Indigenous Occupation of land in Minnesota: Defend Camp Coldwater! B'Dote Defenders!
On Tuesday September 2nd, Members of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires) of the Dakota Oyate reoccupied Coldwater Spring and the surrounding land. The Coldwater Spring site is an abandoned property of the defunct Bureau of Mines. As Dakota people who consider the spring as essential to our spiritual lifeway and the surrounding land as a part of our homeland of Bdote, we believe that we will be better stewards of the land than either the United States or the State of Minnesota has been. This is evidenced in the fact that the site is littered with dilapidated structures and the soil is polluted from the former Bureau of Mines.
We launched the reclamation of this sacred site with four days of ceremonies to celebrate the seasonal transition from summer to fall. While we did not ask for a permit for the four days, the property manager Robert Hanson has given us one. Despite our permit and the ceremonies that are happening on site, we have experienced heavy surveillance by Homeland Security, Hennepin County Sheriffs, and riot-police from various police agencies.
The four-day permit is due to expire tomorrow, September 5th at 3:00 pm. We will be holding a press conference on September 5th at 2:00 pm at Coldwater Spring. We invite all people to come at this time and show support for the Dakota people and our rights to both land and life.
As Dakota people, we have both a legal and a moral right to the spring and the surrounding land. We are calling on the Department of the Interior to fully restore Dakota rights to the land and to conduct a clean-up of the site, including removing dilapidated structures and restoring the land to its previously pristine condition.
We intend to make use of the site as was meant for Dakota and other Native Nations. We intend to conduct ceremonies as have been previously done at this sacred site. We intend to establish a youth camp and a space for cultural teaching, including transmission of the Dakota language. And we intend to establish gardens to distribute traditional foods to our elders once a clean-up of the site has occurred.
Directions to Camp Coldwater: From Highway 55, turn east at 54th Street and then turn right (south) on the frontage road. Proceed one block to the Bureau of Mines front gate. Go through the gate and continue heading south one more block.
For further information, contact Jim Anderson (612-910-0730), Chris Mato Nunpa (320-981-0206), or Waziyatawin (320-444-5643).
For information on support and supplies, contact Diane Elliott (651-983-6363)