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.

Change Supported

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

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