9/11/2013 7:49:00 AM Mt. Lake native begins
two-month 'pedal' thru Southern Minnesota
What would possess a 58-year-old man to spend two months in Southern Minnesota literally pedalling from one county seat to the next?
How about spreading the word for support of the Native American Dakota nonprofit organization "Oyate Nipi Kte" or "The People Shall Live?"
Stoesz, a 1973 graduate of Mt. Lake High School, became connected with Oyate Nipi Kte while serving as executive director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Central States Region, a position he held from 2005 until stepping down in June.
Now, he's eager to promote the cause of the organization, which is to restore a land base for Dakota people through the Makoce Ikikcupi (Recovering Land) project. The goal is to bring Dakota natives home, where they can re-establish their spiritual and physical relationship with their homeland.
"The European settlers - the white people - had everything to do with forcing the Dakota people off their land in Minnesota. So, white people can now do something to share some of the land and that's why I'm doing it," Stoesz explains.
"Now, I'm also doing it for fun. I love riding my bike. It's a beautiful time of year. I've taken time away from work. So, I'm combining what I like to do with trying to support this Dakota land recovery effort."
For much more on Stoesz's journey and cause, see the story on the Faith & Family page of the Sept. 11 issue of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands today.