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The 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.
This ARCHIVE is chronologically reversed. The newest postings are first.
— 2019 —

Mendota Dakota tribal community honors arborist Dan "the Oak Man" Keiser
September 2019

Dan the Oak Man
Photo: Brigitta Greene
Dan the Oak Man freed The Four Oaks from invisibility choked by buckthorn and brush in the 1990s and has been planting and pruning trees ever since. Dan saved the ancestor Four Oaks and organized their replanting in Mendota with burr oak grafts on the grounds of St. Peter’s Church where he launched a beautiful tree park and ritual area.

Check out the 10 minute KFAI interview click here »

3-Year Sewer Project North of Coldwater to Begin
September, 2019

Project Overview
The Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) plans to begin construction of the Minnehaha Park Area Sewer Improvements Project in September 2019. First order of business is to kill 20 to 30 trees on Minneapolis parkland which the Park Board is scheduled to replant sometime in the future.
Next MCES will be drilling two 3-foot access shafts 80-feet down through limestone into sandstone for up-&-down access for workers and equipment. The project will use the old sewer tunnel because Friends of Coldwater stopped MCES from abandoning the old structure and creating a new tunnel since the land is a groundwater sieve just north of Minnehaha Park and Falls and links to Coldwater Springs sources.
The question we have is if MCES has taken all legal steps to protect Coldwater, Dakota sacred site, last natural spring in Hennepin County and birthplace of the state of Minnesota. The State Archaeologist Office of Minnesota reported in July that MCES “did not consult with us, and State Process is completely different from the Federal 106 process” regarding protection of historic properties.
Bike Trail Detour
Despite constant vigilance Coldwater’s August flow measures only 66,000 gallons per day. In 2000 the average flow was 130,000 gpd. With all the rain lately storm water runs into the reservoir and is included in the groundwater flow total. 
We are experiencing the century of water crisis—too much, too little, wrong temperature, salt water intrusion on the world’s coasts where most people live. All life on earth depends on water. We Coldwater supporters want to see our local 11,000-year-old good water source protected. Every “improvement,” every development, every cut, cuts Coldwater.
The sewer project will take 2-3 years with an estimated cost of $25-million. The old human waste tunnel will be cleaned and measured in order to fit the new piping snuggly inside the old. Meanwhile the waste will be piped above ground causing traffic, bike trail and parking changes (and complaints).
--Susu Jeffrey
For Friends of Coldwater

The Coldwater Remembering Jimmy Celebration
July 1, 2019

Jimmy Anderson Red Sky
photo: Friends of Coldwater
Our friend and brother Jim Anderson Red Sky began his journey to the Spirit World on June 27th. We celebrated Jimmy’s arrival there four days later at Coldwater Springs. The devastating thing about a memorial gathering is the recognition of how painful our loss is. The wonderful part is being together again, the balm of community.

Thousands of folks visited or lived at Minnehaha Free State or the Four Oaks Spiritual Encampment. Most people remember Jimmy’s oratory and organizing skills, or the homey atmosphere of his couch in his tipi, or the nighttime drumming.

Jimmy Red Sky was a master of leadership. He had that gift of bringing out the best of what so many had to offer, especially if we didn’t know we had something the community needed until we went out and just did it.

It is mindboggling what different and complimentary actions people took. Jimmy encouraged people to shine in their own special ways. It’s not a talent, it’s a gift and it’s a gift to those of us who flourished under Jimmy’s benign leadership.

Besides feeling better after being together the 50-or-more of us on July 1st under the make-do tarp, outdoors at Coldwater in the rain, we had the joy of watching some of our Coldwater kids, ranging in age from 18 to 4-years, listen to our stories.

Thank you Jimmy.

Mitigating Climate Change

Mitigating climate change information from the Environmental Protection Agency assembled by Eric V. Larsson, PhD, LP, BCBA-D, Lovaas Institute Midwest:

From the EPA’s book on how to plant trees and vegetation to mitigate the snowballing effects of climate change on urban heat islands. This is a big deal. The focus of this book is on the cost benefit ratio of planting trees. Of course we’re on the downhill slide toward the costs illustrated.

The Scouts
Spring 2019

Waiting for the March full moon to rise through the clouds we heard, and then saw, two Canadian geese flying northeast. Wow! The geese are returning, it really is Spring.

A few minutes later two more geese came honking above us flying to the northwest. We anticipate the great flying Vs but “the people” fly-in after the scouts do their scouting.

Hail and welcome Scouts! Yo! We are delighted, nay thrilled at your return.


Why Save Coldwater?

I was tapping my way through one of those tiresome online enviro surveys designed to boost, in this case, the Sierra Club when I simply hit the X button. The US Department of Defense is the world’s largest polluter.
Duh, folks! The US military is the greatest petrochemical user. Despite photos of dirty air in Beijing or fires in the Amazon rain forest or in California, the American military machine with 1,000 foreign military bases in more than 170 countries staffed by 199,485 “personnel” with nearly 2-million more at home (not including civilians) is the dirtiest little secret in the world. “Little” because it is so little reported.
So why doesn’t the Sierra Club or talk about military pollution fueling global climate chaos? Because it is a threat to their funding.
All our nice friends would lose their non-profit jobs with benefits.
The Flood
Every culture traces its history back to a mythological flood. Seems like the glaciers are melting again. Two-hundred-million people live along the world’s coastlines. It’s about water—too much or too little, wrong temperature—whatever. There is no life on earth without water. Not simply “water” people require clean water.
The only water safe to drink is cleaned and nutrified by percolating through soil where impurities are filtered out and minerals from rock are picked up. That is spring water, water that seeps directly out of bedrock. “Spring water is sacred,” says Dennis Jones of the University of Minnesota’s Indian Studies Department.
Tap water is processed water, only fit for human consumption after mechanical cleaning and chemicalizing. And thank goodness because we all drink it. But what happens if the process breaks down, is overwhelmed?
In 1805 Lt. Zebulon Pike paddled up the Mississippi to see what the Louisiana Purchase (of 1803) had purchased. He “treated” with Dakotas and for $200 of gifts (and 60 gallons of whiskey) he assumed possession of 100,000-acres, nine-miles on either side of the Mississippi-Minnesota confluence up to the great falls, for the establishment of a (as in one) fort.
Then nothing except the usual fur trading until1819 when Euro-American soldiers were ordered to establish a fort at the confluence. At Fort New Hope on the Mendota side of the B’dota, the meeting of waters, one-of-five of the troops perished due to “unsanitary conditions” over the winter of 1819-20. They were using river water.
A Dakota gentleman showed Lt. Col. Henry Leavenworth’s troops Mni Owe Sni, Coldwater Springs. Or, soldier-scouts discovered an Indian path atop the Mississippi gorge to Coldwater.
The military simply expropriated the water source pouring out of the bluff a mile upstream of the confluence. From 1820 to 1880 they carted barrels of the spring water in constantly cycling water wagons and then piped it to Fort Snelling until1905. It was a military takeover. Pike’s treaty was never legally proclaimed and has never been tested in the courts.
Furthermore, the treaty states “The United States promise, on their part, to permit the Sioux to pass and repass, hunt, or make other use of the said districts as they have formerly done....”
In 2001 our federal 1805 Dakota Treaty Rights case ended with dismissal of “failure to obey a legal order.” Lead defense attorney Larry Leventhal joked that the order wasn’t legal. It was the third 1805 treaty rights case that got wiped from the federal courts which seem reluctant to return Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington including the Mall of America and the Twin Cities airport land to the Dakota.
The Last Spring
Of the four major springs in Hennepin County, Coldwater is the only natural spring remaining. The Great Medicine Spring in Theodore Wirth Park and nearby Glenwood Spring were permanently dewatered in the late 1980s with construction of Interstate-394 west out of Minneapolis. Two and a half-million gallons of groundwater per day are syphoned into holding ponds and then piped away and dumped into the Mississippi by the Stone Arch Bridge. 
The William-Miller Spring in Eden Prairie comes out of a pipe on the downhill side of Spring Road. Coldwater is what’s left of nature’s gift of clean water here and it is polluted with road salt. For insurance purposes the National Park System has posted scary DO NOT DRINK notices.
Do not drink the water that comes out of the pipe on the reservoir side of Coldwater.  The sacred water flows directly out of the limestone bedrock inside the northwest corner of the Spring House. In 1999 Coldwater measured 130,000 gallons a day. Now it’s down to about 66,000 gallons a day.
It’s hard to jump down into, and out of, the Coldwater Spring House and humbling to bend over and collect the water pouring out of the earth. It tastes rich with calcium and magnesium. It’s clear and cold. It’s the last big flow of sacred water in our county. Mni Wiconi (pronounced wi-cho-nee), water is life.
--Susu Jeffrey
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