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Winter Solstice Celebration
(Coldwater Spring) Friends of Coldwater thanks everyone who made the warmest Solstice so wonderful.
Thank you Teri and Paul of Reclaiming for the planning, the roses, the bird seed, and for caring so deeply, so long.
Thank you Earthtones for another year of outdoor hoo-haa. You made the Year of the Song and the Song of the Spring come alive. I hope you "got" at least as much as you gave.
Thank you Kari for supporting the song with the drum.
Thank you Henry, Jamie, John, and Rory for your hospitality and safety work.
Thank you Alan, Diadra, Carolyn and Paul for the wonderful altars. For me, altars make the metaphor concrete and teach us to see.
Thank you Diadra, Alan, Becca and Malia for pouring water. It's the greatest honor and responsibility.
Thank you Tiffany for your Coldwater Poem.
Thank you Encampment friends who hauled and drank and hauled and hauled Coldwater water all those months.
Thank you old Coldwater friends who return to sing, to keep the groundwater flowing.
Thank you Ancestors for everything we are now.
Thank you Coldwater Spring for 10,000 years of offering up the milk of the earth.
Quote du jour:
"I'm just enjoying being here at night. We never get to be here at night," Jeanne, aftewards, at the fire.
for Friends of Coldwater
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(Coldwater Spring) A nest of bark was placed in the Spirit Tree with two eggs. It was breathtaking. Tobacco ties and a prayer stick were recently left at the spring outflow. Out of the willow tree, a bouquet of cattails and golden rod sprouted. The spring is alive with visitors and offerings.
Only half as many ducks in the reservoir this week, about 25 mallards. It is so unbelievably warm this December there is a choice of open water and food sources.
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Leaders Fail, Followers Lead
(Coldwater Spring Full Moon Walk) The two scheduled leaders of the monthly Full Moon Walk failed to show up on the nippy-ist evening so far this winter. They were to lead the walking and the discussion on The Season of Peace. So the people did what people do when they exercise democracy naturally. They decided together.
Walker Bill reports:
"On Monday evening, December 4, clear sky and cold crisp air hosted nine rookie and novice Coldwater full-moon walkers. We kept warm with a short walk along the path to the Coldwater facility fence and back partway down along the river gorge. The moon lit up the night and cast shadows.Visibility was impressive making walking in the woods easy and enjoyable."
Friends of Coldwater was absolutely thrilled that people felt comfortable to explore the land by moonlight together-even howl.
Every pro-water, pro-peace, pro-justice and fairness group in the universe should be so lucky to have people like these folks in this Season of Peace.
Trust the people every time!
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(Coldwater Spring) About 50 mallards cruised the reservoir today under a brilliant high noon blue sky. A skin of ice floated on the south section of the reservoir. When the flow was 10-20 more gallons per minute, before Hwy 55 reroute construction, there was more circulating water and less ice. This is the first Canadian clipper and we already see ice.
We have seen no flow measurements since June when MnDOT stopped electronic monitoring.
A gentleman with his Irish wolfhound puppy spoke of the great loss when the Bureau of Mines closed. He said all the information about the huge collection of rock samples from around the world was simply pitched into the dumpster. A friend of his "took a couple of volumes home with him-took them right out of the dumpster."
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Comment Deadline for the Future of Coldwater
(Coldwater Spring) Thanks to more than 200 Friends of Coldwater who wrote comments supporting federal ownership of the 27-acre blufftop property for the best protections for Native Americans and the environment. Supporters also endorsed the Green Museum concept where the land is the museum.
Sometime during the Hwy 55 encampment we were told that Coldwater was used as an emergency drinking water source-vaguely during the 1970s or 1980s. That would have been during the Cold War period when patriots stayed away from federally fenced-off government facilities like the Twin Cities Research Center, now called Coldwater or Mni Owe Sni. So it was a big deal when the secret research area was opened up for a water safety alert.
"In 1976 after months of drought the city water developed an algae that was putrid and undrinkable by my husband who was very sick at the time," wrote Carolyn Lyschik of Little Falls in her comment. "I made trips every other day to Coldwater Spring and stood in line to get the best tasting fresh water. We were so thankful for this vital resource..It should be a National Treasure!"
Marsh marigolds are greening up the reservoir where hillside silt has washed down to give the plants a footing. It is extraordinarily mild this November with people complaining of the cloudiness but not the cold, yet.
No measurements on the spring flow volume have been reported since June when MnDOT's court-ordered monitoring stopped.
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Coldwater: Sacred site isn’t real estate
by Susu Jeffrey
Published in Twin Cities PULSE
I am pleased to reach an agreement with the Department of Interior to protect the Camp Coldwater Spring and restore the Bureau of Mines property to open green space, Congressman Martin Sabo stated three years ago. Now, however, the National Park Service wants to sell most of Coldwater Park’s 27 acres, according to the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The Park Service repeatedly admits that “transfer” of the land has “adverse” consequences for protection of historical and cultural properties, nevertheless it plans to sell off most of the park.
The 10,000-year-old spring on the Mississippi blufftop between Minnehaha and Fort Snelling parks was found not to qualify as a Native American sacred site in the EIS, despite paperwork passed by the federally recognized Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma (3/19/01). Indigenous Americans are descendants of an oral culture, making a paper trail problematic.
So far, the only qualifying “government or university entity” that can afford Coldwater Park is law enforcement, supported by the Homeland Security honeypot. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System would like a police training campus. The Minneapolis Police Department would like a single-site evidence storage and laboratory facility.
The NPS decision is just the latest outrage committed by the federal government against the rights of Indigenous Peoples and their sacred places.
At Coldwater in 1820, 200 U.S. troops moved in and mined limestone out of the Mississippi bluff to build Fort Snelling. In the 1830s the army began forcibly removing pioneers and Indians from the area to protect their firewood and wild game supplies and to try to separate Indian people from the growing number of settlers.
The 1862 Dakota Uprising resulted in the slaughter of 664 whitesIndian deaths were not counted, much like Iraqi deaths today. Thirty-eight Dakota men were hanged, followed by mass imprisonment, deportation out to “Indian country,” and a bounty on any Indian remaining in the state.
“The Knights of Blue Earth County,” by Jack El-Hai, describes “a secret fraternity of Minnesotans” who sought to rid the state of Indians, a homegrown anti-Indian Klan (see this month’s Minnesota Monthly www.mnmo.com).
At what point in Dakota survival would there have been the opportunity to establish a continuous sacred practice at a U.S. army post? Coldwater furnished water to the fort from 1820 to 1920. From 1890 to 1978 it was illegal for Native Americans to practice their religions. Coldwater was a fenced, Cold War metallurgy and mining research facility from 1949-1996.
Two years ago, 55 remains were removed from an Indian mound above the Minnesota River by the LRT Station at 34th Avenue South and Old Shakopee Road where a parking lot with condos now stands. The remains were found to be 2,000 years old, about the time a man named Jesus is said to have lived.
“The Bible itself is a result of oral history,” Eddie Benton Benais told state officials in court ordered testimony (3/99), “yet we hold it to be sacred. Our history is valid. It is time for us to share our story.
“My grandfather, as a small boy traveled by foot, by horse, by canoe to this great place to where there would be these great religious, spiritual events. And they always camped between the falls and the sacred water place,” said Benais, an Anishinabe spiritual elder from northern Wisconsin.
“We know that the falls which came to be known as Minnehaha Falls, was a sacred place, was a neutral place, a place for many nations to come. And that (to) further geographically define (it), the confluence of the rivers. That point was a neutral place. And that somewhere between that point and the falls there were sacred grounds that were mutually held to be a sacred place. And that the spring from which the sacred water should be drawn was not very far.” Coldwater Spring is halfway between Minnehaha Falls and the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers.
The assumption that churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are sacred is unquestioned. Believers buy land, erect buildings and create a ritual to sanctify the space. Indian peoples found land already sanctified.
Non-Indians have also found the landscape around Coldwater Spring to be a sacred place. Group or personal rituals occur frequently at the site. Coldwater appears on the Spiritual Map of the Twin Cities, from the University of Minnesota’s Design Institute Knowledge Maps series, in company with the Basilica of St. Mary, the Cathedral of St. Paul and a dozen other houses of worship, two Indian cemeteries, Mounds Park and Pilot Knob, and various gardens, woods, paths and water falls. “In nature we find the spring from which all spiritual traditions grow,” note the Knowledge Map-makers (http://design.umn.edu).
Every religion has water rituals, literally from birth to death. Symbolic ablutions are practiced to prepare for worship, to “wash away” sins, sadness, sickness, the past, to renew the spirit.
At Coldwater 100,000 gallons a day of pristine groundwater pours out of limestone bedrock, singing and splashing 125-feet down the Mississippi bluff. Freedom of religion implies freedom to practice that religion. It’s a right not limited by race or a definition of religion.
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Anti-Indian Racism & Off-Road Driving
Hard reading: "The Knights of Blue Earth County: After the Dakota Conflict, a Secret Fraternity of Minnesotans Sought to Rid the State of Indians," by Jack El-Hai, pp. 43-46, Minnesota Monthly, September 2006. I remember hearing Winona LaDuke say there was a bounty offered on Indian scalps during this time.
From Chris Mato Nunpa, one of the 3 defendants in the 1805 Treaty Rights Case: Yes, there were bounties on Dakota People back in the 1860s. Initially, the amount of the bounty was $25. Then, it was raised to $75. Finally, it was raised to $200.
At the time this amount was considered an annual salary. An enterprising Scandinavian young man could "shoot himself a Sioux" and buy 160 acres of land and begin a career in agriculture. What a country! Also, what kind of people do this to another people? Almost all the states of the union during the 1800s and earlier had bounties on Indigenous Peoples! Next time I see you, I will bring a copy of the bounty notice from the Winona Republican back in September 1863. This bounty notice would have been carried in all the newspapers of the time: St. Paul, St. Cloud, Mankato, Farribault, et.al.
From Susu: My first 2 books were about my gypsy heritage and I remember finding out that in the 1700s in the Rhineland of Germany the quarry for a hunt was a gypsy woman with a child at her breast.
And Hard Driving:
To: Bob Hansen, Fish & Wildlife, responsible for Federal Security at Coldwater
Friday, August 25, 2006
Several weeks ago I phoned you and asked that security vehicles be limited to driving on the paved roadways. You asked me to report to you the name of an individual driving over the lawns and between the evergreen trees. Soil compaction is especially harmful to evergreens which tend to have shallow roots.
All the federal security vehicles drive off-road. The locks on the gates are unusable. There is, unfortunately, a too well-worn auto path, an extremely visible scar, where the security vehicles now habitually drive. I hope you will view this yourself.
I noted the name of the security officer who drove back and forth under the trees and on the lawn today. I spoke with that officer who was feeling unwell. I can't turn in a sick functionary. The locks are cheap and can be replaced. The 70-some posts and chain gates with locks installed for our "safety" prohibit security agents from acting efficiently. Vandalism to the south end warehouses continues. The buildings are the problem, apparently tempting targets for neighborhood kids. As you must know Coldwater supporters do not enter the abandoned buildings, paint graffiti on those buildings or vandalize the property. We have consistently argued for preservation of the land and protection of the water.
Please get the lock problems fixed.
Sincerely, Susu Jeffrey
for Friends of Coldwater
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Full Moon Walk - Nagasaki Day
(Minnehaha Park) Over fifty people joined Friends of Coldwater to hear historical anthropologist Bruce White share his knowledge about Coldwater and the greater B'dota area, which includes Fort Snelling and Pilot Knob, the great Minnesota River hill opposite the Twin Cities airport.
"I don't know where to start," said White, PhD., probably the formost expert in the early Indian-pioneer period. And then he spoke for 90-minutes to an audience tranfixed by history-come-alive.
White emphasized the cultural diversity of the early settlement at Coldwater around the spring, including Metis (Indian-French), Indian-African, and Caucasians who were Swedish, Swiss and French. Detailed history about Coldwater area is available on his website, www.Minnesotahistory.net.
He mentioned that citizen action saved Pilot Knob from being developed with condos and urged people to be involved in answering the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Due out last March, the 500-page DEIS document is still in National Park Service approval limbo. The Final Environmental Impact Statement will determine the "disposition" of the 27 acre Coldwater campus.
Dr. White is one of the expert witnesses expected to testify at the upcoming 1805 Dakota-Pike Treaty Rights case hearing on Monday, September 25. Larry Leventhal, who succesfully argued the Anishinabe treaty rights cases in Wisconsin, is the lead attorney.
Sue Ann and Susu
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Waiting for DEIS
(Coldwater Spring) The flow at the measuring station is about 71 gallons per minute today. We hope spring water pours out of the rocks another 10,000 years. Meanwhile we wait for the National Park Service 500-page behemoth Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) with proposals for Coldwater's future.
When Congressman Martin Sabo secured $750,000 for a multi-year paper study to figure out what to do with the 27 acre blufftop Coldwater campus, he laid out a vision. "I am pleased to reach an agreement with the Department of Interior to protect the Camp Coldwater Spring and restore the Bureau of Mines property to open green space," Sabo said.
Originally scheduled for March release, the Coldwater DEIS should be out this month and will be available from a link at: www.nps.gov/miss/bom. (BOM refers to the former Bureau of Mines where industrial mining research was funded after World War 2, like the American freeway system, as defense spending.)
Print DEIS copies are going to the main libraries in Minneapolis and St. Paul and to the Nokomis Branch Library at 5100-34th Avenue South, and three neighborhood offices:
Nokomis East, 3000 East 50th Street
Standish Ericsson, 4000-28th Avenue South
Longfellow, 2727-26 Avenue South.
500 pages! Seems overwhelming. Pick your interest and protect it. Whether your priority is saving the commons, the water, or recognition of sacred land, or aboriginal rightsdig into that part of the DEIS and respond. Make your comments.
The bureaucrats whose salaries (and health care benefits) are supported by this seeming endless paper process are delighted with our meetings and questions and the paperwork. That's how this system works. Negotiation is not yet an option in Bush's America. Oral history has to be written down to be recognized.
Coldwater supporters will have 60 days to respond to the DEIS after it is made public. The Park Service is mailing CDs of the mega report to all names on their project mailing list. Phone Kim Berns, Project Director, 651-290-3030 x 244, to get on the list.
The National Park Service will also hold informational meetings like the ones before the DEIS at Bridgeman's Restaurant and Nokomis Library. Friends of Coldwater may formally ask for a 30 day extension of the comment period.
Cynics are saying the 500 pages will overwhelm supporters. Nonsenseremember the 16-hour, 2-day oral history hearings? Others are saying that lack of paper copies will suppress citizens' ability to reply to the DEIS. Friends of Coldwater plans to ask for a paper copy. Certainly the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community should get a print copy of the complete DEIS.
Keep in touch friends, so we can save this land, the spring, the history that we need to know in order to 'see' the future. American poet Robert Duncan (1919-1988) wrote about our very situation:
to keep the ability
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Court-Ordered Monitoring of the
Coldwater Reservoir Flow
(Coldwater Spring) June was the last of 30 months of court-ordered monitoring of the flow out of Coldwater Spring reservoir by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). A couple of years ago the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) voted to continue measuring the flow using MnDOT's old equipment.
This month the MCWD proposed using a less frequent, less expensive bucket and stopwatch measuring method. When this method was used before dewatering construction for the Hwy 55 reroute and 55/62 interchange, the numbers were discredited. If MnDOT has nothing to do with the measuring, using a discredited method, would MnDOT accept the numbers?-the science?
Below please see the MCWD proposal and the Friends of Coldwater response.
July 12, 2006
From: Lorin Hatch
MCWD Water Quality Specialist
To: Eric Evenson
Re: monitoring Coldwater Spring discharge
After meeting with MNDOT and SEH (Short Elliott Hendrickson consultants) personnel on June 21st at Coldwater Spring and discussing their previous monitoring activities, I have come up with a recommendation for MCWD's activities with respect to continue monitoring. I believe that the overall goal should be to determine the discharge output from Coldwater Spring from the outlet pipe east of the road on a weekly basis year-round using a calibrated bucket and a stopwatch.
This method of measurement will achieve our goal because fluctuations on a lesser time scale (e.g., minutes, hours, days) are not useful in the determination of Coldwater Spring's long-term discharge behavior. In addition, we will avoid unnecessary costs and equipment difficulties with respect to vandalism and equipment freeze-up during winter conditions.
Should we detect changes in the overall discharge, we can then expand our monitoring to include the manhole situated at the terminus of the large soil liner underneath the Hwy 55/Hwy 62 interchange. Such monitoring will determine whether there is a major breach in the liner.
July 18, 2006
To: Eric Evenson, Administrator
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
18202 Minnetonka Blvd.
Deephaven, MN 55391
From: Susu Jeffrey
for Friends of Coldwater
Friends of Coldwater urges the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District to return to court and ask the judge to order continued MnDOT monitoring at the Coldwater Spring reservoir outflow for the following reasons:1) Coldwater Spring is the last surviving natural spring in Hennepin County. Coldwater is an urban ecological treasure.
2) Coldwater is a traditional sacred site for Dakota, Anishinabe, Ho Chunk, Iowa, Sauk and Fox nations. (See "The Cultural Meaning of Coldwater Spring in Dakota and Ojibwe Community Life: Ethnographic Resources Study of the Former U.S. Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Research Center Property, Hennepin County, Minnesota," by Summit Envirosolutions, Draft December 2005.)
3) The other sacred spring in our area, the Great Medicine Spring in Theodore Wirth Park, was permanently dewatered by MnDOT with construction of interstate-394, west out of Minneapolis. Historic Glenwood Spring was also destroyed. MnDOT dewaters the I-394 corridor at about 2 ∏-million gallons per day. These pristine groundwaters are now piped into the sewer system and flow directly into the Mississippi where a sign reads: WARNING Pregnant women and children under 6 should not eat fish taken here. It is not unusual to see 20 people fishing at that place. City water is piped into Wirth Park bog and the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary.
Dewatering dries up the landscape by not allowing waters to percolate through the ground. With observed heating due to climate change, drying out the land could have far-reaching consequences. We are all related by water on earth-last year there was drought in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
Chuck Howe, who designed the I-394 dewatering system, was not aware of the Great Medicine Spring when he was deposed by MCWD attorney Louis Smith for the Coldwater case. "What spring?" he replied when asked. The 1985 Highway 55 reroute Environmental Impact Statement failed to mention, acknowledge or lan for Coldwater Spring. Continued monitoring would allow MnDOT to consider best practices in their future planning rather than practicing denial and spending years and public monies in court.
 Sources of data: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and Short Elliott & Hendrickson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
After the Great Medicine Spring stopped in the late 1980s, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board waited ten years for the spring to recharge. Jeff Lee (formerly of the Park Board) told this writer that in 1999 the Park Board drilled down 150-feet and found no water. In 1874, Col. John H. Stevens, considered the first white resident of Minneapolis, said the Great Medicine Spring was frequented by Native Americans "who came hundreds of miles to get the benefit of its medicinal qualities." We don't know what we have lost-the cure for AIDS?-a super immune booster? Surely sick people did not walk, canoe and ride horses "hundreds of miles" for plain old drinking water.
4) About 30 percent of the groundwater flow to Coldwater Spring moves through the 55/62 interchange area.
5) MnDOT plans to rebuild and expand the road in about 15 years. In 2001, then-state Senator Julie Sabo (DFL-Minneapolis) warned pro-Coldwater lobbyists that the freeway would be reconstructed and enlarged in 20 years. MnDOT spokesman Tom Worke told the press there are no guarantees that the proposed design will work as intended because the area's hydrology is complex and the liner approach is untried.
MnDOT and the MCWD went to court about Coldwater Spring reservoir flow numbers. Using the bucket and stopwatch method, MnDOT got higher flow rate numbers than did Kelton Barr Inc. MnDOT will undoubtedly dispute the "primitive" bucket and stopwatch measuring method. Bucket and stopwatch is not state-of-the-art science.
6) The issue that drove sinking the 55/62 interchange 6-feet into the water table was the safety zone for a possible extension of the 4-22 runway at the Twin Cities Metropolitan Airport. That runway extension is unrealized at the north end of the runway-but still a possibility. Airlines have changed the hub-system since 9/11 and with smaller and more efficient airplanes, a runway extension appears unnecessary. If runway extension plans remain unrealized the last spring should no longer be threatened, and there will be no justification for allowing continued threat to Hennepin County's last natural spring. (Please see Dean Lindberg's July 2001, Southside Pride article about airport plans and the Hwy 55 reroute here).
7) Because MnDOT is extremely litigious, MnDOT should continue checking its own numbers.
8) MnDOT has dedicated funding, indeed it is the richest most powerful agency in the state, and can easily afford to track its own construction consequences.
9) Although Minneapolis residents currently drink chemically treated Mississippi River water, at some time in the future human beings may need Coldwater's potable water as did the state's founders in the 1820s and 30s.
10) On December 21, 2001, Judge Franklin Knoll denied Friends of Coldwater intervener status in the MCWD-MnDOT lawsuit (MC 01-7478). The court found that the people's voice was represented by the MCWD. Despite a state law mandating no diminishment of flow, MCWD has been willing to permit diminishment.
Before construction dewatering, from July 31,1998 through December 5, 2000, Coldwater averaged 89.9 gallons per minute or 129,456 gallons per day. In the 20 months from November 2004 through June 2006, the average flow is 70.77 gallons per minute or 101,908 gallons per day. The difference is 27,548 gallons per day, almost 20 gallons a minute.
 Sources of data: Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and Short Elliott & Hendrickson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
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Office Park at Coldwater?
(Coldwater Spring) One of the scenarios National Park Service (NPS) is actually writing up for the "disposition" of the Coldwater Campus is an Office Park.
When the Draft Environmental Impact Statement comes out in late-July or August, and we have 60-days to respond, consider mentioning right up front that an Office Park is unacceptable. It would be important to state what is NOT acceptable as well as what would be appropriate at Coldwater
A "nature park," also being contemplated, is apparently a developed park (concrete, asphalt, trails & toilets), not a natural site.
NPS is also trying to reduce the sacred-ness of Coldwater to the hole in the rocks where water outflows.
Mendota Dakota Wife and Mother Tiffany Eggenberg responds to talk of selling Coldwater:
OFFICE PARK????!!!!!! Oh my gosh, I am so appalled! I hadn't heard talk of this. I am flabbergasted! Will there be meetings or how do we do the response?
You know myself and my family want to be involved, the kids too. We are not church people and we never really did much praying before because we couldn't find a "religion" or whatever you want to call it that we agreed with, until we became involved in the Mendota community.
I will say it again, my kids learned how to pray at the spring and, well, so did I pretty much. It turns out we are very spiritual people and always have been as far as nature and the earth are concerned, now we have found an avenue to act upon our feelings and they are trying to ruin one of the most special places we know!
We love Coldwater and want to be involved in preserving it.
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(Coldwater Spring) It appears that Coldwater will never recover its pre-construction flow of 80-100 gallons per minute (115,200 to 144,000 gallons per day). Today's flow at about 2:30 PM was 68 gallons per minute (97,920 gallons per day). After two or three spring melt cycles the watershed that supplies spring water is as recharged as it will be, hydrologists tell us.
MnDOT guaranteed no loss of flow at every pre-construction hearing with the Lower Minnesota River Watershed Districta pro-development group of elderly white men who never did their homework. I especially remember MnDOT's Dan Dorgan who made very sincere and definitive lies to the watershed and was replaced by another MnDOT liar at the next meeting.
MnDOT is the richest, most powerful agency in Minnesota and has the power to force state legislators to heel by virtue of not fixing roads in their districts. Immediate power, power over caused the death of the Great Medicine Spring in Theodore Wirth Park when I-394 was constructed in the 1980s. I wonder what was in that water that Indian people walked so far to drink. Was it a general immune booster, the cure for AIDS? Whatever it was no longer exists.
Neither the Great Medicine Spring nor Coldwater Spring was included in construction plans for I-394 or the Hiawatha reroute, not included in the Environmental Impact Statements. So the roads are in, the water is gone. Who got cheated of their natural rights to clean water? It's not just people, it's not just the grandchildren. All life forms on earth require water. When water is siphoned into sewer pipes instead of filtering through the soil and rocks the land dries out.
Eddie Benton Benais, a full blood Anishinabe spiritual elder from Lac Courte Oreilles in northern Wisconsin, spoke of "the rampant use of free will without discretion" which "brings us to where we are today."
In the grotto where Coldwater Spring flows out of limestone bedrock, a spider web caught a cottonwood seed. Cottonwoods are indigenous here. And spiders, of course. Spider reminds us to network, to continue organizing.
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The Full Moon Rock Walk
Coldwater Atop the Mississippi River Gorge
By Susu Jeffrey and Alan Olson
(Coldwater Spring) The Mississippi River gorge is the only true river gorge on the entire 2,350-mile length of the river. The gorge runs between the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, northward to the Falls of St. Anthony and is 1,273-feet deep according to a sign in Minnehaha Park. But it's invisible to us, filled with glacial debris and under water because dams keep the river level artificially high enough for barge traffic9-feet deep in the shipping channel.
The old stories of being able to walk across the Mississippi meant that in low water periods, people could cross the rocky river course atop 1,273 feet of rocks deposited by the glacial melt about 10,000-years ago. The rocks that fill the gorge were brought south by glaciers that dropped their loads in the melt outwash. The glaciers ground up and pushed granite rock from the Canadian shield in (what is now) northern Minnesota southward, mixed with any other bedrock the ice mountain could scour.
Some friends have a truck load of Mississippi River bottom pebbles in their yard, from dredging to keep the barge lane clear. The rocks are free, truck delivery is the only charge. In their rock circle are the tumbled remains of the earth history of this area: black granite, red stones rich in iron, white-ish limestone, milky quartz, a few pieces of sandstone, an occasional agate, and many composites. Each small stone is as individual as a person.
Rock wise, the river bottom doesn't look like the great, steep bluffs carved by the Mississippi. This is the "upper" Mississippi, the river is still on top of bedrockconsidered a young river. Further south, the Mississippi meanders through layers of silt, an old river characteristic.
Coldwater Spring is on top the Mississippi bluff, half way between Minnehaha Falls and the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. The spring is estimated to be 10,000 years old, flowing at about 100,000 gallons a day. The Mississippi bluff below Coldwater is 451-million years oldonly 451-million years old. (The earth is estimated to be 4 ½-billion years old.) Between 451- and 438-million years ago, in just 13-million years, the entire bluff we see today was formed. The rock sandwich of limestone, sandstone and shale was laid down under a series of great inland seas of various depths.
The bedrock through which Coldwater flows is 440-some-million year old limestone. Limestone is composed of sea shell creatures whose exoskeletons decayed at the bottom of the waters. Limestone spring water is rich in calcium and magnesium; Coldwater is considered "medicine" water.
The story that the bluffs along the river tells us, is of the comings and goings of a shallow tropical sea. The rocks record the lives that inhabited that sea.
If you were floating here at the time of this sea, and you were to look toward the southwest, you would see a chain of very high mountain islandson the order of Mount Everest! The line of mountains stretches from the southwest, toward the northeastthe St. Cloud Mountains. In the seas around this archipelago were a variety of life forms.
This was still rather early in the evolution of life, all of the animals were invertebratesnothing yet with a backbone. The first early plants began to come ashore at this time. Fossil remains of Trilobites, Brachiopods, Bryozoans, Crinoids, Clams and Corals are abundant in the rocks of the bluffs.
Starting at the bottom of the bluff, at river level, St. Peter Sandstone is visible. This is a layer of soft sandstone that hundreds birds have pecked nests into. It's also the layer containing the many "caves" along the river; the caves are actually manmade tunnels. The St. Peter preserves a near-shore or beach environment. 450-million years later it is still great sand for making sand castles.
Coldwater Falls cuts through this soft stone just before the creek empties into the Mississippi. Looking across the Mississippi from the east bank, the waterfall is best seen in winteran astonishing white vertical slash.
||A set of wheels stuck in the mud where the creek empties into the river.
Sitting atop the St. Peter Sandstone, is Shakopee Shale. It's only about 1-to-2-feet thick, a gray-green color. Shakopee shale is from a time when the sea level rose and mud washed out from the nearby land mixed with calcium rich mud of deeper water to bury earlier beach sand. This shale is notable for its lack of fossil remains.
The series of layers atop Shakopee Shale are called Platteville Limestone. The rocks of this layer are the most striking feature of the river valley. These rock walls form the picturesque steep bluffs that people associate with the upper Mississippi.
Soldiers who lived at "Camp" Coldwater and built Fort Snelling (1820-23) created limestone bricks, mined on-site out of the bluffs. Platteville Limestone was used in many of the major buildings in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and in home foundations throughout the Twin Cities.
The limestone is a record of when the sea reached its deepest level. Sediments deposited turn to limestone from the presence of countless microscopic shells dropped from plankton as they die off each year. Calcium in the shells helps to turn the mud into limestone under pressure as the layers weigh down on each other and are cemented into rock.
Embedded in the top third of the Platteville limestone formation is an interesting featurethe Deike K extinction event. This is a layer of brown shale-like rock deposited in a monumental volcanic event that has been estimated to be about 400 times the size of the Mount St. Helens blast in 1981.
The Deike K volcanic explosion event deposited ash up to 4-feet deep in just a day over as much as a quarter of the globe. Due to the bottom dwelling mode of most life forms at the time, it caused a regional extinction and created a biological desert in this area. No fossils are found in the limestone for 2-feet above the ash layerabout 250,000 years in time.
The final layer of the Mississippi bluff is Decorah Shale which sits on top of the Platteville Limestone. Decorah Shale represents a time when the sea level was dropping again and so contains a good amount of mud washing off the nearby land. Decorah Shale is fossil rich. In most cases the shale has weathered to the point that it is like very loose soil and the fossils can simply be picked out with your fingers. This shale layer is quite thick, 25-30 feet, and is gray-green in color. There was a large brick yard on the St. Paul side of the river that turned shale into the paving bricks used in our city streets in the early 20th century. It is still a wonderful place to look for fossils.
What happen here between 438-million years ago and 10-thousand years ago was literally erased by the glaciers. The massive mountains of ice scraped clean every trace of millions and millions of years of earth history. Our rich prairie soil is glacial deposit atop 438-million year old limestone and shale.
Melt water from glacial Lake Agassiz shaped the broad Minnesota Valley. The narrow upper Mississippi, before its confluence with the Minnesota, looked like a creek in comparison. Imagine a 2-mile wide waterfall thundering between the bluffs in what is now St. Paul. The Falls of St. Anthony is a remnant of that great Mi-ni Ha-ha (Dakota for waterfall, literally "the noise of waterfalls").
One of the consequences of the glacial history of our area is that we have no native earthworms. Our forests evolved without worms which munch through the forest floor, the "duff," too quickly for the vegetation to absorb compost nutrients. Fisherpeople throwing out unused worm bait are responsible for the local earthworm populationa mixed blessing, good for gardens, hard on forests. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources advises people who fish "to slow the earthworm infestation by dumping unwanted bait in the trash and keeping vehicles on well-traveled paths" because worm eggs are spread through soil caught in tire treads.
Unintended consequences of seemingly positive human behavior continue to get us into trouble. The Green Revolution was supposed to combat hunger. The result was a huge population increase and millions and millions of starving people, overworked soil, growing deserts and fouled drinking water. The earth has its own timeline, and when we violate it, earth's resources backfire on us.
Coldwater is the most ancient living resource the Twin Cities. It is the last natural spring, the only place where you can drink water as it pours out of bedrock. Coldwater as a 10,000-year old spring atop a 450-million year old rock layer cake gives a different perspective to time and humanity.
Susu Jeffrey is the founder of Friends of Coldwater.
Alan Olson is a lifelong rock and mineral collector and a goldsmith by profession. His longterm interest in the story told by the fossil record led him to spend four years as a volunteer interpreter in the Paleontology Hall of the Science Museum of Minnesota. In 1996 he started Lifestone Fossil Co. He has spent the last 10 years as a field collector of dinosaur fossils in eastern Montana and is active in the Twin Cities rockhound and Earth sciences communities.
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Confirmed: Coldwater Flow is Down
(Coldwater Spring) We didn't agree about everything, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) subcontractor and I agreed the flow at Coldwater is down since construction. Before construction of the Hwy 55-Hiawatha reroute from Minnehaha Park to 62-Crosstown, he measured the flow in the low 80 gallons per minute. Now it's consistently in the low 70s as he measures it. Let's call that a loss of 14,400 gallons per day (10 gallons X 60 minutes=600 X 24 hours=14,400).
The official measurer is a technician with SEH (Short Elliott Hendrickson) consulting engineers for the road building MnDOT administration. We agree, unfortunately, that Coldwater Spring is not likely to recharge back to its pre-construction flow.
Here is what we did not agree about.
The 55/62 interchange is sunk 6.5-feet down into the water table because of a height limitation from the nearby Twin Cities airport for a runway extension that is only a plan. The two highways are piled beneath the new Light Rail Transit bridge under the 4-22 runway, a four-decker transportation Hero sandwich. People who sit at desks with rulers create such mass transit systems which can be inserted into any landscape because we have the power to rearrange landscapes and watersheds.
So the engineer and I don't agree about how much water there was or where it comes from, but we do agree that Coldwater will need friends now and in the futuresacred Coldwater, the last natural spring in the Twin Cities.
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Good Friday 04.14.06
(Coldwater Spring) Tuesday evening's Reroute Reunion and book release party returned us to the magic of the Hwy 55 Spiritual Encampment. Freedom's book is out: LISTEN: The Story of the People at Taku Wakan Tipi and the Reroute of Highway 55 or The Minnehaha Free State, Stories compiled and edited by Elli King, Feral Press, Tucson, Arizona, 2006. Direct order books are available at $14 plus shipping from: Books, c/o Elli King, P.O. Box 526, Finland MN 55614. This is the real book, our book, our stories out of our mouths and hearts.
Beyond the laughter and tears, Solstice flying-in to sing for us, hugs, memories floating up, beyond the nostalgia, the bonhomie, the collective anger at the venal stupidity of what the deciders call "progress," beyond feeling good and feeling bad simultaneously, was the miracle of the cultural integration of old and new Americans. We accomplished what Minnesotans haven't been able to do since Pike journeyed up the Mississippi and negotiated a treaty with the Dakota Nation in 1805.
We got together to save the most historic land in the statethe 2 ½-miles of land from Minnehaha Falls to Coldwater Spring to the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers: sacred land, later Birthplace of the State. White environmentalists found the land, brought in the Dakota people who went to the elders and re-heard the stories about this particular land. Native elders from Dakota, Anishinabeg and Iowa peoples held stories about this land and their past and included Ho Chunk, Sauk and Fox nations in the oral memory of this place.
There is a prophecy, we were told, that the time would be when the peoples of the four colors would come together because they could no longer continue their separate, destructive ways. We are those people, the Coldwater Nation.
In fact the third generation of Coldwaters showed up at the book release party: Nara Joy, 5, daughter of Natalia and Mike; Jasper, 3, Marigold's son; and Phalen, 2, Elli and Rory's boy are 3 of the 6 ½ Coldwater kids in attendance. We missed Eva, 5, Caleb and Jessie's girl; Jonah, 4, Wes and Tree's little guy; and Luca, 2, Sonya's boy. And in November we plan to welcome (bump) Coldwater, next issue of Talia and Toxic.
Two nights after the Free State book release party we celebrated another Coldwater Area Full Moon Walk, and remembered the 1962 release of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the book that launched the American environmental revolution. And who should join the walk but the late Bob Brown, chairman of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, who comes to us in the form of a dragonfly. John G. and I saw the dragonfly at the same moment, looked at each other bug-eyed, grinned and nodded.
We still have some work to do to save this place for the fourth generation of Coldwaters. The flow at the Coldwater measuring station was about 70 gallons per minute today.
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District 62 Convention and Coldwater Resolution
(Minneapolis) At the District 62 DFL Convention on April 1, the Coldwater resolution was not listed. Attempts to introduce any resolutions from the floor were thwarted. Admittedly, there was much business to be accomplished, with a hot race for the vacated seat of Wes Skoglund for the Minnesota Senate, along with the Fifth District candidates for Martin Sabo’s seat. Finally, at 7 pm, after all but the organizers had left, I got an answer of sortsthe person handling the resolutions had resigned and left a mess in the wake.
Actually, after they checked, they did not “lose” the resolutionthey emailed me this information. Instead it was forwarded for consideration in the city convention.
Here is my response to the District 62 convention resolution committee:
It is a misperception that Coldwater is only a city issue. Coldwater is owned by the Department of Interior and is federal land. Rep Martin Sabo got the money for the EIS currently in process under the supervision of the National Park Service.
Coldwater intersects and at one time or another Coldwater supporters have dealt with the city, state, and the federal governments. A law protecting the Spring was passed in the Minnesota state legislature. This week [April 6] there is a federal court case being heard in St. Paul in regard to Coldwater being a site sacred for Indians and their right to access. All levels of government have been involved. This land is that key and that important is so many ways.
I encourage you and the resolutions committee to visit our website at FriendsofCol water.org. It should have been on the District lists of resolutions and then appropriately forwarded to the state convention.
Thanks so much for your consideration and work around Coldwater.
Sue Ann Martinson
Postscript 4/22/06, Earth Day: As I think about this stone-walling, because that is what I take it as--not on the part of the District 62 resolution committee, but on the part of the DemocratsI become increasingly angry.
The LRT is a DFL boondoggle, a pork barrel, and they care nothing about the environment if they are willing to destroy a 10,000 year-old spring in the name of so-called public transportation. They were so weak in the face of the suburban pressure (with all that money and all those suburban types who have “big” jobs downtown and need to drive their SUVs to work and take advantage of their company-paid parking, so they can take to LRT to the airport for their trips all over the country), that they could not get it put down the middle of 35W where it belongs. And in spite of their trying to put a good face on the amount of ridership on the LRT, it’s not exactly making money.
Not to mention the gas I waste and the time I waste waiting for the lights to change so I can cross Highway 55feeling that every time I do, I am taking my life into my hands. Or their bad planning because the only way over Highway 55 from west to east (and vice-versa) is Minnehaha Parkway. The major increase in traffic on the Parkway, roads that are not built to handle heavy traffic but are meant to be scenic, is just another example of their lack of concern for the environment and for real solutions to traffic problems and effective public transportation.
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Coldwater Resolution: Lost & Won
(Washburn High School, Minneapolis) 688 delegates at the Minnesota State Senate District 60 DFL Convention voted unanimously for the Coldwater Resolution. Coldwater passed on a voice vote because it somehow got left out of the paperwork of 92 resolutions.
The resolution to preserve and protect Coldwater passed in "about 10" precinct caucuses, said Zev Aelony, resolutions coordinator for the district.
It is so hard to comprehend Coldwater is the last natural spring of size in Hennepin County, in Water-apolis. We are each about 70-percent water. We are the water people on the water planet.
May You Never Thirst.
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From the Minnesota Political Caucuses
The Coldwater resolution got the loudest ayes last night at caucus. It was a friendly group, inclined to pass everything proposed though helpful modifications were suggested for other resolutions. But there was apparently nothing to discuss about Coldwater, just an enthusiastic Yeah!
Nicole M. (Brooklyn Park)
I introduced the Coldwater resolution at my precinct last night. People clapped when I finished reading it. The vote was affirmative but there were some nays.
Pat K. (Seward)
I spoke first, educated a few people, and the resolution passed unanimously. Ann G. spoke for it, as did a man I didn't know....Lots of questions that I was able to answer.
Sue Ann M. (south Minneapolis)
When I introduced the Coldwater Resolution people listened very intently. Some of the folks already knew about the struggle of trying to save the natural spring. The group showed their approval by strong clapping and positive remarks. I felt very good to have the privilege of reading the proposal.
Rita McDonald, CSJ (Minneapolis)
Thanks for the resolution on Coldwater. I got it passed at our precinct caucus. (SD 66B St. Paul Ward 4, Precinct 13). I spoke about how the feds had restricted access to the site and are considering what to do with the land. I saw several people jot down the web site when I gave it aloud. Another woman spoke in favor of it too. She talked about how the shells of some birds were being affected by some contamination coming from under the buildings. I hadn't heard any of that, and I didn't know this woman as she was new to our caucus.
Katie N. (St. Paul)
Editor: Wow! We haven't heard about toxic substances affecting bird reproduction at Coldwater. Oy!
The Coldwater resolution passed but there were lots of questions about who will pay for restoring it to green open space. It took a little convincing on the part of me, and Rebecca C., but it did pass in the Green Party Dist 62 and 63.
Katie S. (Minneapolis)
Editor: Coldwater has been federal land since the 1805 Dakota-Pike treaty and therefore part of the federal budget. Congressman Martin Sabo got a $750,000 appropriation for a several-year study about the "disposition" of the former Bureau of Mines facility. Research on Coldwater as a traditional Native American sacred site is currently being evaluated as part of the cultural/historic Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The determination of how the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area will handle the 27-acre Coldwater campus is a process still unfolding. A cost estimate for removal of the 11 buildings, some with asbestos and black mold problems, will be included in the DEIS.
Before 9/11, National Park Service authorities were willing to sell the Coldwater acreage for $6-million to the Twin Cities airport for parking facilities. But times have changed and it appears Coldwater is a Native American traditional cultural property, the Birthplace of the State of Minnesota, and the only natural spring of size still flowing in Hennepin County. As soon as the DEIS is published Coldwater supporters will have 60 days to respond. Please keep checking here for further information and deadlines.
I introduced the Coldwater resolution at my precinct caucus and it passed. The one question I couldn't answer precisely was whether the 27 acres that are to be protected would involve modification in the tunnel, Hiawatha Ave., etc., which have been constructed recently. One man said he'd heard that the water flow was increasing since the construction
upheaval and he was glad of that. Everyone generally supported preservation of green space and honoring the treaty. The Coldwater resolution will pass forward from our precinct 06-08.
Lucia S. (Minneapolis 6-8)
Editor: Hiawatha-Hwy 55 reroute construction is over for now. The leaky tunnel that has been in the news this winter is the Light Rail Transit tunnel under the Twin Cities airport. To save money (false economy), the walls are not waterproof. So groundwater seeped into the tunnel and froze causing problems which will likely exacerbate since it is the habit of water to erode its path.
There is no tunnel adjacent to the Coldwater property. Coldwater is 1.3-miles south of Minnehaha Falls, flowing at about 100,000 gallons per day. During reroute construction a section of the roadbed was raised to insure continued groundwater flow to Coldwater. However the volume of water flowing out of the bedrock at Coldwater has decreased since construction, from a negligible amount to 20,000-30,000 gallons per day depending on whose numbers you favor. Some of the decrease is due to more impervious surfaces (roads and roofs) where stormwater runoff is fed directly into the sewer systems emptying into the Mississippi.
MnDOT still yearns to make Hiawatha a freeway. In about 15 years the road will be pocked and worn; the road-builders may try to widen it and cut off all side streets. The Hwy 55/62 interchange is currently sunk 6-feet into the water table and surrounded by a waterproof liner (road condom). Thirty-percent of Coldwater's flow comes through the interchange area.
Clarence (last name?) introduced the coldwater resolution in my precinct 09, ward 4, Senate district 64, House district 64A DFL caucus in St. Paul, MN. After some questioning of Clarence, I was prompted to read off some of the notes provided on the reverse side of the resolution (that I had a copy of). They shed light on the history of Coldwater and the intended plans for it in the future. This history seemed to help fill people in as to what they were voting for. The voice vote was all but 2 or 3, in favor of the resolution, and it passed.
Gaius P. (St. Paul)
I did your Coldwater resolution. Had to talk about it for a few minutes as one woman brought up something about housing-for-homeless and that your group was opposed to it. No one listened to her though. I did read the last paragraph about the land being home to elk, deer, other animals and the symphony of birds. That got to them. It passed.
Patty P. (St. Paul))
Friends of Coldwater thanks all for braving the caucus scenario and speaking up for our last natural spring.
Read the resolution - click here
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The Raptor and the Rumors
(Coldwater Spring) All the bright green-headed mallard males crowded conspicuously into the south, smaller, part of Coldwater reservoir. Last Friday, when it was minus-6 degrees more than 150 ducks-in-pairs were floating, almost in place, with their bills submerged.
Last Friday the 47-degree Coldwater Spring water was 53-degrees warmer than the air. It tasted lukewarm. Today, at 42-degrees more than 100 ducks were cavorting around the reservoir until suddenly, all the males congregated in the sun, in the smaller part of the reservoir. This is beyond unusual behavior.
The ducks that had mated and left Coldwater to establish nesting sites during the very warm Januarynow in separate sex groups? Anyway, a fluttering cloud of maybe 60 female ducks rose up out of the north end of the reservoir and flew 30-feet to the south end.
A hawk flew over, high. A great mottled white hawk, perhaps a Cooper's hawk, moving northwest. Wow! So that's why the colorful males were posing in full sunlightto draw attention away from the females. When do female mallards get pregnant?
And then the ducks returned to their couples dance and clucking. The duck talk is a constant sub-rosa conversation, a comforting background of community daily life.
Predators at sacred sites are in the news this week. A beloved Shia mosque in Baghdad was bombed by Sunnis and riots and deaths mount from the Prophet Mohammed turban-bomb cartoon fallout.
Two park police cars were parked driver-to-driver beside the reservoir. Since installation of the wooden posts and chains across roads inside the Coldwater campus, there's no private place to sit in your car and eat lunch or meditate. City park employees, cabbies and neighbors all used to cruise Coldwater campus before it was closed August 8, 2005.
The park police mentioned a pipe bomb as the reason the post and chains were erected at Coldwater. This is how rumors get going. It was a gas pipe improperly shut off, not a pipe bomb.
Then why, the park police wanted to know, did "they" (U.S. Fish & Wildlife) put up all the posts and chains? "For our safety" we were told notwithstanding we'd been coming to Coldwater since 1996.
The flow at the measuring station was a disappointing 68 gallons per minute at about 2:15 PM today (97,920 gallons per day). Here it is February and we've lost most of our snow cover. We've only received about half of the forty inches of snow we expect. But March is our second snowest month. Common precip!
We need a good spring melt to recharge the groundwater flow to the spring. Will Coldwater Spring ever bounce back to its pre-construction average of 80-plus gallons a minute (more than 115,000 gallons per day)?
P.S. An expert at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center said the hawk that over-flew Coldwater was probably a Red-tailed Hawk which is mottled white and common (not a much more rare Cooper's Hawk). The expert also said that ducks normally mate in April.
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(Coldwater Spring) Wolves. Yes, wolves at Coldwater! Two workmen putting up the new electric utility pole to light the abandoned buildings so they look occupied and scare away vandalsthey saw two wolves staring at them this week. "Not timber wolves," they said, "the smaller, gray wolves." The wolves looked at the men and the men looked at the wolves and the wolves disappeared into the brush.
Every Full Moon Walk we do a "group howl." So we've called the wolves back and they've come. How blessed we are to have to have an urban wilderness!
In early spring baby foxes wrestle with baby raccoons in the meadow between the labyrinth and the reservoir, a late night visitor to the spring says. When Comstock was building the Light Rail Transit the office guy in the big warehouse saw a pretty red fox watching him at his desk!
Two weeks ago during the unseasonably warm January all the ducks mated-up and left Coldwater to secure nesting sites around open water. Even mated pairs of Canada goose were passing over. Now the cold is back and the open water has closed. Ah, the vicissitudes of Global Climate Change.
The flow at the Coldwater measuring station today about 2:30 PM registered 72 gallons per minute (103,860 gallons per day). The flow has been creeping up slowly, very slowly. More water is entering the reservoir from (what is now) a creek at the south end. It's not water from the main spring outflow but it is groundwater flowing down the Mississippi bluff. There is also an increased trickle from behind the main spring; it used to drip. Now it runs. Eric Evenson from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District says spring water moves, don't worry, it's natural.
P.S. Everyone I told about the wolves said: "Coyotes."
Everyone said "coyotes" except the 2 guys who saw the wolves.
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Celebrate Martin Luther King
Remember Dred Scott in Minnesota
(Coldwater Spring) Dred Scott lived at Fort Snelling between 1836-40, in a "free territory" where slavery was prohibited. Scott's famous suit for freedom (1857) was based on his residency here & in the "free state" of Illinois.
Scott met & married his wife, Harriet, at Fort Snelling. Their wedding was performed by Indian agent Lawrence Taliaferro. (It was illegal for blacks to marry.)
The Scott case, initiated in 1846 in St. Louis, was supported by anti-slavery interests looking for a definitive legal blow to the institution of slavery.
The Dred Scott family (Dred, Harriet, Eliza & Lizzie) lost their 11-year battle for freedom in the "most unpopular Supreme Court decision in the 70-year history of the court." Into the rising fire of abolitionist sentiment in Scott v. Sandford (1846-57), the high court declared Dred Scott to be ineligible to file a suit in federal court because he was a slave, that is property, & "not a person." The Scott decision ruled that blacks, whether slave or free "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
After the Supreme Court decision Dred Scott's original masters, the Blow family, purchased & freed the Scotts. Dred, Harriet & Eliza soon died of tuberculosis.
The Scott case legalized inequality, "separate but equal" treatment & laid the groundwork for racial discrimination throughout the nation. The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II & of Muslims during the so-called "war on terrorism," like the reservation restrictions for Native Americans, illustrate the breath of racist mentality, America's original sin. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case overturned the Scott decision.
Friends of Coldwater is working to gain recognition for Dred Scott in Minnesota. Coldwater Spring furnished water to Fort Snelling until 1920 & is the last spring of size in the Twin Cities. Coldwater is a traditional Native American sacred site.
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(Coldwater Spring) Do the Indians want to build a casino at Coldwater? Can they? There's been a lot of chatter about that topic recently on Minneapolis Issues, an email discussion group. Here is the Friends of Coldwater response.
Coldwater Casino? Ah, the old canard about Indian gaming.
• The Mendota Dakota community is years away from federal recognition and would not build on a sacred site. Coldwater is "wakan" (a spirit/sacred place), the home of Un Kte Hi, the Dakota deity of water and the underworld. On 8/28/00 the Mendota Dakota community formally requested that Coldwater, already a National Historic Landmark, be additionally protected by a conservation easement to "cover all 27 acres in perpetuity."
• The Coldwater campus is in the airport flight safety zone where height limits and land use restrictions apply; no large aggregation of people may assemble, no schools, hospitals, amphitheatre, stadium, etc.
• Coldwater is the last major spring in Minneapolis, still flowing at 100,000 gallons-per-day. The other sacred spring, the Great Medicine Spring (in Theodore Wirth Park) was permanently dewatered (along with Glenwood Spring) in the late 1980s with MnDOT construction of I-394. Coldwater is the only place in the city where potable water is available which does not require electricity or petroleum fuel for delivery.
• Coldwater is arguably the most historic land in the state. The spring is estimated to be 10,000 years old, flowing even under the last glacier. Before European settlement the mile-&-a-quarter stretch from Minnehaha Falls south to Coldwater was considered a sacred gathering place for numerous indigenous nations (Eddie Benton Benais, Anishinabe elder and Grand Chief of the Mdewiwin Medicine Lodge, in court-ordered testimony 3/19/99). Benais described the Coldwater area as "forever a neutral place and forever a sacred place" where "all nations" drew their water for the sacred ceremonies.
• Coldwater is the Birthplace of Minnesota, where the soldiers lived while building Fort Snelling. A civilian community developed around "Camp" Coldwater to service the fort with meat, baby-sitters, translators, etc. Those pioneers founded our state. Coldwater furnished water to the fort for 100 years, until 1920.
• Minneapolis park visionary Horace Cleveland planned Minnehaha Park to include everything from "the falls to the fort," from Minnehaha Falls to 54th Street, the federal land boundary. Environmentalists recommend contiguous green space for the preservation of urban flora and fauna. Coldwater is part of the blufftop shoestring of green land from the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to downtown Minneapolis. That corridor is the only true river gorge on the entire 2,350-mile length of the Mississippi.
• Tourism, a constant in any economy, is the world's largest industry and sacred tourism is large part of it. Foreign visitors interested in Indian history are limited to casinos and libraries. There are more than 300 Native American clubs in Germany. German and Japanese tourists are especially interested in aboriginal American history. Dred Scott's connection to Coldwater and Fort Snelling is shamefully ignored. Scott based his famous case for freedom in part on his residency at the fort between 1836-40 where he met and married his wife. Ruts in the land still show the path of the water wagons hauling barrels of spring water from Coldwater to the fort.
for Friends of Coldwater
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