News from Paris and Beirut reminds us of the history of Lac qui Parle, the Dakota Creation Song, that still speaks hope to a violent world. Thirty-eight Dakota men sang it in its original Dakota language – Wakantanka taku nitawu – before their executioners took them to the gallows in Mankato, MN in 1862. The threat of death did not deter them from affirming the goodness of creation.
“Many and great, O God, are Thy things, Maker of Earth and Sky; Thy hands have set the heavens with stars, Thy fingers spread the mountains and plains. Lo, at Thy word, the waters were formed; Deep seas obey Thy voice
“Grant unto us communion with Thee, Thou star-abiding One; Come unto us and dwell with us: With Thee are found the gifts of life. Bless us with life that has no end, Eternal life with Thee.
[Joseph R. Renville, Dakota, 1842; paraphrased translation, R. Philip Frazier, 1929 and 1953]