Nominations:Samuel William Pond, Reverend (1808-1891)

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The Pond brothers, Samuel and Gideon, were missionaries that worked with a Dakota tribe living near Lake Calhoun. They helped them create better farming techniques and opened up a school for children. However, it was Samuel Pond who took the time to befriend the Dakota tribe members. He wrote down their language and established a written dictionary. Samuel Pond took the time to get to know his neighbors while a preacher at the Fort Snelling Chapel. His accomplishments were amazing for the time period. Samuel and Gideon Pond became experts on Dakota tribal customs, their ways, and their language. They knew how to speak in their language and were then able to compile the first dictionary of an Indian language. Samuel Pond wrote two books about his experiences, Two Volunteer Missionaries among the Dakota and the more important The Dakota or Sioux in Minnesota as They Were in 1834.

Samuel Pond is important to Minnesota history because he set an example of how white missionaries of the time could help the Indians, but not belittle them or treat them unfairly. I am a direct descendant of the Pond brothers. It is told in our family that when both Pond brothers died, first Gideon in 1878 and Samuel in 1891, the Indians they helped gathered at their funerals and wept. This was the ultimate sign of respect during the time.

Indian culture is the foundation of Minnesota history. Samuel Pond was there to record it and help the Native Americans gain the respect of the settlers.
~Susie Johnson, Minneapolis, MN


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