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EDEN  V  GARTON


Architectural Designer - Minneapolis


LAND RELATIVES



“Urban indian”
As you drive toward Highway 55 on Cedar Ave S through the middle of Little Earth on your way to the downtown Minneapolis major highway interchange, you may miss it. You have just driven through the first urban housing complex built in the United States with a native preference, on land currently owned by the Little Earth United Tribes Housing Corporation. Members of 39 tribes have made homes in the 212 units arranged alongside both sides of the street.1 On the east side of the street beyond a line of fence that outlines the whole complex, is a community park. If you wind down a small road that hugs the west side of the complex, you will catch a glance of a small community garden that runs along the tall highway 55 barrier wall. 
As you pass you notice carefully blocked off private entrances to the complex on the other side of the street. 78% of Indigenous Americans live in urban areas. People from native nations that are unrecognized by the government, reaffirmation tribes,alongside generations of people forced off of lands make up this percentage. “Three generations of our people were forced into poverty, were forced off our land and made refugees in this society. Now a lot of our people live in Minneapolis”2. The majority of Little Earth residents live off of public assistance, a little under half of the heads-of-households are unemployed. Later, when you are on your way back out of the downtown interchange heading back toward where Little Earth is, you notice 
a line of tents between the Highway and the same barrier wall you saw alongside the garden. This is an encampment of unhoused indigenous people. Little Earth is across the street from East Phillips Park and Community center, a city owned public park. The encampment sits just north of the park, between the highway barrier wall and the Little Earth Bike Path. The encampment was informally established in 2018, known as “the Wall of Forgotten Natives”. The unresolved housing problems were worsened by the pandemic and the uprisings following the murder of George Floyd just a couple miles southwest, the space has been subject to heavy policing of unauthorised enacmpments that still persist. Beyond the highway barrier that borders these spaces for 
Indigenous people is a network of city streets and recreational bike paths that extend over and to the Mississippi River, the continent’s second-largest drainage system, a vibrant ecosystem central to the existence of human life in America.

1 https://littleearth.org/
2 Winona LaDuke, Voices from White Earth: Gaawaabaabiganikaag

Full Class Document



Eden Valdora Garton 2021