Indigenous Peoples' Day in Minneapolis

Indigenous Peoples' Day

MINNEAPOLIS -- The City of Minneapolis marked Indigenous Peoples' Day with a resolution declaring the land of Fort Snelling's Coldwater Springs sacred and protected.

The resolution was authored by 12th Ward council member Andrew Johnson, whose district includes Coldwater Springs.

The springs, which are located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, are sacred to the Dakota people.

The resolution says that the U.S.-Dakota Treaty of 1805 "allows Dakota people to pass, repass, hunt or make other uses of the said districts, as they have formerly done." The city resolution asks that other levels of government respect the 1805 treaty.

The group Friends of Coldwater Springs says the resolution raises issues about freedom of religion and treaty interpretation that could conflict with views held by the National Park Service.

"Dakota people have sought to hold sacred ceremonies at Coldwater Springs. However, because it is on federal property, the National Park Service contends they need a permit to practice their ceremonies (if there are 25 people or more)," according to the Friends of Coldwater Springs.

The group says that while the resolution is an important symbolic gesture, it has no legal authority and Dakota ceremonies at the site require a federal permit.

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