G.A. Minutes 3-14-15
We find an occasional Occupier waiting on the back ledge when we arrive. He says, “I heard through the grapevine that tonight’s meeting was gonna be here at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial”.
The sun is shining warmth upon the site. Except for a small patch of ice beneath the Memorial wall, all signs of winter have been melted away.
Our coats are open and we are without hats and gloves as we set up the chairs, food and fire pit. However, we have these warm clothing items with us as we know it’s not really spring yet and it will get colder when the sun goes down.
It feels really good to be outdoors again.
An Occupier points out that there appears to be another camera hanging from a window in the pawn shop building which sits alongside CJM.
Someone states, “It could be a fake one just put there to intimidate people”. Oh well….. Whatever.
As we are getting the fire started, an Occupier reports, “Bye the way, the Visit with an Elder event at FDL is going to happen this upcoming Tuesday”. We are all pleased about that and we all plan to attend.
Another Occupier remarks, “I finally ordered the last Velcrow Ripper movie. It should be here in about 10 days. We can watch it at my house when it arrives”.
As soon as the fire gets going and the smudge dish is fired up a group of predominately Native American people arrive. Most are folks already known to us.
A homeless couple who we met last year is among them. We are surprised they are still together as their relationship appeared to be quite tumultuous.
We know they had a camp in the woods and ask them how things are going out there.
The man answers, “We don’t have a camp anymore. The cops destroyed it”.
An Occupier responds, “Oh really? Last summer, Chief Ramsey said the DPD wasn’t going to do that anymore”. One of the Occupiers has brought lots of hot dogs and all the fixings.
We let the flames settle down, throw a grill over the top and begin cooking them. Everyone is hungry and the vibe is good. A young native man whom we have met previously tells us he is from Grand Portage. He introduces himself in the traditional Anishinaabe manner and tells us a little about his childhood. He spent most of it in various foster and group homes, finally being allowed to return to live with his mother when he was 17 years old.
A man who sells handmade wooden flutes on the street arrives. He’s always pleasant; we’ve known him for years. Another street man, a gay African American we’ve known for a long time comes up. He is also always very helpful and friendly but tends to run with a rough crowd.
Tonight is no exception. The people he has with him appear to be very drunk and unhappy.
Almost immediately this man’s friends are arguing with all the other street people at the fire. The young Native man is arguing with an older white man about logging. A group of folks are continuing an argument over something that happened last night at Detox and 2 women who are relatives are arguing about who knows what.
The Occupiers are in agreement with the young Native man’s opinion about logging but we know enough to keep that to ourselves right now. We simply ask everyone to calm down. The man who makes flutes says, “You know, all this arguing started when I arrived. It must be my fault”.
The people stop arguing and everyone cracks up. Suddenly everyone is friendly again and we are all eating hot dogs. Go figure. Over the years we’ve noticed the drinking of alcohol seems to produce sudden mood swings. This is one of the many reasons we ask that folks do not drink, at least when they are sitting around our fire.
A group of youngish African American men join us. They’re hungry too. They’re also very grateful and thank us profusely. Soon the Memorial is filled with folks of all ethnicities eating, drinking coffee and apple juice and talking about how wonderful everything is. Then the cops arrive. Of course. Most of the crowd take their full plates and quietly wonder off. 3 squads have pulled up to the 2nd Ave E. side of CJM. They get out and go directly to a young black man who is standing on the sidewalk. An Occupier goes across the street, takes out his cell phone and begins taking pictures.
The rest of us just keep on doing what we were doing.
It seems the DPD isn’t interested in us. They search the young man, put him in a squad and drive away.
Someone informs us the young man called the cops himself. Apparently he was feeling suicidal and called 911 to ask for help. After all that, the Memorial is empty except for the Occupiers. We stand up close around the fire. We zip up our coats. The sun has been down for a while and it’s chilly now.
The flames have become really hot coals. We hold our bare hands over them. Hmmm…. Nice. Then it’s time to leave. We’ll be out at FDL on Tuesday. If the weather holds up we’ll be back here next Saturday.