MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota State Patrol troopers cleared out people who re-entered the Franklin-Hiawatha Encampment Wednesday in south Minneapolis.
The state patrol says they were requested by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to remove the inhabitants, some of whom had set up tents.
When a WCCO crew came to the encampment Wednesday afternoon, the fence around the area was open, and people were observed coming and going freely.
Located near the intersection of Highway 55/Hiawatha Avenue and Franklin Avenue in the Phillips Community’s Ventura Village neighborhood, the encampment first came into the public’s consciousness in August of 2018. Dozens of people experiencing homelessness, many who were Native American, began setting up tents near a sound wall in the area — which led to it being dubbed “The Wall of Forgotten Natives.”
City officials, with financial support from the Red Lake Nation, developed what was called a “navigation center” across Highway 55 in December of that year to house residents and help connect people with jobs and shelters. The center was closed in June of 2019.
About six months later, Native American activists reoccupied the encampment in protest of the lack of emergency shelters in the city.
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic reached Minnesota, people began living in the encampment again in April, but the Metropolitan Council installed fencing around the area in May, and residents were again removed.
Hundreds of people experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis are currently living in Minneapolis parks. Only a handful of parks have been approved to provide temporary sanctuary, but several unauthorized park encampments have been cleared out in recent weeks.