Drone shot overlooking camp nenookaasi

Camp Nenookaasi Burns Down, Finds New Home

Minneapolis, MN — Camp Nenookaasi, a beacon of hope to the unhoused community, burned down on Thursday afternoon. At 12:07 p.m. on February 29, firefighters were called after a yurt caught fire and spread to the rest of the camp.

Unicorn Riot heard from Ta Pejuta Wicahpi Win, an Indigenous land defender who was checking on the camp at the time of the fire. “I opened the door and I looked, and that’s when I seen the flames coming up from inside the fence,” she said there were still people sleeping at the time of the fire, and the leaders at the camp “took it upon themselves with the fire extinguishers and getting everybody shuffled out.”

In a video from John Gonzalez of Standing Bear Network, residents can be seen fleeing from the camp, gathering whatever they could and shouting for others to evacuate urgently due to the many propane tanks dispersed throughout Nenookaasi.

Gonzalez said “I never felt such intense heat.” He said he saw “two injuries, one was smoke inhalation and some minor burns.” The City of Minneapolis confirmed two people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Camp Nenookaasi coverage:

Camp Nenookaasi Pushes Debates in Minneapolis Around Encampments [Video]

Camp Nenookaasi Brings Minneapolis’ Policies Against its Unhoused Residents to the Forefront

Camp Nenookaasi, a Beacon of Hope to the Unhoused, Faces Eviction

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey held a press conference at Fire Station 7, about a mile away from the Nenookaasi Camp fire. (Unicorn Riot was denied access to the station.) He said, “There is an investigation still happening, it is still an active site and so we do not know the underlying cause of this particular fire.” Mayor Frey also said that encampments of this size mixed with flammables are not safe for the residents or surrounding neighbors, whose buildings sustained some property damage.

A new site was quickly assembled at 2839 14th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Watch a ~13 minute short [Vimeo / YouTube] following the past evictions of Camp Nenookaasi and interviews camp residents and organizers including Cristin Crabtree and Nicole Mason, community leaders dedicated to changing homelessness particularly in the East Phillips Minneapolis area.

More Unicorn Riot coverage of the unhoused crisis:

 Crisis of the Unhoused – Landing Page for Unicorn Riot Coverage

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