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Over the last 11,500 years, untold numbers of people came great distances to Southwest Minnesota's Red Rock Ridge to seek guidance in the ridge's sacred space that provided access to the unencumbered wisdom of the universe. They came to honor and give thanks to Mother Earth, the sun and animals that gave them what they needed to live. There, they could pray to all that was around them. Minnesota's first historians wrote here.

The ridge's 8,000 rock carvings are singular records of Indigenous history and ways of being. They came to learn. Even with the coming of white people, they still went to the ridge quietly. They arrived at night when the distractions of the world were lessoned.

However, what is left of the peace of the Red Rock Ridge located in the Dakota homeland is threatened. Plans for dozens of 680-foot wind turbines will disturb the sky and landscape of the Red Rock Ridge. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission controls the fate of this project. A quarry has dug up 60 unsurveyed acres for spiritual sites and ancient graves before it was stopped.

Whether this project will continue is now in the hands of the PUC. A door to the spirit world is closing, and humanity's connection to Mother Earth is diminishing. Indigenous people who have lost so much will lose a precious piece of what they have left. Indeed, all of humanity and its descendants are losing that which cannot be replaced.

Thomas Lee Sanders, Windom, Minn.

The writer is an archaeologist, retired site manager of the Red Rock Ridge's Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site and a principal investigator of the Red Rock Ridge Research Group.

ILHAN OMAR

Yet another attack on Israel

It is hard to put into words how distressing it is to be a Jew living in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District represented by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar's latest attack on Israel is perhaps her most egregious, equating Israel with terrorist organizations Hamas and the Taliban ("Dems push back on Omar tweet," June 11). This comment is both anti-Semitic and extremely dangerous because it will result in more Jewish hate-crimes than we are already suffering through in America. American Jews understand that legitimate, fair criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic. But equating Israel with Hamas and the Taliban, both of which have been indiscriminately and violently abusing and murdering innocent civilians for years, is anti-Semitic, because it is a false comparison. Israel is obligated to defend against rocket attacks on its Arab and Jewish citizens. According to Amnesty International, Hamas and the other terror groups operating in Gaza store munitions in and fire from residential areas, trying to get Israel to kill as many Palestinians as possible for propaganda purposes.

Comments like those of Omar serve that purpose. Worse, they prevent Israel from utilizing its only legitimate means of defending its citizens.

Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley

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The spurious and cynical charge in an e-mail from the National Republican Congressional Committee that Omar is "equating the United States with terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Taliban" should be disregarded as part of a deliberate and unrelenting smear campaign against her. It further inflames anti-Muslim violence and threats against the life of Omar, her family and others ("GOP criticizes Omar for war crimes query," June 9). Omar recently tweeted, "We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban." Her statement in no way equates the U.S. with terrorists. It's a statement of fact that the U.S., too, has been guilty of wartime crimes against humanity. Think, to mention one example, of Abu Ghraib. Misconstruing Omar's statements for political reasons by the NRCC is dangerous and irresponsible.

Kate Wittenstein, Minneapolis

The writer is treasurer, Ilhan For Congress.

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I was pleased to see the Democratic Party take my representative, Ilhan Omar, to task for her as-usual clumsy attempt to point out inconvenient truths. That is what an actual political party does when one of its own screws up. I also note that Minnesota's own Rep. Tom Emmer's crackerjack Republican committee was quick to jump into the fray with its own righteous condemnation of her. About that Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow our government? The party was quick to condemn the one Republican who was brave enough to express her outrage at her party's refusal to even acknowledge it happened. Next to that hypocrisy Omar's actions seem almost quaint.

D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis

EMERGENCY ROOMS

UnitedHealthcare has a point

I support UnitedHealthcare's proposed and now-delayed emergency room policy 100%, and here's why ("Insurer delays ER payment shift," June 11). About three years ago my knee swelled up and I couldn't walk on it, so I went to my family physician, who told me I needed to go to the emergency room at North Memorial. I sat in the waiting room for four very painful hours before being examined. I ended up having emergency surgery, so my family physician was correct in sending me there. I was in a chair next to the check-in desk at the ER and observed an older child with an upset stomach, an adult with a sore ankle and a young adult with a headache. There were at least four or five more cases that in no way required a trip to the emergency room. All the while I sat there in excruciating pain.

So I personally applaud UnitedHealthcare for its effort to keep health care costs down.

Ray Pulles, Sun Lakes, Ariz.

WALKER ARTS CENTER

The Benjamin Button of museums

When I read the headline "The Walker at 50" on Rick Nelson's excellent June 5 story about Walker Art Center's Edward Larrabee Barnes building, I chuckled. Like many people, the Center wants to be forever young. But unlike most of us, it's actually regaining its youth! In the past 42 years it has dropped an impressive half-century from its age.

Here's the chronological wizardry:

Back in September 1979 the Minneapolis Tribune published a long story by Mike Steele headlined "Avante-garde Walker looks back on full century." The count began in 1879 when founder T.B. Walker first opened his art collection to the public in his Hennepin Avenue mansion.

Eighteen years later, in 1997, Walker issued an institutional memoir titled "Walker: 70 Years at Vineland Place." That referenced 1927 when the museum left T.B.'s home and moved into a purpose-built Moorish palazzo on Vineland Place.

Flash forward another 18 years to 2015 when it proudly celebrated its 75th birthday. The start date then was 1940 when it reinvented itself as a contemporary art venue and changed its name from Walker Art Galleries to Walker Art Center.

Now it's a mere stripling of 50, counting from when its much-altered Edward Larrabee Barnes building opened on May 15, 1971.

Who knows? At this rate it could be a toddler again by 2027 when, perhaps, it will celebrate the centennial of that long-vanished Moorish palazzo.

Walker, you're an inspiration to us all!

Mary Abbe, St. Paul

The writer is a former Star Tribune art critic and art newsreporter.

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