Support Traditional Cultural Property for Native Americans at Coldwater Springs
- National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
- United States of America
Before it was a historic site, Coldwater was a sacred site.
Coldwater Springs, 27-acres atop the Mississippi Bluff.
Support Traditional Cultural Property Recognition for Native Americans.
In 1805 Lt. Zebulon Pike signed a treaty with Dakota leaders for land to build a fort near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers in what is now Minneapolis. The treaty stipulated that Dakota people retain the rights to "pass, repass, hunt or make other uses of the said districts, as they have formerly done...."
The National Park Service (NPS) refuses to recognize Coldwater as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP or sacred) site for Indian peoples, although the Minnesota Historical Society State Preservation Office does ( http://minnesotahistory.net/BOM%20MOA%20SHPO.pdf )
NPS spokesman John Anfinson says: "We don't know if Indian people were at Coldwater because they didn't write down their stories," and "We begin history here in 1820." ( Hear the 1820 comment in a radio documentary at www.FriendsofColdwater.org )
In 1820 U.S. Army troops under Lt. Col. Henry Leavenworth marched up the Mississippi bluff to Coldwater where they pitched tents, built elm bark huts and mined limestone out of the hills to build Fort Snelling (1820-23). Coldwater furnished water to the fort for a century, 1820-1920.
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 restored First Amendment rights to Native peoples. In 2006 the Lower Sioux Indian Community Council in Morton, Minnesota, a federally recognized tribe, declared "Coldwater Springs and the land that surrounds it" to be a Traditional Cultural Property and "sacred." The Council requested that the Department of the Interior "restore the land to its natural state" and "permit access to it to all interested parties."
In December 2011, NPS clear-cut much of the Coldwater campus, including indigenous cottonwoods, maples and sumac bushes, to limit the park to white oaks only. NPS somehow forgot that the spring area is in an airport safety zone where "no new trees" can be planted (see the 2006 Draft Environmental Impact Statement at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=150&projectID=11443&documentID=15932 Chapter 1, pp. 17-19; the Final EIS included the same information in 2009).
From the reservoir west to Hwys 55/62 and the elevated transit rail line grass is now planned, bringing noise and pollution into what was an urban wilderness.
Coldwater Springs has been flowing at least 10,000 years. A 9,000 year-old bison spear point was found in the confluence area indicating thousands of years of Native habitation. Coldwater is the last major natural spring in Hennepin County, still flowing at 80,000 to 90,000 gallons a day.
Current NPS plans for Coldwater look like another urban McPark with neat, defined gravel paths, no benches and few trees: see plans at http://www.nps.gov/miss/parkmgmt/upload/Landscape-renderings-restored-sites.pdf
SUPPORT THE SACRED
Because of the white-only history bias and clear-cut tree fiasco Friends of Coldwater urges interested parties to support TCP status and to restore the land to its natural state.
I support Traditional Cultural Property status at Coldwater Springs in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and the restoration of the land to its natural state.
The Support Traditional Cultural Property for Native Americans at Coldwater Springs petition to National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior was written by ColdwaterSpringsSacredSite2012 and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.