UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community
AFFIDAVIT OF GARY CAVENDER
I, Gary Cavender, being duly sworn, upon oath make this Affidavit to support
the clairns of Plaintiff in the dispute regarding areas in the vicitnity of Fort
Snelling, the proposed Hiawatha corridor, the oak savannah, the four sacred
trees and Camp Coldwater. I oppose the retrouting of Hiawatha Avenue
through or adjacent to areas sacred to the Indians.
This Affidavit expresses my views as a traditional spiritual leader, and not
as a representative of the federally recognized tribal government.
1. I am a Native American person belonging to the Mdewakanton
Dakota band. I am the spiritual leader of the Prior Lake Shakopee Dakota
band. I am age 58. I grew up until age twelve living with my grandparents
and my great grandparents. My grandfather died at age 105.
2. 1 am privy to our oral tradition describing the Fort Snelling area
and activities and the sites under dispute in this law suit. In my family the
conversations I had with my grandparents and great grandparents centered
around our history, especially the lndian villages and the events at Fort
Snelling from 1862 to 1863, which led to the death of Indian men, women
and children. Between 1862 and 1863, as a result of losing the war between
the Indians and the soldiers in and around Fort Snelling, the U .S.
government imprisoned 1,300 Indians at Pike Island. There were 900 deaths
among the prisoners, and also women and children died. They were buried
at Pike Island and others areas near Fort Snelling. The entire area where
we lived, fought and buried our dead is sacred to the Dakota Mdewakanton
3. The Camp Coldwater spring is a sacred spring. Its flow should
not be stopped or disturbed. If the flow is disturbed, it cannot be restored.
Also, if its source is disturbed, that disturbs the whole cycle or the flow.
The Spring is the dwelling place of the undergods and is near the center
of the Earth. The spring is part of the cycle of life. The underground stream
from the spring to the Mississippi River must remain open to allow the
Gods to enter the river through the passageway. The spring is the site of
our creation myth (or "Garden of Eden") and the beginning of lndian
existence on Earth. Our underwater God (Unektehs) lives in the Spring.
The sacredness of the Spring is evident by the fact that it never freezes
over, and it is always possible to see activity under the surface of the water.
4. Among other reasons, the four oak trees are sacred because of
their age. We Indians treat our elders with greatest respect because of their
wisdom. Similarly, the oak trees are our wise elders. They are our kin.
FURTHER AFFIANT SAYETH NOT
Rev. Gary Cavender
Subscribed and sworn to
before me this 13th day
of October, 1998Joseph P. Dean