Mendota community URGENTLY seeks assistance

Update from Linda Brown (07/02/99)

Dear Friends, I attended the Minnehaha Watershed District meeting last night and I am still reeling from what happened there. The Managers hired a independent consultant for a hydro-geology study, this gentleman stated that a study would take more than a year to do as they would need to monitor the "seeps" within the Minnehaha Gorge and the water flow to the Coldwater Spring, and that it would take two weeks to do a preliminary study of all the material that had been submitted so far by MNDOT to see if there was any red flags that should be addressed right away. At this time the managers voted to grant the permit for MNDOT to start work immediately on the 46th St area as they felt that this is far enough away from the Creek to not cause it any damage and they would look at their consultant's preliminary report in two weeks time and address any concerns at that time.

MNDOT used the same tactics that have used against the Parkboard, threatening to sue the Watershed if they delayed their vote any longer, MNDOT stated they had to start the project within a week or their start time would be delayed until next year. Since they had already let the bids out on this portion of the project, MNDOT would then be threatened with breach of contract from the contractors, [if this is the case, then why did they let the bids out before they had the correct permits to start the project?] this is once again pressure tactics from MNDOT to get the road started at any cost. If proper studies for the Hydro-geology will take a year, then why did MNDOT wait until a month before they started this project to apply for the permit from the Watershed? They also used the scare tactic that a delay in the road project would jeopardize the light rail funding, this is the same tactic they used against us in our quest for legislation to protect these important natural resources. At the time of MNDOTs press conference when they stated,[ in spite of all the Elders testimony and affidavits, that there were no sacred sites in the path of the road, and although they have no right to determine what is sacred to Native American people] that the road and the light rail funding are totally separate issues and that even if they didn't get light rail the road would still be built. Time and time again we have heard "this road has been in the planning for 35 years". How long does it take for our government agencies to understand that if there has been opposition to this road and it has taken this long, and they only are able to get their plan accepted by constantly threatening law suits or applying tremendous political pressure against any agency that would stand against them, that maybe it is a flawed plan, They have had 35 years to find another way to do this project, yet in all that time they have totally ignored any and all opposition to this road. 30 Different citizen groups, representing thousands of Minnesotans, a petition with over 10,000 signatures, constant lawsuits filed by concerned citizens of the state. Nevermind that it is illegal to build a road through park land unless there is no other alternative. They do have the alternative to build the road on the current alignment. If the Light Rail is being built in this corridor to get people out of their cars and using public transit, then why do we need a road that is designed to almost double the automobile traffic through this environmentally, historically, and culturally significant area. This is the legacy that the State Government will impose on the people of the State of Minnesota. A major visual and perhaps environmental impact on a the first State Park in this country, the desecration and destruction of Native American Sacred Sites. This destruction will start next week. Although we are constantly faced with the overwhelming political and financially superior pressures that are being applied on MNDOT's behalf, of course MNDOT has the money to do this by using our tax dollars against us. I will always believe that the rerouting of this road is morally wrong, and I, and I hope all of you will continue to do whatever we are capable of doing to right this wrong against the Native American and White citizens of this state. Pidamiya, Love and Prayers, Linda

NOTE: I have continued to leave the following in these updates because we still need some calls and letters written. Since you are reading this, please help out with at least an email.....
U.S. Senators and Representatives via clickable map

U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
Names, Addresses, email to Senate Committee Members.
Governer Jesse Ventura   Phone: (651) 297-9500
State Capitol Building
75 Constitution Ave.
St. Paul, MN  55155

Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg  Phone: (651) 296-3000  Fax: (651) 296-3587
MNDOT 395 John Ireland Blvd
St. Paul, MN  55155

Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton  Phone: (612) 673-2100
350 S. 5th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415

U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone Phone: (202) 224-5641, fax (202) 224-8438
136 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington D.C.  20510

Mr. Alan Steger Division Administrator FHWA Phone: (651) 291-6100
Sheryl Martin
Galtier Plaza, Suite 500
175 E. 5th St.
St Paul, MN  55101

Bruce Eberly Historic Preservatin Officer FHWA Phone: (202) 366-2060
C/O HEP -40, room 3240
Washington D.C. 20590

Ann Boland, National Register of Historic Preservation
Dept of the Interior                           Phone (202) 343-9500
Box 37127
Washington D.C.  20013-7127

Bruce Babbit Secretary of the Interior
Dept. of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington D.C. 20240 202208-7351

President William Clinton    Phone: (202) 4565-1414
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500

Vice President Al Gore       Phone: (202) 4565-1414
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington DC,  20500

Janet Reno U.S. Attorney General  Phone: (202) 737-5214
Justice Dept.
600 E. St. NW
Washington,DC 20090

The Mendota are a non-profit organization and reciepts will be supplied for
those who request them.  Send donations to:
Checks or money orders may be made payable to MMDC.
     Mendota Medewakanton Dakota Community
     PO Box 50835
     Mendota, MN 55150
Contact numbers are Linda M. Brown - (612) 944-7290 FAX (612) 944-0105 or Bob Brown, Chairman - (612) 576-9686 FAX (612) 576-0632 We ask that everyone send what they it money or supplies. PLEASE HELP PROTECT OUR SACRED SITES!

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