subscribe_today.png

 

Top Stories

native community welcomes new lacrosse star-cap.jpg Native community welcomes new Lacrosse star

Youth from the Twin Cities Native American Lacrosse Club, parents and admirers welcomed the MN Swarm's new Onondaga player Read more ...

Columnists

Share this!

mordecai_specktor_some.jpg Political Matters: #BlackLivesMatter

Mordecai Specktor recaps recent protests about Black men being killed by police and how the community can respond.

Read more ... 

The Arts

photography helps native youth enrich their lives-cap.jpg

Photography helps Native youth enrich their lives

The Mazinaakizige photo project offered students the unique opportunity the explore the origins of photography and how to apply it in a culturally-based approach Read more ... 

Citizen Journalism

Citizen JournalismCreate your free account and submit your own stories to The Circle website.Register for free and start publishing!

Article Guidelines

Watch the video to learn how!

Sights & Sounds: 2015 American Indian Month Kick-Off
Friday, May 01 2015
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
Average user rating    (0 vote)


The Importance of Powwow Dances
Friday, April 03 2015
 
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

a history of powwow dances-augsburg powwow-web.jpgWorld champion jingle dress dancer Willow Abramson (Shoshone-Bannock) faced difficult challenges in her life. In 2005, she and her family were involved in a car crash; her baby daughter and husband did not survive. She found healing in dancing.

She believes the energy and life on the powwow circuit helped her find strength to raise her son. She encourages her fellow dancers, “Some of us dance to forget, some of us dance to remember, some of us dance to heal, but whatever the reason, just dance with your heart and your spirit: we see it shine when you dance.”

It’s officially Powwow Season in Indian Country! The anticipation and excitement dancers and singers built up throughout the winter months will be unleashed within many traditional and contest powwows throughout the country this year. Indigenous people have always gathered to celebrate and heal through song and dance. What has evolved is our contemporary powwow, the opportunity to share culture across various tribes.

Taking part in the powwow circuit can create connections for lifelong friendships, as dancers and singers alike. Frankie Graves (Leech Lake Ojibwe) has been involved with powwows since he was a young child. Graves has been a Grass Dancer, singer, Arena Director and even a master of ceremonies at various powwows across the Midwest. He shares his experience with the powwow culture, “So many beautiful Nations come together in the summertime, almost creating one large nation, like a big family.”

There are hundreds of different tribal nations, all with very unique dances including the Hoop Dance from the Southwest region, the Chicken Dance from the western tribes, or the Smoke Dances from the East Coast. Although only the primary dance styles are highlighted here, it is important to keep in mind these dances all originated with teachings and stories.

 


White Earth constitutional reform stalled by infighting
Friday, April 03 2015
 
Written by Jon Lurie,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

Fears of federal recognition loss and hopes for enrollment increase at play

white earth constitutional reform stalled by infighting-council-web.jpg“The people of White Earth voted for a new constitution, and a judge upheld the validity of that referendum. So why don’t we have a new constitution at White Earth?” For Lorna LaGue, White Earth’s Director of Constitutional Reform, the question is rhetorical. After all, she’s had a front row seat to the clash taking place on her reservation between those who support the new tribal constitution and those oppose to it. Both sides are polarized, passionate, and deeply entrenched after years of infighting which surfaced in conjunction with the first White Earth Constitutional Convention in 2007.

The latest dust-up — between White Earth Chairwoman Erma Vizenor, who supports the new constitution as “the will of the people” and those who oppose her efforts — has taken place in the pages of White Earth’s newspaper, Anishinaabeg Today.

In the December issue Vizenor used her monthly column to explain that a gag-order had been imposed to prevent the tribal newspaper from printing information about constitutional reform efforts.

“The White Earth Tribal Council voted to censor the press from printing any more information or updates on the Constitution of the White Earth Nation,” Vizenor wrote. “The vote took place on Nov. 24 following a motion by Secretary/Treasurer Tara Mason and a second by Kathy Goodwin to suspend all information on the Constitution in this tribal newspaper. I am deeply grieved that censorship and repression of information important to the entire White Earth tribe have taken place. What does such action say about democracy? Regardless of whether you are for or against the approved Constitution of the White Earth Nation, you should have access to all information regarding this important and historic issue.”

The gag-order came at a curious time, given the new Constitution was ratified in 2009 by delegates of the White Earth Constitutional Convention. Four year later, on November 19, 2013, in a historic referendum, the White Earth Nation in northwestern Minnesota became the first member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) to adopt a new constitution.

Of the 3,492 ballots counted, the vote was 2,780 in favor and 712 opposed, a 79 percent rate of approval. With a membership of nearly 20,000, the low participation seems to reflect apathy on the part of many tribal citizens. Still, the turnout was twice that for most tribal elections.

Despite the effort to quiet her opinions, Vizenor has circumvented the gag-order and continued to communicate with her constituents.

“When people in power in tribal government suppress information it is no different than when North Korea, or other countries run by dictators, suppress information,” Vizenor told The Circle. “Our constitution puts into place a system of checks and balances which will prevent the kind of dictatorship we’ve seen within our own council.”

In February, Vizenor produced a full color pamphlet that she direct-mailed to White Earth citizens. In it, the chairwoman addressed her critics and assured supporters that constitutional reform is on track.

“For those of you who believe efforts to transition to governing under the approved Constitution of the White Earth Nation have stopped, please know, I am doing everything within my authority to carry out the will of the White Earth people,” wrote Vizenor. “While the Tribal Council voted to censor any news or articles regarding the Constitution in the Anishinaabeg Today, this action did not erase the vote of the people to approve the Constitution.”

The White Earth Constitution, the first in its 148-year history, provides for the White Earth Nation a foundation for self-government, including the power to decide qualification requirements for its members. When implemented, the Constitution will change the prerequisite for tribal citizenship from the MCT-mandated one-fourths blood quantum, to open enrollment for lineal descendants of tribal citizens.

 


Strengthening Identity: The Cradleboard Project instills history and tradition
Friday, April 03 2015
 
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

strengthening identity- the cradleboard project instills history and tradition 2-web.jpgWhen Gavino Limon was 14 months-old, he began his professional career as a champion Grass Dancer, a mere five months after he began walking. Limon is now six years-old and continues his love for dancing as a member of the world famous Native Pride Dance Troop. His parents, Douglas and Rachel Limon believe that having him in a cradleboard during his infancy had a tremendous influence on his advanced large motor skills

Traditionally, tribal people in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas used cradleboards for hundreds of years to carry their children. Using whatever materials within the environment, cradleboards were assembled with much care. Depending on the community, cradleboards can be constructed with cedar, oak, cattail, buckskin, animal fur and moss. In essence, a flat wooden board is the base, a frame and a headpiece, sometimes to attach toys. The baby is wrapped tightly to the board, allowing them to feel secure and also sit upright to interact with their world.  In this way, babies became accustomed to the daily activities of their tribe. The cradleboard was the first step in traditional Indigenous education.

Cradleboard advocates assert that children who have been in a cradleboard have a developmental advantage. Babies are able to observe their families and socially interact with their relatives. Parents will often claim that a baby’s leg and neck muscles are strengthened earlier than an infant who has not been placed in a cradleboard.

These benefits prompted the Limons to have their baby in a cradleboard. Before their son was born, Doug and Rachel Limon wanted to have their new baby in a cradleboard, but had difficulty finding anyone in the community that could help teach them to make one. After finding an elder in Leech Lake to help them, they had Gavino in the cradleboard.


The Art of Resistance
Wednesday, March 11 2015
 
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

the art of resistance 1-web.jpgArt is powerful. For Indigenous communities, art is medicine with incredible healing properties. It is a way to create beauty in the messy process of decolonization. It is also a means to educate, inspire and enliven Indigenous activist movements.

Minneapolis is no stranger to Indigenous activism, so the “Art of Resistance” exhibition opening on the American Indian Cultural Corridor’s All My Relations Gallery complemented the rich activist history in the Twin Cities. The traveling exhibit reflect over 30 years of environmental justice work of Honor the Earth, a national Native-led organization based in White Earth, Minn. Featuring 20 Indigenous local and national artists, the exhibit is only one aspect to a broader partnership and collaborative effort to engage Native activists in the Twin Cities.

The Native American Community Development Institute hosted a first of its kind “Community Art Night” inspired by the “Art of Resistance” on Feb. 9. Graci Horne, (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) Associate Curator for All My Relations Gallery, was inspired by similar events during her time as a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Over 50 community members came together to share space, food and to create art together on small canvases to express their own activist work. NACDI Community Organizer Ashley Fairbanks (White Earth Ojibwe) shared insight about the event, “It’s important for our community to see this gallery as their space, as belonging to them.” Finished art pieces completed by community members will be featured on the “Mni Art Wall” appearing in Pow Wow Grounds Coffee Shop located next to the gallery.

One of the mainstays of Indigenous teachings is that at some point in Native lives, community members have a chance to be leaders and bring forth their own gifts and talents to benefit the community. Fairbanks believes the event is one way to help bring out our people’s strengths, “This is an opportunity for our community members who may not see themselves as artists a chance to see themselves in that lens and to see their work displayed.”

In the spirit of activism, the exhibit's youth work is designed to develop leadership roles, using art to reconnect the Native community with the sacred relationship to traditional tobacco. A partnership to that end is the development of Native youth leadership project through the arts. Lannesse Baker (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), Native Youth Alliance of Minnesota Executive Director, developed a partnership with Honor the Earth Organizer and 2014 Bush Fellow Charlie Thayer (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe) and ClearWay Minnesota Senior Community Development Manager CoCo Villaluz (Hidatsa) to co-facilitate a youth lead initiative.

As 2012 Creative Community Leadership Institute participants with Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Thayer and Villaluz began discussing an arts project to share with the American Indian community in the Twin Cities to promote well being. The genesis of this project was born from their conversations. Thayer understands the potential creativity has to make change in our community, “There is power in activism through art. Visual art plays an important role as it has the ability to stimulate and encourage a unifying perspective. When channeled as a vehicle, it carries issues of consciousness where it can be a catalyst for meaningful change.”

Understanding Racial Tension in Rapid City
Wednesday, March 11 2015
 
Written by Jon Lurie,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

A 41-year-old man was charged with disorderly conduct for his behavior during a Rapid City Rush hockey game in January, during which Lakota children from the American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation were alleged to have been doused with beer and heckled.

Trace O'Connell was charged last month in Seventh Circuit magistrate court in Rapid City. If convicted, he faces up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. Many Lakota people in the area called the incident a hate crime, child abuse or assault and sought charges of a greater magnitude.

The perceived lack of justice in this case comes on the back of a long history of racial tension between Rapid City’s Native American and white communities, including the December 20, 2014 killing of Lakota resident Allen Locke by a white police officer. The officer was not charged in case. understanding_racial_tension-cover-website-500px.jpg

The deadly shooting, coming just one day after Locke attended a protest against police brutality, ignited suspicions of a racial motive. Captain Dan Rud of the RCPD sought to lay those suspicions to rest. "This officer is white, the suspect is Native American,” he said, “but it's not a race deal. This is based on criminal behavior and it had nothing to do with race. Had the race of the Police Officer be Native American and the suspect white the results would have been the same." 

Rud’s comments were disregarded by Lakota residents of Rapid City, however, for whom everything about daily life in the divided city is racial.

The American Horse School Board is now pursuing federal hate crime charges against those adults who allegedly abused the 57 Lakota students in Rapid City. At a community meeting in Allen, S.D. last month, American Horse School Board and Oglala Sioux Tribal officials were present to address the issue.

Parent Angie Sam, mother of 13 year-old Robyn, one of the children who attended the now-infamous hockey game, says her daughter learned a hard lesson that night. “These kids were targets of a hate crime because of their skin color, because they were from the rez and they were told to go back to the rez. Why do we have to explain that they're hated just because of their skin color?” 

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker said of the matter, "This incident is gut wrenching for me and its gut wrenching particularly because it involves young children and so there's a scarring that takes place and apologizing simply isn't enough." 

For Minnesota Natives, who have established over the past four decades strong social and political networks among themselves and with other communities, the depths of racial tension in Rapid City can be difficult to fathom. The Circle has compiled the following list to help make sense of the news coming out of western South Dakota.

  • Rapid City is Home to the Poorest Urban Indians in the United States
Fifty-one percent of American Indians in Rapid City live below the federal poverty line, which, in 2014 was $23,850 for a family of four. By comparison, this is three times of the poverty rate for Natives living in Anchorage, Alaska. Minneapolis is the second poorest urban Indian population, with 48 percent of Native residents living in poverty. While roughly 12-percent of the population, Native residents own just 3-percent of businesses in Rapid City.

 

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Results 1 - 26 of 484

Ads

03-16-15 - 05-15-15 college of st. scholastica.jpg

03-15 mmcd.jpg

03-15-angel tax.jpg

Sponsors

bald_eagle_erectors_web_size.jpglogo spot_color - copy.jpg 

pcl_leaders_web_size.jpg

api_supply_lifts_web_size.jpg

 

 

 

 

Login to The Circle

Not a member yet?
Create your free account.





Lost Password?
No account yet? Register
Register with The Circle News and submit your own stories. You report the latest!

Syndicate