In response to a message about my movement to change the name of Minnesota’s Rum River, a message that was sent to Gene Amondson, the 2008 Presidential nominee for the National Prohibition Party, I received a supportive call from him. We talked about the work we are doing to bring back Prohibition as well as establish dry states, counties and cities, etc. In respect to keeping him updated on the progress of my Rum River name-change movement and associated movement to bring back Prohibition, Amondson told me to call him whenever I would like to. Amondson is an international speaker and he has been on the John Stewart Daily Show once and on the Oprah show twice.
LeMoine LaPointe, director of the Healthy Nations Program at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, is quoted in an Isanti County newspaper as saying, “It’s important to the health of Native American people that the river be called by its original name. Rum is a pollutant, a destructive chemical. It’s not a poison river, it’s a holy river.” The current name for the Rum River is a faulty-translation and profane name that perverts the ancient and sacred Dakota Indian name for the river, Wakan. Hence, I am trying to change the name of this river back to its sacred Dakota name.
Rita Kaye Wert, the National President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, recently contacted me and gave her support for the “good work” that I am doing to change the name of the Rum River and bring back Prohibition. Wert’s stated that she would, like Gene Amondson, “also be interested in hearing of the progress of my efforts.”
The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is the oldest continuing non-sectarian woman’s organization in the world. The WCTU was a major force in Prohibition. The purpose of the WCTU is to combat the influence of alcohol on family and society.
In my initial message to Wert, I wrote: “During Prohibition there was a national movement to change the name by those who saw the addictive and harmful nature of rum upon society. The addictive and harmful nature of rum upon society is another reason why I initiated and am spearheading the Rum River name-change movement.”
In Wert’s supportive response, she wrote: “While many news articles would declare that Prohibition was a failure, we in the WCTU know differently. There were many positive results. Unfortunately, our government folded when put under extreme pressure to do so. Alcohol remains the #1 threat to the family and society in general. God bless you in your quest to change the name of your river.”
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reservation is located at the headwaters the badly named Rum River. In a Minnesota county newspaper article, subtitled: “300 gather to note the toll by alcohol abuse”, Melvin Eagle, the hereditary Chief of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is quoted as saying: “Alcoholism is not our traditional way. We need to try to pull together and away from alcohol because it is destroying our people.”
After Albert Bates read a recent message of mine about the correspondence between the President of the National Prohibition Party and myself he also sent me a supportive message wherein he wrote “good work”.
Mr. Bates is an internationally renowned environmentalists, author, indigenous peoples rights activist and inventor. In respect to an article of mine that I once sent him, an article about my effort to bring back Prohibition, he wrote: “good article”.
In the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community’s letter of support, Jim Anderson, the co-cultural chair and historian for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, wrote:
“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.”
Also, Greg Peterson, an author for the world’s leading American Indian news source [Indian Country Today] and media advisor for the Turtle Island Project, recently contacted me to inform me that he supports my movement to bring back Prohibition. Peterson wrote: “There is no doubt that alcohol has caused much misery for Native Americans and all people. You are making progress, my friend, and I wish you continued success and good luck.”
In respect to keeping Gene Amondson, the 2008 Presidential nominee for the National Prohibition Party, updated on the progress of my Rum River name-change movement and associated movement to bring back Prohibition, Amondson told me to call him whenever I would like to. Amondson is an international speaker and he has been on the John Stewart Daily Show once and on the Oprah show twice.
By Thomas Dahlheimer