Mendota Dakota Mdewakanton Tribal Community Discussion Federal Recognition Meeting Press Release
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Press Release 6/21/2021
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Thank you Greg Strandmark Historian and Sharon Lennartson Tribal Chairwoman.
I will add more names of people to thank, soon as I complete the list.
Why not his wife and children?
If anyone has these pictures please send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mendota Tribal Council.
Sharon Lennartson, Chairwoman, Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community.
Sharon brings 17 years of Tribal and Community experience and leadership to her people.
One of the first things Sharon would like to see for her people is Federal Recognition, a Community Center, paid staff, and a culture and healing center. Sharon, along with others donate countless hours to their community.
Sharon has 3 wonderful sons, Sean, Dan, Joe, 2 grandchildren, Sam, and Nick, and one beautiful daughter-in-law Angela. Sharon has 3 sisters, Mickey, Beverly, Linda, and had two brothers whom have passed. Morris and Bob, Bob who was one of the founders of the Mendota Community..
She is widely recognized for her tireless efforts, dedication and sensitivity to preserving the culture of the Mendota Dakotas; and carries these virtues into the preservation of all indigenous cultures. Sharon’s strong business experience and leadership skills, describes her tenacity to getting the job done. She is a strong advocate for women’s equality and brings her skills to compliment the capabilities of our organization, and plays a key role in structuring and facilitating social/economic development programs for rural communities.
Sharon is not only a proud member of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribe but she is also the organizer of events, collector of historical data, keeper of membership documents and much, much more. Sharon was voted Chairwoman in 2014. Sharon goes to all meetings and events related to the tribe.
Sharon shares the blood of both the Dakota and Annishinabe Native Americans. She is extremely proud of her Native American heritage. She is related to Cetanwakanmani, Big Thunder, and Little Crow; historical leaders of the Dakota People. Sharon is also related to Angelique Renville who married Hypolite DuPuis. She embraces the religious and cultural aspects of it and they are a part of her everyday life. She takes part in Native ceremonies and encourages others of our Tribal Community to do the same. She loves our culture and looks to the Creator whenever things get tough.
When questions arise, it only takes a few minutes before someone says, “Let’s ask Sharon; she’ll know the answer.” Although Sharon did not grow up in the traditional Dakota way, she now focuses on learning the language and traditions of the people and is involved in many of the historic remembrances of lives lost and promises broken for the Dakota.
Count on Sharon to be on the move most of the time caring for the needs of the people. She is especially concerned for elders and assists them in any way that she is able. Sharon has many moments of calmness.
Sharon is very proud Dakota elder. You will hear her say (Be Dakota Every Day!). A saying from her brother Bob Brown who is in the spirit world, and one of the founders of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribe.
Mitakuye Oyasin (We Are All Related)
Her spirit name is “Good Thunder Woman” (English), or “Wakiya Waste Win” (Dakota)
Vendors spots are full.
Pow Wow committee.
In honor of Sharon Lennartson’s 75th Birthday – Tribal Chairwoman of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community (MMDTC)) I am thrilled to announce the publication of Mendota Dakota: Stories of Land & Leadership.
This book is a collaboration between MMDTC and students in Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas who interviewed 20 MMDTC members and friends, and collected other stories to present this narrative of the Mendota Dakota.
All proceeds benefit the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community.
The stories and the copyright for the book are reserved by the MMDTC and used with permission for this publication.
Thank you to the MMDTC Tribal Council, University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences Research in Action, and especially the dedicated student authors of this work.
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribe to again seek federal recognition.
Article by Jenna Kunze. Aug 2nd, 2021
MENDOTA, Minn. — At the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers in the heart of the Twin Cities exists the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community (MMDTC), a 125-member group who can trace their ancestry in the area back to the mid 1700s.
But because of issues stemming from the U.S.-Dakota conflict in 1862 when the federal government dissolved treaties with the Dakotas and drove most of them out of the state, MMDTC says it has been dispossessed of its land and federal tribal status.
Now, for the second time in 25 years, the Mendota Mdewakanton — a word to describe a number of Eastern Dakota or Sioux people — is seeking federal acknowledgement from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
“It’s very important,” said Chairwoman Sharon Lennartson, 74, who has led the MMDTC nonprofit entity for a decade and a half after helping the group organize in 1995. “We’ve wanted this since day one when we started our community.”
Like other Mendota Dakota descendants of mixed-blood ancestry coming from the French fur traders, Lennartson grew up out of touch with her Indian heritage.
“I wasn’t raised Native,” she said. “I never got to dance with my aunties and uncles. That was all taken from me.”
In the late 1990s, groups of Mendota families organized to take back their identities. Their awareness came from the nearby Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which put an ad in the paper looking for descendants. Lennartson’s grandfather was granted land to farm in Shakopee, and her cousins are enrolled tribal members. But Lennartson and several others didn’t qualify for membership under Shakopee’s bylaws.
“Where we really belong is in Shakopee,” said Richard LeClaire, MMDTC’s oldest member and Lennartson’s cousin. “They wouldn’t let us in. They cast us off and told us to go start your own club. And that’s exactly where we are today.”
Lennartson said the main push behind federal recognition hinges on reclaiming historic properties once belonging to their ancestors, including the DuPuis House where her grandparents once lived. The house is currently owned by the state and operated by the Minnesota Historical Society, which gives MMDTC permission to host monthly meetings there.
Additionally, federal recognition would allow MMDTC to apply for certain federal grants and pools of money to help fund programs, such as Dakota language classes, and the group’s annual powwow.
Mendota historian and MMDTC member Greg Strandmark said he feels confident the tribe will meet the Department of Interior’s seven mandatory criteria to gain federal recognition, despite the tribe’s ill preparedness in the process decades earlier.
The group didn’t follow through on its 1996 petition past the “technical assistance” phase because it didn’t have enough research to make its case to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Federal Acknowledgement, which determines if a petition will move through the process of acknowledgment.
“It was a fairly incomplete petition back then,” Strandmark said.
A technical assistance letter from the Office of Federal Acknowledgements informed the MMDTC at the time that “these materials do not provide an adequate basis on which the (Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs) could make a determination concerning federal government acknowledgment under all seven criteria.”
However, after several trips to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and Kansas, plus more information being made available online, the group is ready to submit a petition once again.
Arlinda Locklear, an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and an attorney practicing federal Indian Law for 35 years, said the process of filing a petition presents “a quadruple whammy” for tribes.
The process of meeting all seven criteria requires a “high burden of proof” that necessitates expert analysis, which is expensive especially for resource strapped unrecognized tribes. On top of that, the people who could provide oral testimonies and documentation that might help prove certain criteria for a tribe are aging, Locklear said, noting the federal recognition process can take a generation to complete.
“You have this really awful evidentiary requirement placed upon people with no resources, but at the same time they’re trying to comply with that, they’re losing generations of people who have access to some of that information,” she said. “It’s not uncommon for tribes to spend 20 to 30 years … in the preparation of and in following the processing of these petitions.”
According to Locklear, garnering the extensive documents and expert analysis needed for a strong petition could cost tribes close to $1 million.
For MMDTC, which has existed entirely through volunteers, the petition has cost $500,000 in time and money, according to Strandmark’s estimates.
Challenges from Indian Country
Beyond meeting the onerous criteria from the federal government, the MMDTC also faces challenges from other tribes. To that end, the nearby Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community disputes Mendota’s legitimacy as a tribe.
At the crux of the argument, the Shakopee contend that when Congress bought land for Dakota communities in the 1800s, the Mendota were left out, unlike the other three recognized Dakota communities in Minnesota.
“Land was purchased at Prairie Island, Lower Sioux, and Shakopee,” the community wrote in a statement to Tribal Business News. “Land was never purchased at Mendota. Based upon our understanding of the tribal recognition process, there is no factual basis for a tribe to secure recognized government status at Mendota.”
A letter from a BIA agent to the commissioner in 1888 noted that land wasn’t purchased for the local Native community in Mendota because it was significantly more expensive than what the agency was willing to spend. The cost at “$500 per acre” in Mendota compared to $15 an acre elsewhere, likely because of the proximity to St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Locklear noted that federally recognized tribes can oppose the recognition process of other tribes as a means of self-preservation and staving off competition for gaming ventures in many cases. For the Shakopee specifically, the tribe’s existing casino would inevitably be threatened if the Mendota were to open a casino less than 10 minutes from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
“A lot of recognized tribes have a policy of opposing the recognition of any tribe in their vicinity,” Locklear said. “I’ve seen it in (the) Northwest, I’ve seen it on the east coast. It happens all over the country. It happens when there is potential for gaming competition. It happens when there is potential for participation in a pro-rata share of treaty fishing rights. It happens when there is concern about sharing limited Indian Health Services appropriations.
“A lot of these reasons … relate to there being too little resources on the table in the first place for Native communities.”
Kevin Washburn (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), the former Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior and current dean at the University of Iowa College of Law, said that in some cases, the challenges from one tribe group to another goes beyond economic considerations.
“If there was no gaming in the world, I’m not sure that the opposition would go away,” he said. “It goes to the core of identity in some cases.”
Ultimately, MMDTC members expect the road to federal recognition will be a long one. Currently, the BIA has six petitions “in process” that have each been submitted as far back as 1994, with no time limit set for a decision. An additional five potential tribes are in the pipeline once they supplement their petitions.
“Most of these tribes that have gone through federal recognition, they’ve been going through it for decades. It’s generational,” Strandmark said. “If we get federal recognition, I’ll go to the spirit world knowing that 100 years from now, the community will still be there. It won’t be forgotten in history.”
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The Wacipi is only around 6 weeks away that will fry by. Started working on Wacipi in March.
Estimate expense for our 21 Wacipi Sept 10-12-2021. Set up Sept 7 -10th.
We have $18,000 for the Wacipi. We still need around $8,000 to pay everything.
Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Thank you to all who have donated so far.
Paid clean up small jobs.
Adults Dancers woman and men.
Host Drum, Co Host, other drums could be up to $3,500.
Fry bread fryers two sisters.
History panels $1,400.00, must be turned in by Aug 15.
Food for food booth about $1,200.
Food to feed helpers.
Hotel rooms $1,000.
Toilets $1,000 2 handicaps, 8 reg maybe 9 reg?
Dancers get $75.00 each if they dance all 3 grand entries. We donâ€™t know how many we will have/
Teens $60.00 if they dance all 3 grand entries
Tiny Tots $30.00 if they dance all 3 grand entries
If no price it is because some people donâ€™t want how much their making.
Can you help, you can pick one to pay if you want. If you can donate please email Sharon mendotadakota.com as to which one you can help with.
Any donation small or large will help.
This is Sharonâ€™s last Wacipi. Someone else needs to take over. I have done Wacipi for over 16 years. Turning 75 on August 28. Time to retire.
Mitakuye Owasin in Dakota.
We Are All Related.
Good Thunder Woman English, ( Wakiya Waste Win ) in Dakota ). A proud Dakota Elder.
Sharon’s Lennartson 75 Birthday Party Sat Aug 28. At the VFW in Mendota, MN 55150. 1-5 potluck.
If you have not got an invite please email us, we will send you an invite. Please RSVP – ASAP. email@example.com. We need to know how much food to order?
Please let us know what you may bring?
My mother Tribal Chairwoman Sharon Lennartson will be 75 on August 28, 2021. Birthday flyer below.
Saturday August 28, at the VFW in Mendota, MN 55150 from 1-4 maybe longer!
Half a block from our tribal office.
Down the hill from St Peters Catholic Church same side of St.
VFW address 1323 Sibley Memorial Hwy Mendota MN, 55150.
We really hope you can come to this special party, come cerebrate with us, and to acknowledge all her hard work for 27 years. 30 years if we go back to the beginning of our community. Mom has been tribal chair for 16 years.
I have seen how hard she works for volunteeringÂ her time to Mendota everyday 7 days a week no pay.
Saturday August 28, at the VFW in Mendota, MN 55150, from 1-5 maybe longer Indian time.
What ever people bring for a potluck!
Reply to this email if you will be attending as this is invite only and we need to know how much main food to order.
No gifts, unless you want to donate to the Wacipi for raffle booth.
We just want you to spent the afternoon with Sharon and family.
No children please, the party is at a VFW there will be alcohol.
Come see many family members.
Hope to see you there. Can you write a little story about my mom if you want. They will be a nice memory for her.Â We should be celebrating that too. How long she has devoted her live to Mendota.
Sponsored by The Mendota Council, myself Joe, my brothers are Sean Monahan, Dan Monahan and grandchildren Sam and Nick.
Thank you Joe Lennartson
Email firstname.lastname@example.org,Â if you would like to set up and take down the party.
Pray for Rain Full Moon Walk at Coldwater Springs – Friday, July 23, 2021
|Mon, Jul 19, 7:03 PM (2 days ago)|
Pray for Rain Full Moon WalkÂ at Sacred Coldwater Springs
Friday, July 23, 2021
Gather at the park entrance, 7pm
Park at pay meters on the Hwy 55 access road via credit card/quarters
We need rain. On this date in 1987 there was a 15-inch rain event here. A municipal festival was scheduled with city powers-that-be trying to forestall the rain. Meanwhile clouds were building up and up in the southwest like a chocolate fudge sundae for a god.
Check out the photos of severely eroded Riley Creek in Eden Prairie. In one photo people in the background are collecting spring water at the Spring Road turnout. The city council voted to permit construction of 50, 3-garage homes on the ridge directly above the Fredrick-Miller Spring which empties into Riley Creek where these photos were taken. The unstable sandy ridge is glacial outwash along the Minnesota River that used to be 5-miles wide.
Controlling water is aÂ limited human power.
Give a blessing, get a blessing. Blessings travel in circles.
Traditional group howl. One full moon our howl was answered by a human clan return howl.
Friends of Coldwater seek to honor our 10,000-year-old landscape ancestor.Â Full moon walks have been celebrated at Coldwater Springs monthly since 2000.Â We return to remember theÂ spirits that feed this Spring.
Sunset 8:51 pmÂ Â (13 minutes earlier than the previous full moon)
Moonrise 9:09 pmÂ Â (23 minutes earlier than the last month full moon)
Exact minute of full moon pmÂ 9:38 pm Central Time
DIRECTIONS: Coldwater Springs is between Minnehaha Park & Fort Snelling, in Minneapolis, just North of the Hwy 55/62 interchange. From Hwy 55/Hiawatha, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54thÂ Street, take an immediate right, & drive all the way down on the frontage road where you can park at the pay meters.
Gather at the cul-de-sac, which is the Coldwater Park entrance.
All welcome. We observe COVID-19 safety mandates. Dress for the weather, especially sturdy footwear.
We celebrate the full moon in all-weather however the length of the walk depends on conditions. If itâ€™s really cold or wet itâ€™s a quick 10-minutes to the spring outflow gurgling from under the limestone bedrock Spring House built in the 1880s to supply potable water to Fort Snelling.
This gathering is free and open to the public.
#FullMoonWalk #FullMoon #ColdwaterSprings #MinneapolisNature
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Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community
Mission: We bridge the gap between Indian and non-Indian communities. Our commitment to sustaining Dakota language and culture is our organization’s driving force. Our programs and events are open to the public. We encourage all people to learn and participate. We work collaboratively with; tribal, city, county and state governments, Native and non-Native non-profits, and grass root organizations on issues and initiatives that pertain to and affect Dakota and other Native peoples. Traditional Wacipi or Pow-Wow, Language Class, Culture Class, Teaching men to learn the drum and songs. Teaching woman and children the Dakota songs., Regalia Class, MMDTC Culture and Learning Class.
A deer friend joined us for the May moon walk.
Celebrate the Sun Full Moon Walk
at Sacred Coldwater Springs
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Gather at the park entrance, 7 pm
Park at pay meters on the Hwy 55 access road via credit card
The earliest sunrises of the year here, occur at 5:26 am for the 12 days beginning June 10 through June 21. In case youâ€™re not awake for those solar events, the latest sunsets are at 9:04 pm on eight days from June 23 through June 30. Our moon is a reflection of our sun.
June is strawberry month. My mother used to tell how her father ate fresh strawberries for the 3-week strawberry season for every meal, every day, and broke out in some kind of red (of course) strawberry rash.
Give a blessing, get a blessing. Blessings travel in circles.
Towards the beginning of establishing our Mendota Community.
We decided to go to Morton for their Wacipi.
I was not sure I wanted to drive that far from Linwood MN. This feeling came over me to go so I did, this was about 24 years ago.
I was just learning my native traditions.
That night I heard there was a womenâ€™s inipi – sweat.
I had an overwhelming feeling of peacefulness, so I went to the Inipi.
I have had these feeling since I was a kid.
It was the most profound experience in my journey to walk and learn my Dakota ways of live.
I do the best I can, I may not do all the things I should.
But I love being Dakota, and a Dakota woman & elder, what more could I want.
That same feeling came over me again when I started to sing those songs that night.
I was singing Dakota ancient songs in Dakota. I do not know the songs; never sang those songs before until that inipi, with those wonderful Dakota women in the Inipi. What an honor to be in that inipi at that time, that place.
That is how the creator works.
The 6 women came up to me after we went in for a feast. Â Especially 2 elder women said, where did you learn those songs, did your mother or grandmothers teach you? I said to all the woman I donâ€™t know the songs. I couldnâ€™t remember the songs once I left the Inipi, wish I could.
One of the other women, I think Dottie Whipple said to me in a kind word that it was my spirit guide, or a relative.
There was another elder too I would like to talk to her, her name is Lynia she was always with Dottie.
Mary Beth Faimon is married to Chris Mato Nunpa. She makes the best chicken noodle soup ever.
Mary Beth was in that Inipi so glad she remembers, that was a long time ago.
I did not know I had any relatives in Morton 24 back years ago.
That my gggrandfather Fredrick LaBatte and his wife Judith Provost are buried in Morton.
I wonder if I have others family members buried there in Morton. Anyone out there can you help me find if I have more ancestors?
Maybe since I was there in Morton, my gggrandparents were happy to see their gggranddaughter.
I just got chills. Love Sharon
Could all member let me know you have had your shots just a little survey. To see how safe Mendota is when we finally meet again. SOON
Drum Hop & Pow Wow.Com. Is where you can find Mendota’s Pow Wow and other Pow Wows in MN. A great places to find Pow Wow in the United States.
Enjoy Love Sharon
Download the PDF here:
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnsonâ€™s Janssen vaccine
If you donâ€™t meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking allÂ precautionsÂ until you are fully vaccinated.
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Please share to Dakota families – Volunteer host families sought for exchange students
Dear Mendota Dakotas –
Our exchange students loved learning about Native American culture at the Wacipi Pow Wow in the past. I am hoping to share the news out again in your community about the Â opportunity to share more about your culture by hosting an exchange student. Iâ€™d also love to hear about volunteer opportunities at upcoming Pow Wows in the fall as our exchange students are active in volunteering.
Announcement to share:
Greenheart, a nonprofit, is looking for volunteer host families in the Mendota area for exchange students who are eager to share their culture with you and learn about your unique Native American culture! Many of our students are exceptional US State Department sponsored scholarship students who have received a merit based scholarship to come to the US. They arrive in late August and stay through early June. Host families provide a room (may be shared), meals, and a caring environment for their student. If you are interested in learning more about how to be a volunteer host family, please contact Mary Armstrong at 952-657-3406 / email: Armstrong.email@example.com website: www.hostwithgreenheart.org
Students are 15-18 years old, they speak English, have medical insurance, and their own spending money. Students attend the local public high school for an academic school year while they reside with volunteer host families. Greenheart provides monitoring/support services to students and families throughout their stay and has a 24 hour emergency hotline for health, safety, or travel emergencies. We also provide group orientations and enhancement activities.
Maryna (girl, Ukraine) â€“ 16 years old â€“ canâ€™t imagine winter without skiing or ice skating! She enjoys painting/drawing, writing short stories/poems, cooking/baking, ballroom dancing, biking, cross country, wind surfing, dancing, photography, outdoor activities, yoga & student newspaper. She has no stated religion, no pet allergies, or dietary restrictions. Exceptional FLEX scholarship recipient.
Vlad (boy, Moldova) â€“ loves soccer, volleyball, basketball, computer/internet, volunteering, watching movies, travel, picnics & cooking with his mom. He wants to work in Information Technology field. He is Orthodox Christian. No pet allergies or dietary restrictions. Exceptional FLEX scholarship recipient.
Your local Native Community is looking for people to become Honorary Members. These are people who are not Native Americans. Who want to part of a Native Community with their rich history, culture and traditions in Mendota MN. On this website go to downloads, find Honorary Membership to join. You can email Mendotadakota@gmail.com.
Good Thunder Woman.
The Mendota Tribal Council
Sharon Lennartson Tribal Chairwoman.Â (Good Thunder Woman)
We changed our minds about the toys drive. Just too many families need toys,Â we also need giftÂ cards for elders and teens.
We changed our minds about the toys drive. Just too many families need toys,Â we also need giftÂ cards for elders and teens. Getting lots of emails asking about the toys drive this year, the familiesÂ we help every year need our help. These are terribleÂ times, families need more help then ever.Â Â I will send out an email toÂ members today someÂ time. We will help the most we can in a short time. I will take care of everything. I will have people come to my home, some can drop off toys at the office? But will have to be brought here. Because of covid we have to be careful.
What is a Mendota Members Responsibilityâ€™s 2020.
Who wants to learn the language, culture, go to sweats, support Sundance, etc.
Who cares that the Mendota Community is successful and will be forever!
Who contribution or their dues to help maintain our office in Mendota.
Who can donate their time at the office from time to time.
Who comes to our voting membership meeting once a month, or at least 4 times a year, with the exceptions of members out of town.
Who helps at different events like holiday party and toy drive, honoring our ancestors, etc.
Who helps at our Wacipi- Pow Wow for one or two days.
These are small responsibility as a member, the tribal council is not asking too much.
Remember the BIA will be looking at the sign in sheets.
That is what a Mendota Members is, spending time with other members, respecting each other being a community.
Your Tribal Council, Sharon Lennartson, John LeClaire and Greg Strandmark, Jason Delmont, Joseph Lennartson.