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Warroad Warriors Rededicated
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by Jon Lurie,
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web-warroad 1.jpgIn its 30 year quest to influence teams to change their names, mascots and logos from those that are offense to Native Americans, the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media is making strides. Thousands of high schools and colleges across the country have felt the pressure and given up names which encourage stereotyping of indigenous people.

NCARSM, which is based in Minneapolis, still has work to do before the thousands of offensive team names still in use are relegated to the annals of history. The organization’s current strategy is to go after the National Football League's Washington team, a nationally prominent team whose name is a racial slur and whose tradition of mocking Native American people is seen as particularly vile.

“We believe that when the Washington team changes, everyone else will follow,” NCARSM board member Clyde Bellecourt said. He also said the Washington team has a tradition of upholding institutional racism that goes far beyond the current disagreement over its name. The team was last in the National Football League to allow – in October of 1961 – non-white players on its roster, a move that prompted their former supporters, the American Nazi Party, to protest outside RFK Stadium.

But as NCARSM focused its efforts on organizing a major rally against the Washington team (who play the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota Nov. 2) one of its board members, the organization alleges, Alan Yelsey – without the knowledge or blessing of others within the organization – was mailing threatening letters to schools with disparaging team names. Yelsey and NCARSM have since parted ways.


Native man wants to open The Sioux Chef
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by Deanna Standing Cloud,
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There are many things we are busy reclaiming as Native people. Whether it be our minds, homelands, children, language or history, there is always a noble fight to be fought every single day. The same holds true for our connection to food. Before colonization, food was treated as a sacred gift from the Earth. There has always been a deep spiritual component to ourselves, the landscape and what we eat. Everything we did, whether it was ceremony, celebration or our seasonal activities, food was always a main part of our lives.

Lakota chef, Sean Sherman is one of those in our community committed to reclaiming our ancient foods. It began with an interest in developing a Lakota cookbook modernizing Native foods. He found during his research that there was a tremendous lack of information about Indigenous foods. This prompted him to launch his own learning plan to rediscover many of the first foods. He found many resources; bookstores, history centers and online. “I had to dig deep into very old history books to find first account records,” he said. What he found was an abundance of traditional knowledge waiting to be awakened.

Sherman credits his ancestors for being connected to plant life, animals and the environment. He feels that Native people have rich history when it comes to ways of sustaining themselves for generations, “Our ancestors were incredibly intelligent. They understood ancient technology has been working for our people for thousands of years.” This is the knowledge Sherman is using as a foundation his work with Twin Cities Native community to revitalize these old ways of gathering, preparing, preserving and serving these sacred Indigenous staples.

Wicoie Nandagikendan Puts Joy Into Language Learning
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by Laura Waterman Wittstock,
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It is always difficult to get to the reasons why teaching Native languages to very young children in Minneapolis is unusual and rare. Today, the unlikely leadership for doing that and support for languages comes from a U.S. Senator from Montana, a state most known to be conservative.

Montana sits in the middle of the ten poorest states according to Forbes magazine and it moves along with its staple farming, ranching and mining, but contrary to ideas of conservative cowboys, it also sits in the middle politically, having elected both Republicans and Democrats to statewide offices. Jon Tester won office in 2007 and the other Democratic Senator, former Lt. Governor John Walsh, has been serving since February 2014 by appointment of Gov. Steve Bullock. He took office after Democratic incumbent left to become U.S. Ambassador to China.

Tester has wasted little time since he took office to look deeply at the needs of the tribes and nations. He became chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs this year when former chair Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) stepped down.

Tester’s visit to Minneapolis and the Wicoie Nandagikendan program is another illustration of how he sees Indian country: he wants to see communities in action.

Jennifer Bendickson is executive director of the program and she demonstrates its importance to the Indian community by telling a little story. “The Wicoie children went on a field trip to a local apple orchard. It was a warm, sunny day and as the group was leaving, the grower came up to me and said we were his favorite visitors his orchard.”

“Why?”

“It was because he saw the little children thank the trees for their apples.”


Red Lake Nation hosts candidate fair
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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web-red lake nation hosts candidate fair.jpg The Red Lake Political Education Committee, a tribal non-profit and non-partisan organization, hosted a Candidate Fair & Breakfast on Oct. 22 at the Red Lake Seven Clans Casino and Event Center.

All candidates for local and statewide office (Senate District 2 and Beltrami County) who would represent the Red Lake Indian Reservation were invited to the event in addition as well as candidates for Red Lake School Board. The office seekers fielded questions from a crowd of about 100 people.

Taking a position in front of the Red Lake PEC banner, PEC co-chairs Michelle Paquin and Tim Sumner welcomed the attendees. They then introduced the group of Red Lake Canvassers who are working on Get-Out-The-Vote efforts for PEC on the reservation.

The canvassers present included, Larry Sigana, Paula Iceman, Jerricho Redeagle, Francine Kingbird, Doreen Wells, Marlys Smith, Christy Sumner and Carlene Sigana and were offering rides to the polls to any and all at the casino complex.

PEC co-chair Tim Sumner, also a Beltrami County Commissioner, said he was pleased that the event was well attended and said, "the new absentee polls in Red Lake are a great example of collaboration between the county and tribe."

Paquin, noting that Red Lake PEC is making an extra effort to engage the youth of the nation in the importance of voting, introduced the Red Lake Youth Council, which assisted with the day's events as time-keepers and serving breakfast to elders.

In keeping with PEC's youth movement, 20 year-old Alyss Seki acted as emcee. She introduced several of the other PEC members, including Secretary Cheri Goodwin and Treasurer Mary Ringhand. Seki thanked sponsors for the event, the Red Lake Tribal Council, Four Winds and individual donors Lorraine Cecil, State Representative Roger Erickson and Sue Engel, First National Bank of Bemidji spokesperson.

Seki then introduced her grandfather Red Lake Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., who introduced himself in Ojibwemowin. He welcomed the crowd and thanked all the candidates and participants.

"I'm very glad to see the Red Lake Youth Council here, it is very important that youth participate in the process. I'm very supportive of get out the vote efforts and want to remind the candidates present that the Red Lake Band has over 2,900 registered voters," Seki said.

MPR News Briefs
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by MPR News,
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Game day rally at U to draw crowds protesting NFL, DC team's mascot

By Matt Sepic, MPR News

Native American leaders and University of Minnesota students say they're expecting thousands of people to turn out for a protest against the Washington Redskins when the team plays the Vikings a week from Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium.

Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, said the DC team's name is racist and offensive. Bellecourt expects a young group of protesters to gather outside the stadium to speak out against the name.

"We know that because we're on a university campus. We're organizing all the students," he said. "We've been doing a lot of radio, television, public relations, so we're expecting over 5,000 people."

The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media is organizing the protest along with campus leaders.

Aubrey Strenger with the Black Law Students Association said the university, through its contract with the Vikings, should prohibit the use of the Washington team's name on campus.

"The University of Minnesota is such an influential educational body and they are in a particular place to affect change," Strenger said.

University of Minnesota officials have asked the Vikings to limit the use of the Washington team's name and logo during the game.

A statement posted on the U's website, said while the university "denounces the team name of the Washington team — and other sports team names that promote negative and harmful stereotypes — the University does not believe that it has the legal authority or contractual authority under the facility use agreement to prevent the game."

Amid the controversy, team owner Dan Snyder said in a recent letter to Washington's season ticket holders that the name is a "badge of honor."

 


Reclaiming Indigenous Language
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Deanna Standing Cloud,
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reclaiming indigenous language 1.jpg On the crisp, bright morning of September 5, dozens of South High School students and staff gathered together on the football field. After a few moments of brief chatting and lingering, Robert “Animikii” Horton (Rainy River First Nations), the new coordinator for the All Nations program, picked up a microphone to welcome the group.

He greeted the assembly in the Ojibwe language and asked that they all form a large circle. For the remainder of the event, Native American students enrolled in the All Nations program helped to smudge, sing at the drum and pray together with their tobacco for a good school year.

The All Nations program is a specialized academic option at South High School that was designed specifically for Native students. Thoughtful integration of the Ojibwe culture and language is the foundation for All Nations academic approach.

The passion to revitalize Native languages has ignited an internal fire within a growing number of young adults specifically in Minnesota, where Dakota and Ojibwe are the original languages. On any given day in Minnesota, fresh-faced language warriors rise every morning on a mission to reclaim their languages through education, social media, community gatherings, apprenticeships and ceremonies. By any means necessary, they have devoted their lives to Indigenous language acquisition.

Elizabeth Strong, 34, (Anishinaabe) Coordinator for Language Projects for the Red Lake Economic Development & Planning reflects on the first time she realized she wanted to pursue this work, “I visited an immersion school in Montana. Hearing those young children speaking their own language, learning about their culture with their elders, it really struck a chord with me."

 

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