Mendota community URGENTLY seeks assistance

From Linda M. Brown - Mendota Community: (12/8/99)

Dear Friends, I'm sorry it has taken me some time to update you. I will try to explain the last week as best as I can. As all of you know Thursday 12/2/99 we started ceremonies for the protection of the Four Sacred Oaks, we had received instructions from Sun Dance Chief Harry Charger how to do this. At the same time that the ceremonies were to start some of Mendota Mdewakanton leadership, including myself, attended a meeting at MNDOT with the Commissioner and some of his staff, and also some State Legislators who have shown great compassion and support to our cause. I really struggled with the fact that I would have to miss the beginning of these ceremonies to attend this meeting. I talked with a very wise and respected friend, who has become my brother, and he told me the protection of grandmother earth, and all the things that are a part of her, like the water and the trees are really the women's duty to protect. And so I decided that the meeting is where I should be. MNDOT was asked to reconsider their current plan to destroy the Four Sacred Oaks for their road and to move the road either to the east or west of the trees. After some discussion they agreed to look at the plan one more time. After the meeting we headed to the encampment to participate in the ceremonies. When we got there it was already dark, but many people still remained to finish the ceremony. Four eagle feathers had been placed in the trees earlier, when it was still light out. Also the trees had been wrapped in blue and green clothes. Offerings were being made at the time we arrived and I was able to give flesh for the trees. Many people had done this before me, and we prayed and tied these offerings to the trees. There was drumming and songs the whole time this was happening, and the offerings went on for almost two hours. It was one of the most uplifting days of my life. I stood by the Sacred Fire with tears running down my face, as so many people came to pray with me and embrace me. We continued with pipe ceremonies for three more days.

Sunday night some of us attended a ceremony and feast for the people who would go on trial the next day. We all prayed for many things and all our relatives, and we also prayed that the charges against our people would go away. Mike Haney came into town and also attended one of the pipe ceremonies and also this feast. It was really wonderful to have him here with us once again.

Monday we had to go to the courthouse for the trials of some of the people who had been arrested in July. We met at the courthouse at 8:30am and sang songs in the courthouse atrium. To hear our voices raised with such love and pride was really a touching thing. At 9:00 we had to be in the courtroom, and the lawyers were asked to go the Judges chambers. About 10-11 people went along to attend this meeting so that they could defend themselves. The Judge would not allow them to do this, as he said that he understood that everyone had already agreed to be defended by Jordan our lawyer. The judge said that if people wanted to defend themselves they would have to set up separate trials, this was not something we were willing to do as everyone wanted to be tried together. Then everyone had to go before the judge and state that they would be defended by our lawyer. Right after that motions that had been filed by our lawyer were heard. Two different motions were heard and denied, including a motion for a evidentiary hearing. Our lawyer had filed two new motions that morning, and the judge recessed at that time to give the prosecutor time to look at the motions. It was 11:00 by that time and we all again assembled in the courthouse atrium to sing songs together. Oh, I forgot to tell you that the courtroom was packed, they had to get extra chairs to seat everyone who came to support and testify for the defendants. They also were going to check to see if they could use the courthouse auditorium to accommodate all the supporters plus the people needed for jury selection. At 200PM we met once again with our lawyer and he told us that the prosecuting attorney had a plea bargain deal for us. Everyone could plead to a petty misdemeanor and pay $50.00 court costs, or do 8 hours community service. There was much discussion about this, and everyone on trial decided that we all had better things to do for this cause then to sit in a courtroom for two weeks. We also asked that the charges against the two Native American women who were arrested on the sidewalk be dropped altogether, and this was agreed to by the prosecutor. Because our people pleaded to the petty misdemeanor, there is criminal record, or probation, or conditions, it means that this great group of people can continue to oppose this roadwithout having to worry about being arrested again and recharged for the actions in July.

Today we received a copy of a fax from MNDOT to the legislators that attended the meeting on Thursday. MNDOT has decided that they cannot change the current plans to save the Four Sacred Oaks. We have asked for another meeting with MNDOT through the legislators. the Fax also stated that they would allow us to take a small portion of the wood from the trees, but we would have to let them know by Thursday December 9th, which is only two days away. The police agencies that will be involved in this raid, met today for a strategy meeting. We feel that since MNDOT wants a response from us by Thursday that they are planning the raid for late this week or anytime after that. But we think it will be soon.

I recently received this from a great supporter that has been with us since the beginning. I felt that I had to pass this on to all of you.

Mendota Mourning

they said
come soon
our heroes
are falling

and the snowy road
kept me gridlocked
caught up on the culprit
that was bringing
the end to time

The last one fell
before my car
rattled and crunched
to a halt
old and battered
like my feet that stepped
onto barren ground

the festivities of the season
were ripe and overflowing
about town
but the land lay naked
like an executed corpse
belly down

she would not get up
they said
she would lie there
waiting to rise
only when a new day
the great change

it was too late
for one last glimpse a final vision they were gone
the heroes
and mourning
would not bring them back


We will be here until the end. Pidamiya, Love 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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