Last year’s Idle No More flash mob round dance at Mall of America – PHOTO Courtesy: Dirk Whitebreast
DULUTH, MINNESOTA — Idle No More organizer Reyna Crow opened her mail on Christmas Eve to discover a letter from the Mall of America management team. There were not holiday gift cards inside.
Instead she and several other Idle No More organizers received letters suggesting they could be arrested if another flash mob round dance occurs again this year at the Mall of America.
The letter had a threatening tone, indicating the mall “…will utilize additional actions… including trespassing the organizers of the protest” should a flash mob Round Dance recur there on New Year’s Eve this year.
“The characterization of the Round Dance as a protest is not only incorrect, it is insulting,” commented Crow in response to the letter. “If the Idle No More flash mob Round Dance that was held there last year is a `protest,’ so are the Christmas carols and the other flash mob events that have been held there”.
Last year, as the Idle No Movement was gaining momentum, organizers held a flash mob round dance at the Mall of America on December 30, 2012. It is not clear at press time why the Mall of America management team felt the need to send the letter to Idle No More organizers.
The Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, is one of the largest malls in the United States and refers to itself in marketing material as the “Hollywood of the Midwest.”
Patricia Shepard, an Idle No More organizer from Minnesota, also received a letter. Shepard issued this comment:
“During the 1837 treaty signing, which include the lands where the Mall of America is located, the Ojibwe received $24,000 in cash, goods and services, retaining rights to use the land for hunting, fishing and other purposes. The phrase ‘other purpose’ means the Ojibwe retained the right to gather at any location. The Mall of America location is within those treaty territories outlined in the 1837 Treaty. The Mall of America is in violation of the 1837 Treaty obligations to the Dakota and Ojibwe by threatening to trespass us on our ceded territories. We have a right to gather anywhere within those territories which was agreed upon by the US Government “. (http://treatiesmatter.org/treaties/land/1837-ojibwe-dakota)
Crow and Shepard are inviting a representative of the Mall of America management team to meet with them at a news conference at the mall they are going to hold as the result of receiving the letter on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. – CST.
Crow plans to use the designated `free speech zone’ there to discuss her concerns that the apparent singling out of organizers associated with Indigenous people and issues for threats of arrest and/or other intimidation over flash mobs events at the mall.