New Report: Native Americans in Minneapolis, Part II — Public Comment Sought

From May 17-21, 1971, about 70 members of American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the abandoned U.S. Naval Air Station in Minneapolis. AIM wanted to claim the surplus government property under the terms of the 1805 Treaty and use it for a school for American Indian children. Federal forces ultimately put an end to the takeover.

The city of Minneapolis just released a report which recounted this incident as one of many significant moments in the history of Native American communities in the city. The report’s key purpose is to identify “places, buildings, structures, people, and events that illustrate Native American life within Minneapolis.” (That is to say, the city wants to identify sites for possible preservation from development.)

A small group met to discuss Part I of the city report.
A small group met in late June to discuss Part I of the city report.

The report recommends the takeover site be evaluated “as a significant property for its association with an action of the locally and nationally significant American Indian Movement.” However, it is one of few sites specifically mentioned in the draft. Lists of other sites to be considered for evaluation are still being developed.

The city released Part I of the study June 22, covering precolonial times to the 1862 Dakota-U.S. War. It just released Part II today, covering the period from the Dakota exile (1863) to the present. Copies of Part I and Part II can be found here.

The City will host a public meeting to discuss Part II of the report and take a last round of public comments on Thursday, July 7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., All My Relations Gallery, 1414 East Franklin Avenue.

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Minneapolis Seeks Sites Significant to City’s Native American Communities

I-35W near Franklin Avenue: Built around 1960, the highway construction cut through a neighborhood popular among the Native American community near 4th Avenue South and East Franklin Avenue
I-35W near Franklin Avenue: Built in 1960, I-35W cut through a neighborhood popular among the Native American community near 4th Avenue South and East Franklin Avenue.

Researchers hired by the city of Minneapolis are posing this question to members of Native American communities: If there is one spot within the city limits that you could preserve from development because of its historic, spiritual or community significance, what place would that be?

Would it be connected with schools created to preserve Native languages and cultures or a Native-owned business that you loved? Would it be connected to the start of the American Indian Movement (AIM) or the Upper Midwest American Indian Center?

Here’s the background: The City of Minneapolis is wrapping up research on sacred places, important spaces, and the untold stories of the American Indian peoples who lived here prior to white settlement and who continue to live here today. One possible upshot of the research is to identify sites for possible protection against future development. Continue reading