NEWS & POLITICS
Check out the photo-essay “Who Owns Coldwater.” Coldwater is an acknowledged Dakota Tribal Sacred Site and Traditional Cultural Property.
Dan Keiser, The Oak Man by Brigitta Greene
The Mendota Dakota tribal community honored arborist Dan Keiser [pictured] at their annual pow wow in September of 2019. Keiser goes by “Oak Man,” a nickname he acquired during the years-long standoff over the construction of Highway 55 in the late 90s. The protest pitted environmental activists and native communities against MnDOT. A central symbol of the fight were four bur oak trees, well over 100 years old, that native communities believed to be sacred, and highway officials said needed to be cleared. The highway ultimately won out, and – 20 years ago this December – the trees came down. But behind the scenes, Keiser took cuttings from the oaks and brought them to an expert who was able to graft them onto new saplings. Keiser then transplanted the grafted trees on the historic grounds of St. Peter’s church in Mendota, and still cares for them today.
Message from Dan:
If you have about 10 minutes, check out this piece that KFAI radio aired
just last night! The whole show is an hour long, skip over most of it
(like 50 minutes), but tune into the interview from point 12:00 to 21:40.
After conversation with George Garvin last week, I’d like to start making plans for reburial of the 138 individuals and 32 associated funerary objects in the attached Notice. As you know, the Ho-Chunk Nation has taken the lead in submitting a claim; I also received letters in support of this from the Otoe-Missouria, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and the Three Affiliated Tribes. I’ve been given the go ahead by George to start making arrangements, but do want to be as inclusive as possible. Given their distribution and keeping with reburying as close as possible to original burial locations, it seems that we could conduct reburials at each of our four state-owned cemeteries. So at this time I’d like to arrange a meeting to begin planning
As a starting point, I propose that we meet on November 12, after the OSA’s Advisory Committee meeting, at 1pm, as there will be several of our Indian Advisory Council members here at the OSA, and we can also set up a conference call for others to call in. Please let me know if you’d like to participate, but the date and/or time don’t work for you.
Lara K. Noldner, PhD
Office of the State Archaeologist
University of Iowa
700 S Clinton St.
Iowa City, IA
Here’s a very interesting post concerning The American Indian Religious Freedom Act
AIRFA is a US federal law and a joint resolution of Congress that was passed in 1978. It was created to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts and Native Hawaiians.
These rights include, but are not limited to, access of sacred sites, repatriation of sacred objects held in museums, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites, including within prisons, and use and possession of objects considered sacred. The Act required policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native religion, based on the First Amendment, and to accommodate access to and use of religious sites to the extent that the use is practicable and is not inconsistent with an agency’s essential functions. It also acknowledged the prior violation of that right.
To read the rest of this article, please visit: www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~rfrey/329AIRFA.htm