Americans their long over due
restitution justice. Especially when it comes to making amends to help Native Americans to free
themselves from the plague of alcoholism.
We believe that, by reverting the derogatory name of the Rum River back to its original Native
American name Wakan, we would be honoring the importance of spirituality
for American Indians.
We believe that the Rum River name has become like a joke - an antagonistic joke that's very
antagonistic, and that by changing the river's name we would be putting an end to a source of
Our goal is to educate the public and encourage you to get involved with our organization's name