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Dakota hymn sung by those hanged in 1862

Sep 18, 2013

When we were fellowshiping at Arby's after the Jubilee decree last Friday evening, a man came to our table and struck up a conversation. He must have heard us talking about the Dakota. He was a musician who had just performed for a memorial gathering for the Dakota 38 who had been hanged in 1862.

Anyway, he emailed the name of the song that the 38 Dakota had sung just before they were hanged. Recall that all 38 of them became Christian believers in the time that they were incarcerated awaiting their fate. The hymn was first published in a Dakota hymn book in 1916 and translated into English in 1929. The music and words are here:

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/m/a/mangreat.htm

Many and Great

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.

 Since last December, the 150th anniversary of the hangings, a new mantra, or slogan, has been adopted. "Forgive Everybody Everything."

http://mankatofreepress.com/archivesearch/x1303500941/-Forgive-everyone-everything

Our new friend who met us at Arby's wrote that he had written a song with this as its title to commemorate the event. This is what he wrote in his email to Margaret, who forwarded it to me:

To “Gathering  Around the Fire” group I was introduced to at Arby’s on Yom Kippur. 
I attended the vigil fire in the park the night before the 150th commemoration for the Dakota 38.  One of the Dakota men asked me if I had cows [I assumed he was asking if I was a “cowboy.”   I thought of the story of Joseph “ And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”  So I prayed at the vigil fire and asked the LORD for a song to tell the story. 
I had previously played piano several time for services at Wipple Mission/ St. Cornelius on Lower Sioux.   My friend “Peps” - Lavonne Swenson shared how the song "Many And Great" that we sing in church was sung by the Dakota braves on the gallows.  After I wrote the song “Forgive Everyone Everything,” I decided to include the song “Many and Great” in the middle. 
Attached please find demo of song “Forgive Everyone Everything” and sketch of score.  Piano plays the vocal parts on the demo.  I am currently looking for musicians from Mankato area and Dakota nation to play/sing when I record the song.
I believe the Holy Spirit arranged my meeting your group.  I was wondering if any of you would be available to pray and discuss ways we may do the LORD’s work together in the future?
Thanks, Les
Forgive Everyone Everything
First Verse:  
They came from afar to Dakota homeland, where the buffalo roamed.
Talked about forgiveness, love and truth, thou shalt not steal.
They had fled,  tyrant and kings, famine, plague and sword.
Many kindred tribes and tongues, became one nation.
Chorus:
Some fought for the tribe, some fought for their wives, some  died so their children could eat.  Others decided to turn the other cheek.  All wanted to be free!
 
Second Verse:
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, everything is His.
But the Bluecoats forked tongued treaties, said the land will be forever theirs.
The day after Christmas, from the gallows hung thirty-eight braves. 
Dakota tribe was scattered to the four winds, must live on reservations.
 
Interlude :  [Many and Great – the song Dakota braves sang on the gallows in Mankato] 
 
 
Wakantanka taku nitawa tankaya qaota; mahpiya kin eyahnake ca, makakin he duowanca. Mniowanca sbeya wanke cin, hena ovakihi.
 
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.
Chorus:
Some fought for the tribe, some fought for their wives, some  died so their children could eat.  Others decided to turn the other cheek.  All wanted to be free!
 
Third Verse:
One hundred fifty years passed, Dakota riders returned. 
With a message  ‘bout   healing and peace in the heart, reconciliation.
We have the same Creator, who loves us all.
Red, White, Black and Yellow, will one day live as one.
Coda:
Forgive everyone everything, through understanding comes healing.
Idle No More!  I’ll be Silent No More!  Rights and Justice For All!
 
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved.  David Lee Vikla  [birth name] a.k.a Leslie Alan Sasse [name after adopted]

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