Coldwater Journal is a record of personal observations and reflections from visits to the Coldwater campus.

Please feel free to submit your thoughts and reflections about Coldwater for posting here on the FRIENDS of COLDWATER site via email.
Coldwater Journal is chronologically reversed. The newest postings are first.
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Coldwater Journal
Monday, 11.25.13
Gas Pipeline Construction at Coldwater
Center Point Energy is digging a new utility corridor between Coldwater and Hwy 55. There is already a fiber optics utility corridor underground. If there are two utility corridors will there be a third? What will happen when Hwy 55 is rebuilt? Would it be expanded?

Coldwater lost 27,500 gallons per day with construction of the Hwy 55 reroute and the 55/62 interchange despite the 2001 state law prohibiting any loss of flow to or from Coldwater. It’s time to stop development around Coldwater, last major natural spring in Hennepin County, Dakota sacred site, and birthplace of the political state of Minnesota.

The gas line is designed to parallel the bike trail. Click here for an explanation of the construction project and five maps of the construction zone area. A map of the limestone bedrock fracture lines which funnel ground water to Coldwater Springs shows the gas pipe line above the main NW to SE fracture as well as five perpendicular sub fractures.

Excerpts of State Historic Preservation Office Letter to Gas Pipeline Contractor 11/20/13)

click here for larger view of images
Our office recognizes Camp Coldwater Springs as a Dakota tribal sacred site and we have made a previous determination that the site meets the criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP). We appreciate the fact that CenterPoint has consulted with the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community on this project and we encourage continued consultation as this project moves forward...

"Minnesota Session Law, Chapter 101 – S.F. 2049 states that 'Neither the state, nor a unit of metropolitan government, nor a political subdivision of the state may take any action that may diminish the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs.' All projects must be reviewed under the Minnesota Historic Sites Act (HSA) and the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act (FAA) with regard to the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs..."

The information provided by CenterPoint Energy for the project "pertain[s] primarily to the avo
idance of bedrock during construction, but no provision was outlined to monitor the actual flow of the springs where it daylights at the spring house location... We ask that this information be submitted to our office for review and approval prior to any ground disturbance taking place at the project site...

Measuring the Flow at Coldwater

How does flow monitoring proceed now that National Park Service workers cut the pipe where water used to exit the spring house in one unified stream? The bucket-&-stop watch measuring method was primitive but now spring water squirts out of the spring house in a semi-circle. How does a technician catch the flow to measure it?

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Coldwater Journal
Tuesday, 10.1.13
Trees vs. Shutting Down the Government
(Coldwater Park) Plastic "horses" blocking the entrance road were shoved aside. The parking lot was full. Planting a memorial tree usurped the fringe Republican Party closure of the federal government.

Planting life at the place of a constipated government's shutdown is the essence of Coldwater's 10,000 year flow and a lesson for us. The earth will continue circling the sun and water will continue to sculpt the land whether people are around to see the beauty—or not.

In 2011 the National Park Service assumed the authority to clearcut the Coldwater site except for the doomed ash trees, explaining, "We are the experts." Since then NPS has held a number of volunteer (i.e. non-paid) tree planting events. They hope to plant 1,000 little toothpick trees and burn out indigenous cottonwood trees which grace every other spring in the Midwest.

I hope to live long enough to see a law passed whereby it requires a permit to kill a tree rather than to plant a tree.

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September 2013
Dan Keiser and a Coldwater Healing Miracle
On the evening of July 22, Friends of Coldwater facilitated a Full Moon Healing Circle for Dan "Oakman" Keiser. The midsummer moon is known as the Blessing Moon. We intended to use the blessing energy of the full moon for Dan and his support people. We were happy just to be able to "do something."  
We introduced ourselves to each other and talked about how we knew Dan as friends from his various circles explained their relationships. We got an update on Dan's condition from his sister Chris and brother Robert. You could "see" Dan in his siblings and could also see the worry, the strain of two and a half weeks (since July 5) of supporting a loved one in intensive care at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
At the time Dan was laid out flat in a "drug induced coma." The doctors took Dan off the sedatives but he wasn't coming around. Was he brain dead?
Dan's partner Bonnie Jean and his sister Chris emphasized that we were not to bombard Dan with be-healed-now-boom-boom energy. Rather they suggested sending out a calm stream of the life force, a structure of love, a gentle flow to let him sense our support.
So we set up the image of a glass of water and filled it with healing energy. Danny and all his worried, exhausted supporters were given a straw to sip the healing water as needed. The glass of healing water was to be ever-filled from the thoughts, prayers, hopes and dreams of Dan healed and back with us.    
At that point boom-boom Dan went from quiet and prone to ripping out his tubes and standing up out of bed. The medical staff freaked. Dan was heavily sedated and restrained.
Now that Dan is back with us, here's his description of where he was:  
I was in the coma for 22 days. It was nothing like sleeping or being passed out. It was a constant series of horrific hallucinations that lasted the whole duration.
Like: I was freezing & wrapped up in a cargo net on board a helicopter hovering 100's of feet over a forested lake in Alaska, I was lost in a mountain of connected transparent rubber balls filled w/ dancing people & bouncing Big Bird puppets, I was slowly floating up an Apocalypse Now-like river lined w/ vendors of dragon sculptures, I was battle-strategizing w/ a group of beret-wearing guerillas deep in a jungle, I was trapped in a tiny elevator overlooking a building w/ hollow glass walls filled w/ gems being emptied out & filled w/ sand, I was boarded up in a wooded crate for hours in an airport hanger & pounding on the sides to get out while a woman back from a space flight was giving birth to dozens of weird round alien creatures, I was cramped w/ 2 broken legs face down inside a plane wing waiting for a take-off that never happened & I was forgotten about, I was inside a cavernous pyramid when giant statues began morphing out of the walls & I fled out into the desert w/ nowhere to go, & many many more rather disturbing situations.
In reality I had pulled out my tubes & got out of bed, & was quickly subdued & tethered down like Frankenstein, but I didn't do that trying to remove the tubes from inside me but rather to snap off a length so I could strangle my captor & escape from the dungeon I was held in.
I thought the catheter taped to my thigh was a tree growing out of my leg w/ vein & artery roots, & I actually offered a nurse $20 for his pants so I could put them on & trade places w/ him & get the hell out of there. What a long bad acid trip it was.
The nurses would constantly ask my name & I thought that they actually didn't know & that my ID was stolen & being used to commit murder in Iraq, & ask where I was & I'd describe the above mentioned instead of in a hospital, & ask why I was there & I honestly had no idea except that they were trying to torture & kill me.
It took way longer than they thought it would for me to come out of the coma & the fear was that if I survived I'd be suffering encephalopathy (brain damage).
The poison they pumped into me finally worked & the infection cleared up & my heart went back into sinus (normal) rhythm & I regained consciousness & started putting together the 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of what just happened to me w/ only a dozen of the pieces.
My muscle mass had atrophied & I lost nearly 30 pounds of weight. I was all skin & bones & my arms looked like turkey wattles. The tubes were all removed & my wrists were untied from the bed railings. Lying on my back, pooping into a bedpan, & having a nurse wipe my butt is a rather humbling experience.
Then I had to relearn how to stand, then relearn to walk, then how to use the toilet & wipe myself. I quickly surpassed all the physical therapists' tests & began rehabilitation exercises & eating real food. I was soon released ahead of the hospital's schedule.
I am now at home & doing splendidly & putting on weight. For over a week I had to have friends & family feed me & water all my trees & help me around the house, but I'm pretty independent at present & back to my old busy self.
I'm so sorry for giving all my friends & family such a scare & I really appreciate all the hospital visits & get well cards & good wishes & prayers that came my way & gave me the hope & the will to pull through. Thank you, thank you, it's so good to be among the living & the loving again.
[signed] Cante wastea (w/ a good heart) nape ciuza (your hand I clasp),
Utuhu Tanka (Great Oak)
a.k.a. Dan the Oakman
P.S. Bonnie Jean says every hospital patient needs an advocate to stand up to the medical system. She constantly labored to lessen the amount of narcotics pumped into Dan and "tried to educate" the staff about Dan-the-person, the soul of a man rather than patient number whatever-million.
Friends of Dan are urged to continue filling that glass of healing water in thanks for the blessing of having our friend The Oakman back with us again.
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Monday, 7.22.13
Healing Circle for Dan Keiser
((Coldwater Park) Dan Keiser is a renaissance man with talent and friends from many worlds. Three of Dan's worlds showed up at the July Full Moon Healing Circle: family, music and art event patrons, and the natural world of burr oaks, yellow prairie "weeds" in bloom and a couple of stags sporting velvet horns.

Each of us knows a slightly different Danny Boy. He spent three years as a pre-med major at St. John's but graduated as an art major fulfilling all the requirements in a single year. Okay so Dan is brilliant and focused.

The organizer Dan is more than the master of mass photo shoots and multi-band festivals—he's the guy who will burst out in song at your mother's lake cabin dinner table. This image is linked to the laughing Dan on his telephone answering message—the one where he can't remember his own phone number!

An "Oakman" Dan fan knows him as the guy who brings trees to the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community annual Welcome Home Pow Wow. And yes the oak is in the ground and flourishing.

Finally there are a few who came to the Blessing Moon Coldwater "walk" who don't know Dan but who "want to know him."

Meanwhile Dan is pulling out of induced sedation. He's been at Abbott Hospital since July 5 where he was admitted with stomach pains. Doctors wonder if Dan picked up some bug while camping in the BWCA. Then things "got complicated" with heart-lung problems.

At this time Dan is still in ICU with no phone calls, visitors or flowers but that will change when Dan is transferred to a general ward. Call patient information for updates, 612-863-4111.

The good news is that Dan’s heart is strong so his recovery looks good and will be a matter of time. Meanwhile Dan's friends can support him by supporting his support network. Anyone who's had a loved one in the hospital knows how exhausting the family waiting room is.

Send your healing thoughts and messages to Dan Keiser, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, 800 East 28th Street, Minneapolis MN 55407. Patient information will tell us when visits become important: 612-863-4111. GO DAN! GO OAKS!
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Tuesday, 6.4.13
The Trees of Coldwater
(National Park Service planners of Coldwater Park hold a purist vision for the 27-acres—no (indigenous) cottonwood trees, no (invasive) buckthorn.
The concept of no cottonwood trees at a Minnesota Big Woods spring site is a plan only people in offices could draw up, on paper. There are hundreds of sprouting cottonwood and buckthorn trees on the property and thousands in the surrounding land.
Alan Robbins-Fenger, NPS Coldwater manager, said no-cottonwoods is a rule from the airport since the land is in a runway flight path. To put it another way, Coldwater is a crash zone, nevertheless other trees are okay. Tell it to the cottonwood seeds that will soon be floating everywhere in a summer snowstorm.
When nearby Wabun Park was burned to rid it of invasives and then hydro-sprayed with indigenous seeds I asked the workmen if they could keep out buckthorn. No. Buckthorn is "planted" by birds that eat the berries and poop.
Gallons of poison and constant, expensive, labor intensive attention would be required to keep Coldwater an island of non-invasive purity. The irony of non-indigenous people who introduced and now want to eliminate non-indigenous plants should not be lost.
Four federally recognized Dakota tribes that applied to manage the Coldwater property were turned away because they failed to submit a single plan, nor have they been invited to suggest how the park should look and function.
NPS re-designed part of the spring flow into a secondary stream so that less than half of what's left of the 130,000 gallons a day measured in 1999 still follows its pre-construction path. (27,500 gallons a day was lost to the Hwy 55/62 interchange.)  
Extensive erosion at Coldwater during this wet spring shows clearly that nature bats last. In the end the water will find its own path and the cottonwoods will grow.
—Susu Jeffrey
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Saturday, 4.27.13
The $3-Million Dog Park
(Coldwater Springs) It's a lonely place. Today is the first 70-degree Saturday of 2013. It's just past noon. Cars are parked bumper to bumper on the frontage road but no one is at Coldwater. The rutted, dirt parking lot has been closed for more than a month. A plethora of no parking signs adorn the entrance. Clearly visitors are not welcome.

The National Park Service (NPS) estimated as many as 100,000 Coldwater visitors a year. The land was not ready for the public when the park "opened" September 1, 2012. NPS superintendent Paul Labovitz brought in an armed guard in a flak jacket when local Dakota people held a pipe ceremony on opening day.

The land hardly looks ready now. NPS clearcut the area in 2010-11, imported tons of stoney construction fill, and bulldozed, flattened this Mississippi bluff land into a "prairie." Atop the fill, the dirt was sprayed, "hydro-seeded," with a prairie mix. It looked like bare dirt spray-painted green; it's the corporate eco-engineering model. Unfortunately, the drought last fall may have killed the seeds.

Now the land is gray, streaked with erosion rivulets. Dozens of newly planted toothpick trees and hundreds of tree stumps dot the view. Huge chunks of rock placed around the park hide metal sewer grates that siphon rainwater into pipes that empty further down the bluff. Labeling NPS land plans at Coldwater a "restoration" to the early 1800s is fantasy.

The hill behind the Spring House used to be 17 feet higher. NPS cleared and leveled it so that highway and light rail transit noise and pollution invade the park. NPS announced they were planning for 100 to 200 years ahead; 200 years ago the only white people in this area were French traders. A hundred years ago Native Americans were not legal American citizens and their religious ceremonies were outlawed.

The declining US economy and sequester-politics make iffy the continuance of the federal park system (established in 1916). A public relations hire at NPS is writing grants for tax deductible donations and arranging for volunteer weeding and planting parties.

Consulting With the Tribes
The white men who head the Saint Paul NPS branch have reportedly held two meetings with representatives from three South Dakota federally recognized tribes concerning a legal "sacred" designation for Coldwater. In 2006 the federally recognized Lower Sioux Indian Community council at Morton, Minnesota requested that the 27-acre Coldwater property be transferred to the care of the tribe and declared the place both "Traditional Cultural Property" (TCP) and "sacred."

John Anfinson, NPS Natural and Cultural Resources specialist, stated that Coldwater is TCP and sacred only for Lower Sioux members, not for other Mdewakanton bands, or for all Dakotas, or all Indian people, or for all people.

Of course, if Coldwater were a church building rather than a natural and cultural resource, it would be recognized as sacred. Religious contempt is a measure of a man's smallness. Curiously, manmade structures have greater historic import than creator-made landscapes in Western thought.

Anfinson, with a PhD in history, stated that "We begin history here [at Coldwater] in 1820." In 1820 Euro-American soldiers assumed control of Coldwater which furnished water to Fort Snelling from 1820-1920. Coldwater has been flowing at least 10,000 years.

Anfinson stated, "We don't know if Indian people" were at Coldwater "because they didn't write down their stories," and that NPS "owns" Coldwater.

Superintendent Labovitz, an MBA with a forestry background, plays the political role of neutralizing Anfinson's declarations by deflection. At a recent discussion he indicated the clearcut at Coldwater might have been overkill, but it's "too late."

"In my world" Labovitz said, NPS consultations are formal and held only with recognized tribes or signatories to the Coldwater Final Environmental Impact Statement. This excludes the Mendota Dakota community and citizen's "concurring" groups that fought for years to preserve the spring. However, four federally recognized tribes officially asked to become managers of the Coldwater property. Labovitz turned them away because there was not a single plan offered by the combined tribes.

Limited History
None of the current NPS officials were on staff in the 1990s during the struggle to save Minnehaha Park and Coldwater. In the post-World War 2 highway-building boom the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) planned a freeway along the old military trail from Fort Snelling to the great falls in what is now downtown Minneapolis. In 1985 MnDOT convened a citizen's committee to recommend a route for the new Hiawatha/Highway 55.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the committee, which he was a member of, determined that a rebuilt Highway 55 should remain in its alignment, past the Veterans Administration hospital. MnDOT dismissed the committee and assembled a more compliant group that agreed with its plan to route the freeway along Minnehaha Park and undeveloped land atop the Mississippi bluff.

MnDOT's original plan was to dynamite and pipe in city water as was done for Interstate-394, west out of Minneapolis in the late 1980s. The Great Medicine Spring, in Theodore Wirth Park, and nearby Glenwood Spring were both permanently dewatered into the sewer system for I-394. In 1873 Col. John H. Stevens, considered the first white resident of Minneapolis, said that Indian people come to the medicine spring from hundreds of miles to get the healing properties of the water, now lost.

Because federal funds were used to build the Highway 55 reroute, MnDOT was forced to parley with recognized Indian tribes. The result was that the roadway, reduced from a freeway to a divided highway, was raised to avoid cutting off underground water channels headed to Coldwater. Construction damage, especially from the Hwy 55/62 interchange, resulted in a daily loss of 27,500 gallons according to court-ordered post-construction monitoring. At last report Coldwater was flowing at about 90,000 gallons per day.

For years MnDOT plowed through Indian mounds along the Mississippi for the ever-expanding Great River Road. At the pinnacle above the Mississippi-Minnesota rivers confluence, a traditional power point, the land is cut, criss-crossed and layered with roads. The state ignores the commons (land, water, air) with its focus on road-building, a danger to the landscapes of springs.

We are literally running over our state's human history which goes back, at least, to a 14,000 year old burial in Walker, by Leech Lake. Closer to home, a 9,000 year old bison spear point was found in the 1996 Sibley House dig in Mendota, identified by state archaeologist Robert Clouse. Human history appears to be limited to Euro-American history in the local NPS office.

Throughout the world springs are venerated as life-giving, sometimes miraculous, sites such as Lourdes in southwest France. The iron-rich red spring and its twin, the calcium-rich white spring in Glastonbury, England, are pilgrimage sites. "There are springs all over the Bible," Pastor Roger Lynn of Walker Community United Methodist Church said at the trial of demonstrators arrested in 1999 at the Four Trees Spiritual Camp. In 1976, the secretive, fenced, Bureau of Mines Twin Cities Research Center at Coldwater was opened to south Minneapolis residents when city tap water was befouled with a putrid algae.

The Water Wars
If you think the oil wars are bad just wait for the water wars, experts say. They point out Palestine/Israel and the Sudan, the Haitian water-born cholera epidemic, gas fracking, oil pipeline spills and contaminated nuclear water flowing into the Pacific off Fukushima, Japan.

They watch extreme weather and the oceans rising with glacier melt, the great rivers flooding deforested coastal lands, and low-lying Pacific islands, as well as New York and Venice. Salt water intrusion into groundwater threatens agricultural and drinking water. Climate refugees are coming.

Coldwater is the last major natural spring in Hennepin County. After a while on this hot Saturday afternoon two sets of dog-walkers exit the park, ducking around the No Parking signs. The NPS 3-million dollar Coldwater investment has wrought another dog park.

—Susu Jeffrey
Coldwater entrance 4/27/13. Photo: FoC.
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February 2013
The Willow
Minneapolis artist Alison Price writes:

Dear Friends of Coldwater,
The story of Coldwater Springs and the Willow, and the Land, have been inspirational. Long before I knew about the controversy, I would sketch the willow and pond and just "be" in the beautiful space. 
I painted
Guardian of Cold Water Spring in 2011. Willow Weeps and Wisdom Shared followed soon after. Congressman Keith Ellison's office chose these works to be exhibited in his office last year. They are large works, 24" x 48" each.
It was just something I thought I would share. Your information, dedication and work concerning this project have inspired others.

Thank you
Guardian of Cold Water Spring
(click image for a larger view)
Willow Weeps
(click image for a larger view)
Wisdom Shared
(click image for a larger view)
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