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LAND ACQUISITIONS, PROPERTY SEIZURES and USE ISSUES

The following are a series of communications and writings on the numerous problems occurring today regarding land, property and use issues in the diverse area of property rights and the regulating agencies involved in usurping these rights. To get your opinions or experiences included on this page please participate in the discussions on the list or in the forum. When interest dictates we'll be setting up conferences with the assorted player's in this arena so you may present your views in person to those who may have some input in getting these views heard and where they can be addressed.

 

MENDOTA MINNESOTA SACRED LANDS CONFLICT

In Mendota Mn. is an undeveloped area that is considered by the Sioux
Nation to be their equivalent of our say Jerusalem. It is the heart
of their creation myth and considered to be religiously sacred.
Additionally there is the environmental aspect of their being some
last remaining tree's that could use to be saved but the point here
is that many have stood up the those who wish to pave this area over
rather then provide this place the protection and sanction it
deserves. This saga is still on going but it began with 600 police
officers raiding their tiny little band of 50 elderly, women and
children camping on the land in protest for its future development on
Christmas Day 1998; taking their blankets, coats and smashing their
tents, tipi's and cooking equipment. This of course made zero news
but here we've taken great interest as any sacrilegious act is going
to get our attentions.

______________________________________________________________________

Current Status and Updates

 

******************

Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999
Update from Highway 55

Dear Friends,
Leo and I returned from a trip to Washington D.C. last week.  I will
try to fill you in on what seems to be happening right now.  After
attending the National Congress of American Indians a few weeks ago,
the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma sponsored a resolution to call for an
investigation into civil rights violations involving this issue and
also for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to be prepared
for this project.  While we were in Washington, D.C. we had an
opportunity to meet with the Justice Department, asking for an
investigation into these abuses.  We also met with some staff members
of the Senators that sit on the United States Committee on Indian
Affairs, at that time we asked for a hearing to be held on this
issue, we feel that correct processes have yet to be done, because
this project involves federal funds.  I encourage you to contact the
offices of these Senators and ask them to hold a hearing on this
issue and the way that it has been handled by the State of Minnesota.
The senators we contacted are :
Minnesota State Senator Paul Wellstone,
SH-136  Hart Office Building,
Washington, D.C.  20510, Office
202-224-8448,
contact person Perry Lange E-mail,
Perry_Lange@wellstone.senate.gov,
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell,
Chairman, 838 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510,
Office 202-224-2251, Fax/ 202-224-5429,  
Senator Daniel K. Inouye,
Vice Chairman, 838 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C.  20510,
Office 202-224-2251, contact person, Kim Orr,
kim_orr@indian.senate.gov,
Senator Harry Reid,
528 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510,
Office 202-224-3542, Fax
202-224-7327,
Contact Person, Carlos Blumberg,
carlos_blumberg@reid.senate.gov.  
We also met with one of Senator
McCain's staff person asking that his office help support this
hearing request. 
Senator John McCain,
241 Russell Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510-0303,
Office 202-224-2235, Fax
202-228-2862,
contact person, Jill Peters,
Jill_Peters@McCain.Senate.Gov
We continue to work on other governmental agencies contact persons that my be
able to help us and I will update you as much as I can.  As always we
feel blessed by your support and prayers.  Please continue to do
what you can to help us.  Pidamaya
Love,
Linda

http://users.skynet.be/kola/
http://kola-hq.hypermart.net

****************

MENDOTA: URGENT! MINNEHAHA UPDATE 10/1/99


  From: ishgooda@tdi.net

  [Note: contents have not been verified...but seems urgent enough to be
sending due to the history of this resistance...Ish]

  URGENT!  MINNEHAHA UPDATE 10/1/99

  This is the short version of everything that's going on because everything
is totally insane right now and I can't spend too much time on here. COME TO
MINNEHAHA IF YOU CAN! WE NEED PEOPLE! WE NEED YOU!

  On Monday a tripod was set up in the middle of Interstate Highway 55 to
protest its proposed reroute. People then moved existing construction
barricades into the street to shut down the highway. The road was shut down
for blocks all day and we had a big ol' street party. One woman locked down
to a hauling truck and blocked the front gate of the construction site so
they couldn't do any more work.

  Seven people were up in an old=growth cottonwood tree that we thought they
were planning to take down that day. At about 5:00, 60 state trooper cars
came in. They arrested 13 people on the ground and attempted to evict and
cut the squatted tree. They broke out the cherry pickers and fire truck
ladders and wound up cutting the branches that people were still in, almost
killing the sitters.

  3 people from the tree were arrested, with one sent to the hospital. 4
people stayed up there. The police presence on the ground continued...they
vowed to deprive the remaining sitters of all food and water, and they cut
their lines so they can't get down safely.

  On Wednesday a group of college students opposed to the reroute took over
the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation's offices. 12 people were arrested,
and are still in jail.

  The troopers and MN/DoT and the contractors, in a retaliation move, went
and cut thirteen trees on the site where the occupied houses used to be. One
person was arrested trying to get up a tree (she is also still in jail),
bringing the total number of arrests to 13...the same number of trees they
cut.

  Today, we get the rumor that they're going to bring in the National Guard,
armed with rubber bullets, to evict our occupation on Saturday. We don't
know if this rumor is true, but we know something is going to happen. State
trooper helicopters have been encircling camp all week, and state troopers
on foot have been seen in the woods, scouting trails and tree sits.

  All tree sits are now being staffed 24 hours a day. 2 people came down
from the cottomwood sit today and are in jail...the remaining 2 say they're
in it foir the long haul. The troopers are still on the ground in an effort
to starve them out.

  Things are escalating fast. Shit's going down more and more. More updates
later as I get to a computer...or I'll call some of you from jail if I get
arrested for the second time this week.

  NO COMPROMISE IN DEFENSE OF GRANDMOTHER EARTH!
  -Natalia.

***************

From: Kathy Morning Star
mornstar@bellatlantic.net

From Linda M. Brown:

Dear Friends, Recently the 8th court of appeals decided that the statute
of limitations had run out on the Park and River Alliance lawsuit and they
would not reopen the case. We heard about this on Tuesday May 25th. This
was one of several lawsuits that have been filed against this road. MNDOT
never did do a Environmental Impact Study on the land south of 54th ST.,
but because this was dismissed on a technicality, doesn't make MNDOT's
position on this issue correct, it only gets them legally off the hook, not
morally.

Hennepin County Judge Lajune Lang heard arguments and took testimony from
both our supporters and also MNDOT and the Park Board on Tues morning.
Our supporters felt that she would look at this in a fair way and not just
rubber stamp the decision to swap the land between the park board and
MNDOT.

MNDOT needs this land in order to build the road through Minnehaha Park.
Which is a totally illegal act! There is a meeting tonight involving the
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District's granting permits to MNDOT to build
this road, how are they able to make a decision at this time when the land
does not belong to MNDOT yet! Meeting takes place at Minnetonka City
Hall, West of I-494 on couty road 5 [Minnetonka Blvd] at 6:30 PM, Citizen's
comments will be heard. I'm sorry this notification is so late, but
sometimes I don't get the notices right away. We are a coalition of
ordinary people that have jobs, homes, families and we are working against
people who have a lot of money and power and we can only do the best we
can.

It seems unfair that our tax dollars can be spent in any way possible by
a state agency against us and yet there is no state money available for
citizens to oppose these kinds of project, we are only able to do these
things in our spare time, with small citizen contributions of time and
money. But we will continue the fight against all odds, this is the only
way we have to accomplish the things we care about. The spiritual walk
that took place last night, was very healing and helped renew our energy.
About 100 people showed up and it was nice to be together without all the
pressure and constant tension that we all seem to feel. Time is growing
short. We would like to do one of these walks once a week and I will let
you know what night and time it will be held and where we will meet. It
was very affirming to watch all the people that live in the area, come and
join us, or honk or wave in support of our cause. One woman stood in on
her steps and cried as we walked by. There are many people out there that
have opposed this road for so many years, many of them support us but have
a overwhelming feeling of defeat because they have fought for so long. If
these walks can touch them then all is not lost.

Our Government Officials need to hear from us constantly, I enclose some names
for you to call or write.

Governor Jesse Ventura,
State Capitol Building,
75 ConstitutionAve.,
St. Paul, MN 55155, 651-297-9500,

Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg, MNDOT,
395 John Ireland Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155,
651-296-3000, fax 651-296-3587,

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

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

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

Bruce Eberly,
Historic Preservation Officer,
FHWA, C/O HEP -40,
room 3240, Washington
D.C. 20590,
202-366-2060,

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

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

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

Vice President Al Gore,
The White House,
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,
Washington DC, 20500,
202-456-1414,

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

We need to let these people know that we are aware
that there are laws against taking of parkland for roads, and that MNDOT's
statement that there are no sacred sites in the way of the road is
incorrect.
Our Elders testified through affidavits and oral testimony
presented to MNDOT officials and also Mr. Hotopp the archeologist that did
the determination on the trees, that all this land is sacred including the
trees, and no one including MNDOT has the right to determine what is
sacred to Native Americans except Native Americans.
It has only been a little over 20 years since legislation was passed
in this country to protect Native Americans right to practice their religion.
[ In 1883 laws were passed in this country against the practice of our
religion and were not recinded until 1978].
I am truly amazed and appalled by the lack of respond or support on
this issue by other religions. Isn't this one of
our most closely guarded rights in this country?
How many generations will it take before religious organizations stand
up and fight for the same protections of Native American religious
freedoms as they would their own?

Please do all that you can to educate people on this important issue. We
continue to hear from people from all over the country and world. We have
books full of emails of prayers and support. If only we could reach the
people in power we could change the world.
Peace and Prayers to all of you.
Love Linda

http://www.aics.org/mendota.html


GOVERNMENT BOARD MEETING

From: Kathy Morning Star
From Linda M. Brown:

Dear friends, just a quick update:
The park board land transfer hearing will be Tuesday morning at 9:30 am
at the Minneapolis Hennepin County Courthouse, Judge LaJune Langs
courtroom. Sorry I don't have the room #.

If we could get as many supporters as possible there it would be helpful.
Also we heard today that the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office
will do a press release tomorrow on their findings for the Traditional
Cultural Properties designation for the four trees. We hear it doesn't
look good. We have to try and reach as many Federal Officials as possible
on this issue, because it doesn't look we are going to get any help from
the state agencies. We turned in our own report last Wednesday and it's
obvious that {SHPO} didn't take much time to look at our report. And any
all help that we can get is greatly appreciated. Remember we are having a
spiritual walk this Wednesday evening. I will try to keep you updated as
much as possible because time grows short. Pidamiya for all the prayers and
your support. Someday the truth will be told, and we can all tell our
children and grandchildren that we stood firm against this desecration of
Sacred Land. We will keep fighting, nothing will ever change for the
Native American people in this country unless we continue to take a stand
on these issues. Write letters and make phone calls everyday, ordinary
people can change the intolerance in this country if they care enough.

Peace and Prayers to all of you.
Love Linda
See "AICS" for addresses, phone numbers,
and previous updates.

______________________________________________________________________

PEOPLE TO CONTACT TO ASSIST IN THIS EFFORT

Rep. Mark Gleason Phone: (651) 296-5375
313 state office bldg.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:rep.mark.gleason@house.leg.state.mn.us

Rep. Jim Rhodes Phone: (651) 296-9889
409 state office bldg.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:rep.jim.rhodes@house.leg.state.mn.us

Rep. Leslie Schumacher Phone: (651) 296-5377
327 state office bldg.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:rep.leslie.schumacher@house.leg.state.mn.us

Rep. Wes Skoglund Phone: (651) 296-4330
251 state office bldg.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:rep.wes.skoglund.@house.leg.state.mn.us

Senator Linda Berglin Phone: (651) 296-4261
309 capitol FAX: (651) 296-6511 [MARK ATTN: Senator Berglin]
75 Constitution Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:sen.linda.berglin.@senate.leg.state.mn.us

Senator Carol Flynn Phone: (651) 296-4274
120 capitol FAX: (651) 296-6511 [MARK ATTN: Senator Flynn]
75 Constitution Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:sen.carol.flynn.@senate.leg.state.mn.us

Senator Sandra Pappas Phone: (651) 296-1802
120 capitol FAX: (651) 296-6511 [MARK ATTN: Senator Pappas]
75 Constitution Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:sen.sandra.pappas.@senate.leg.state.mn.us

Senator Jane Ranum Phone: (651) 297-8061   FAX: (651) 296-6511
306 capitol FAX: (651) 296-6511
[MARK ATTN: Senator Ranum]
75 Constitution Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55155
EMAIL:sen.jane.ranum.@senate.leg.state.mn.us

______________________________________________________________________

From: Kathy Morning Star
From Linda M. Brown, for SuSu:

Dear friends one of our supporters [SuSu] ask that this notice be posted
and forwarded:

A SPIRITUAL WALK FOR THE SURVIVAL OF GRANDMOTHER EARTH AND FOR THE WATERS
THAT FLOW AT COLDWATER SPRINGS AND MINNEHAHA FALLS.
KEEP HWY 55 IN THE PRESENT ALIGNMENT
WESNESDAY MAY 26, 1999 7PM 2-MILES
ASSEMBLE AT THE VA PARKING LOT ON HWY 55 BETWEEN 54TH ST AND CROSSTOWN 62,
SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS

THIS IS A LEGAL WALK, PLEASE STAY ON SIDEWALKS. STOP THE REROUTE COALITION.

FFI 612-721-5968

_____________________________________________________________________

LEGAL ACTIVITIES

From: Kathy Morning Star
From Linda M. Brown:

Dear Friends, s
Sorry I have been off the air for so long. I'll try to fill you as to what has
happened lately. The Amendment was never attached to a bill. Rep. Mark
Gleason tried at one point but before any discussion took place Rep. Wes
Skoglund stood up immediately and ask that it be found not germane to
the bill we were trying to get it attached to. This was the same bill that it
was ruled germane in the Senate. Rep. Gleason and also Rep. Satveer
Chaudhary tried to speak about it's being germane but Speaker of the
House Sviggum ruled against us. Our supporters at that time scrambled to
find another bill that it could be attached to. They did find another bill whose
author was willing to look at our amendment as friendly.

Our supporters waited until after midnight Monday night waiting to see if
this would be brought up on the floor, but unfortunately we ran out of
time. I want to thank everyone who supported us so fervently on this
legislation, I'm filled with sadness that we couldn't get this
accomplished. We have only the greatest admiration and respect for the
Representatives and Senators that worked so hard and hung in there with
us even though this was not a popular stance for them to take.

Please take the time to thank Representative Karen Clark, Representative Mark Gleason, Representative Satveer Chaudhary, Senators Ellen Anderson, Senator Linda Berglin,
Senator Gary Laidig, and even Senator Jane Ranum.

We also sincerely thank our die hard lobbyists that worked so very hard right up
until the very end, Diane, Anne, Mary, and of course John.

We did submit our own report to the State Historic Preservation Office this
week and we should find out the results of their recommendation by the end
of next week. I will email the context of the cover letter out in a few days with
some recommendations for actions that people may take to help, I feel we may
have to continue to put a lot of pressure on the Federal level, with continued
letters, and emails. We continue our vigil and ask again for your support and prayers.

Pidamiya,
Love Linda

http://www.aics.org/mendota.html

______________________________________________________________________

MENDOTA UPDATE

An update on the war front in Minnesota and I'm truly sad to report it
doesn't sound good. Democracy in action, what a sight to see.

Ellis

***********************
From: Kathy Morning Star
To: Native_Issues@onelist.com ;
FIRST_NATIONS@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM
Cc: aim@onelist.com

Date: Thursday, April 29, 1999 11:27 PM
From Linda M. Brown:

"Dear Friends,
This morning we met with MNDOT Officials at 9:00 AM. The news is not good.
They have decided that this area does not meet the TCP criteria. We were told
heir focus was only on the four trees. This was the first time we had heard this.

When we gathered the Elders they gave testimony about the whole area involved
in the reroute from the falls to the spring, their testimony talked about the sacred
meeting grounds and burials. I wonder when they will understand that our people
did not make maps or measure the land in sections.

To us the land is a gift to be passed on to future generations, and it is not our way to
destroy this gift. This is the last undeveloped land in this sacred place, our place of worship.

Our elders spoke of the whole area as sacred. During these hearings not one
question was asked of our elders and never was it clarified to us that they
were only interested in the trees. We spent two days speaking to them and
all that time they didn't have a clue, or maybe they just didn't care. The
road is the most important thing to them and they were just going through
the motions to satisfy the Judge. We were asked not to talk about this
before today and to take these reports and read them and we would have time
to do that.
Late last night I was called and told that reporters were
asking about a press conference being held by MNDOT officials at 1:00 PM
this afternoon. We were never informed this was to happen and so we stayed
for this. there was about 20 or more squad cars there with troopers all
over the place. A reporter asked MNDOT about all this security, I felt I
had to reply that "there are 4 Indian people here". What are they so afraid
of? Of course it was all about intimidation, people don't have the right to
disagree with the government anymore. After the MNDOT officials were done
with this conference we wanted to talk to the reporters too. An official
from MNDOT stated that we could not talk to the reporters in this room,
that it was only reserved for MNDOT. The lights were turned off and we had
to go outside to have our interviews, even though this was taking place in
a public building that our taxes pay for. I wonder how much overtime is
being paid for out of our tax dollars for this kind of intimidation every
time we go to a public meeting. We were asked by reporters if we felt that
the decision was racially motivated, and Leo agreed that it was. The State
of Minnesota has always taken anything they have wanted from the Native
Americans by deception or by force. Until we get Federal Officials to take
notice of the way Minnesota treats its Native Americans our rights will
never be protected. We were also told at the meeting in the morning that
they felt the Coldwater Spring could very well be considered TCP and that
this kind of study might be done for the spring only. So, if we have done
nothing else we have focused a great deal of attention on this site, and
hopefully no harm will come to the spring. We still have questions about
the construction methods being used to build the bridges, ramps. sound
walls, etc. at the intersection of hwy 55 and 62. We have not given up,
this report needs to go the State Historic Preservation Office of the
Minnesota Historical Society for their review. . They have up to 30 days
to review it. Our hope is that they will ask about all the testimony that
was not included in this report about the trees, and make a fair
determination of the all the testimony about the sacredness of the land. We
are now in the 11th hour of this fight, there are many things to do yet,

Please call all state officials and federal officials and let them know
that this whole situation is unbearable and that you would like to see
something done to preserve this Sacred Land. Please call anyone you think
might be able to help. We ask that you continue your support and prayers
for they are powerful.

Pidamiya, Love Linda"

For previous updates and email addresses, see:

http://www.aics.org/mendota.html


600 POLICE OFFICERS RAMPAGE ON 50 PROTESTING ROAD BUILDING ON SACRED LANDS

This is yet another tragedy and we urge everyone to spread this
around and do what you can to help these folks out. We abhor violence
especially when used against defenseless and peaceful people trying
to express and protect their rights. This is a very scary situation as one
would think that this kind of activity, especially after the nightmares
of Waco, Pine Ridge, Ruby Ridge or Wounded Knee for that matter have
made it more then clear that the public does NOT sanction this kind of
brutal and unprovoked attack. Might does NOT make right.


 

Subject:URGENT...Mendota community seeks assistance

Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 17:36:08 -0500

From: Ellis Smith
To: Ameri-Advocate@onelist.com

Another alert on the Land confiscations and "lets bulldoze over peoples
rights for fun and profit". Take a read, forward and help if you can.

Ellis


From: Morning Star

Subject: URGENT...Mendota community seeks assistance

This is an official request for help and update on the situation in Minnesota
involving the protest of a road being built across sacred lands. This email
was requested by Linda M. Brown who is the Mendota Exec. Officer and by Mike
Haney(AIM and Indian Arbitration 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
environmental 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 mace 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, tepees 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, tepees, ...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. The Mendota are a non-profit organization and
reaccepts will be supplied for those who request them.

Send donations to :
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 know that it is right after the holidays however, we ask that everyone
send what they can...be it money or supplies.
PLEASE HELP PROTECT OUR SACRED SITES!

In Struggle,
AIM Arizona


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