Jun 18, 2014 | By: Lakeland PBS

Brainerd reconciles with four Native American Tribes

In 1872 a mob lynched two White Earth Native Americans, who were thought to have killed a Brainerd girl, but were never found guilty. Now almost a century and a half later the City of Brainerd offered their reconciliation of the lynching to four local Native American tribes.
Brainerd Mayor, James Wallin, says, “I think it was passed time and it was time to do it. And to have it on a beautiful day like this. And to think for prosperity of the fact that we are wanted to reconcile, we have reconciled and were going to move forward.”
Terrance Tibbetts says, “It was good that the hearts came together and started working as one again. You know these are long overdo things that happened over 150 years ago. Reconciliation is long overdo.”
During the ceremony the tribes blessed the ground and offered the lynched men’s spirits tobacco and prayers. They say while the reconciliation was long over due, it’s now up to both sides to find their purpose in moving forward.
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe chief executive, Melanie Benjamin, says, “We are moving forward in a positive way. Because we cannot change what happened in 1872. And our elders tell us as Anishinabe people, we were placed on this earth for a purpose. And it is now our purpose to find what we need to offer to the betterment of the good life to this world.”
The next step after the reconciliation is creating a line of communication between the city of Brainerd and the Native Americans, who also call Brainerd Lakes home.
Mayor Wallin says, “I think we’re going to have more communication. They talked about having a Native American flag someplace. I think we’ll look forward to seeing how we’ll do that to show that we are one nation under God and that includes everybody that’s here.
Tibbetts says, “Just the presence of our own; our own culture, our own history, our own people that still lives here. The opening of the door of communication back and forth between our own communities, I think that’s first and foremost.”
The tribes say they’re eager to share more about their history and to create a better friendship with Brainerd.

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