Affidavit of Chris Leith



Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community Plaintiff


I, Chris Leith, being duly sworn, upon oath make this Affidavit to support the claims

of' plaintiff in the dispute regarding areas in the vicinity of Fort Snelling, the proposed

Hiawatha corridor, the oak savannah, the four sacred trees and Camp Coldwater, oppose

the rerouting of Hiawatha Avenue through or adjacent to areas sacred to the Indians.

1. I am a Native American person belonging to the Mdewakanton Dakota people

and residing at Prairie Island. For 30 years I have been Sun Dance chief, a chief spiritual

advisor, a healer and an interpreter for the Mdewakanton Nation. I am 63 years old. I am

a member the Golden Eagle Society, a group of our elders.

2. I was born and raised at Prairie Island, which is inhabited by the Mdewakanton

Dakota people. I grew up hearing the story of the Mdewakanton Dakota people that

occupied the village and area near the present day Fort Shelling. I am a direct descendant

of the Mdewakanton people. I learned from my mother and my father and my grandparents

about life and death in the Indian village. It covered a large area, including the areas

disputed in this law suit. Indians lived in the village before Fort Snelling was built

...since the early 1400's. In 1862 there was a Sioux uprising at Birtch Coulea. The Indians

were held prisoner at Pike Island by the U.S. government. Lots of Dakota died -- men,

women (they were raped and killed), and children died. The males were interrogated to

find out who instigated the uprising. They could not understand the English language,

so they were shot, because they could not supply the information. Indian remains are

throughout all the areas disputed in this lawsuit -- the entire area is sacred to the Indians.

3. Four very old oak trees planted in a diamond pattern (the four directions) have

been identified. These trees mark the graves of Indians and are, therefore, sacred. The

oak trees are simply large plants and, like plants, have medicinal. and spiritual powers.

Because there were Indians who lived historically in this area, there had to be burial

grounds -- all along the Minnesota river. The Indians placed bodily remains on scaffolds

in the crutches of the trees -- I can see in the branches of the four oaks where the bodies

of men, women and babies were. I visited this sacred site and performed a ceremony.

I, and other Indians present, sensed that the spirits of the dead Indians are still there.

I also know this from my dreams and visions, which are an important part of working

with the spirits.

4. At. Camp Coldwater there is a spring which is sacred to the Indian people.

Water is a giver of life and makes things grow. The people in the old village used the

Spring water for medicine, ceremonies, washing and purification. They prayed to keep

the water pure. Water which comes directly out of the ground is very pure. The water

nurtured the Indians who lived in the village; it was sacred. They used the water in their

sweat lodges.


Chris Leith

Subscribed and sworn to before me

this 9th day of October, 1998

Carrie L. Fox

Notary Public.