Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Faribault Native Circle needs your help - please read and repost

Faribault Native Circle needs your help - please read and repost

The brothers in Faribault Correctional Facility are seeking outside assistance in obtaining the materials required in order to conduct smudging, pipe cereonies, and sweat lodge ceremonies.

The items they are seeking assistance in obtaining inlcude:

Sweet Grass
Bitter Root
Bear Root
Wood (Including kindling)
Boughs (For building and repairing their sweatlodge)

There may be further items needed.

Only recently the brothers in Faribault suffered from what staff called a "Culture Change" which was actually a security change.

During this change a number of items were taken directly from the ceremonial area. It should be noted that these items were taken with a blatent disregard for the ceremony grounds. These items include:

Long Handled Rake (Which had been used at the facility for over 5 years as a means to remove heated rocks from the fire pit)

Plastic Chairs (Which had been used for many years during ceremonies for Drummers and Elders to sit on)

Water/Tea Buckets (Which have been used at the facility since the original Sweat Lodge was errected to hold water utilized in the Sweat Lodge as well as outside of the lodge - e.g. management of the fire pit, and to hold swamp tea that is used both inside and outside the lodge)

(These items may seem petty to some, but try running a sweat lodge, or ceremony without them)

The administration has decided that the chairs and rake could be used as a means to escape, therefore they are now considered to be a security threat (They claim the plastic chairs could be stacked up on top of each other next to the fence, and the rake could be used to pull the razor wire down as a means of escape).

As asinine as this thought is, the fact remains that during all the years that these items were being utilized at this facility, never once were they a threat to security. To date, there is no instance where the facility can aver that these items pose a threat because of their misuse. The removel of the buckets as a security threat is laughable.

Apparently it will take a Native American Offender being burnt by reaching into the fire pit with a short handled rake to establish the necessity for one with a longer handle. The fact that unwarrented security concerns take precedent over what must clearly be construed as a safety concern.

Policy 302.300 establishes that facilities will provide for all offenders to pursue individual religious beliefs and practices within facility budgetary and security constraints.

The brothers are not being granted the same rights as other faith groups, all Native American Religious programming was suspended due to budgetary restraints and have been for the last ten years. Brothers are expected to pay for all religious items out of their own accounts, or they have no items, therefore no ceremony etc.

Keep in mind most Inmates who work in the prison, do not get paid. Some that do get paid, can earn between 40 Cent and $2 a day (the latter being the highest paid job) Not all inmates are permitted to work, and there's not always enough jobs to go around. Some inmates take courses as an alternative, (Where available), which entails the inmate providing for books, coursework, and examinations from their own accounts.

These brothers really do need our support.

You can contact Michael Herron, the brother who made this request for donations. He will let you know how to go about donating these items listed above:

Michael J Herron 226468
1101 Linden Lane
Faribault, MN 55021 6400

Or alternatively, you could contact Faribault Correctional Facility to obtain information regarding donating these items to the Native Circle:

phone 507/334-0700

fax 507/334-0730

Connie Roehrich Warden

Since the facility is placing such restrictions on the Native Circle, I do however suggest all those willing to donate items contact Michael Herron, which would ensure the brothers are actually informed of the donations etc.

I would be deeply grateful if you could repost this, or print it out if you know of any person who may be able to donate any of the above items, thank you.


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