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Local Briefs
August
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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Thru Aug. 25
Child/Adolescent Drum Circle Anishinaabewiwin

Co-leaders: Megan Eastman, MSW, LICSW, (Apsaalooke’/Crow) and Joel Harris, Ph.D. (Seneca/ Haudenosaunee). A drum group inviting boys and girls ages 8-16. Come together to learn and share traditional songs. Singing and drumming, talking circle, and traditional medicines. Thursdays: 2 to 3:30 pm. at the Indian Health Board Counseling and Support Clinic, 1315 E. 24th St., Minneapolis. For intake, call 612-721-9807 Or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thru Sept. 16
Reframe Minnesota

Two Rivers and All My Relations Galleries present: Reframe Minnesota, a group exhibition shown across two art galleries along the American Indian Cultural Corridor, uses a range of visual mediums to explore the future of public art at the Minnesota State Capitol. It features original works from 12 Minnesotan artists as well as student artwork from area elementary schools. Local artists, including painters, printmakers, photographers, and sculptors, respond to the Capitol artwork, its depictions of Native Americans, and its lack of representation for other communities of color. Showing at: Two Rivers Gallery: 1530 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, and All My Relations Arts: 1414 E Franklin Ave, Minnneapolis. For info see: www.tworiversarts.com or www.allmyrelationsarts.com.

Thru Sept. 23
Four Sisters Farmers Market

Fridays: 3 - 6 pm. Come for fresh produce from area vendors. Use your EBT-SNAP card. Buy tokens and get Market Bucks to matchdollar-to-dollar (up to $10). Use tokens to buy from maret vendors or keep for future visits. NACDI parking lot (next to the Powwow Grounds), 1414 E. Frankline Ave., Mpls, MN. For more info or to be a vendor, call Jenn Hall at 612-235-4971.

Aug. 3
Wakanyeja Kin Wakan Pi Positive Indian Parenting

In collaboration with several early childhood education partners, including the American Indian Family Center, American Indian Magnet School PreK, Montessori American Indian Childcare Center, and the St. Paul Children’s Collaborative, a Positive Indian Parenting course will be hosted. During this course, families will be guided through traditional teachings on family and community wellbeing. A light lunch and childcare will be provided. Please call to register. 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Free. 579 Wells St, St Paul, MN. For info, contact Colette Lawrence at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-793-3803.

Aug. 3-6
20th Annual Anishinaabe Spiritual Run

Red Lake to Mash Ka Wisen Powwow. Opening Ceremony on Aug. 3rd at  9 am. Red Lake Pow wow grounds. For info, contact  Tom or Buck at 218-679-3392, or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 5
Natives Against Heroin

Honoring Those in Recovery. Grand Entry at 6:00 pm. Light meal at 5:30 for powwow participants. Minneapolis American Indian Center Program Sponsors: Prevention through Cultural Awareness and Native Fitness and Nutrition. For info, call Cheryl Secola or Gary Spears at 612 879-1700.    

Aug. 6
Bead a Ring

Learn a basic stringing technique while beading a ring to take home. Allow an hour to make the craft. Recommended for ages 8 and up. 11 am - 3 pm. $3 per kit, does not include museum admission. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, contact 320-532-3632 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 6
56th Birthday Celebration

Help celebrate the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post's 56th birthday. Refreshments will be provided. Explore the exhibits, including the popular Four Seasons Room with life-size dioramas, then head next door to shop for American Indian arts and crafts at the Trading Post. Included with site admission of $10 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $6 ages 5-17, free ages 4 and under and MNHS members. As part of the celebration, there will be 10 percent off purchases for the day. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, contact 320-532-3632 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 10-11
Free Diabetic Eye Exam

Do you have diabetes? Has it been over a year since your last eye exam? Come in for a free retina exam. Diabetes education, snacks and incentives provided. 9 am to 3 pm.  Call Sarah to schedule an appointment at 612-843-5928. NACC, 1213 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN.

August 10-11
MABC Summit

Topics include: financial capability and education models, VITA site best practices, IDAs, child savings accounts, small business development, Native Asset Building, legislative advocacy training, and more. Keynote presentations by: Jamie Harvie, Institute for a Sustainable Future, and Jessica Webster, Prosperity for All. Registration fee: $50 (includes all meals and sessions). Northern Lights Casino and Events Center in Walker MN. To inquire about discount registration, contact Dave Snyder at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-842-6910.

Aug. 11, 20, 25 and Sept. 8, 17, 22
Catalyst for a Community Quilting Bee

We are creating a series of 84 hand sewn quilts. When completed, the quilts will be laid outdoors for an all night performance filled with dance, storytelling and stargazing! We provide all materials as well as beverages and snacks. Feel free to bring drinks or snacks to share. We will be holding Saturday morning Quilting Bees at Two Rivers Gallery and Thursday evening Quilting Bees at Studio 207 at The Ivy Building. Please join us for any of all of them! Quilting Bees at Two Rivers Gallery (1530 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis) from 10 am - 2 pm on Saturdays: August 20, September 17, October 15, November 12 and December 10. Quilting Bees at The Ivy Arts Building (2637 27th Ave S, Minneapolis, Studio #207) from 6-8 pm on Thursdays. August 11 & 25, September 8 & 22, October 6 & 20, November 3 & 17 and December 1 & 15. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions. For more information on the project please visit www.catalystdance.com/then-a-cunning-voice.

Aug. 16
HHS, IHS and SBA Small Businesses Outreach

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Indian Health Service along with the Small Business Administration will host a community outreach event for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native American small business owners and Indian Tribes about contracting with HHS and other federal agencies. Information on available resources for local small business owners to compete and thrive in the federal marketplace. Registration: 8:30 am. Event: 9 am – 12 pm. Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. NW, Bemidji, MN. For info call Richard Gerry at 218-444-0453. Or attend via teleconference at noon (CDT). Teleconference: 267-930-4000. Participant Code: 514 259 180. URL: http://webcast.nccsite.com/hhs-osdbu/building-bridges.

Aug. 17
Indian Child Welfare Education Day

Co-Sponsored by MHSL Indian Law Center. Registration: 8 am. Program: 8:30 am  - 4 pm. Free. Lunch provided. CEU’s will be provided. Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN. For info, contact Sandy White Hawk at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-442-4872.

Aug. 17
Mobile Mammogram Day

SMSC Mobile Unit will visit NACC. Screening for signs of breast cancer. Education on beast, cervial and color cancer. Earn screening incentives. Call Sarah to schedule an appointment at 612-843-5924. If you have insurance, bring your card. If you don’t have insurance, call before your appointment to sign up for SAGE free mammogram program. NACC, 1213 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN.

Aug. 17-18
Return to First Medicines 3rd Annual Gathering

A gathering for adults and youth to learn about sacred medicines, growing traditional foods, and how to care for our environment. Topics: Restoring traditional knowledge and basic skills about gathering; Using and respecting our traditional medicines; How to grow and prepare Native food crops; Learn about the environment and natural resources to protect and preserve; Barter and Swap event. Fee: $40. Fortune Bay Reort and Casino, 1430 Bois Forte Road, Tower, MN. For more info, call Suzanne Nash at 612-722-6248 or see: www.indigenouspeoplestf.org.

Aug. 19 (deadline)
Mazinaakizige - American Indian Teen Photography

This 12 week long arts-based internship with the Minnesota Historical Society lets you work with artist mentors as you investigate American Indian representations - historic and contemporary - and create your own gallery show. Learn digital photography, get behind-the-scenes access to artwork and objects, and build your resume. At the end of 12 weeks, students will create a body of work and exhibit their photography in a gallery show at Two Rivers Gallery in Minneapolis. Dates: Saturdays, 12-5 p.m., September 13 - December 6. Six American Indian High School Students from the metro area will be selected. Apply by August 19. Classes will take place at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., Saint Paul, plus field trips to other locations.  Fill out online application at www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2805784/Mazinaakizige-2016. For info, contact Jessica Hobson at 651-259-3485, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 20
Open House

Augsburg Fairview Academy is holding an open house from 1 to 5 pm. Meet students and staff. Student vs staff kickball, dunk tank, tours and more. Meal catered by La Loma Tamales and Holy Land Deli. Enrolling grades 9-12. Augsburg Fairview Academy, 2504 Columbus Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. For more info, call 612-333-1614.

Aug. 21
New Native Theatre’s 2016 Summer Tour

STOLEN GENERATION by Ardie Media (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) and SNEAKY by William S. Yellow Robe Jr. (Assiniboine). And the return of FRANKLIN AVENUE INDIAN IDOL Karaoke Contest. Join us all day during Franklin Avenue Open Streets. Stolen Generation: 11-11:30 am, 1:15-1:45 pm, 4:45-5:15 pm. Sneaky: 11:45 am-12:45 pm, 2 -1 pm, 5:30-6 pm. Franklin Avenue Indian Idol Karaoke Contest: 3-4:30 pm. Free. At the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Outdoor Amphitheater, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For more info, see http://newnativetheatre.org.

Aug. 21
Homeland: Native Artists Create on the Ave

Native artists of all backgrounds with ties to Homelands in or near the Twin Cities, including storytellers, beaders, quiltmakers, craftspeople, makers, performers, muralists, create collaborative work sharing our stories of homeland here in the cities and along the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis. Teams work together share $20,000 to implement their collaborations from mid-summer to fall along Franklin Avenue with a public celebration on August 17 at Open Streets. 11 am - 5 pm at Franklin Open Streets. For info, contact Taylor Payer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Jun-Li Wang at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 21
Fun Run

Take a short walk around the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Powwow grounds and earn a free gift courtesy of the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post. Registration for the walk is located at the pavilion on the powwow grounds. 9 - 10:30 am. Free. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, call 320-532-3632 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 21
KWESTRONG Triathlon

Kwestrong Triathlon will include run, bike, and canoe. 9 am - 3 pm, Bde Maka Ska Lake (Thomas Beach, Lake Calhoun), Minneapolis, Minnesota. For Native women, girls and boys. (Women and children participants only.) $25 registration fee. Sponsorships Available. For info, see: http://kwestrong.org/register.

Aug. 23 (deadline)
Grants to Support Nutrition Ed. for Food on Reservations

The Nutrition Education for Native American Communities project will provide grants to Native American communities interested in starting or expanding nutrition education programming for Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) recipients. First Nations will award up to 30 grants totaling $10,000 each to FDPIR programs. Supports FDPIR programs that are looking to provide or expand nutrition workshops, cooking classes/food demonstrations, healthy recipe development, development and dissemination of educational materials. The grant begins Sept. 1 and ends June 1, 2017. Organizations eligible to apply will be Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs), other programs that are NAFDPIR members, FDPIR programs and tribal programs or nonprofit organizations working with FDPIR programs. For info, visit www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2016FDPIR

Aug. 25
Community Arts Night
5 - 8 pm at Two Rivers Gallery, 1530 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis. For info, see http://tworiversarts.com, or email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 27-28
Ojibwe Moccasin 2-Day Workshop

Learn techniques of working with leather at this two-day workshop. Participants will make a pair of Ojibwe-style moccasins to take home. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided both days. The workshop runs Saturday from noon to 4 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. $60/$55 MNHS members, plus $25 supply fee. Reservations required, call 320-532-3632. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, contact 320-532-3632 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 29 (deadline)
Native Nation Rebuilders

Connect with amazing Native leaders. Learn about innovative tribal governance practices. Strengthen your leadership abilities. Help advance your Native vision for the future. Become a Native Nation Rebulder. The Native Governance Center is currently taking applications for Cohort 8. Application and references must be received by Aug.29th at 12:00 p.m. CST.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. For info and application, see: www.nativegov.org/#rebuilders. Session dates for Cohort 8:
• Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2016 (Twin Cities, MN)
• April 26-28, 2017 (Spearfish, SD)
• Sept. 20-32, 2017 (Location TBD)
• Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2017 (Twin Cities, MN)

Aug. 30 (deadline)
Call for articles

Vanishing Indians/Painting Indians. Thomas McKenney, the Origins of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Beyond. University of Milan, Milan/Italy, November 21-22. The University of Milan will host an international conference entitled “Vanishing Indians/Painting Indians. This conference will examine not only McKenney’s role in the definition of the powers of the agency under the control of the Department of War, but his effort to describe with images the life and costumes of the tribes East of the Mississippi River. Art historians to Native Americans historians are invited to send their proposals before the end of August 2016. Paper proposals should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it The organizers will offer two days stay in the center of Milan, lunch and dinner for the days of the conference. Speakers cover their own travel expenses. For info, see: http://www.unimi.it/ENG.

Aug. 31
Native FAN Wellness Support Circle

Native FAN Wellness Support Circle (formerly known as Native American Cancer Support Circle). If you or someone you know would benefit from a monthly Native American Wellness Support Circle (for all chronic illnesses), we encourage you to join us for a meal and good company. We meet every last Wed. of the month at MAIC, 1530 E Franklin Ave., Mpls, MN. For info, contact Val Lafave at 612-879-1722 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 9
Wisdom Steps 13th Annual Golf Tournament

Fundraising event for Elders in the Wisdom Steps program. Starts at 9 am for registration, 10 am is Shot Gun Start. Prices vary depending on the type of sponsorships. This event will be held at the Black Bear Golf Course in Carlton, MN (20 miles south of Duluth, MN). For info, contact Drew Annette at 218-335-8586, or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 9
Leech Lake Twin Cities Annual Picnic

For Leech Lake band members. Free. 11 am-2 pm. Veterans Memorial Park - Picnic Shelter, 6335 Portland Ave, Richfield, MN. For info, call Valerie Larsen at 612-729-0554.

Not a Teddy Bear Indian
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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It’s weird how things work out. Or don’t. First off, I didn’t think I would still be around to write the above so in my case it’s cool. I’ve had a spectacular life and not all of it has been good, but most def spectacular. For so long I’ve been threatening all of yooz that I’m gonna write a book and that is going to happen. I will also be working with author, journalist and playwright Mark Anthony Rolo on a play about my crazy life.

Some of you may have your sparse Indian hairs standing up after reading about this incredible (insert your reaction here gr and kb) collaboration, but let me assure yooz the time has come so just be ready. I’m now able to focus for the first time in my life on what I’ve been writing about for almost 18 years. All my life, really!!! I know some of you have read my column for years now and you must know how much I appreciate yooz. Big love ya’ll.

The best part of all my personal experiences has been that I’m not alone. Probably 99.9% of real brown Indians have been through what I have and more, which is sad. When I say ‘best part’ I mean it’s not us personally, it is the color of our skin and our culture we have never left after 500 years. That is strength, resilience, courage and the refusal to give up in the face of unrelenting racism and colonization. I’m so proud of us.

I’m so not a “Teddy Bear Indian”. Never have I written or said anything to make non-Indians feel comfortable or that I’m not a threat. Let me be clear: I am a threat and you may not like or agree with what I say but it is my life experience and no one can dismiss it or marginalize me. I AM and I matter. Bring it, I got you.

The reason I bring that up is that so many Indian writers bow down to what white people think will sell and I call that selling out. Not all of us are mystical beings who are in tune with the Earth. Deep in our DNA we are but not all of us listen.

A character I named Moosie is just that; a cultural caricature I invented when I saw paperback books of a bronze Indian man holding a white woman who succumbed to his savage love albeit unwillingly, at first. I laughed just hard. I said to myself I can do better than that and did so. The response was hilarious. I had women asking who Moosie really is and men who made their ponytails float like Moosie’s in the wind even when there was no wind.

Point is a lot of people liked my fictional character and wanted more of it but my column has been about an Indian woman living in this crazy space and writing about my life trying to survive. Apart from my own problems I’ve addressed many life issues that affect us all as Indian Nations. I cry and rage a lot wondering how I can help and make a difference for the better and continuation of our People. That is and will be my main purpose, for the love of us as a distinct and sovereign people.

I share now that I’ve been betrayed and deliberately hurt by close family and friends. It sickens me most of all because of the time and trust I wasted on them. They have serious character flaws and thanks to my therapist I don’t carry any trauma they inflicted on me. He said, “It’s not your fault” after I told him how my former best friend hurt me. That statement saved me and I now say it to yooz.

So much of what you have suffered is not your fault. It’s the fault of the racist, colonial, oppressive culture being inflicted upon us. The good news is a great many people are awakening and making their voices heard. Those people are also walking the talk in life and politics (Plz go register to vote!) who will be recognized as a serious power.

It is so easy to acquiesce to the mundane machine and think that no matter what you do or not it’s already been rigged so your vote doesn’t count. I say it does and that if you choose not to vote you then have no right to complain about anything. I know that our political system sucks but it’s all we have right now so make your voice heard, please.

Not everyone has the platform I have to speak out but you still can. Love to my granddaughter, Love to All.

August and Sept
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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Aug. 12-14
Grand Portage Rendezvous Days Program and Powwow
Music, dancing, craft demonstrations, and hands-on workshops will be held at the Grand Portage National Monument Rendezvous Program. The Stockade, reconstructed buildings and historic encampment are open  from 9 am – 5 pm. The event is held in conjunction with the annual Grand Portage Powwow, an American Indian cultural gathering focusing on dance, song and family celebration. Admission is free. Everyone is invited to watch and participate in the powwow. Free. National Monument Heritage Center, 170 Mile Creek Rd., Grand Portage, MN. For info, see: www.visitcookcounty.com/ entry/?id=3738.

Aug. 19-21
SMSC Contest Powwow

Dancers of all ages will gather at the annual Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi. Flag Raising: Saturday and Sunday at 9 am. Grand Entry: Friday at 7 pm., Saturday at 1 pm. and 7 pm., Sunday at 1 pm. $10 for entire weekend with button purchase. Adults 60+ are free. Children 10 and under are free. 2016-2017 Wacipi Grounds, 3212 Dakotah Parkway, Shakopee, MN. Directions: north of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and south of County Road 42, between county roads 83 and 17 (Marschall Road). Ample parking: golf carts are available at no charge to transport guests from the parking lot to the grounds. For info, call 952-445-8900 or see: http://smscwacipi.org.

Aug. 19-21
50th Annual Mille Lacs Traditional Powwow

Shaw Bosh Kung Pt., Onamia, MN. Directions: West side of Mille Lacs Lake, 12 miles North of Onamia on Hwy 169, follow signs. For info, call 612-440-6526.

Aug. 26-28
Cha Cha Bah Ning Powwow
36th Annual Traditional Pow Wow, Inger, MN. For info, call Dorothy at 218-556-7590.

SEPT

Sept. 2-4
Wii Gitchie Ni Mi Dim

Labor Day Contest Powwow at the Leech Lake Veterans Grounds, located next to the Palace Casino on Palace Drive. Cass Lake. For info, contact Rod Northbird at 218-308-3120 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Or Leah Gale Monroe at 218-760-3127 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 8-9
47th Annual United Tribes International Contest Powwow 

Lone Star Arena, Bismarck, ND. For info, call 701-255-3285, ext. 1293

Sept. 9-11
Mendota's 17th Annual Traditional Wacipi

Mendota Heights, Mendota, MN (Highway 13 & 110, by Mendota Bridge). For info, call Sharon Lennartson at 651-452-4141 or 612-913-1903. Cost: $5.00 donation, no one turned away.

Sept. 9-11
Indian Summer Contest Powwow

Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee, WI. For info, call 414-604-1000.

Sept. 10-11
Great Dakota Gathering, Homecoming & Powwow

Traditional Powwow and specials for tiny tots, youth, teens, and adults. Parks Ave, Winona, MN. Camping: Free Tent Camping only (no hookups) at Unity Park, RV and Travel Trailer Camping available at Prairie Island Campground.

Sept. 16-18
Mahkato 44th Annual Traditional Powwow

MCs: Jerry Dearly and Danny Seaboy. AD: Richard Milda. Host Drums: Mazakute Singers  Oyate Teca. Grand Entries: Friday at 7 pm; Saturday at 1 pm and 7 pm; Sunday at 1 pm. General Admission $7.00 for the entire weekend, Children 12 and under get in free, Seniors 60 and older: $5.00 Dakota Wakisue Makoce (Land of Memories Park), Mankato, MN. Directions: Coming from 169 heading south into Mankato: Cross over the Blue Earth River on 169/60 and proceed down the short incline. There is a sign on the right side of the road saying Land of Memories Campground with an arrow pointing to the right. Right hand turn lane and turn right. Then take the first left. Go up a small hill, over railroad tracks and into the campground. For info, call Dave Brave Heart at 507-514-5088 or Dan Zielske at 507-387-3572.

Finding Our Way Home Through Healing Trauma
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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It’s that time of year that many healing ceremonies are happening. I find myself contemplating where home is. This month, I’m going to explore why I left the reservation. We all leave home for a variety of reasons.

I have many incredible memories of home. I was born and raised on Rosebud reservation in the rural south central South Dakota. I grew up between a couple of small communities – Two Strike Community and Spring Creek Community.

This month it's been 26 years since I left. After all these years, home still calls to me. I hear it. I miss it. I long for it.

I am beginning to understand I left for very selfish reasons. I left in search of myself. I left in search of someone to save me. I wanted to run away from the pain and misery of sexual abuse. I hoped to find solace someplace else, and maybe, just maybe, someone to save me.

What was I searching for? I was searching for something to make me feel complete. I longed. I yearned for wholeness. I ran away from my pain.  I wanted to forget being sexually abused. 

Also, I was looking for someone to solve my problems, or soothe my emotional aches and pains.  I wanted someone to protect me. What I came to discover was that I was responsible for myself. 

I forged my way into a place that was far away from home. I’d hoped I’d be safe.  Unfortunately, my unhealed pain would follow me. Life continued to teach me lessons, I’d be a victim in abusive relationships and sexually assaulted.

When I began to believe there wasn’t a God and I was damned, heaven opened up. My beacon out of my darkness was the birth of my son and my grandson. My son was what I dreamed of – being a parent.  It is his perfection and his unconditional love that brought me back to life. 

Also, it was when the shell I stayed in became too painful. The shell I built around me to protect me. It is when I broke out of it. I grew.  I sought therapy. I changed my circle of friends. I avoided mean and hurtful people. I learned to protect myself and my family.

We come to our ‘life changing’ moments at various points in of our lives. I did this when I was young. I had opportunities and people who helped me along the way. I’m grateful to my parents and my family who helped me heal. They endured hard conversations and truth telling, but they held on.  

We all have the capacity to change.  That was a belief that was cultivated in me. My mother encouraged me.  She soothed my homesickness and emotional pain, but didn’t yield to me.  She wanted me to find my place in the world. 

It’s hard to leave the luxury of home. Home is safety. Home can be crazy.  Yet, home is familiar. Home is filled with family and friends. Home is filled with people that look like me, sound like me, and think like me. Yet, I left.  

Part of me is home on the prairie of South Dakota, I'm still sitting on my Mother’s porch in Two Strike looking at the stars wondering about the world. The other part of me is here in Minnesota, I am amongst my chosen family and friends and live in the many beautiful communities I adore.
I left home a few decades ago to pursue school and a better life. My parents urged me along. They were my biggest cheerleaders. They understood the struggle of growing up on the reservation. They wanted more opportunities for my life beyond the reservation borders.   

At the end of my life, I want to look back on a life well lived. I know this, my healing has helped my family and the future generations to come. My healing is bound to theirs. They will not bear the burden of my pain, nor the pain we’ve inherited. My grandson and his children will be eager about the world. The future generations of my children will boldly meet the world on their terms. 

My story, parts of it, is a cautionary tale but most of it is filled with hope. It’s always been steeped in hope. It’s my story and my search for my wholeness. My English name is Nick. I am Sicangu Oyate. I am one of the Burnt Thigh People. Cetanzi  (Yellow Hawk) is the name my family has given me. It is the name my ancestors will know me as. Home is where I make it. It is where healing happens. It is where my heart is.

Protecting our water
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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In my May column, I promised to write more about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) investigation into Minnesota’s compliance with the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

As the state prepares to consider a number of permits sought by PolyMet Mining Co. for its copper-nickel mine and processing plant in northeastern Minnesota, it appears that Minnesota has been asleep at the switch in monitoring pollution from taconite mining and other industrial facilities – over several decades.

The environmental group WaterLegacy petitioned the EPA last year (July 2, 2015), calling on the agency to withdraw the state’s authority to enforce industrial pollution permits under the CWA. WaterLegacy argued that some 25 mining facilities in the state are operating with expired permits, putting water resources and wild rice at risk.

The EPA launched an investigation into the allegations of lax environmental oversight, and has now asked the Minnesota attorney general to respond to its questions by Aug. 12. The EPA wants to know how the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) can protect our waters, especially after the Legislature passed measures in 2015 and 2016 that essentially exempted taconite mining operations from complying with a 40-year-old sulfate standard for waters that contain wild rice. Scientific studies have found that sulfide in lake sediment starves wild rice.

“This is about time, it’s been decades, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has just refused to enforce the wild rice sulfate standard,” said Paula Maccabee, WaterLegacy’s advocacy director and counsel, regarding the EPA deadline.

“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has operated in a vacuum where the only real participants have been the mining companies,” Maccabee continued, during a phone interview in late July. She said that there has been a “complete failure to comply with the Clean Water Act” in Minnesota.

The 2015 state law that instructed the MPCA not to enforce the standard on sulfate pollution was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” according to Maccabee. She said that WaterLegacy had been amassing evidence of the state’s environmental performance for some months, then decided the time had come to “call out the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Legislature for failure to respect the Clean Water Act and failure to enforce laws limiting mine pollution.”

In addition to failing to enforce pollution regulations, the MPCA and legislators have succumbed to the “undue influence of mining industry lobbyists.”

When I worked at the Legislature, more than 20 years ago, and covered the House environment committee, progressive environmental legislation was shredded to bits. It took me some time to realize that industry lobbyists were behind the gutting of these bills.

In response to my question, Maccabee explained that WaterLegacy makes all of its strategic decisions “in consultation with the tribal staff.” For example, the group’s 2015 petition to the EPA to withdraw Minnesota’s authority for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program under the Clean Water Act, was based on documents and investigations by the water quality staffs of the Fond du Lac and Grand Portage bands (this has been corrected from the print version, which listed Boise Forte incorrectly).

I wrote in my May column that the Ojibwe bands say that state officials for the past eight years have ignored their concerns about the PolyMet copper-nickel project. Since the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved the PolyMet environmental impact statement, Indian band officials have turned their focus to federal agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which still need to grant permits for the controversial sulfide mining project.

The Indian bands have to be consulted during the environmental review process, because the PolyMet project threatens the health of the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory, beyond the borders of the reservations. The Indian bands retain rights to hunt, fish and gather in this territory.

At the end of our conversation, Maccabee explained, “WaterLegacy was formed to address the new threat of sulfide mining, which is a threat to Indian country, and a threat to the Boundary Waters, and a threat to Lake Superior.”

She commented that “regular citizens” often told her that if sulfide mining was going to come into the state, “Minnesota is a place where there is such tough regulations and such good enforcement. What we realized several years into this research is that that’s a myth: Minnesota does not enforce pollution control standards.” And Maccabee added that there are no standards for many new pollutants.

“The last thing we should do in Minnesota is experiment with sulfide mining,” she concluded, in view of state regulators’ failure to control “the much less toxic pollution from taconite mining.”

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