|Stop Highway 55 Reroute|
For background on the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota camp against the expansion of Highway 55,
The previous violent police raid was on December 20.
Please contact the numbers below for updates.
HWY 55 EMERGENCY
From: "UYW" firstname.lastname@example.org
As you may have heard there is a 72-hour raid in progress at the Hwy 55 site. They've been cutting down trees since Monday--if you drive by the intersection of Minnehaha and Hiawatha, the loss of trees will sicken you. A lot of people showed up for the rally Tuesday morning, but unfortunately there were only a handful of people down there this morning. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT! WE NEED EVERYONE's HELP. Go down there at anytime, day or night, support is needed. During the day we need people to picket (bring a sign if you can) where they are cutting trees. At night you can go down to the actual encampment (just off of 54th and Hiawatha). They need people there while the direct action activists do tree-sits. Offerings of food and tobacco, sage, cedar are always welcome. We don't know how long this will go on since MNDoT keeps lying. PLEASE...Get down there!University YW
244 Coffman Union
300 Washington Av. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 625-0607 (Voice, TTY)
The last two days have been horrifying, they have arrested and brutalized over 40 people, the blatant discrimination and racism shown by the police is shocking. As you know Native American leadership was targeted yesterday for arrest, also they arrested an Ojibwe elder who sat down to block traffic in the middle of the road, but when an elder of the white race did this they simply moved her back to the curb and did not arrest her, even though she told them that that is what she wanted to happen. This white woman is a nun who is very active in social causes and has supported us from the beginning of our occupation. A white supporter told me that she had been pushed out of the way by troopers, to get to two Native American women who were behind her. These women, a mother and her daughter were push down and arrested for no other reason than they are Native American. We watched as white people were allowed to cross the street to the side that the troopers were guarding and even stand and chat with the troopers for awhile, but when a young Native American warrior crossed the street with his staff, he was immediately surrounded by troopers and they tried to take his staff from him, claiming it was a weapon. They were told that the staff was a religious object and if the took it away from him they would be violating Federal laws. After a superior officer step in, the young man was escorted back across the street with his staff. Our people were not released until after 11:00 pm and some of them, including the elder were not released until 2:00 am. Today we were told that anyone who had already been arrested and came back to the protest site, would be arrested again and held for 72 hours without bail.
This is a public park that has been turned into a police state. One of our supporters was there this morning and he was chased down and arrested again, without provocation. Two others have also been arrested and one young woman's head was slammed against the squad car. You will not read in the papers of the arrest and brutality of juveniles, 17 year olds, 15 year olds, and yesterday they assaulted a thirteen year old boy, four troopers jumped him and punched him in the mouth. He was taken to the hospital and never charged, they don't want people to know they are beating children who will stand up for their beliefs.
THEY HAVE MOVED THEIR EQUIPMENT ACROSS THE STREET TO THE WEST SIDE OF THE PARK AND ARE CUTTING THE TREES ALONG THE REROUTE, THEY ARE MOVING CLOSER TO THE FOUR SACRED TREES EVERY MOMENT. PLEASE SEND PEOPLE TO HELP US, THEY COULD BE THERE BY FRIDAY.
Pidamiya, Love and Prayers, Linda
ALSO, THIS JUST IN!
To all that heard about me, I am the 13 year old that was beaten up yesterday. My name is Jesse l. hop ,,my native name is WAKPA ICIMANI. I'm from Mendota ,Minn. When I was in the ambulance the cop said that I was very lucky that he did not beat me with his billy club....
Well I have to go now so I'll see u all later.bye
This message was sent to you by Jeff Peterson
using the E-Mail To A Friend feature on PioneerPlanet at (http://www.pioneerplanet.com)
Trees were crashing, drums were pounding, bulldozers were belching and -- a block from the mayhem, on the other side of a once-quiet Minnehaha Creek -- Jerryn Ballard was in tears.
"I can't believe they did this," she was saying, her voice quavering as she stared across the water toward the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue and Minnehaha Parkway, where a three-part orchestra of police officers, street protesters and tree cutters was playing to the TV cameras. "This part of the creek was always the nicest little piece of sanity we had here. Now, they've ruined the whole sanctuary. Who said they could do this?"
Do not try to assign Jerryn Ballard to the motley ranks of activists, environmentalists and tree huggers who want to stop the reroute of Minnesota 55 in Minneapolis. Ballard, a 56-year-old resident of the Minnehaha Park area, is no protester. She is merely a citizen, a taxpayer, a woman whose heart ached when she saw Monday's military-style incursion against a green part of the city she loves.
It is the Jerryn Ballards of this long-running melodrama who merit sympathy, not the protesters who ritualistically offer themselves for arrest. The protesters have made a point and now are beating it into the ground. Just because they are annoying, however, doesn't mean they're wrong. Nor does it mean they don't represent many ordinary citizens who have neither the time nor the temperament to throw their bodies in front of a steamroller.
We all are heartily weary of this fight. When I was a cub reporter, way back in 1973, one of the first stories I wrote was about how the Minneapolis City Council, frustrated by funding delays and responding to neighborhood opposition, voted to kill the Minnesota 55 project. But it turned out to be The Thing That Would Not Die. Twenty-six years later, at the crack of a late July dawn, the trees finally got axed in a bucolic corner of the city to make way for the final push.
Over the past few days, if you ignored the sideshow in front of the TV cameras, you could see scores of average people -- the heartsick, the angry, the merely curious -- coming to the scene of the ruckus, like sad, silent witnesses to disaster. Couples, neighbors, friends -- they have come to Minnehaha Creek to stare forlornly as the bulldozers roll. They had known it was coming. For years, they had known. And still, when it did, it was a shock.
"We've lived here 30 years; why should they do it now?" asked Nancy Strathman, 55, who walked down to the park with her husband, Larry, 60, after they saw a helicopter hovering overhead and wondered what on earth was going on. "We just about died when we saw what they had done," Nancy said. "We were devastated."
"This stinks," said Kathryn Trenary, 54, who was delivering groceries to her mother when she came upon the tree-cutting and stopped in horror. " My mother's going to be sick when she sees this. This was the last area we had that was so pretty, and they took it down! What a sorry day!"
"It's a crime, a crime," Larry Strathman muttered, surveying the fallen trees.
No, it's not a crime. Law is on the side of the wood chippers which, while more protesters were being arrested Tuesday, were spewing green elms into piles of sawdust, leaving the air perfumed with the scent of fresh wood. State planners say the reroute is necessary to handle the volume of traffic and reduce the accident rate. So it's not a crime to cut down the trees. It's just a shame.
Whether you call it progress or desecration, the Minnesota 55 reroute has made it clear that the state has more power than neighborhood opinion and that when there are millions of federal bucks on the line, concrete buries consensus. We are losing more than the trees that are being cut down behind ribbons of crime scene tape and under the protection of rented off-duty law officers. We are also losing some civility, some of our belief in ourselves, and some of our conviction that we count.
"Protesting won't do any good," sighed a 66-year-old woman who said she has lived near Minnehaha Falls for 41 years and who was taking pictures of the fallen trees. "It's too bad, but what can you do? We don't have big yards in the city. We don't have big anything. But there are so many people coming into the city from the suburbs to work. I'm sure the trees coming down doesn't bother them. But I don't like it. That's why I'm taking pictures. Someday I'll look at them and say, `This was the day they chopped down the trees and made it into a highway.' "
Over by the TV cameras, a protester waved a sign that said, simply: "HWY. 55 Road to Hell."
We can all agree on that. After all, that's the road that was paved with good intentions. Nick Coleman can be reached at or (651) 228-5472.
(c) 1999 St. Paul Pioneer Press. All Rights Reserved.
RED ALERT * RED ALERT * RED ALERT
ALERT ALERT * RED ALERT * RED ALERT
Tuesday, July 27th, 1999 29 arrested and brutalized by the Minneapolis police and Minnesota state troopers.
At 7 a.m. in the morning, protesters against the proposed reroute of Highway 55 blockaded the street at the intersection of Minnehaha parkway and Highway 55. This proposed highway project would destroy sacred sites and ancestral burial and ceremonial sites of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota community, as well as much of Minnehaha Park, the first state park in the country. Spiritual elders from six different first nations have testified to the sacredness of this land that lies between Minnehaha Falls and camp Coldwater Springs.
Jim Anderson, cultural chairman of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota community, was maced and dragged away, and his nephew, Jesse Hop, a thirteen year old boy scout and traditional dancer was punched in the face by a Minnesota state trooper, drawing blood. Leo Roenning, vice chairman of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota community, was dragged to the ground by five state troopers when he tried to stop them from brutalizing Jesse. Annishinabe elder, Darlene Jackson, was arrested and dragged to a sheriff's wagon. Many other youth and other activists were aggressively arrested, as well as community residents who were simply standing on the sidewalk in support. This was covered in USA Today and papers all across the country.
The state of Minnesota is spending $50,000 a day on a hired army of state troopers and police. They have set up a 24 hour a day base camp to operate from, and continue to brutalize people. On July 26th, 17 year old Madeline Gardner, was tackled by police and had her hip dislocated. She was denied medical treatment for three hours and her bone began to die. She may need a hip replacement. Today, July 28th, Emily Lintel, a 23 year old supporter, had her head rammed into railroad ties three times and was then rammed into the police car because she refused to stand. She is currently in jail and she feels that she needs stitches, and is being denied medical treatment.
If you can come to the Minnehaha spiritual encampment, please come now. We need to stand up now, united against this attempt to desecrate these sacred sites. They will come with the bulldozers soon, and we will put our bodies on the line every step of the way. We need you to stand with us now. All people of conscience must support this fight to defend freedom of religion and the sacredness of all life. The four sacred oaks, planted in the Four Directions, are a church, and we will defend our Church. We do this because we must and for the future generations.
Our second annual pow wow will be held on august 8th down near the spiritual encampment, and our one-year anniversary will be on august 10th.
It is interesting to note that when Darlene sat down, many joined her and it was reported to me that another older woman who is also an elder was picked up but put back on the curb. She was not arrested. But then again she was not an Indian.
It seems that Indians were especially focused on. Isn't it amazing that a few Indians, some old women and a bunch of kids could be treated with such anger, such brutality, such rage. Guess why? Because they had the audacity to say that killing ancient oak trees is wrong! That Indians deserve to keep their Sacred Sites and that we the people have a right to take a stand against more urban sprawl which we have had enough of don't you think?
Ok, guess why there is such an interest in destroying the environment, chopping down ancient trees, and destroying sites that are sacred to the original citizens of this land? They will tell you it is progress! That isn't the real answer... the real answer is always the same one. MONEY!!!! That's all. So, know that when they use force, deaf ears, brutality and destruction, it is all because of MONEY!!! The god that is secretly worshipped under the guise of progress. The god who has temples all across this land called shopping malls. The god who wants a faster road to the master temple, the MALL OF AMERICA. What happens when this god wants your land? your church? your children? what then?
The Indians of this land are like the canaries in the mine. They should be thanked profusely for warning us that this god is the god of death and it's reach is closer than you think. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up before it is too late. This is one world. What happens here in Minneapolis affects the whole world! Just closing your windows and doors doesn't make it go away. They are doing this to YOUR world!
Come and help us. We need your support, monetarily, spiritually, physically however you can. This is not about coming and helping Indians, or some more Sacred Sites, or some Oak trees, this is about saving a part of the world that none of us should have to lose. This is about survival. It is the time to say no more. No more exploitation, no more disregard for our environment, the planet is only a small little garden floating in the universe, are we going to let it become covered with asphalt because a bunch of greedy people thought it was a good financial idea? Enough!
For those of you who have not seen this land it is hard to understand the passion here. Imagine huge old oaks with dark green canopies. Imagine lying on your back under these ancient trees and feeling sheltered by the branches as they curve up into a blue sky. Butterflies float by. Birds are singing. It reminds me of being a kid in the country. It is secure and welcoming and beautiful. The spirit of the four trees is overwhelming. Just standing in that circle feels like standing in a cathedral in a way.
The spring, how can I share with you how serene it is. So pure and sweet with ducks and the sound of water spilling over the bank to the Mississippi below. How peaceful and ancient this spot is. How could they have ever thought that putting a highway through all of this was a good idea?
Nuts. Thanks for hearing me out. I needed to share with you tonight. I dread to think of what tomorrow will bring.
Pray for us.
Opponents of the Minnesota 55 project in South Minneapolis returned for the second day Tuesday as highway crews continued to remove some 30 trees near Minnehaha Park.
But instead of trying to disrupt crews, who were being guarded by about 50 law officers, the protesters elected to disrupt traffic. Shortly after 8 a.m., a group of highway opponents linked arms, walked into the middle of Hiawatha Avenue near Minnehaha Parkway, and sat in the street.
Officers quickly arrested 25 people. About an hour later, four more people were arrested when they tried the same tactic. All will be charged with failure to obey a lawful order, according to a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Transportation Department.
One of those arrested Tuesday, a 13-year-old boy, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment for abrasions, according to Cathy Clark of the Minnesota Public Safety Department. A spokeswoman for the medical center said the youth was treated and released.
Another highway opponent climbed a tree on Hiawatha Avenue, about a block south of the construction site, where he unfurled a banner and waited in vain for officers to arrest him. Kent Barnard, a transportation department spokesman, said the protester had chosen the wrong tree to occupy, because it probably won't be removed until next year.
Nine people were arrested Monday when crews began removing trees in preparation for the building of a tunnel at the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue and Minnehaha Parkway. All were released shortly after midnight Tuesday, after posting bails ranging from $100 to $400.
One of them, 17-year-old Madeline Gardner of St. Paul, had been taken to Regions Hospital with a leg injury. She made an appearance at the protest site Tuesday, walking on crutches.
Jonathan Smucker, who was arrested Monday, said he was compelled to sign a statement agreeing not to disrupt the highway project. Smucker, 21, said he scribbled a deliberately illegible "Stop the Reroute" in the space where he was supposed to write his name.
Asked if he was testing authorities by returning to the site, Smucker replied, "Actually, I think they're testing the law. The form is clearly unconstitutional."
Those arrested Monday and Tuesday who return to the site and are arrested again run the risk of spending three days in jail before being released on bail, Clark said. "We can ask for a conditional hold to discourage repeat activity," she said.
After the initial flurry of arrests, protesters watched from the opposite side of the street as highway crews started removing trees and brush on the west side of Hiawatha Avenue between 46th Street and Minnehaha Parkway. Other crews cleared the branches and logs from the trees that had been cut down the previous day. A helicopter circled the site and officers came and went after assessing the situation.
By the end of the week, motorists traveling east on Minnehaha Parkway will not be able to cross or turn on Hiawatha Avenue. Crews plan to remove a small parkway bridge over Minnehaha Creek, and it probably won't be open to traffic for more than a year, Barnard said.
The cost of maintaining a large police force on the site wasn't immediately available. Many of the officers -- they include Minneapolis Police, Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies and Minnesota State troopers -- are working overtime, Clark said.
"We won't know (the cost) until these guys turn in their time sheets," she said.
Minneapolis bureau reporter David Hawley can be reached at or (612) 338-6516.
Minneapolis police arrest Native leadership
This morning, police arrested all of the Indian leadership. Moments ago, Jim Anderson, Leo, bear and others were arrested trying to protect our elder Darlene who had peacefully sat in the middle of the street. The police were barricading the other side of the street and the congregation of protestors where on the other side of the street. When people tried to protect Darlene, the police arrested all of them including our frail little elder Darlene. Many who were arrested where just standing there but were picked out because They are identifiably Indian and obviously known to the police as Leaders.
This is a disgrace!!!!! How can the world allow this to happen? We need people. Please if there is anyway you can come here now is the time. We need people who can make a statement just by being there. All of this activity is near the sites but now more than ever we need people at the sacred sites to protect them.
You can find us by coming to Hiawatha and 54th Ave. Turn left on 54th and right after the VA Hospital driveway and parking lot there is another little road to the left, turn here and look for a yellow school bus and tipi on your right. If lost, just ask, someone will direct you. You can email me for info specifically if you want.
Diane Kerr (Tanski)
THIS MORNING MNDOT STARTING CUTTING TREES IN MINNEHAHA PARK! At 9AM this morning I received a phone call,about 100 Minneapolis Officers and State Troopers were called in to surround an area of the park where trees were being cut to build a bypass road for the construction of the new hwy. I got there around 11:30 and there was about 100 peaceful activists there with more coming and going most of the afternoon.
Around 9 activists have been arrested, one of them being a 17 year old girl, who was injured when the police tackled her. Also two Native American young women were arrested, one of them only 15 years old, because they believe in their right of religious freedom. Although the encampment has not been raided or any trees removed from the area around the four sacred trees, we wonder how much longer we will be safe?
We need your help and prayers. How much longer will the four trees be safe? We need your help and prayers. How much longer until this religious persecution stops? We need your help and prayers. How much longer do we have to live being sick with fear for each other, the trees, the spring. We need your help and prayers. We have been here for almost a year now and we will stay as long as it takes. We all believe that somehow the trees will stand and the spring will be saved. We need your help and prayers. There is to be a rally tomorrow morning at 7:00 am at the northwest corner of E Minnehaha Parkway and Hiawatha, please be there if you can. We need you help and prayers.
TREES BEING CUT, AND ARRESTS AT THE SITE OF HWY 55 PROTEST
From: email@example.com (power4u)
At the campaign to stop the reroute of Hwy 55 in Minneapolis there already have been At least 5 arrests and several trees cut in Minnehaha Park. Yes, in the park!
Minnesota dept of transportation has made it Clear that they are a rogue governmental Agency committed to a twisted sense of progress And willing to ignore the will and the safety Of the people as well as our history and the Sacred nature of this land.
The earth is crying out for help, and we need Everyone to respond and take The place of our imprisoned warriors.
To get involved please call 612-910-0730 (Jim Anderson of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota)
651-398-5249 (press calls and emergencies only)
612-879-8929 -- media and volunteer base Number off site of the camp.
Please come down to the site and join the Resistance. We need help, now!
HWY 55 RAID & CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW
This is an emergency update on the events happening in the campaign to stop the reroute of highway 55 in southeast Minneapolis, Minnesota.
There are right now hundreds of police officers and heavy equipment as well as tons of media at the intersection of Minnehaha and Hwy 55. There is not a raid on the camp yet but there are Ryder trucks like last time, police barricades, hundreds of Minneapolis and state police officers and heavy equipment as I write this at 11 am on Monday 7/26/99.
Many of our warriors are on site working to stop them from cutting the trees in the park which is what they plan to do.
We need people to go down to the camp and stay there so that warriors (male and female) who are willing to risk arrest are free to put themselves in the way of the destruction without putting the camp at risk.
Your prayers are needed as well. We will triumph with your help, but it is needed now, and from here on out this thing is escalating. Our non-violence code is in effect at all times, please respect and adhere to it!!
For background on the Mendota Mdenton Dakota struggle against Highway 55 expansion in the Minnehaha Park area, see http://treaty.indigneousnative.org/highway.html
Today, July 20th, 1999 at 10:10a.m., ranking officers from the Minnesota State Troopers and Minneapolis Police Department came the the Minnehaha Spiritual Encampment. Camp Member, Thunder, approached the ranking State Trooper and asked him why they had come here today. He was told that they were at camp to "take a look around." Thunder asked if they were here to take any action today against the camp. The officer informed him that they were not here to take any action today, against the camp, but to take a look around to see when they do take action what type of action they need to take. The officer asked him if the camp has a sweat lodge, and Thunder pointed to the lodge. The officer asked him if this was the same lodge that we had at the last camp. Thunder said that yes it was, and that he should know that because he was the officer that dismantled the sweat lodge during the last raid on December 20th of 1998. He said that if they need to dismantle the lodge again, they would make sure that it was returned.
The Police and State Troopers also had with them a MnDoT official and a representative of Thommes and Thomas, a land clearing firm based out of Stillwater, Minnesota. The land destroyer from Thommes and Thomas had a clip-board and was taking notes on the trees in the area, including the FOUR SACRED TREES, that have been at the center of the struggle to protect this land for the last year. This is the calm before the storm, and now is the time that we must act before they bring their machines to desecrate this sacred gound.
We need you, and we need you now. If you have ever felt moved by this struggle, and would be willing to come down and camp with us, now is the time. THE RIGHT OF WAY CLEARING FOR THE REROUTE OF HIGHWAY 55 IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN BY AUGUST 2ND OF THIS YEAR. BECAUSE OF THIS ENCOUNTER WITH THE POLICE AND STATE TROOPERS, WE BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL RAID THE CAMP BEFORE THAT DATE. We need wave upon wave of people to form a human ring around the four sacred trees and stand with us in prayer and resistance around the sacred fire that has burned since August 10th of 1998. This is a place of prayer and its sacredness has been testified to by spiritual elders from six different First Nations. We need people willing to risk arrest to stand up for the sacredness of this land, to protect the trees, Camp Coldwater Spring, and for the human rights of Native Americans to freedom of religion. This place is a church to all Native Americans, what would you do if this was your church facing the bulldozers?
Our spirit is not crushed. MnDoT will never pave over our prayers, and if we stand united and strong we still can save this land for the future generations.
We ask all people of conscience to call the Mayor's office, the Governor's Office and even the President of the United States and demand that this re-route of Highway 55 be Stopped immediately, and that this land between Minnehaha Falls and Camp Coldwater Spring be protected for all time.
We also ask that you call and fax these two companies that have been awarded the contract for the destruction of the trees and land:
C.S McCrossan Inc.
Thommes and Thomas
Please ask them to think long and hard about the injustices of this road. That it violates human rights, makes little sense and will destroy beloved Minnehaha Park. Then tell them that they may be opening themselves up to lawsuits. Then let them know that they have been warned, in a non-violent and spiritual way. We must let them know that this is not just a "job", and that we are not against the workers. Remind them that we are non-violent. Let them know that MnDoT does have alternatives available that will still provide work. Unions and workers should not be envolved in projects that have strong community opposition, and that violate fundamental human and constitutional rights.
On August 10th, 1999 join us for our one year anniversary of standing up to the bulldozers and of protecting the sacred sites that lie in the path of the reroute of Highway 55.
where: at the spiritual encampment. Take Highway 55 (Hiawatha Ave.) south to 54th Street and go left at the light. Go past one driveway and take the second driveway on the right that goes down to a stop light and the Bureau of Mines buildings. The Camp is on the left, and you will see the parked cars.
when: Starting at 4:00pm and going till sundown.
what: feast/potluck, Thunder Nation Drum Group, stories shared from the last year, a video and photo presentation, and music.
August 8th, 1999, Join us for our Second Annual Pow Wow Down at the Mendota Spiritual Encampment ( Same Address as Above) 3:00 p.m. onwards.
for more information Contact:
Mendota urgent update
Invitation to Join the Mendota Spiritual Encampment for World Peace and Prayer Day
Monday June 21st 9:30 am
The Spiritual Encampment to save the Dakota and other First Nations' Traditional Cultural Properties from the bulldozers of the Minnesota Department of Transportation is at a crucial point. We have heard that a raid is imminent and from what we have heard lately, it will happen on the weekend of the 18th of June (this weekend).
This is a call to all who can spend the weekend with us down at the camp. We need your support now more than ever, as MnDoT threatens to desecrate these sacred sites. We need to let them know that the whole world is watching, and that we will not let the human rights and freedom of religion of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community to be violated. Please contact your public officials and ask them to stop this madness.
"This is a calling for the world to seek out the sacred sites and bring awareness to the energy and connection that exists there to our Mother Earth. In the past, there has been clear research findings of people coming together spiritually, praying for a healing, and our Mother Earth responded with a visible positive energy shift." These are the words of Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota Nakota and Dakota Nation and Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
We are inviting y�u down for a weekend of camping and a day of prayer on June 21st to help to protect these sacred sites and for the sacredness of all life. To get to the camp, take higway 55(Hiawatha Ave.) to 54th St. and go left. Take the second driveway on the right, and look for the signs. You can also enter at 5629 Hiawatha Ave. at the Bureau of Mines Road just before Highway 62 on the east side. Look for large blue sign "Bureau of Mines".
for more information contact Jim Anderson (612) 910-0730
We will be gathering for ceremony at Coldwater Spring at 9:30 am Monday morning June 21st and then we will have a feast after the ceremonies, the spring is located east of Hiawatha Ave.[Hwy 55] on 56st Street [there is a sign that says Bureau of Mines] also just a short distance from the encampment, if you have any questions please call me at 612-944-7290, please bring a dish to share as of right now we have no idea how many people will be able to join us. We ask that you join us in prayer at 10 am wherever you are if you cannot be with us, people all over the globe will all be praying at the same time. Also we ask that women who come please wear long skirts and no tank type tops. I hope that our prayers are able to move the world and its people.
I have more info for you on the Minnehaha Creek Watershed Managers:
Or mail letters to 2500 Shadywood Road, Excelsior, MN 55331, Phone 612-471-0590, MCWD managers are political appointees [not elected] considered volunteers, paid $55/meeting. MCWD web site is http://www.minnehahacreek.org. Next meeting is Tues June 22, 1999 6:30 Minnetonka City Hall. Also I hope to see you at World Peace and Prayer Day, June 21st 9:30 am at the Coldwater Spring. We are hearing rumors of a raid on the encampment this weekend. Are they so afraid of a Peaceful Prayer vigil that they have to respond once again with violence? Prayers will be sent to the creator at the same time all around the world and a raid at this time would only draw negative attention to this issue for Government Officials once again. Please pray with us wherever you may be.
Joshua Davis wrote:
I am writing you to ask a favor in a time of need. In Minneapolis, The Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota and Stop the Reroute coalition have occupied land in the path of a new highway for nearly nine months. The MN Department of Transportation is preparing for a raid on the camp, and we are rallying supporters to visit or stay at the site.
If your organization supports the work Stop the Reroute has done in the past few years, please consider forwarding the message below to any lists or members you can. There will be only one chance to save this land and the trees.
We need your help in Minneapolis. The Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota and Stop the Reroute coalition have occupied land in the path of a new highway for nearly nine months. The MN Department of Transportation is preparing for a raid on the camp, and we are rallying supporters to visit or stay at the site.
The Park and River Alliance appeal to stop the road will have oral arguments May 12 in Circuit Court in St. Paul. MNDOT may be awaiting this decision to raid and cut the area. Today, Friday May 6th, the MN Department of Transportation placed No Trespassing signs around the camp's perimeter.
The planned highway will pave a mile of oak forest on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The land is sacred to the Mendota Indian tribe, and the park is an extension of Minnehaha Park and Fort Snelling Park. It is also the largest green space left in Minneapolis.
Please visit or stay at the camp this weekend and next week. Please attend the non-violence and civil disobedience training meeting at the camp on Saturday, May 8th at noon, and if you are able to stay any night in the next week or two, now is the time that you are needed the most. We cannot let this sacred land be destroyed in the name of convenience. Please call your public officials and let them know that the eyes of the world are watching.
If you cannot visit, please see website at http://www.stopthereroute.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate money or supplies.
Directions to the reroute camp:
from the north:
I-35W or I-94 to Hwy 55 south of Mpls.
Go 4 miles, left on 54th St.
One block, you will see camp.
From east or west: take I-94, use directions from north. |
Bus: the #7 MTC bus stops at 54th St. and Hwy. 55 (Hiawatha Ave.)
Bike: the West River Road, Minnehaha Creek, and Fort Snelling trails converge at Minnehaha Park. Follow trail to 54th St parking lot, you will see camp.
Stop the Reroute
Today, Friday May 6th, high level officials from the Minnesota Department of Transportation placed NO TRESSPASSING signs around the encampment near the four sacred oaks that has become known as the Minnehaha Liberation. We expect a raid will soon follow. The Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, American Indian Movement, and Earth First! are preparing for the defense of the land from the bulldozers.
Please attend our non-violence and civil-disobedience training down at the Encampment this Saturday May 7th at NOON. The training will last a few hours. Please contact your officials and spiritual elders and let them know that the whole world is watching, and that you do not want to see this sacred land desecrated and destroyed by the bulldozers in the name of American convenience.
for the future generations.
for more information and directions to camp, call Jim Anderson, Cultural Chairman of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community at (612) 910-0730
URGENT MENDOTA URGENT
Here's a quick action you all can take:
Camp Coldwater (along with Coldwater Spring) has been nominated through the Preservation Alliance of MN as one of the top most endangered resources.
The Alliance have delayed their decision one week, so it give us more time to call and voice our wish for them to cast their votes for Camp Coldwater and the Spring.
Please call or fax or email your support ASAP and ask that Camp Coldwater be put on the "endangered list".
Preservation Alliance of Minnesota
Dear Friends, this morning we met with MNDOT Officials at 9:00 AM. The news is not good. They have decided that this area does not meet the TCP criteria. We were told their focus was only on the four trees. This was the first time we had heard this. When we gathered the Elders they gave testimony about the whole area involved in the reroute from the falls to the spring, their testimony talked about the sacred meeting grounds and burials.
I wonder when they will understand that our people did not make maps or measure the land in sections. To us the land is a gift to be passed on to future generations, and it is not our way to destroy this gift. This is the last undeveloped land in this sacred place, our place of worship. Our elders spoke of the whole area as sacred.
During these hearings not one question was asked of our elders and never was it clarified to us that they were only interested in the trees. We spent two days speaking to them and all that time they didn't have a clue, or maybe they just didn't care. The road is the most important thing to them and they were just going through the motions to satisfy the Judge.
We were asked not to talk about this before today and to take these reports and read them and we would have time to do that. Late last night I was called and told that reporters were asking about a press conference being held by MNDOT officials at 1:00 PM this afternoon. We were never informed this was to happen and so we stayed for this.
There was about 20 or more squad cars there with troopers all over the place. A reporter asked MNDOT about all this security, I felt I had to reply that "there are 4 Indian people here". What are they so afraid of? Of course it was all about intimidation, people don't have the right to disagree with the government anymore.
After the MNDOT officials were done with this conference we wanted to talk to the reporters too. An official from MNDOT stated that we could not talk to the reporters in this room, that it was only reserved for MNDOT. The lights were turned off and we had to go outside to have our interviews, even though this was taking place in a public building that our taxes pay for. I wonder how much overtime is being paid for out of our tax dollars for this kind of intimidation every time we go to a public meeting.
We were asked by reporters if we felt that the decision was racially motivated, and Leo agreed that it was. The State of Minnesota has always taken anything they have wanted from the Native Americans by deception or by force. Until we get Federal Officials to take notice of the way Minnesota treats its Native Americans our rights will never be protected.
We were also told at the meeting in the morning that they felt the Coldwater Spring could very well be considered TCP and that this kind of study might be done for the spring only. So, if we have done nothing else we have focused a great deal of attention on this site, and hopefully no harm will come to the spring. We still have questions about the construction methods being used to build the bridges, ramps. sound walls, etc. at the intersection of hwy 55 and 62.
We have not given up, this report needs to go the State Historic Preservation Office of the Minnesota Historical Society for their review. . They have up to 30 days to review it. Our hope is that they will ask about all the testimony that was not included in this report about the trees, and make a fair determination of the all the testimony about the sacredness of the land.
We are now in the 11th hour of this fight, there are many things to do yet. Please call all state officials and federal officials and let them know that this whole situation is unbearable and that you would like to see something done to preserve this Sacred Land. Please call anyone you think might be able to help. We ask that you continue your support and prayers for they are powerful.
URGENT: PLEASE CALL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES and ASK THEM TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT COLDWATER SPRING - the BIRTHPLACE OF MINNESOTA
Important legislation has been introduced to preserve historic Coldwater Spring in Minneapolis. The legislation needs to be heard in committee by March 19th if it's going to move forward, so it is URGENT that people *throughout Minnesota* call their representatives today to start generating support (see contact info. below).
ABOUT THE SPRING
Near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, Coldwater Spring is known by many as the Birthplace of Minnesota. It is a unique freshwater spring that never freezes in winter and cascades as a waterfall to the Mississippi River. It is the site of the first settlers in Minnesota, who relied on its pure water for survival while they built Fort Snelling. It is sacred to the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota and other Native Amerian communities for whom it is considered "medicine water" and central to their creation story.
From the affidavit of Gary Cavender, spiritual leader of the Mdewakanton Dakota band: "The Spring is the dwelling place of the undergods and is near the center of the Earth. The spring is part of the cycle of life. The underground stream from the spring to the Mississippi River must remain open to allow the Gods to enter the river through the passageway. The spring is the site of our creation myth (or 'Garden of Eden') and the beginning of Indian existence on Earth. Our underwater God... lives in the Spring. The sacredness of the Spring is evident by the fact that it never freezes over, and it is always possible to see activity under the surface of the water."
Coldwater Spring is threatened by the re-route of Hwy 55. Nearby construction and "dewatering" could irrevocably harm the spring and possibly dry it up fore
ver. With your help, we CAN stop this from happening.
ABOUT THE LEGISLATION
The legislation establishes Coldwater Spring as Traditional Cultural Property, most easily defined as a place where a group of people, especially ethnic, have lived, worshipped and died over a period of time. Says Linda Brown of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community of the spring: "It has great historical value to the community, the state and the nation."
The Sierra Club North Star Chapter supports this legislation because it protects an important natural area and respects Native American rights.
This legislation may stop the re-route of Highway 55, but it need Not stop light rail transit, which will be built along the Hiawatha Corridor. If your representatives are concerned about this, please let them know:
The North Star Chapter supports light rail transit and opposes the re-routing of Hwy 55.
PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and ask them to support legislation to protect Coldwater Spring as Traditional Cultural Property. Ask your state representative to support House File 711 & 712, authored by Rep. Karen Clark. Ask your state senator to support Senate File 1506 & 1658, authored by Sen. Ellen Anderson.
To find out who your senator and representative are, call the public information office @ 1-800-657-3550 or (651) 296-2146.
Calls are especially needed from constituents in Rep. Jim Rhodes district and Sen. James Metzen's district, as they chair the House & Senate committees where the bill is likely to be heard.
Rep. Jim Rhodes, District 44B, St. Louis Park 55426 (651) 296-9889 (chair) email@example.com
Sen. James Metzen (651) 296-4370, District 39, South St. Paul 55075 (chair) firstname.lastname@example.org