MinnesotaHistory.net began in 2004 as an attempt to get beyond the usual superficial comments about history found in the media. In our first few years we focused on issues involving Dakota burial sites and sacred places. What we hope to do now is to broaden our point of view to many other issues concerning the history of Minnesota, the 32d state.
Here is a list of the pages from the first few years of the MinnesotaHistory.net:
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Part 1: A Journey Through the Center of the Earth
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Parts 2 and 3: The Clouse Report
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Part 4: A Sense of This Place: Landscape Art by Seth Eastman and James Boyd-Brent
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Part 5: Read the (Secret) Clouse Report, Finally
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Part 6: Park Service to Dakota People: “Drop Dead.”
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Part 7: A Vision for Coldwater
Mdote Minisota, A Public EIS, Part 8: Is it sacred now?
Burial Mound Issues:
Part 1: The Death of a Mound, Politics and Human Remains in Minnesota
Part 2: A New Mound, Just as Good as the Old Mound
Part 3: The Power to “Authenticate and Identify” is the Power to Destroy
Part 4: The Remains Are NOT in a Circle
Part 5: Messages from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
Part 7: The Lincoln Mounds Cover-up
Part 8: When is a Mound Sacred?
Part 9: Laying to Rest the People of the Lincoln Mounds
Part 11: What Happened at Black Dog in 1977, by Bruce White, with The Origin and Intent of Minnesota’s Human Burials Act, by Alan Woolworth
Three Archaeologists Write About Burial Mounds
Comments and Additions to “Death of a Mound”
Reflections on Sacred Places: Ancestors are Woven in the Fabric, By Jeanne Pinette-Souldern
Reflections on Sacred Places: Quiet Sentinels, By Bill Braddock
Reflections on Sacred Places: Burial Mounds and Ethics, By Debbra Myers
Reflections on Sacred Places: Minnesota’s Disappearing Mounds, By Bruce White
Bruce – I want to congratulate you on winning the AASLH Award of Merit for your book “We Are at Home.”
Woot, woot to you!!!!
I grew up in the Red River Valley in far northwest Minnesota in Kittson County in a little town called St. Vincent, Minnesota. I write about it, on a blog I’ve done for several years now. My almost-forgotten-but-not-quite hometown is one of the oldest towns in Minnesota and has a fascinating history. I hope you’ll list it on your Minnesota Historical Bloggers’ list. Thank you!
Trish Short Lewis
http://56755.blogspot.com (my blog on St. Vincent and its neighbors)
By the way, I have written a lot about Metis history and issues, including the recognition and reclamation of the Pembina Metis Cemetery, which is just northwest of St. Vincent across the Red River of the North…
My name is John Beckmann. I am a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota native. I have started my own independent publishing company stampedepress.com and have published my first graphic book 38:
38 Is an illustrated fictional account of the 38 Sioux Indians executed in Mankato Minnesota during the December of 1862, the largest mass execution in American history. August marks the 150th anniversary of the Great Sioux Uprising. This book release could make a very interesting story in that light. Please consider reading my book and offering insightful criticisms.
June 1, 2018
Re: Comment on the Metropolitan Council Environment Services Sewer Replacement Project that Could Affect the Flow to Sacred Coldwater Springs
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES)
No one challenges the fact that the Minnehaha Park Area Regional Sewer Improvement Project needs to proceed.
The conundrum is how to execute the project and protect historic Coldwater Springs within federal and state laws and the 1805 Dakota-Pike treaty provisions “to permit the Sioux to pass, repass, hunt or make other uses of the said districts, as they have formerly done.” That includes collecting water from Coldwater for ceremonial use and drinking.
In April of 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Coldwater Springs as part of the “National Treasure” that is “Bdote Fort Snelling.” Bdote, Dakota for meeting of waters, is defined as including “the entire area known as Fort Snelling: the Upper Post, Historic Fort Snelling State Park, Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Coldwater Spring and the confluence of the rivers.”
Blindly boring holes in the bedrock above Minnehaha Falls seems to be a failure of planning. The priority before any new construction project begins that might affect Coldwater is to delineate the watershed.
Nobody really knows where Coldwater’s source waters come from. The state transportation department (MnDOT) claims the underground water to Coldwater comes from Lake Minnetonka, 12-plus miles to the west-northwest.
The late Bob Brown, chair of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, said the source of Coldwater was the hill between the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, Taku Wakan Tipi (the hill called Something Sacred Dwells Here), linked to the Dakota water spirit Un K’te Hi.
Geo-hydrologist Kelton Barr theorized that the Coldwater flow comes from an approximate ½-mile circumference to the north, west and south of the Spring.
The idea of drilling permanent holes in the bedrock for a temporary construction project is about saving money, not preserving the Springs.
The conflicting priorities can be reduced to timing and money. When MCES claims “we can’t afford to wait” because of the danger of raw sewage contaminating the Mississippi out of which 18-million Americans drink, it’s hard to argue.
Over-ruling constitutional guarantees (all treaties “shall be the supreme law of the land” Article 6, Section 2), federal (1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act) and state laws (2001 Coldwater protection act), prioritizes unelected agency decisions above law and geographic reality.
In this case there is an obvious solution.
1) Protect Coldwater by mapping the groundwater sources to this 10,000-year-old spring at an estimated cost of $45,000 so MCES can avoid further illegal loss of flow. The sewer project budget is $3.1-million. Delineating Coldwater’s footprint is a fraction of the total budget and would seem like basic research in a multi-million-dollar public infrastructure project on historic common property.
In the summer of 1976 Coldwater was used as an emergency drinking water supply when south Minneapolis water became funky and intolerable to some people.
The City of Minneapolis has a two (2) day water supply as mandated by law.
The Great Medicine Spring in Theodore Wirth Park and nearby Glenwood Spring were both permanently dewatered with construction of Interstate-394 in the late 1980s. The I-394 corridor is dewatered at a daily rate of about 2.5-million gallons; Chuck Howe at MnDOT designed the system.
When Howe was deposed by Minnehaha Creek Watershed District attorney Louis Smith in 2001 for the MCWD-MnDOT lawsuit the lawyer asked, “What about the spring?” Howe replied, “What spring?”
Coldwater is the last natural spring of size in Hennepin County. The only other major spring is the William-Miller spring that issues out of a pipe on the downhill side of Spring Road in Eden Prairie.
2)“We can’t wait” has been the mantra of MCES for several years now. The sewer project need not be postponed. Transferring sewage into the planned temporary pipes for this three-year project could begin during groundwater mapping.
Blasting 3-foot wide holes telescoped 80-feet down through limestone and shale into the soft sandstone is a very linear intrusion in an underground environment where groundwater snakes through cracks in the limestone, and where water obeys gravity.
Three-hundred gallons of groundwater per minute were dewatered at 50th Street and Hiawatha in 2000 when a grit chamber cut exposed multiple underground flows. That location is south of Minnehaha Falls and north of Coldwater and that is a lot of water and we don’t know where it went on its gravity-driven path to the Mississippi.
If “groundwater will just flow around” the grit chamber or the Highway 55/62 interchange or any new impediment, and continue on its former path—why have so many seeps at the top of the Mississippi bluff disappeared? Or why has Coldwater lost 65,000 gallons per day?
Making Swiss cheese of the bedrock just north of Minnehaha Falls is a risky “solution.” In 1878 Minnehaha Falls was the first state park in the United States—second was Niagara Falls.
Blasting two or maybe three ventilation holes may have been “state of the art” or “best practice” in the past. How about some creative thinking in this new millennium?
I was a newspaper reporter in Cocoa, Florida, near Cape Canaveral, during moon launch days. We know astronauts breathed successfully in space because we interviewed them before launch and when they returned.
If the professionals at MCES decide to respect the laws and work within the system they will seek alternative technology to preserve the intricate water veins and capillaries that course through the historic Minnehaha-Coldwater area. Instead of the arbitrary hit-or-miss plan being pedaled, the first order would be to “see” the underground land/water-scape.
In-and-out forced air ventilation 80-feet underground for the one-thousand-foot horizontal sewer repair for two-years for four-or-five workers argues for a second approach, a new look at safety for workers already using breathing masks.
Whether Metropolitan Council Environmental Services chooses to obey the laws or limit its vision of the sewer project to 1,000-feet of underground pipe is a litmus test for 21st century ethics.
Decreased flow or declining water quality abrogates the 1805 Dakota-Pike treaty, environmental protection laws, and the freedom of religious practice guaranteed in the First Amendment.
Coldwater still flows at about 65,000 gallons a day out of the Spring House as measured by the National Park Service. The Spring’s flow is down from 130,000 gal/day in the late 1990s established pre-Hiawatha construction by Kelton Barr et.al. The loss of half the flow belies the promise of “no loss” experts repeated and repeated.
Every cut, cuts Coldwater: the 55 reroute, the Hiawatha light rail, the gas line project parallel to the highway, new housing at the Veterans Administration. One “improvement” after another in a never-ending cycle of development is a growing cancer on the historic Minnehaha-Coldwater district.
The ethics of appointed government seems to be if you can’t afford to catch us in court—too bad. According to an email sent to selected recipients “the Met Council will approve the project.” If whatever plan sent to the Met Council would be approved then what is the point of engaging public participation?
for Friends of Coldwater