Monday, July 27, 2009

A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life, 51: Native Americans

Girls from Nett Lake Indian Reservation pin Sah-Gi-Ba-Gah Days button on Governor Elmer L. Andersen

"I thought Minnesota's Native American population had been neglected. So, along with the new state director of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, James Hawkins, I toured every Indian reservation in the state. My goal was to see what could be done to lift the standard of living on the reservations. I was surprised to learn that I was the first governor to visit every reservation in the state."

"I wanted the public at large to better appreciate our Indian citizens. I was inducted into the White Earth tribe. I still have the paper bearing my Indian name, given to me by the aged chairman of the band. I prize it because they were accepting me as one of their own, and I think those of us of European descent need to accept Indians as our own. I am convinced that the arm's-length relationship we have now between the native and non-native populations in Minnesota must change. Our societies must be integrated."

Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

"A Man's Reach -- A Transforming Life" is on display through August 15 in the Exhibit Gallery, Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.

No comments: