Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Threats Directed At Native American Arrested From Sweat Lodge

by C.S. Hagen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | News | February 25th, 2017

FARGO - Barking dogs don’t bite, but they’re noisy and excitable. The day Zebediah Gartner, an Anishinaabe from Fargo, was released from Cass County Jail after being pulled from a sweat lodge by Fargo police, the “dogs” began to bark. He received threats and slander from Fargo-Moorhead residents.

“A couple people talking nonsense but I didn’t give them the time of the day,” Gartner said. “They’re just talking crap about my mom, and talking about how stupid we are.”

Gartner, 20, is a traditional singer and drummer, performing around the Fargo-Moorhead area. The threats and derogatory statements didn’t phase him.

“I’m kind of a big guy, so it doesn’t matter to me too much. People are going to say what they’re going to say.”

Support from the community, however, has been overwhelming.

“I’ve got a lot of support, and a lot of prayers from people all over the city, a lot of people standing behind me, or next to me, and trying to help get this done in a good way, and hopefully something good will come out of this.”

People who frequent the sweat lodge, or an Inipi in the Lakota language, say they don’t feel safe anymore, and they’re hesitant to speak out from fear of retaliation, Lissa Yellow Bird-Chase, founder at Sahnish Scouts of ND, a missing persons advocate, said. She is from Standing Rock, and enrolled in the Three Affiliated Tribes Arikara, Mandan, and Hidatsa.

“Retaliation stems from what people have witnessed at the Standing Rock Camps and then now this incident at the lodge,” Yellow Bird-Chase said. “People do not trust the law. It has trickled into our communities. We feel it.”

The sweat lodge, known as Fargo City Community Sweat Lodge, is located on city-owned property in South Fargo donated to the Native American Commission. Known as the closest native structure resembling a Christian church, it has been in use as a site of healing since before 2010. A grant that was applied for at that time to spruce the area up was denied due to zoning laws and HUD restrictions, according to Native American Commission meeting minutes on March 13, 2010.

Another hurdle the Native American Commission faced in 2010 was that spirituality to Native Americans was a way of life, and not strictly a religion. Willard Yellow Bird, cultural planner for Fargo, also made public his intention of applying for grants in October 2010 for improvements.

“The Native American Commission used to have a sign designating that area,” Yellow Bird-Chase said. “When they moved the road it disappeared, we brought this to the attention of the commission, nothing was ever done. This could maybe have been prevented if they had followed through.”

Gartner was pulled from the sweat lodge Thursday night in nothing but his undershorts, he said, approximately seven hours after militarized police cleared the main camps fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Gartner alleges police grabbed him, kneed him, and walked him barefoot and still sweaty in sub-freezing temperatures to waiting police cars. A friend brought him his shoes before he spent the night at Cass County Jail, he said.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said the arresting officer, J. Rued, was new to the force, and that those involved responded to an unattended fire in a field.

“It was a misunderstanding,” Mahoney said. The Fargo Police Department and area fire departments will begin cultural training courses pertaining to Native American traditions.

The area is muddy, split wood and stones for heating are piled up awaiting use. The Inipi is covered in colored blankets. Stones and a deer antler point to the opening. Two porta-potties and a white shed stand nearby the sweat lodge; the area does not resemble a hastily-made camping site, rather a place of cultural significance.

“Every time we have a sweat, they [police] drive by,” Yellow Bird-Chase said. Sometimes when police pass by they initiate their siren, but rarely leave their vehicles, she said. Some officers stop and ask how things are going, and non-native locals occasionally stand across the street to stare, calling it an eco village.

“Part of the protocol is that one of the commission members will call it in and let them know that we’re out there,” Yellow Bird-Chase said. Typically, 48-hour notice is given, she said. Yellow Bird-Chase encourages anyone to join in a sweat. “Most people are white who show up and that’s totally cool.”

In the winter, sweat ceremonies are held at most once a week, while during the warmer months sweats could occur up to several times a week. Women usually wear dresses, and the men wear swimming trunks or undershorts.

News that the city plans to shut the Inipi down for several weeks to make upgrades to the area was good news to Gartner.

“It’s good news,” Gartner said. “It’s about time the city steps in and helps out more than what they did with the little chunk of land.”

“We have been promised change before, lots of lip service,” Yellow Bird-Chase, formerly on the Sweat Lodge Committee, said. “Hopefully something good comes of this, maybe more action and not so much lip service.”

Recently in:

MANDAN – Hundreds of trials for activists who stood against the Dakota Access Pipeline have seen the judge’s gavel, but only two, so far, received jail time.Mary Redway, 64, a retired environmental biologist from Rhode Island,…

When asked what sparked her interest in tattoo culture, Danielle Colby, star of the hit reality TV show ‘American Pickers,’ replied, “I think that came from my grandfather. He was in the Navy, so he was heavily tattooed. I…

Thursday, October 26, 4pmCopper Ridge Event Center, 21 18th St S, FargoWhile working on his beloved pickup truck, Fred Lassonde sustained a traumatic brain injury, ending his 8-year career as a Fargo Police Officer. Benefit to…

Editorial

You too? Me too.

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: We’ve all been there, been followed, stalked, or worse...On Sunday night, Alyssa Milano tweeted: "Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we…

God didn’t save six million Jews from the Holocaust eitherWe have become so used to mass killings by firearms in the “United” States that they are generally ignored, except for the really unusual or big ones like Texas Tower,…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Friday night we were burning the midnight oil, carousing, drinking, and rambling about. The downtown dogfight has been stirring for a while, biting at my heels and barking in my brain. It was time for this idea to come to fruition.…

“Experiences like these are a reminder why I have chosen the right career path; it is my hope that the things I do on stage as a speaker or a singer are able to lift someone’s spirits, help them through a tough time, or serve…

In 1948, George Orwell predicted a dystopian future in his pinnacle work ‘1984.’ Orwell died before he could see if the future was plagued by unending war, a totalitarian government and rigorous loyalty rituals as he’d…

Arts

​Beau Thiege, Guitar Man

by Sabrina Hornung

The High Plains Reader ran into Beau, master craftsman, who works with what the Minot Daily news called “junk repurposed into musical masterpieces.”High Plains Reader: How did you get into luthiery?Beau Theige: I came across a…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Dipping into your cellar to pull out a special bottle is something that used to be fairly exclusive, wine connoisseurs only. These days, cellaring is gaining more and more traction among hardcore craft beer consumers, who continue…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to…