Camp Coldwater is a historically important area of Minneapolis. It was the original site of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota tribe. This place is considered very sacred. The word Men-do-ta means where the waters meet. It is where the State of Minnesota began.
This original, historic site is located in South Minneapolis. It is east of the Veteran's Hospital, the Mississippi River on the east, with Highway 55 on the west and 54th Street on the north.
There are several features on this land that deserve special mention.
1. There is an artesian spring that has always existed here. To the Mendota Dakota people, the spring is medicine water, and is a part of the Mendota Dakota creation stories. Amazingly, this spring of pure water has survived for centuries and is still intact.
2. There is a stand of ancient oak trees that are over two hundred years old. There is one stand of oaks that are actually three hundred years old. They are one of the last traces of original forest left in this area of Minnesota.
3. There is a sacred prayer site defined by four ancient oak trees. This site was used for ceremonies and burial rites. There are traces of burial mounds nearby and Native elders from various Native communities have validated the authenticity of this site.
4. There is a stretch of prairie with original prairie plants. Native plants have almost been erradicated completely. With very little effort this vestige of prairie could be restored.
5. There are bluffs all along the river with a natural landing for canoes and boats.
6. There is a hill on the west side of the spring where Indian artifacts were found. This hill was also sacred and it was called Ta-Ku-Wa-Kan Ti-Pi. "The Dwelling Place of the Gods."
The fact that all of this still exists in a large city like Minneapolis is a miracle. The fact that the City wants to cover it over in pavement is very short sighted indeed. The plan to improve Route 55 may have merit but there must be a way to do it without destroying our heritage. This proposal is an attempt to begin a conversation about alternative ways of using this land. Alternatives that don't cause our children regret in the future. The original plan to use this land for a road was thought up over twenty years ago. At that time, we didn't think too much about the preservation of historical sites or the importance of preserving our ecological heritage. We have evolved since then to recognize that these things are precious and irreplacable. This time in history provides a precious opportunity that cannot be ignored or wasted. The choices we make now will have reprecussions throughout history. Let us make choices that will make the future generations proud of our wisdom and discernment.
This is a request for help and update on the situation in Minnesota involving the protest of a road being built across sacred lands. This web page and call for assistance was requested by Linda M. Brown who is the Mendota Executive Officer and by Mike Haney (AIM and Indian Arbritration Committee).
As most of you know, there was a raid on the protesters assembled on the property where a road is to be built across sacred sites. This land also has enviromental issues attached to it and has one of the last oak savannahs in MN. A group of approx. 50 people have joined together on this land to try and stop the road. On Sunday morning, Dec. 20th at approx. 4 am...600 police officers in full riot gear with 127 squad cars and numerous other equipment raided the non-violent and unarmed protestors. When the 600 police officers raided these protesters, pepper spray and tear gas were used. This included using pepper spray and mase AFTER the protestors were assembled outside and waiting to be taken in. 36 people were arrested including some juveniles(who were later released). Several of those arrested needed immediate medical care and did not receive it. Mike Haney, one of those arrested, is a diabetic but was not given medical care. Houses were torn down, tipis ripped apart, all clothing, bedding, food, cooking utensils, stoves, etc. were either destroyed or confiscated. The people were left with nothing but what they had on their backs. Also destroyed in this raid was one of the big drums. The police had no sympathy for anything spiritual or for the fact that these people were unarmed, not resisting, and had children with them. Everything was taken or destroyed and the Sacred fire was put out.
The Mendota community is asking for any and all help people can give. They need over $300,000 for legal fees PLUS....food, WARM clothing, cooking pots and utensils, stoves, fire wood, sleeping bags, tents, tipis, ...basically anything and everything you can spare. Everything was either destroyed or confiscated and is not being returned. It is bitterly cold up there, 12 below last night and with the wind chill it is hitting 30-40 below. These people have no warm clothing and no coats. If people wish to come and help in person, you are more than welcome, however, due to the raid, they are asking that anyone who comes please be self sufficient as they can't provide even sleeping bags due to this raid. This is a non-violent occupation. No weapons or violence will be permitted. No alcohol or drugs (except required prescribed medications). We request that all individuals maintain a respectful attitude towards others as well as any Indian artifacts and ceremonies, plus a willingness to help out. Everyone must be self-sufficient.
1/16/99 - Here is an updated list of current needs for those occupying the site; The Mendota Community encampment is still in desperate need. Our people still only have one camp stove and one kerosene heater. They also need full face stocking caps, gloves, CarHarts (heavy coveralls), snow suits, ski jackets, parkas, winter clothing, long underwear, RVs, tipis, tents, cement, chain, polypropylene rope, climbing rope and gear, cobras, kryptonite bike locks, bike cables, padlocks, foam pads, sleeping bags, boots, wedges, mauls, wood, propane, dried and canned food, communications systems (i.e., walkie talkies, 2 way radios, scanners), flashlights, batteries, a laptop, cameras, and a printer.
Please circulate widely and ask friends and neighbors for what they can spare. Clothing needs to be in the Large, X-Large, and 2X Large sizes.
Financial assistance is still needed also. 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!