It’s hard to explain the feeling

Ms. Minkel talks about her spirituality.

Audio Chapters

DL: How important was the church in your life?

RM: Very. I never missed a Sunday of church or Sunday school, and that’s the one thing my grandma made us do every Sunday. I shouldn’t say she made us, but I mean, we were so used to going. She made sure we were up in that church. It was worth it. I never regretted going to church, ever, or Sunday school. It was great.

DL: Did a lot of people from the community go to that church?

RM: Yes. When I was growing up we all went. Nowadays, you’re lucky if you find anyone there. I go. My son goes; him and his wife and their daughter, they go. My granddaughter, when I can get her up out of bed, she goes. And I’m involved in the church now, the Guild. We went to a meeting last week for the church – I went to that.

DL: Who’s the minister?

RM: Father John Robinson; he’s married to Deb Prescott from here. He’s our father.

DL: What about the Dakota faith or spirituality?

RM: Oh, I’m into that.

DL: Both of them?

RM: Yes. For a while there I didn’t go to church because I was more into the Dakota religion. I’d go to sweats and ceremonies. And what’s really good about that is they are just so powerful. I go into a sweat, and when I come out of that sweat, I just feel so – just like everything’s lifted off me. It’s just an enormous feeling.

DL: We heard yesterday that the purpose for the sweat was purification.

RM: Yes.

DL: So you can walk in both worlds, or combine them, and my guess would be, take the best parts of each.

RM: Right, yes. No, I definitely believe in the Dakota religion, very much.

DL: How would you summarize it, if you had to summarize what are the most important elements of that religion?

RM: You do your own praying, for one thing. It’s hard to explain the feeling. I don’t know. It’s spiritual to me and it’s just overwhelming. When I go to church, I just feel like it isn’t the same [as the Dakota religion] at all. To me, the Dakota religion is much more spiritual and the feeling that it gives you is more powerful than the church. And that’s one thing I wish they would have never taken away from the Indians because that’s powerful.

Oral History- Interview | Narrator Ruby Minkel Interviewer Deborah Locke made in Morton, Lower Sioux Community, MN | Thursday, February 24, 2011

Citation: Minnesota Historical Society. U.S. - Dakota War of 1862. It’s hard to explain the feeling May 29, 2024.

Viewpoints: All viewpoints expressed on this website are those of the contributors, and are not representative of the Minnesota Historical Society.