While commenting on the possible eviction of “Tent City,” along Hiawatha Avenue, where most of the residents are Native American, Mayor Jacob Frey said, “That’s theirs. It’s Dakota property.” He told the community that the City would not remove or evict them.
A commendable statement from a mayor of a major city, but is he aware of the power and ramifications of such a statement? The so-called “tent city” sitting along that thin strip of grass on Hiawatha and Cedar avenues is not the only land in Minnesota that was stolen from the Dakota.
If a Native renter was getting evicted and took their case to court asking the judge, “How can this White landlord evict me from property that is mine?” would Mayor Frey stand with the Native renter?
As a White man, is Frey willing to accept that in making such a statement – that the City of Minneapolis sits on stolen Dakota land – he is acknowledging that his position of power is rather empty, rather hallow? Is he fully aware of what he has put into motion, that this is not about just the land that the tents are sitting on?
Frank Erickson lives in Minneapolis.