Coldwater Spring meets the criteria as traditional cultural place: State agency affirms TCP eligibility

Contrary to an earlier finding by a federal agency, state officials assert that Coldwater Spring meets the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP). The Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (MNSHPO) in St. Paul, has put on record its agreement with a June 2006 report by a cultural resources consultant supporting the eligibility of Coldwater as a TCP for Dakota people. MNSHPO has informed officials at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), the local St. Paul branch of the National Park Service, that MNSHPO does not concur with the decision of MNRRA, in 2006, to reject the finding of the consultant about the Dakota importance of the spring.

Coldwater Spring basin in February 2010

In a letter of April 14, 2010, Britta Bloomberg, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, informed MNRRA of MNSHPO’s determination. The letter was written as a cover letter to the signed Memorandum of Agreement  (MOA) involving actions to be taken during the removal of buildings on the Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Campus property. (The letter and MOA are available here as a pdf.) On the issue of the status of Coldwater Spring as a TCP, Bloomberg voiced the independent judgment of the state agency, expressing some of the same surprise that others felt about the decision by MNRRA in 2006. Bloomberg stated:

While the MOA is silent on the matter, we wish to put on record our opinion that Coldwater Spring meets the criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP). Our staff has reviewed the ethnographic resources study prepared by your cultural resources consultant (June 2006) and are in agreement with their findings that the site does qualify as a TCP. We were surprised that the National Park Service has disagreed with this determination. We will be happy to discuss our reasoning. We want to be clear that signing the MOA in no way implies that we concur with the National Park Service’s opinion on this matter. We fully expect to revisit this discussion during the separate Section 106 process referenced in Stipulation II.C. of the MOA that will be undertaken before determining the final treatment plan for Coldwater Spring.

The MNSHPO is a program within the Minnesota Historical Society though it carries on functions funded through the federal government and has a role in processes such as the so-called Section 106 process, which fulfills the requirement that federal agencies take into account the effect of their actions on historic properties such as Coldwater. The MNSHPO however is an agency separate of federal agencies and provides an independent evaluation of federal decisions. Nina Archabal the director of the Minnesota Historical Society, is officially the State Historic Preservation Officer, but Deputy Director of MNSHPO Britta Bloomberg manages the program. While Archabal signed the MOA, Bloomberg signed the letter to MNRRA.

The effect of this rejection of the MNRRA decision on Coldwater Spring depends on how MNRRA–and John Anfinson, the historian in MNRRA who, according to the recently released “White Paper,” made the decision to reject the findings of the independent consultant–respond to SHPO’s letter. According to the “White Paper,”  Anfinson’s decision in 2006 did not preclude further discussion. According to a message received from Britta Bloomberg, a discussion on the issue was held on May 20, 2010, with Anfinson “and that discussion continues.”

The disagreement with the MNSHPO also provides an opportunity for the wisdom of the MNRRA/ Anfinson 2006 decision to be re-examined within MNRRA and the Park Service and also by Anfinson himself.  It is too soon to know if  federal officials or Anfinson are taking advantage of this opportunity.

Racist comments at KQRS

Here’s an email from Martha Fast Horse who has a Sunday morning radio show on KQRS radio in the Twin Cities, concerning continuing problems with the famous Shock Jock Tom Barnard who calls KQRS his home.

KQRS  apologized and said they would makes changes, but that was a lie…

Tom Barnard and his crew have been harassing me on-air since I began recording my radio show at KQRS 2 1/2 years ago. Two weeks ago I sent Tom a letter and cc’d the president and program manager asking him to stop the racist, highly inappropriate, vulgar, and offensive remarks effective immediately. There was communication, I gave it a chance, and nothing has changed. Tom is a bully of the airwaves! And even if I lose my radio show, I can no longer remain silent while they continue to perpetrate their hate mongering, racist practices against people of color and myself.

Two weeks ago what prompted me to bring this issue forward was Tom saying, “I am tired of these indigenous people claiming to have rights to the land, There was a war and you got your ass handed to you, so shut the hell up!” Waziyatawin and I talked about it on the radio show that will air on Sunday morning 6/6/10.

I called the studio and informed them that I would be coming to there on Monday to address the issue with Marc Kalman the president. His assistant said she is shocked and surprised that I would even say and do such a thing, and she would get back to me about a time on Monday. I will keep you posted… With the racist history at KQRS, I am surprised why anyone at KQ would be shocked and surprised. It is completely beyond me.

The Fort Snelling Debate

Here’s an interesting debate that took place on Fox 9 News in the Twin Cities on the evening of June 1, 2010, between Waziyatawin and John Crippen of the Minnesota Historical Society.  It is rare to see history debated on the evening news, but this debate is a great example of a discussion of current events related to the history of Minnesota, which is the goal of

Coldwater gatekeepers: A ten-year record of bias and predetermined decision-making about a Dakota place

In September 2006, an article appeared in several Twin Cities business and legal publications by Bill Clements of Dolan Media Newspapers about the role that John Anfinson, a historian, and Scott Anfinson, an archaeologist, had played over the years, in the decision-making of public agencies about the Dakota cultural and historical meaning of Coldwater Spring near Fort Snelling in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Illustrated with a photograph by Bill Clements of the two of them standing in front of the Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines Twin Cities campus main building, the article was headlined: “Brothers in Arms: Scott and John Anfinson have been in activists’ cross hairs for years because of their stand on the controversial Coldwater Spring site.” [Italics added.]

Scott and John Anfinson, decision-makers about the Dakota cultural and historical meaning of Coldwater Spring over a period of more than ten years, as viewed by artist Ned White

This 2006 article is part of the record providing evidence of a pattern of bias and predetermined decision-making  by these key government officials in gathering information and drawing conclusions about Coldwater Spring over the last ten years. The term bias is used here to convey the degree to which these officials reached what appear to be their common conclusions about Coldwater and its Dakota status as long ago as 1999 and have yet to re-examine those conclusions in the face of any evidence presented to them at any time since.

As uncovered recently through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the National Park Service, John Anfinson, historian with the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area was the key official in making decisions about Coldwater Spring. In early 2006 he decided to reject the conclusion of an independent contractor that Coldwater Spring was a place of traditional cultural importance for Dakota people.

What was not revealed in the FOIA information from the Park Service was that Anfinson had already reached his conclusions about Coldwater Spring seven years earlier, before he came to work in MNRRA, when he was a historian with the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul. It is not clear whether at that point he had actually done any research on the history or cultural meaning of the spring for the Dakota or anyone else, but he had already developed detailed opinions comparable to those he asserted in 2006.

A record of Anfinson’s thinking about Coldwater in November 1999 is found in a memo of Michelle Heller, then of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This memo which has already been discussed on this site, was obtained in a FOIA request from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 2001. It recorded a phone conversation between Heller and Anfinson, in which they spoke about the-then contentious issue of Highway 55 and the claims made by a coalition of highway opponents who sought to stop the highway in its route through the Coldwater and Minnehaha Park area. These claims included the belief that four oak trees in the highway path and Coldwater Spring both had sacred and traditional cultural importance. This is how Heller or someone else at the Advisory Council summarized the conversation at the time:

Ms. Heller questioned Dr. Anfinson about his knowledge of the Highway 55 project and of the background of the area and tribes.

Dr. Anfinson explained that his brother Scott is an archeologist in the SHPO office [State Historic Preservation Office] and they have talked about the case. The Corps has not been involved as there have been no permit issues for the area yet. Dr. Anfinson has experience in dealing with Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs) since there are 28 tribes in his Corps district.

Dr. Anfinson provided some background on the history of the area. He then stated that there is no basis to argue for the four trees or anything in the area as a TCP. He said that the spring supposedly had traditional cultural association but expressed that written evidence needs to be compared to oral testimony in determining whether this is a political move on the part of tribes.

Dr. Anfinson has been using bulletin 38 in his determination of what constitutes a TCP though he believes that this bulletin needs to be reworked. He explained that what constitutes a community needs to be defined. For example he asks, “Do eight or ten people out of a tribe of 100 constitute a community?

He also questioned what would be considered as an adequate level of evidence and states that these things need to be defined by the National Register of Historic Places. He stated that the issue of the spring is a National Register question and suggested that we talk to Carol Schull [then Keeper to the National Register]. He believes that the evidence should be weighed to determine whether it constitutes a community interest to some Native American community. He doesn’t believe that the evidence is there to support them.

He further went on to explain that this issue has been embarrassing to the Native American community because of the large amount of protesting with the lack of evidence to support the claim.

As stated in this memo, John Anfinson not only rejected the idea that the trees or spring were TCPs, but also held that the same opinion applied to anything else in the area. He questioned the legitimacy of those making claims about the TCP status of the area and whether or not any tribal involvement had to do with “a political move on the part of tribes.” Furthermore, he questioned the legitimacy of Bulletin 38 of the National Register, published in 1990, the earliest government document to define the concept of a TCP in any detail. On each of these points John Anfinson’s opinions in 1999 forecast his opinions in 2006 when he made the decision for MNRRA and the National Park Service that Coldwater Spring was not a TCP for Dakota people or for anyone else.

On the question of Dakota beliefs about Coldwater Spring, as stated earlier, what is not clear is the degree to which Anfinson, in 1999, had actually done any research to reach his conclusions. A fair student of the history of the area might at least have noted the importance of Bdote, the sacred center of Dakota culture, located around the mouth of the Minnesota River, the boundaries of which had yet to be determined. An unbiased student of Dakota history and culture might have noted that springs were important to Dakota people and that the water spirit so important in Dakota cosmography resided in Taku Wakan Tipi, an area of uncertain boundaries of which Coldwater Spring might be said to be adjacent, overlapping, or coterminous. Yet none of these thoughts appeared to have been part of the conversation between the two officials in 1999. And as it turned out these topics were given short shrift in the text of the 2006 draft EIS.

Where then did John Anfinson get his information or the detailed opinions that made him so certain about the illegitimacy of Coldwater Spring as a TCP? Given the cast of characters who were part of the events that unfolded in 1998 and 1999, and details in the Heller memo itself, the logical conclusion is that John Anfinson got his information in discussions with his brother, the archaeologist Scott Anfinson.

Though he is now Minnesota State Archaeologist, Scott Anfinson, in 1999, was the National Register Archeologist with the Minnesota SHPO, a federal program within the Minnesota Historical Society. Anfinson was in the very middle of things throughout the Highway 55 controversy of the late 1990s and early 2000s. There is evidence to suggest that Scott Anfinson came to his own beliefs about Coldwater Spring because of its association in his mind with what happened during the Highway 55 controversy. Both Anfinson and a government archeological and cultural resources consultant Berger and Associates concluded that the four oak trees were not a TCP or a place of traditional burial. However, Anfinson parted ways with the consultant on the issue of Coldwater Spring. After studying the history and culture of the Fort Snelling area, Berger stated in a report the belief that Coldwater Spring might be eligible for the National Register as a TCP.

Documents available from that time period indicate that Scott Anfinson would have none of it. At this time he had a role in overseeing Berger’s work and commenting on it in his role in the State Historic Preservation Office. A record of Anfinson’s comments is found in the notes on faxed copies of Berger report drafts from April 1999. For one thing, he noted that the eligibility of Coldwater as a TCP not a proper issue for consideration because Highway 55 would not affect Coldwater Spring. He was also skeptical about the arguments presented for eligibility of the spring. When the Berger report authors referred to the importance of springs as wakan, or sacred, he wrote in the margin: “All springs?” and later to a reference to the importance of water he wrote: “So lets nominate all oceans!” When the authors referred to—and drew conclusions from—the Dakota origin myth and to the record of the missionary Gideon Pond that Dakota believed a passageway used by the Dakota water spirit existed under Taku Wakan Tipi, he asked that this information be eliminated from the report. When the authors referred to testimony by an Ojibwe elder about the importance of Coldwater Spring as a meeting place for Dakota and Ojibwe, including participants in the medicine ceremony that both tribes shared, he wrote, referring to a waterfall a mile or so away: “Could it have been M[innehaha] Falls?” About the same elder, writing on a separate sheet, Anfinson wrote: “If oral account is accurate—Why no newspaper accounts?”And finally when the authors of the Berger report suggested a full Traditional Cultural Property analysis for Coldwater Spring, he wrote “Not your problem.”

Even after it was determined that Coldwater Spring would in fact be affected by the highway and that it would be necessary to alter the highway’s design to help preserve the spring, Scott Anfinson appears to have maintained his opinion that Coldwater Spring is not a TCP for anybody. The basis for this aversion to Coldwater seemed to have to do the fact that the oaks and the spring were linked in his mind by those who argued for their importance.

Many who believe that Dakota claims about Coldwater Spring were merely a ploy to stop highway construction or for some other purpose, point to Jim Anderson, a member of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, a non-federally recognized Dakota community in Minnesota, a state in which many Dakota have not been allowed to become members of existing communities. They allege that Anderson invented both the oaks and the spring as issues to stop highway construction and as part of some circuitous plan to achieve federal recognition for the Mendota Dakota. For those who hold this set of opinions, Coldwater Spring as an issue will always be suspect, no matter how many federally recognized Dakota people state that it is an important traditional cultural place and no matter how much historical information is presented to support the argument.

The problem of identifying Coldwater Spring with Jim Anderson is that he was not responsible for the statements of many Dakota elders and communities about the spring, nor for the historical record about Dakota cultural beliefs about springs and about the area. In a recent conversation I asked Anderson about the whole issue and he recalled that when he obtained testimony about the importance of the area to try to stop highway construction: “I brought the elders together so they would talk about the oaks. But all they wanted to do was talk about the spring.” In doing so they spoke eloquently, in testimony and in legal affidavits, about the significance of the spring, historically and culturally. No matter what questions one might raise about the traditional cultural importance of the four oak trees, there is no getting around the statements made by Dakota elders and spiritual leaders at that time and later about Coldwater Spring. Their statements appear to have had little effect on the views of either Scott or John Anfinson.

It should be noted that while Scott Anfinson appears firm in his beliefs about Coldwater not being a TCP, he has supported other properties for nomination as Dakota TCPs, particularly some in which Jim Anderson has not been the prime advocate. In 2005, he became the State Archaeologist, a job which has as a primary responsibility overseeing burial sites within the state. He is known to be knowledgeable to some degree about Dakota ethnography and has often sought out the views of Dakota elders on particular sites, including at least one Dakota elder, the late Gary Cavender, whose opinion on Coldwater Spring his brother John appears to have found suspect. My own opinion is that Scott simply has a blind spot when it comes to Coldwater Spring that prevents him from treating the issue fairly.

As for John Anfinson, in 2000 he went to work for MNRRA. Since then, at various times over the years, while he sought to find a future owner for the Bureau of Mines property, starting with the Metropolitan Airport Commission, Anfinson expressed public skepticism about the TCP status of Coldwater Spring. He often said that the just wasn’t enough documentation, but that he had an open mind about the issue, if someone would just bring him the information necessary. He did not, however, frequently explain in any detail what it would take to convince him.

In 2005, as the Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Campus environmental review process geared up, John Anfinson oversaw the work of a contractor hired to study the eligibility of Coldwater Spring as a TCP. According to several documents released this year under a FOIA request from, the reason a contractor was hired to do the study was that the Park Service officials including Anfinson did not have time to do the study themselves. Evidence suggests that Anfinson may have sought to influence the result of the independent study or at least that he informed the authors of the study about his disagreements with their conclusions at various points in their work. A few memos between Anfinson, an ethnographer named Michael Evans and other Park Service officials suggest that by March 2006 neither Evans nor Anfinson agreed with the conclusions drawn by the independent contractor. Anfinson wrote at the end of March 2006 about how to deal with their disagreements with the conclusions of the independent contractor:

Ideally, I would like them to rewrite it again, based on face to face discussions. I believe they simply do not understand the TCP and National Register guidelines. I also do not know how they can defend their conclusions. . . . Unless we ask them to revise the report again, I would go beyond the normal disclaimer. I would say something to the effect that not only does this report not reflect the position of the NPS, the NPS disagrees with its analysis and conclusions.

Exactly what disagreements Anfinson had with the report and the independent contractor’s interpretation of the National Register and TCP guidelines is not clear from available memos or other documents from that time period. Anfinson does not appear to have kept any memos or emails recording his interactions with anyone about the decision he would reach on the TCP status of Coldwater. Notably, even though some of Anfinson’s emails survived in the possession of the ethnographer Michael Evans, Anfinson’s own copies of those or other emails he sent or received were not forthcoming in the recent Park Service FOIA documents.

The difficulty with interpreting Anfinson’s critique of the independent contractor’s analysis of eligibility is that back in 1999, as noted in the Heller memo, he disagreed with the guidelines on TCPs included in Bulletin 38, suggesting that they needed to be revised. In 2006 was Anfinson really objecting to the fact that they contractors did not understand the National Register or was his problem that they did not have the same critical view of the National Register and TCP guidelines that he had? Without a record of detailed analysis kept by Anfinson during this period it is difficult to know.

While he had made his decision in the spring, Anfinson did not write any detailed explanation of the decision until after the fact, midway through the draft EIS comment period in October 2006. His co-respondent on the issue, the ethnographer Michael Evans himself wrote a two-page memo on the question possibly in spring 2006 but it does not appear to have been used by Anfinson in his decision-making. However both the Evans memo and the October 2006 Anfinson memo will be discussed in detail in a later article.

After Anfinson made the decision that Coldwater was not a TCP in the spring of 2006, the MNRRA office now sent out copies of the independent report with the warning label on it stating that the Park Service rejected the independent report’s conclusions. In May 2006 MNRRA sent a review copy of the Ethnographic Study to Stanley Crooks, chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and, possibly, to other Dakota communities. JoAnn Kyral, superintendent of MNRRA stated in a letter to Crooks:

The study offers substantial background information about Dakota Indian Life around the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers and about Dakota traditions related to springs and water. However, little evidence is provided that relates directly to the site specific use of the Center [BOM-Twin Cities Campus] property or Coldwater Spring. After thoroughly reviewing the evidence provided in the report the National Park Service has concluded that neither the Center nor Coldwater Spring meet the specific criteria in the National Register to designate the area as a TCP. However, it is clear that the spring has significant contemporary cultural importance to many Indian people, and the spring is already a contributing element to the Fort Snelling National Historic Landmark and the Fort Snelling National Register of Historic Places District. In recognition of this contemporary cultural importance and the contributing element factors, an alternative will be included in the EIS that would provide protections for the spring and reservoir (Ethnographic Study, Appendix B).

Once again, the issue of a disagreement about criteria was raised, but without much more detail, nor any detailed response to the independent report. And as I said in 2006, Kyral’s other words were condescending, suggesting that although the federal government rejected the Dakota communities’ claim to the spring as a historical and cultural feature and in the process rejected the history and cultural traditions on which it is based, the Park Service would try to protect the spring because it is part of a site important for, among other things, its role in colonizing Minnesota and sending the Dakota into exile in 1863. The area’s place in Dakota history was not significant; its white history was. The irony of this juxtaposition was evidently lost on MNRRA.

As amply recorded on over the last four years, the draft EIS on the Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines property was issued in August 2006. It contained the warning label about the independent TCP report, but with no further analysis of the basis of the decision. On September 13, 2006 I wrote an article on this website criticizing the decision and questioning its basis.

It was shortly after my analysis was published online that the Clements article on the Anfinson Brothers appeared in Twin Cities newspapers. The article told of the Highway 55 struggle seven years before. Scott Anfinson mentioned the satisfaction he had in not being part of the controversy now that he was State Archaeologist and had no real decision-making role on whether or not Coldwater Spring would be recognized as a TCP. He was amused in part by the criticism that his brother was receiving, which he said was similar to the vilification he felt during the Highway 55 controversy. He mentioned a court appearance in which Coldwater preservation supporters made disparaging remarks to him after his testimony. This caused court officials to show him a side door so that he could avoid passing through the crowd on his way out. (My own recollection of a Hennepin County court appearance was that it involved one last attempt to stop highway construction in 2000. Scott was there to testify in support of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. And my recollection is that the person who addressed Anfinson in a mildly disparaging way was Jim Anderson of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community.)

As for John Anfinson, the Clements article reported his belief that

the historical evidence just does not support Coldwater Spring receiving the TCP designation. Conferring the status on Coldwater would set the wrong precedent . . . Are we in danger here of creating Native American history? I don’t think it’s a good idea. Once we get words locked into our white man’s history books, they are there forever. . . . I’d caution people to make sure we get this right.

To this, apparently, according to Bill Clements, Scott Anfinson agreed. Despite having no legal role in the decision, Scott, who was described in the article as a “national expert on TCPs,” commented, apparently interrupted occasionally by additional comments from his brother John:

The distinction that needs to be made that while Coldwater can be a sacred site to American Indian tribes that doesn’t mean it qualifies as a TCP. “The evidence just isn’t there.” In fact, John says , “My job would be phenomenally easier if the evidence were there.” “Why would we dispute it if the evidence were there? Scott asks. “We wouldn’t,” John adds.

Reading this article, which of course one or the other of the Anfinsons may now want to question in terms of accuracy, one is nonetheless led to ask a question that is not merely rhetorical. Just who made the determination for the National Park Service that Coldwater Spring was not a TCP, was it John or Scott, or was it both of them together? Just when did they make their decision that Coldwater was not a TCP and would never be one? Was it in 2006 or 1999 or 1998, or at some earlier time?

This record of information-gathering and interchange of opinions between John and Scott Anfinson about Coldwater Spring calls into question the actions of MNRRA about the Dakota claims to Coldwater Spring all the decisions that have followed from that decision.

There will be more discussion of this issue soon on

A Personal Note

Over the years I have known and respected John and Scott Anfinson for their knowledge and intelligence. I knew John Anfinson when he was in graduate school and when he worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. We ate lunch together in downtown St. Paul occasionally over a period of years and he was helpful to me in some of my research projects. When he went to work for MNRRA I wished him well and over the many years that followed offered my help in providing information about Coldwater Spring based on the research I had done and was continuing to do on the entire Fort Snelling area. At one point I offered to do a historical study of the Bureau of Mines property for the Park Service but did not get that opportunity, something that upset me at the time, but for which I did not blame John. Later without any compensation from anyone I submitted information to expand the historical record in the EIS on Coldwater Spring and the Fort Snelling area.

Throughout the last few years, I began to have a growing sense that no historical or cultural information that I or anyone else could supply to MNRRA or to John Anfinson—aside from information from the reports of contractors with which John Anfinson agreed—was of the slightest interest to anyone in the MNRRA office. In the end not a single piece of historical information I supplied to MNRRA made its way into the final EIS, not even information that contradicted historical statements in the draft document. All of this had made me question the nature of the very process through which the Park Service reached its decision on the property. The result has appeared biased and predetermined, especially in relation to the TCP status of the spring. The idea that the determination of the TCP status of Coldwater was open throughout the environmental review period, and continues to be open for discussion, as the “White Paper” claims, is entirely contradicted by the lack of attention or review or discussion that MNRRA has given to any information about the TCP or Native status of the spring supplied to it at any point since the summer of 2006. Instead the actions of John Anfinson and MNRRA have given proof to allegations of bias and predetermination.

As for Scott, he is an archaeologist and I am a historical ethnographer. We both received PhDs from the University of Minnesota’s Anthropology Department. Since then we were on vehemently opposite sides on questions involving Highway 55, but we worked together on Oheyawahi/ Pilot Knob. When, in 2003, Alan Woolworth and I wrote the nomination of that site as a TCP, Scott was extremely helpful in suggesting revisions to the nomination and getting it approved by the state review board, which led to a determination of the hill as eligible for the National Register. Later on he and I were on the same side of other important issues. While I respect Scott, I believe that on the issue of TCPs he sometimes feels he knows more about them than anybody else in Minnesota, including the Native people for whom particular TCPs are important. I think he sometimes feels that he knows more about TCPs than Tom King, who was the co-author of Bulletin 38. On the issue of Coldwater Spring I feel that Scott has a large blind spot and that he is incapable of dealing with the issue fairly. Whether he shares this blind spot with his brother John one would have to compare John’s actions on Coldwater with those in other situations involving TCPs. So far I have not obtained a full enough record of John’s involvement with other TCPs to draw any conclusions. Perhaps John could convince me of his lack of bias in making the decision for MNRRA on Coldwater. For now, I have to say, there just isn’t enough data to offset the record discussed here.

The real plans for saving Fort Snelling from attack

By Daniel Shagobince

Here are some real plans that people are talking about for what to do about Fort Snelling and keep it from being attacked. You are going to want to read this because it is very topical,  including all the parts some of you campers will not like at all.

The guy who runs this website, that “White” guy, is telling me to stop talking trash about those rich people on the Minnesota River just south of Bloomington because other people are giving him carp about it and talking about sovereignty, which is really scary. OK, I get the message. I’m a changed person of infindecimal characteristics and I will try harder because that is completely, exactly how vaguely defined I am.

So, about Fort Snelling. That lady Nina Archabal (AKA Oprah), is retiring this year. When she said she was going to go she told a reporter that Fort Snelling will be a big honking job for the next Pope of the historical society because Fort Snelling was falling apart just like Humpty Dumpty. Earth to Oprah! Remember that part about “All the king’s horses and all the King’s may not be being able to put Humpty back together again”?  Even I knew that. (By the way did you see that I didn’t call it the “hysterical society” because you jokers need to know that calling it that is just lame and stupid especially when you are writing something that is pretty long and have to keep saying it because the editor says you have to be consistent?)

Fort Snelling: It’s the new white treat. It’s what’s for dinner!

According to what I hear from people who may or may not know, who are the best kind of people to tell you the real truth, those people at the historical society are planning all kinds of things to figure out how to handle Fort Snelling because it is a handful and because of what is going to happen between now and 2012 when all heck breaks loose. That lady Nina Archabal had her picture taken in front of Fort Snelling because as far as she was concerned: “Fort Snelling, it’s the new white treat. It’s what’s for dinner!” And she was going to be getting in there and taking a stand. She was going to be saying: “If those darn Dakotas think they’re going to tear down Fort Snelling I will crush them with my fancy shoes!”

But now that that lady is retiring, those people are going to have to figure out what to do about that fort and about those darn Dakotas. Some people there are going to try and carry on what that Nina lady was planning, which is why that guy the other day said that the historical society was going to start planning for Dakota internment there. He really said that! Can you believe it? The ad slogan was going to be: “It was great in 1862, why not now?”

But from what I hear there are people in that historical society who are a lot nicer (Mnisota waßtecake?) and they want to try some other things first before rounding up Dakotas into internment camps. They figure that pretty soon there will be people crawling over the walls and hanging signs saying “Tear Down this darn place!” (Right, they’re really going to say “darn.”)  Some of these people at the historical society used to work in art museums and they have good contacts with that artist/ bagman Christo, not the guy with the Greek restaurants, but the guy who hangs stuff up, wraps things, and puts covers over rivers. And it just happens to be the real truth that that Nina lady is a good pal of Christo, from way back when she did what she really liked, which was to run an art museum, instead of that boring carp, history.

Pretty soon there are going to be banners all over that fort with slogans on them.

So what they were going to do is get Christo to wrap up Fort Snelling with sheets and sheets of sheets. Put it under a layer of something with some good tight ropes so it is protected for a few years, until at least 2013, after the 150th anniversary of the stuff that happened in 1862 and 1863 when the 38 (+2 later) Dakotas were hanged with ropes and the rest of them were wrapped up and shipped out of state, by the federal express of that time. I just happen to have some pictures here that these guys gave me showing how they were going to be wrapping up Fort Snelling. You’ve got to give it to them. It is a great concept.

Fort Snelling, all wrapped up by Christo

Fort Snelling, all wrapped up by Christo

But the big obstacle for that is that there is this guy who is married to that other woman, who just happens to be running for governor, the wife, that is. And this guy is working for the historical society and he is saying: “Those types in the legislature won’t like this, paying all that dope for grak.” (Because generally those types hate paying dope for grak or even crump, or so I am being told.) So he is putting a stop to that. And of course there are other people who think that wrapping up that fort is kind of weak, so they say that if you can’t beat them up, join them. And they are all for getting that other guy Jim Denomie (a really great guy and I really mean that, although I’ve never met him, it’s just something I hear from that “White” guy, who keeps going “Jim Denomie is such a great artist and a real mensch” or something like that and no one else ever says anything bad about him) that fort painter who’s been working on plans of his own for the fort, including turning it into a hamburger place. They’re going to call it Burger Bdote. I swear this is true, even though he is Anishinabe and that could be a problem for those darn Dakotas.

Burger Bdote, as suggested by Jim Denomie

The new Burger Bdote at Fort Snelling, as inspired by artist Jim Denomie

But a lot of times a lot of guys at the historical society are always asking: “But what’s the bottom line?” Then they start talking about fund raising. And those guys have other plans. They are thinking they will show those other darn Dakotas a thing or two by turning over Fort Snelling to those folks with the money machine down the river to put their new money machine right there where it belongs at Bdote, right there inside Fort Snelling. And it will be called Mystic Bdote Junction. I mean Bdote really is THE junction, in case you were not aware. So what are the darn Dakotas going to be doing then, complain about other Dakotas? You can’t tell me they would do that. I know they all get along with each other. They never fight. They are all kodas, at least the men are, and they are all niijikwes and nijikwenhs and copains and copines and druhs and tovaryshes. Which is great because who wants to be in a room with relatives who are not getting along with each other? It is a P.I. T. B. And what’s more you might get hit.

Mystic Bdote Junction, a new vision for Fort Snelling

But the bottom line for this whole deal is that Nina Archabal (AKA Oprah) is now retiring and this whole problem is going to be a problem for who ever it is who has to fill her fancy shoes, or least her profile.

So nobody knows who is going be the next Pope of the historical society, but whoever it is is going to have problems with Fort Snelling that make Humpty Dumpty look like a simple problem.

See! I didn’t say anything bad at all about the folks with the money machine on the Minnesota River. They are the good guys in this story. They are going to save Fort Snelling! Just like I said I am a changed person. Or I least I have change, in case you need some spare for the penny slots.

NOTICE: The opinions of Daniel Shagobince and the other commentators on this site are their own and do not represent those of

Historical Society to include internment of Indians in programming

According to a recent story on WCCO-TV, the Minnesota Historical Society says “it will expand programming to include the internment of Indians.” Let’s just see how that works for them and “the Indians.” A good test will be this weekend, when various groups will converge on the Fort Snelling area for the events described below

May 29th: March on Fort Snelling! National Day of Action Against SB 1070!

WHEN: 12pm, May 29th, 2010 (Immigrants and Allies)
11:30am (Dakota and Native People)

WHERE: Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building–1 Federal Drive Fort Snelling, MN (Immigrants & Allies)
Saint Peters Church, Mendota — 1405 Sibley Memorial Highway (Dakota and Native)
For Map – Click Here

WHY: May 29th is the opening day celebration of Historic Fort Snelling, a former concentration camp that was used to imprison Dakota people following the Dakota Uprising of 1862. Primarily women and children were held there over the winter of 1862-1863, before being force marched into exile and the institution of governor Ramsey’s genocidal extermination law. The opening day’s events include a host of family-friendly historical re-enactments that glorify the history of land theft and military occupation of Dakota land.

Dakota People and Allies relaunch the Take Down the Fort campaign in response to the racist celebration and re-inactment of genocidal actions, and the 2010 proposed multi-million dollar renovation plans on a replica of what used to be Fort Snelling. Modeled after its 1820s condition, Fort Snelling was rebuilt after it was declared a historical landmark.  The replica is crumbling and the Minnesota Historical Society wants Minnesota tax-payers to foot the $6.7 million bill to rebuild the structure at a time when state social services and education system are on the chopping block.

$1.4 million was spent on attempting to repair the crumbling structures at Fort Snelling this year alone. When Nina Archabal announced her retirement in April of 2010 as the director of the Minnesota Historical Society, she proclaimed: “The new direct will have to ‘figure out how to knit Fort Snelling back together; it’s like Humpty Dumpty, it’s falling apart. That’s probably a 10-year undertaking [of construction].” If Fort Snelling is neither physically or politically viable, then why should we allow for our state government to fund its existence?

May 29th is the National Day of Action Against SB1070 in response to Arizona’s newly adopted anti-immigration legislation that promotes racial profiling and collective punishment by mandating law enforcement officers to check the citizenship of anyone who looks “suspicious”. A bill nearly identical to SB1070 was recently introduced in Minnesota by a Republican Representative and co-signed by five members of the House.

Immigrants and Allies to Kick Off Boycott Arizona – Minnesota! (BAM!)
An alliance of Minnesota immigrants and their allies are launching a campaign to Repeal SB1070 by encouraging individuals, organizations, and businesses to boycott Arizona, and to show the right wing extremists that we will not tolerate hateful Arizona style laws here in Minnesota.

We March Together!

Dakota, Latinos, and Allies! Immigrants and allies will meet up to rally against ongoing racism and exploitation in the form of SB1070 and the Minnesota version of the bill at the Bishop Henry Whipple (BHW) Federal Building, which houses ICE and the Department of Homeland Security. This rally will then march to join Dakota activists and rally at Fort Snelling against the ongoing racist occupation of Dakota homelands and sovereignty! We are marching together to build power and solidarity around brown unity, to highlight that colonization, land theft, and racist policies are the threads that tie together the experiences many Dakota, Latin@, and immigrant, and oppressed people find themselves in today.

Our Demands

Repeal SB1070 and similar anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and here in Minnesota, including the Criminal Alien Program and 287G!

No further funding should be approved for rehabilitation of Fort Snelling in the middle of global economic crisis! While schools are shut and social services cut, the yearly and rehabilitative funding of the fort stands as a symbol of the unethical and unsustainable priorities that we all suffer from! No more celebrations and reinactments of colonization– these are racist and offensive. The Historic Fort replica must be demolished and this land, located on the site of the Dakota genesis and genocide, must be returned to Dakota People’s control!

Stains on “White Paper”–On the nature of bureaucratic information-gathering

Bureaucratic approaches to the study of history and culture are fundamentally authoritarian. Understanding bureaucratic knowledge-gathering and bureaucracies in general requires ethnographic knowledge, including the folk knowledge, traditions, and practices of bureaucrats, which is sometimes only retrievable through the Freedom of Information Act.

Bureaucrats insist on the codification of rules for gathering and interpreting history. Though apparently scientific and unbiased in nature these rules are self-serving for the bureaucrat, serving the goals of government agencies or private bureaucracies. It is always easier when dealing with information that is challenging to the position of the bureaucrat if one can question its adherence to a set of bureaucratically-established rules, rather than deal with the meaning of the information itself. Similarly, it is easier to call attention to the use of bureaucratically-defined terminology than to deal with the merits of an opposing argument.  If the non-bureaucrat–that is to say, the person–can be shown to have used a word or phrase in the wrong way, then this will be used as a way of defeating the person’s argument without necessitating the use of real contradictory data.

The concept of data, itself, is often a bureaucratic concept. In drafting rules and in defining terms, the bureaucrat seeks to define the very nature of what is information and what is not. The bureaucrat defines data in ways that is supportive of the bureaucratic position. Written records, viewed as authoritative, especially when created by a bureaucracy, are preferred over oral history or tradition, even in circumstances when the meaning in question has to do with living oral tradition itself.  When information that does not accord with arbitrary standards created by the bureaucrat is presented in a public arena, then the validity of the information can be easily undermined.

Bureaucracies are more forgiving of the flaws in their own historical records than they are of the history assembled by others.  Information that fits the bureaucrat’s own preconceptions, prejudices, and assumptions is assumed to be accurate. If information gathered supports the motives and beliefs of bureaucratic managers, standards for judging it are lower than evidence that contradicts those beliefs and motives. In fact, what bureaucrats know or think they know requires little evidence at all. Few critical standards of accuracy are applied to it.

In most public contexts, including in bureaucracies, history is respected if it comes from official sources. Information from such sources is sometimes labelled a “White Paper“–an ostensibly “authoritative report,” one without blemish or flaw. Information from bureaucratic sources is preferred to information from non-bureaucratic sources. Information from tribal governments is preferred to information from tribal people, even from tribal historians, elders, or spiritual leaders. Individuals are assumed to have an ax to grind. Bureaucracies are, by definition, never motivated by personal motives.They are believed to be purely dispassionate and scientific in their points of view. They never have an ax to grind or a dog in any fight.

Media are simply another form of bureaucracy. Newspapers in particular prefer information from official sources. Questions about the accuracy of historical information are often discounted by media when it comes from individuals, especially if this involves a challenge to information collected by official bureaucracies. When official sources question the accuracy of information from individuals, the official source is assumed by the media to be accurate.

All of this explains why it is difficult to call into question the accuracy of information gathered by a bureaucracy. Since bureaucracies naturally protect other bureaucracies, it usually takes a major scandal, such as a hand in the till, sex, or some vaguely shocking facts of some sort or another. Even if these facts are only related indirectly to the accuracy of information, they are often enough to raise questions. Once questions start being asked, it is finally possible to change the equation in the process of bureaucratic information-gathering. But the questions raised have to have some basis in fact or they will simply affirm the false legitimacy of the bureaucratic information structure.

The application of this analysis to the bureaucratic information-gathering practices of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area’s in regard to the Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Campus property in Hennepin County, Minnesota, will be discussed next time.

Who decided Coldwater Spring is not a Dakota traditional cultural site? New information from a FOIA request

The local Twin Cities office of the National Park Service, known as MNRRA, the National Mississippi River and Recreation Area, has provided clarification on who it was within the agency who made the decision almost four years ago to reject the findings of a government consultant–which stated in an Ethnographic Study, that Coldwater Spring at the Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Campus property near Fort Snelling in Hennepin County, Minnesota, is a place of traditional cultural importance for Dakota people.

According to a document–a “White Paper”–from MNRRA recently released by the Park Service under a FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act request made by,

For the Draft EIS, MNRRA’s Cultural Resources Specialist, Dr. John Anfinson, evaluated Coldwater Spring’s eligibility for the National Register as a TCP under 36 CFR part 63 and under National Register Bulletin 38, Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Traditional Cultural Properties. He found that Coldwater Spring did not meet the National Register criteria or the guidelines of Bulletin 38. MNRRA presented this initial finding in the Draft EIS.

Prior statements from MNRRA in 2006 asserted that the decision was the result of “agency internal review” within the Park Service. Commenting on this at that time, I wrote:

In other words, the Park Service wished to make clear that The Agency—meaning anyone from the Park Service Director Fran Mainella, Regional Director Ernest Quintana in Omaha, some park superintendent in Hawaii, or one or two local staff in Minnesota including, possibly, Superintendent JoAnn Kyral, Project Manager Kim Berns, historian John Anfinson, cultural anthropologist Michael J. Evans, or even MNRRA’s Singing Ranger Charlie McGuire—had decided that Coldwater Spring does not meet the criteria as a traditional cultural property for Dakota people. The Park Service wanted everyone to know this but was unwilling to provide reasons, and use of the term “internal review” suggests that the Park Service would claim an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act to anyone who requesting documentation of the process. [Note: Most of these links from 2006 appear not to work any more.]

The last part of this statement was based on the fact that the Park Service had used an exemption to other requests for information based on assertion that release of certain information would jeopardize its decision-making concerning the disposition of the Coldwater/Bureau of Mines Twins Cities Campus property. By January 2010 when did submit a FOIA request for this information, the decision about the disposition of the Coldwater site had finally been made, so there was no basis to refuse to release the information. This new document, released along with other documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from, states that the internal review was done by Anfinson himself, involving no one else in the agency.

The first page of the White Paper created by the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area to respond to a FOIA request for information about its decision in 2006 to reject Coldwater Spring as a Dakota traditional cultural site. Ned White photo.

Usually when people submit FOIA requests for information from government agencies they are warned that the agency is only required to release existing documents, not to create documents when they do not exist. In this case MNRRA was asked to provide documentation of the internal review described in the Coldwater/ Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Campus draft EIS prior to the release of the impact statement in August 2006. In response, MNRRA stated that there was very little documentation on how the decision was reached,  so MNRRA had to create a document to explain the review process for what turns out to have been the Anfinson decision. The result is the document included below in its entirety.

There is a lot to say about the information and the reasoning shown in the document. One can easily dispute some of the statements recorded in the document as fact. Furthermore, it should be noted that the document provides little support for the decision Anfinson made, except to say that he made the decision. Based on the criticism Anfinson himself sought to apply to what Dakota people said about Coldwater Spring as a traditional cultural place–that it was not well documented–one could easily question the legitimacy of the Anfinson decision. All of this and the information provided in other documents the Park Service released under the FOIA request will be discussed in the days ahead. In the meantime, here’s what MNRRA says about how it decided to ignore its own consultant and to reject the beliefs of Dakota people about Coldwater Spring.

White Paper
MNRRA Section 106 Review Process for the Bureau of Mines Project
Traditional Cultural Property Evaluation

There is little documentation concerning the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area’s (MNRRA) determination that Coldwater Spring did not qualify as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP), under the requirements of the National Register of Historic Places, prior to August 18, 2006. The reason for this has to do with the relationship between the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (section 106) processes. The final determination on the TCP status was open until MNRRA sent out the final MOA for signature on January 20, 2010. And, MNRRA is still willing to consider the designation.

For the Bureau of Mines (BOM) project, the cultural) resources review, including the Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) evaluation, has fallen primarily under the section 106 review process. For the purposes of the BOM Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), MNRRA decided to conduct the section 106 process parallel to the EIS process, although the studies and consultation undertaken for the section 106 process informed the Draft EIS and Final EIS.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservations’ (Advisory Council) regulations, 36 CFR 800.8(4) “Approval of the undertaking,” states that “…if the agency official has found, during the preparation of an EA or EIS that effects of an undertaking on historic properties are adverse, the agency official shall develop measures in the EA, DEIS, or EIS to avoid, minimize, or mitigate such effects in accordance with paragraph (c)(1)(v) of this section. The agency official’s responsibilities under section 106 and the procedures in this subpart shall then be satisfied when either:

(i) A binding commitment to such proposed measures is incorporated in:

(A) The ROD, if such measures were proposed in a DEIS or EIS; or

(B) An MOA drafted in compliance with Sec. 800.6(c); or

(ii) The Council has commented under Sec. 800.7 and received the agency’s response to such comments.”

MNRRA is complying with this provision of the Advisory Council’s regulations, as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) has been Written in compliance with section 800.6(c).

Under section 800.4, identification of Historic Properties, a Federal Agency is to “Seek information, as appropriate, from consuming parties, and other individual and organizations likely to have knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the area, and identify issues relating to the undertaking’s potential effects on historic properties.” And, specifically, a Federal Agency is to seek information from American Indian Tribes regarding sites “which may be of religious and cultural significance to them and may be eligible for the National Register.” MNRRA did both.

MNRRA consulted with those American Indian communities that had shown in an interest in Coldwater Spring and with the Minnesota State Historic Preservation office (SHPO). The American Indian communities consulted included the: Lower Sioux Indian Community, Prairie Island Indian Community, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Upper Sioux Community, Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe and the White Earth Band of the Chippewa. MNRRA also included the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, which is not a federally-recognized Tribe. MNRRA would subsequently consult with 10 Dakota tribes.

To more fully understand the American Indian history associated with Coldwater Spring, MNRRA contracted with Summit Envirosotutions, inc., and Two Pines Resource Group, LLC to complete an ethnographic study of the BOM property. (See The Cultural Meaning of Coldwater Spring: Final Ethnographic Resources Study of the Former U.S. BOM.) The contractors submitted their final) report in June 2006, and the Draft EIS was released on August 18, 2006.

Section 800.4(c) states that once a Federat Agency has gathered the information concerning historic properties, the agency “shall apply the National Register criteria (CFR part 63) to properties identified within the area of potential) effects” in consultation with the SHPO and any Indian Tribe that attaches religious and cultural significance to identified properties. The Federal Agency has to conduct the evaluation as guided by the Secretary’s Standards and Guidelines for Evaluation. MNRRA complied with section 800.4(c) after receiving the final ethnographic report in June 2006.

For the Draft EIS, MNRRA’s Cultural Resources Specialist, Dr. John Anfinson, evaluated Coldwater Spring’s eligibility for the National Register as a TCP under 36 CFR part 63 and under National Register Bulletin 38, Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Traditional! Cultural Properties. He found that Coldwater Spring did not meet the National Register criteria or the guidelines of Bulletin 38. MNRRA presented this initial finding in the Draft EIS. The TCP review process under Section 800.4, however, was just beginning. MNRRA’s position stated in the Draft EIS was simply an initial finding and open for discussion.

TCP Review Process after August 18, 2006

MNRRA staff (Kim Berns, Steve Johnson, and John Anfinson) met with SHPO staff (Britta Bioomberg, Dennis Gimmestad, Susan Roth and Dave Mather) on August 29, 2006, to discuss a!) the cultural resources issues regarding BOM property, including MNRRA’s position on the TCP evaluation. At this meeting, the SHPO stated that it wanted to wait until the Department of Interior (DOI) selected a preferred alternative before negotiating a Memorandum of Agreement, as. there were too many variables in the draft EIS to consider in a Programmatic Agreement. (See attached meeting notes dated August 29, 2006).

On October 4, 2006, MNRRA sent letters to the SHPO and the Tribes who had participated in the Ethnographic Study detailing MNRRA’s position on the TCP determination. Per 800.4(c) MNRRA asked the Tribes’ their comments and for additional! information concerning Coldwater Spring as a TCP. At this point, MNRRA had not made a final decision concerning the TCP. No Tribe nor the SHPO has replied to this letter or the analysis provided by MNRRA. (See the attached October 4, 2006, letters to Tribes and the SHPO).

On December 23, 2008, MNRRA notified the Minnesota SHPO that the DOI had selected a preferred alternative, reviewed the potential impacts to cultural) resources and requested the SHPO’s comments on the undertaking. Then on January 22, 2009, MNRRA announced an open house meeting for Monday February 23, 2009, through letters to the SHPO, Tribal governments, interest groups and individuals on its mailing list. The meeting’s purpose was to collect public comment on reuse and restoration of the BOM property under the preferred alternative and to specifically gather input on the potential impacts to historic resources on the BOM property.

On January 23, 2009, the SHPO sent a letter concurring with MNRRA that removing the buildings would constitute an adverse effect on the BOM Historic District and supported continued coordination between agencies as demolition work and landscape treatment for the property became more defined. The SHPO also asked MNRRA to “re-review” the TCP issue.

On February 11, 2009, MNRRA wrote to 10 Dakota Tribes letting them know they should have received one letter on December 3, 2008, announcing the preferred alternative and another on January 22, 2009, inviting them to the open house scheduled for February 23. Superintendent Paul Labovitz stated that “My staff and I are available to discuss with you any concerns you may have regarding the preferred alternative, the site’s restoration, and the site’s future use and management.” In its announcement about the February 23, 2009, open house, MNRRA specifically stated that historic preservation was one of the key topics for the meeting (see the January 22, 2009, announcement and related handouts attached). The 10 Dakota Tribes were: Lower Sioux Indian Community, Prairie Isiand Indian Community, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Upper Sioux Community, Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, and the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska.

At the February 23 public meeting, Cultural Resources Specialist Dr. John Anfinson answered questions and explained section 106 compliance to those who talked to him. He emphasized the need to develop a MOA and asked for what input on how what to address in it. Individuals, organizations, and Tribes were also asked to submit written and oral comments directly related to the section 106 process and development of the MOA. MNRRA took those comments related to the MOA and considered them in its drafting of the MOA.

MNRRA notified the Advisory Council of the preferred alternative and the alternative’s potential impacts to cultural resources per Sec. 800.6(a)(1) of the Advisory Council’s regulations on February 26, 2009. MNRRA requested Advisory Council participation to resolve those adverse effects. MNRRA noted its position on the TCP determination. The Advisory Council did not respond. Therefore, MNRRA has proceeded per section 800(b)(1) of the regulations, which provides for proceeding without Advisory Council involvement. MNRRA also contacted the Keeper of the National Register Office on February 27, 2009, and specifically asked for advice on the TCP issue. The National Register did not reply.

On April 28, 2009, MNRRA sent the Draft MOA and supporting documentation to the SHPO and requested their comments. The SHPO replied on June 1, 2009, and suggested that MNRRA develop a detailed protection plan for Coldwater Spring and Reservoir in developing the plan, the SHPO asked MNRRA to “take into account the importance of the area as ascribed by various groups (as documented in the WHEREAS clauses).” The SHPO also stated that there was “The need for additional consideration of the Traditional Cultural Property evaluation of the spring and NPS’s review of that study…” and asked that this be part of the discussion concerning treatment of the spring. MNRRA put protection provisions for the spring in the MOA and agreed to conduct more conversations with the consulting parties concerning the spring’s significance and treatment as the restoration process begins.

On May 11 and 12, 2009, MNRRA sent the Draft MOA to all the Tribes and other consulting parties to the section 106 process and requested their comments on the document. MNRRA also offered to meet with the Tribes to walk through the document. MNRRA followed up with phone calls to each Tribe to reiterate its willingness to meet with them. No Tribes replied or sent comments on the MOA or raised concerns about the process. Up to this point, MNRRA was stilt open to changing its position on the TCP status for this section 106 review, if a community advocating for the TCP had come forward with the information we sought and had pushed for such a designation.

The Final MOA is currently circuiting for signature by the consulting parties to the MOA.

At every point in this consultation process, MNRRA has been ready to meet with American Indian Tribes to discuss the TCP issue. At any point during the consultation process, the Tribes or communities, as defined by Bulletin 38, that believed a Coldwater Spring was eligible for the National Register as a TCP could have asked to discuss the TCP issue. None did.

The mystical lakeness of being Shakopee

By Daniel Shagobince

Here’s the hyper-truth, the real truth, not the truthiness, but the truth-will-set-you-free-ness, the truth that no one, even if they are people not monkeys, wants to see, touch, hear, smell, imagine, or even deny: First of all the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is not a tribe, it’s an economic octogolopoly, I mean a sextogolopoly, made up of people who just happened to get control of the right money faucet at the right time. But that’s not the business end of it. The main part is this: They’re not a real tribe and they don’t care! They are crying about it all the way to the bank! Why would rich guys like them care anyway? They’ve got the MONEY! And whose going to take it away from them anyway? Governor Poolenty? Oprah? Some guy with some website somewhere? Go ahead. Make their day.

After my last ravings people wrote in to say I was full of crap and that it was because of “white rules” that the SMSC came into being in 1969. They have hit the fingernail on the head and it hurts me a lot, it really does. It was 1969, not 1968, like I mis-said before. And, the Shaktopolitans are craptaculously sextapably,  supercalifragilistically rich for the same stupid reasons that Rockefeller was rich and Bill Gates is rich and why that kid who sings better than Lady Gaga is going to be fabulously rich (he just got a record deal and he’s only 12!), through being at the right place at the right time and through canni-ballistic skill (using both dogs and missiles) and by hiring the right lawyers . Who can complain about that? It’s the American way. (Q: But is it the Dakota way?) Also this guy who writes in cuts me up when he says: “Shakopee is the LOCATION of the tribe, and the land has been there for ever.”

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay….. Yes, the land has been there forever. I can’t touch that. And the land is called Shakopee, because…..? And the people who now call themselves Shakopee…………where did they come from exactly? Lots and lots of questions, but tame guys like that have no answers. Instead they say: “The Strib might not have anything to do with the ad placement? The kind of quick witty writers such as your self or the smart ass people at the paper themselves. Crap we all have to put up with.” Thanks for the part about being quick and witty. My dekßi used to say to me: “You may be dumber than a tin can, but at least you’re quick and witty.”  Crap we all have to put up with, yet truth deny we will, as my bon-papa Yoda once said.

You’ve got to be kidding me. You are really going to put a link on the name of Yoda to go to some wiki page? That is so stupid. Why do I send this stuff to you anyway? Arianna Huffington‘s been bugging me to write for her. OK, you are really full of crap yourself.  Talk about lame. Fine. Have it your way.

NOTICE: The opinions of Daniel Shagobince and the other commentators on this site are their own and do not represent those of

More about Tail Feather Woman’s blessing

By John Negonsott

I’m a Kickapoo Indian from Kansas. My Great Grandpa received a drum like that from the Sauk and Fox tribe of Oklahoma. In 1987 I went up to the Sundance to return my respect for Tail Feather Woman’s blessing to our people in Kansas. I’m a 5th generation of followers of the dream dance. My family still has the drum and we were all raised around it and understand the importance of it. When we put our tobacco offerings out we we always mention wahnaniquah tail feather woman–“ahoe mishomsinon wahnoniquah cosnon megwich.” We of the drum faith all appreciate what this website is doing with this story (megwich)