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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Progress has many realities and consequences

As the Beltrami County Historical Society and the community at large begins to commemorate the 105th anniversary of the Great Northern Depot in Bemidji, and with it the legacy of James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railway, let us also remember another important part of Bemidji’s history during that period. Preceding the 1913 opening of the new brick depot, a “point of pride for the burgeoning community” (Pioneer article Jan. 14), surveyors for the railroad determined its route to go directly through the home of Shaynowishkung.

Shaynowishkung, also known widely as Chief Bemidji, deeply wished to remain in his home on this land, but was removed and forced to relocate, and died a few years later in 1904.  

I am a long-time Bemidji resident and supporter of the BCHS. We are fortunate to have a wonderful history center in our community which goes to great lengths to preserve this county’s history. Staff and volunteers at our history center provided much historical documentation for the Shaynowishkung statue project. This letter is not meant to detract from the upcoming commemoration and celebration of history and progress, but to remind us that progress has many realities and consequences.

Carolyn Jacobs