MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 1, 2018) — Healing Minnesota Stories, a program dedicated to creating dialogue, understanding and healing between Native peoples and Minnesota’s faith communities, is now a part of the Minnesota Council of Churches.
The program began in 2011, growing from a vision of Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs and supported by the Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN). Jacobs, who is Mohican, had a series of dreams about Pilot Knob Hill, a sacred burial site for the Dakota people. He began conversations with Dakota elders to understand the dreams. When the elders gave their blessing, Jacobs and Bob Klanderud (Dakota) began offering Dakota sacred sites tours to religious communities, bringing more awareness to the Dakota history, their culture, and their ongoing presence in this area.
At its core, Healing Minnesota Stories believes that Native people have suffered deep trauma over many years and that all who call Minnesota home are lesser for it. Because Christian churches were full participants in historic traumas, so they must be partners in healing. Healing Minnesota Stories believes healing is doable and that churches and other faith communities have a role to play in it.
Minnesota Council of Churches CEO Rev. Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung said he welcome Healing Minnesota Stories and Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs into its programming.
“Racial justice is a priority for the Council,” DeYoung said. “The Sacred Sites Tours and other Healing Minnesota Stories programming help the church, and all Minnesotans, to confront our state’s history and our historic complicity in the harm done to Native Americans. Rev. Jacobs will also provide leadership in our broader programming as the Director of Racial Justice for MCC.”
While Healing Minnesota Stories began with SPIN, it has relocated to MCC. Rev. Tom Duke, SPIN’s Founder, says, “We are happy to see Healing Minnesota Stories transition to the Minnesota Council of Churches. It will give the program more visibility and statewide reach, as well as direct relationship with MCC member denominations. MCC also has a good track record of interfaith relationships which can benefit the program.”
The organizations have long been interconnected. MCC has been promoting the events and actions of Healing Minnesota Stories through the MCC e-newsletter, which reaches 3,500 clergy and lay people, since shortly after the program began at SPIN. Adding Healing Minnesota Stories to MCC’s racial justice initiative is like welcoming family home.
“In 2012, Healing Minnesota Stories partnered with the Minnesota Council of Churches to raise volunteer support and public awareness of events observing the 150th anniversary of the US-Dakota war of 1862. MCC was a vital partner in that work, especially as we sought support from faith communities both in the Metro Area and in Greater Minnesota,” says Jacobs. “I’m excited for this opportunity with MCC as we begin to dream how we might continue and expand the work of Healing Minnesota Stories on a larger scale.”
Healing Minnesota Stories also offers opportunities for speaking engagements with churches and community groups on Native American spirituality, local history, and barriers to free practice of Native religions, presentations about controversial images in State Capitol Art, and film presentations on the U.S.-Dakota War and the Doctrine of Discovery.
Three Sacred Sites Tours have been scheduled this fall. Sacred Sites Tours all meet at Church of St. Peter in Mendota Heights, 1405 Sibley Memorial Highway, Saint Paul, MN 55120. The announced tours are:
- Saturday, Sept. 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information about Healing Minnesota Stories, go to http://mnchurches.org/justice/HealingMinnesotaStories.html or to www.bit.ly/HealMNStories. To register for a tour, email [email protected].
Representing 25 member judicatories and about 1,000,000 Christians, the Minnesota Council of Churches’ mission is to manifest unity in the church and to build the common good in the world. The Minnesota Council of Churches programs include welcoming refugees, civic engagement and fostering ecumenical relationships. For more information, visit www.mnchurches.org