From Jim Anderson (12/11/99)
It is with great sadness that I forward this message. Just got off the phone with Jim Anderson - the Sacred Trees have been cut down! They were raided at 7AM this morning.
One thing that Jim did mention though is that we still have to protect the sacred spring and waters, as well as the land. We cannot give up. I am asking that people please write emails and make phone calls at the links listed on the AICS site http://www.aics.org/mendota.html Thank you.
In Struggle, Kathy
- - - - - - - - - - Forward - - - - - - - - - -
Subject: RAID Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 17:27:56 -0800 (PST) From: henry chinaski <email@example.com> To:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/11/99
For more information:
Jim Anderson: 612/910-0730
Bob Greenberg: 612/879-8929
POLICE RAID SPIRITUAL ENCAMPMENT TO STOP THE HWY. 55 REROUTE
ATTEMPT TO REMOVE NATIVE AMERICANS, NON-VIOLENT
ACTIVISTS AND SUPPORTERS, WORKING TO SAVE MINNEHAHA
PARK AND SACRED SITES TO THE DAKOTA PEOPLE
WHERE: SPIRITUAL ENCAMPMENT: FOUR SACRED TREES, SOUTH
OF 54TH STREET, EAST OF VA HOSPITAL HOMES,
"Our people have always been the stewards of this land. The spirits of our Grandfathers are here," said Jim Anderson, Historian of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. "These sites that are sacred to our people will be destroyed if this road goes through. If we let them take these sacred trees, they will come for the water, our sacred Coldwater spring, next. We will not allow this to happen. We have placed sacred items such as a sweat lodge, eagle feathers, sacred pipes and prayer ties in the path of destruction. It is a violation of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 for the police to handle or remove these items. They have asked for our assistance in removing these items, and we have refused."
Police and workers crews are destroying our cultural heritage, our church, and the natural environment upon which we all depend for clean water, clean air, and safe food in order to cut three minutes off the drive time between the Mall of America in suburban Bloomington, MN, and downtown Minneapolis. They claim they must reroute the road to accommodate the Light Rail Transit system that they want to put in, even though federal funding has not been secured. In all events to date the protesters have remained non-violent while enduring violence perpetrated by the state of Minnesota. Witness the lengths that the criminal state will go to protect the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of minorities, the poor, and the earth.
On August 10th, 1998, the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, Earth First!, and other activists began an occupation of property that MnDOT had slated for destruction to reroute Highway 55. On December 20th, 1998, MnDOT, showing blatant disregard for Human, Civil, and property rights, and the wishes of the public, raided the non-violent encampment with 802 state, county and city police officers in riot gear. They teargassed, pepper-sprayed, and brutalized 37 people, and then bulldozed the homes and burned personal and sacred items. Protesters returned to the trees to defend them 3 days later to prevent them from being cut. We are still there, and now that every traditional "legal" avenue is closed to us, we are back to direct action to defend the land and water. This is the longest running urban occupation in U.S. history.
The presence of the media and legal observers is requested to ensure the safety of these activists trained in non-violent civil disobedience. The police will try to restrict your access. Challenge them and assert your rights, please. Our safety and the freedom of the press are relying on your persistence.
Update as of 5:30 pm central time:
Four Oaks Spiritual Encampment destroyed.
Over 100 police raided the encampment around 7am. The four oaks in the four directions have been cut, as have nearly all of the other trees that had remained around the four oaks. Three people remain in the trees and have yet to be removed. Thirty-three people have been arrested and are in the Hennepin County jail (612-348-5112). The sacred sweat lodge was dismantled by the state police, the sacred pipe, and other sacred items handled. Amazingly absent was the blatant brutality of the police towards the protestors. Today there was no teargas. pepperspray, or pain-compliance holds.
We will return to protect the sacred spring. This is not over yet.
rally against injustice and cultural genocide, and in support of the arrested. at the Hennepin County Government Center on 5th Street, between 3rd Ave and 4th Ave.
12/12/99 at 4pm
Governer Jesse Ventura Phone: (651) 297-9500 State Capitol Building 75 Constitution Ave. St. Paul, MN 55155 mailto:Jesse.Ventura@state.mn.us 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 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org 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 mailto:Bruce_Babbitt@IOS.DOI.GOV President William Clinton Phone: (202) 4565-1414 The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, DC 20500 MAILTO:President@whitehouse.gov Vice President Al Gore Phone: (202) 4565-1414 The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington DC, 20500 MAILTO:VicePresident@whitehouse.gov 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 can...be it money or supplies. PLEASE HELP PROTECT OUR SACRED SITES!