They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one - They promised to take our land...and they took it. -- Chief Red Cloud
Laura Waterman Wittstock and Richard LaFortune with Andy Driscoll tomorrow on First Person Radio as we talk with Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa on Dakota treaty issues and the stipulations of the Treaty of 1805 which confirms the "Sioux Nation" rights to hunt and fish in what is now Minneapolis and other parts covered by the treaty language. Dr. Mato Nunpa is an expert on the treaty and he was recently stopped from fishing at Cedar Lake in Minneapolis. The treaty says in part:
ARTICLE 3. The United States promise on their part to permit the Sioux to pass, repass, hunt or make other uses of the said districts, as they have formerly done, without any other exception, but those specified in article first. (note: which was the creation of Ft. Snelling by Zebulon Pike, the white/US Treaty signatory).
Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa is a Wahpetunwan (“Dwellers In The Leaves,” or Wahpeton) Dakota from the Pezihuta Zizi Otunwe, “Yellow Medicine Community” (BIA name, Upper Sioux Community), in southwestern Minnesota. Dr. Mato Nunpa is now retired, having served as an Associate Professor of Indigenous Nations & Dakota Studies at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, Minnesota, for his last sixteen (16) years of his professional career, from August 1992 through May 2008. Dr. Mato Nunpa’s special research interest is Genocide of the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. in general, and Genocide of the Dakota People of Minnesota, specifically. Dr. Mato Nunpa is currently working on a book titled A Sweet-Smelling Savour: Genocide, the Bible, and the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S.
Jim Anderson is the recently elected Chairman of Minnesota’s Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. Anderson is a longtime Dakota activist, fluid in his storytelling and challenging to those who would flout the treaties he insists protect Indian rights to land uses others would deny his people. Back in February, Anderson and his family, usurped for a home a Mendota building that had served as a community center until the land’s owners – the owners of Axel’s Bonfire restaurants – decided to tear the building down for parking. Anderson was protesting the US government’s failure to recognize his tribe. His other protests have included re-asserting Indian rights to the sacred Coldwater site further north off Highway 55.
Together, Anderson and Mato Nunpa are taking their message of Dakota genocide and treaty violations to audiences and readers across the US.