From Linda M. Brown - Mendota Community: (12/13/99)
Dear Friends, As many of you already know the Four Sacred Oaks were cut down on Saturday afternoon. At midnight Friday we started to receive phone calls from anonymous sources that they were coming for the trees on Saturday morning. Leo and I went to the encampment about 4:00 am and were told that state troopers had started to assemble at the MNDOT property across Highway 62, which is a short distance from the four sacred trees. Many people had started to already assemble at the encampment. We started a large scrap pile of wood for a bonfire to keep people warm, as it was very cold being outside for hours waiting. The last raid the police burned bonfires from our signs and the wood that was there, we figured why leave the wood for the police to warm themselves. Just before 7:00 am we gathered at the trees and started a ceremony. At 7:10am we could see the squads come flying down the Bureau of Mines road toward the encampment. We were then surrounded by state troopers and they waited until the ceremonies were done. At that time they informed us that anyone who would not leave then, would be arrested. The Native American people did as we had been instructed, we left the encampment and stood in vigil all day, waiting. Many of our supporters chose to stay and they were arrested. No chemicals or pain compliance was used on these people. Although we never touched the lodges or inipi or trees or the pipe that had been placed in the middle of the trees, we instructed the police how to handle these things in a respectful way and they did as we asked. The removal of the encampment and the trees are on all of them now and they will have to pay the consequences for what they have done.
Many of the young supporters had scrambled into trees that lay in the path of the Four Sacred Oaks, all day they stayed in the trees, while the whole area was surrounded by hundreds of police and squads. Tree limbs were cut from around them and still they continued to hang on for as long as they could. Many of these young people have been arrested and brutalized throughout this whole occupation time and time again. Many of these young people are minors, their courage and continued belief in this cause, has humbled so many of us. They are the future and the future will be brighter because of their heart and willingness to fight against all odds.
Bob, Jim, Bear, Representative Karen Clark, and other Native Americans were at the site and participated in ceremony before the trees were cut in the afternoon. Leo and I stood in vigil with others behind police tapes, and witnessed. All day long I avoided the press and other officials, my heart was too heavy. When the first tree was cut it seemed to just fold within itself as it touched the ground. That was the hardest point of the day for me. So many people stood and cried in their grief. I held many people and was comforted by many people. We had done all that we could to save the Four Sacred Oaks. All of last week we made phone calls to officials, did research, tried in every way we could, even until the last minute Representative Karen Clark was trying to get a restraining order. As it grew dark, the last of the young people in the trees were taken down and arrested. 33 people went to jail, the last of them were released this morning. There are still many people who are facing court cases in the next few months and we must continue to pray and support them.
Sunday we gathered at the Four Sacred Oaks for ceremony and to start to cut the wood. We started in the morning and ended when it got dark. The wood will be used in inipi's and for the Sundance in Pipestone. It is the last thing we can do to honor these grandfathers who stood as a beacon and brought people from all over the world and all races to this Sacred place to pray for understanding and acceptance of our people and spirituality.
We are not finished, we still have the Sacred Spring to protect from their destruction, the road is not yet built. You can walk through this area and stand and see the land laid bare and ripped apart for the path of this road. The destruction starts at Minnehaha Park and continues through the area that the Elders spoke about in the affidavits and hearings. Across the world people have been there with their support and prayers, we are truly blessed as a people. From the Falls to the Spring it is Sacred to us. We will never forget.
Pidamiya, Love Linda
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:email@example.com 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!