Mankato regional activists are hoping to spur tolerance across the state following the reaction to national media attention to "Mr. Conservative" blog posts by the MN01 Republican congressional candidate, Josh Moniz reports in Peace rally planned in reaction to Hagedorn's comments:
Three regional activists are organizing a peace rally at Reconciliation Park in hopes of spurring public declarations of acceptance for all people throughout the state.
The Sept. 19 event was organized in reaction to Republican congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn's controversial 2002 blog posts calling two female senators "undeserving bimbos in tennis shoes" and joking "the only good Indian being a dead Indian."
The comments recently resurfaced, drawing national criticism, in a Mother Jones magazine article about Hagedorn challenging Democrat incumbent Rep. Tim Walz of Mankato. Hagedorn, a Blue Earth resident, issued a statement Aug. 21 apologizing for any "hurt feelings" but focused most of his writing on criticizing "political correctness."
The group initially called for Hagedorn to make a more public apology, drop from the race and become an advocate for tolerance. The group said it has since shifted the rally's focus to a public call for tolerance that will likely feature speakers, a drum group and a petition.
The group said they are not opposed to Hagedorn but rather the "negative mentality" advocated by his statements. They said the event is not affiliated with nor organized by any political party. They said Hagedorn is welcome to attend and possibly speak at the event.
For one of the organizers, Hagedorn's remarks are especially painful. Sheldon Whipp, a member of the Meskwaki nation, participated in the 2013 Dakota 38 Memorial ride as way to seek healing, he told fellow students at North Iowa Community College last winter.
The ride commemorates the December 26 execution in Mankato of 38 Dakota men who fought in the 1862 US-Dakota War, while working for reconciliation. (Learn more by visiting the Dakota 38 + 2 Facebook group).
Sheldon Whipp of Mason City, who is a Meskwaki Indian working on Native American suicide prevention for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Whipp said he was shocked to read Hagedorn's "dead Indian" comments, especially given his work with Native American suicide prevention. He said he was also saddened because Hagedorn's campaign is headquartered in Mankato. He participated in his first "Dakota 38" ride last December, which finishes in Mankato to commemorate the local mass hanging of 38 Native Americans.
"I don't take the "dead Indian" comment as a joke. I'm not a doormat for someone's political gain. I take issue with someone using a Native American tragedies to better themselves," Whipp said.
He has a point. Bluestem's editor attended a dinner and showing of the movie Dakota 38 in Marshall last winter for people on the ride. One focus of the presentation was on the toll suicide was taking on native communities.
Following the 1862 War, Dakota communities were driven from the state, and bounties were offered for killing Indians in the state.
The Mankato Free Press reports that the peace rally will be held from 4:30- 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at Reconciliation Park in Mankato.
Photo: Jim Hagedorn, not quite clear on Southern Minnesota history, we suspect.
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