Minnesota's Dakota Conflict, Nature's Notebook and Comparative Religion

Learn about religion, Native American history, agriculture and our environment with local experts on excursions to museums, a wind farm and around historic sites on the lake.
Rating (5)
Program No. 8917RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Minnesota’s southwestern prairie and lake country is your base to explore three fascinating topics with local experts at the Lake Shetek Retreat Center. With lodging on picturesque Keeley Island, split your time between invigorating classroom study and daily field trips. Learn about the 1862 Dakota Conflict and its effect on present-day Minnesota. Focus on the area’s new wind generators, prairie restoration and birds of southwest Minnesota. And go in an entirely different direction — exploring the history of three major religions.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Experience field trips to the End-O-Line Railroad Park and other areas involved in the Dakota Conflict.
  • Investigate the Buffalo Ridge wind generators, the sacred Dakota pipe, local agriculture in the 21st century and birds of southwest Minnesota.
  • Explore the history of three major religions — Christianity, Islam, Judaism — from inception to their place in societies and cultures today.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Sacred: Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life
by Navajo Community College
As we are studying the Native and ecological history of the SW MN Region, this book will serve well to introduce a non-European way of dealing with the unity of the topics to be presented. The Sacred offers an uncommonly wide-ranging consideration of the ways in which Native Americans view the world, their place in it, and their responsibilities to it. This world is not only physical, but spiritual, and The Sacred describes the meaning, role, and function of sacred traditional practices and observances in the lives of The People, individually and collectively.
Over the Earth I Come
by Duane Schultz
God Is One: The Way of Islam
by R. Marston Speight
This little book is a very accessible introduction to Islam for those raised in a Western worldview. God is One: The Way of Islam offers clear and comprehensive knowledge about Islam for readers curious about Islam, and willing to move past barriers to mutual understanding. The author directed the Office on Christian/Muslim relations for the National Council of Churches for nearly 30 years. He advocates for strong relations between faiths through better understanding of the multivalence of Islam. This book makes Muslims and their religious worldviews accessible in a concise, informed, and respectful manner.
The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862
by Kenneth Carley
The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
by Huston Smith
The World's Religions, by Huston Smith, has been a standard introduction to its eponymous subject since its first publication in 1958. Smith writes humbly, forswearing judgment on the validity of world religions. His introduction asks, "How does it all sound from above? Like bedlam, or do the strains blend in strange, ethereal harmony? ... We cannot know. All we can do is try to listen carefully and with full attention to each voice in turn as it addresses the divine. Such listening defines the purpose of this book." His criteria for inclusion and analysis of religions in this book are "relevance to the modern mind" and "universality," and his interest in each religion is more concerned with its principles than its context. Therefore, he avoids cataloging the horrors and crimes of which religions have been accused, and he attempts to show each "at their best." Yet The World's Religions is no pollyannaish romp: "It is about religion alive," Huston writes. "It calls the soul to the highest adventure it can undertake, a proposed journey across the jungles, peaks, and deserts of the human spirit. The call is to confront reality." And by translating the voices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, and Judaism, among others, Smith has amplified the divine call for generations of readers. --Michael Joseph Gross
On the Plains and Prairies
by Bray and Bray
Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction
by Malise Ruthven
Fundamentalism is seen as the major threat to world peace today, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11, 2001. But what does "fundamentalism" really mean? Since it was coined by American Protestant evangelicals in the 1920s, the use of the term "fundamentalist" has expanded to include a diverse range of radical conservatives and ideological purists, not all religious. Fundamentalism could now mean both militant Israeli settlers as well as the Islamist radicals who oppose them, it can mean Christians, Hindus, animal liberationists, and even Buddhist nationalists. Here, Middle East expert Malise Ruthven investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomena--one that eludes simple definition, yet urgently needs to be understood.
Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History
by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
While not an easy read, it is a very comprehensive source of knowledge about the history and practices of one of the world’s oldest and complex religious communities. What does it mean to be a Jew? How does one begin to answer so extensive a question? In this insightful and completely updated tome, esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin helps answer the question of what it means to be a Jew, in the largest sense. Widely recognized as one of the most respected and indispensable reference books on Jewish life, culture, tradition, and religion, Jewish Literacy covers every essential aspect of the Jewish people and Judaism. In 352 short and engaging chapters, Rabbi Telushkin discusses everything from the Jewish Bible and Talmud to Jewish notions of ethics to antisemitism and the Holocaust; from the history of Jews around the world to Zionism and the politics of a Jewish state; from the significance of religious traditions and holidays to how they are practiced in daily life. Whether you want to know more about Judaism in general or have specific questions you'd like answered, Jewish Literacy is sure to contain the information you need. Rabbi Telushkin's expert knowledge of Judaism makes the updated and revised edition of Jewish Literacy an invaluable reference. A comprehensive yet thoroughly accessible resource.
Handbook of Denominations in the United States 13th Edition
by Craig D. Atwood
The book does a wonderful job of tackling a very complex panorama of religious communities, each claiming to be bound to the true Christian faith. It lacks in depth just enough to allow for those arguments about the veracity of the articles. (Check out the traditions you know, and see what I mean.) That being said, it is a fine resource to introduce the diversity in our Christian culture.

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