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Local Briefs
September Community Calendar
Thursday, September 03 2015
 
Written by The Circle ,
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Sept. 2
NACDI Breakfast Bites
Come and join us for an opportunity to network and discuss the most important issues in our community. 9-10:15 a.m., NACDI, 1414 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call 612-235-4969

Sept. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Grow Your Own with Mashkiikii Gitigan
Subjects will include: Growing, Harvesting, Preparing and preserving food, Traditional Native American methods, Foraging, Sacred tobacco, Wild rice, Nutrition, Diabetes and heart disease prevention and Diabetes Screening. Healthy Living Starts with Healthy Eating! 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., free to all, drop-ins welcome! Mashkiikii Gitigan (Medicine Garden), 24th Street Community Urban Farm, 1316 E. 24th St., Minneapolis, MN. For more information call Christina or Annelie at 612-436- 2676 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 4-6
Labor Day Contest Powwow
Palace Casino Drive, Cass Lake, MN. For more information, call Anita Cloud at 218-256-6163, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Rod Northbird at 218-308-3120; Leah Gale Monroe at 218-760-3127, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or LaVonne Thompson at 218-308-3680, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28
Karma Market
Take what you need, try something fresh from the garden and donate what you can! Good Karma for everyone! Garden fresh harvest available throughout the day as well. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Mashkiikii Gitigan (Medicine Garden), 24th Street Community Urban Farm, 1316 E. 24th St., Minneapolis, MN. For more information call Christina or Annelie at 612-436- 2676 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 8
Traditional Blessing & Welcome Feast
Welcome to the University of Minnesota new and returning students! Join us and meet the Department of American Indian Studies faculty and staff! Noon, Circle of Indigenous Nations, 322 Appleby Hall, University of Minnesota, 128 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call 612-624-2555 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 11
Fundraiser for 19th Annual Elder's Picnic
American Indian Community Organizations plan this event and would love to continue the party for them! All proceeds will provide supplies for the event on September 17, 2015. Come have a great meal and help our elders. Menu items: Indian Taco, Frybread with Wojapi, Frybread, Prairie Dogs, water, coffee and tea. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, prices and volunteering, call April Smith, Health & Wellness Coordinator, at 612-879-1770 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 11-13
Mendota's 16th Annual Traditional Wacipi
Not a contest, we have a small payout for dancing but not a contest. We are a small, traditional wacipi. St. Peters Church, 1405 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota, MN. For more information, call Sharon Lennartson at 651-452-4141, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.mendotadakota.com.

Sept. 11-13
Bois Forte Traditional Miigwech Manomin Powwow
Mens Woodlands and Womens Jingle special. Nett Lake Powwow Grounds, 5344 Lakeshore Drive, Nett Lake, MN. For more information, call Donald Chosa at 218 757-3757, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.boisforte.com.

Sept. 12
The Gathering in Winona
Honoring Our Elders Golden Age (60+) Dance Specials only: GA Men’s Traditional; GA Men’s Grass/Fancy; GA Women’s Traditional; GA Jingle/Fancy. DeCora-Guimaraes Family Ho-Chunk Women’s Applique Special, 18+. ID’s will be needed to verify age. Prize money and day money for all dancers. Vendors wanted: food and authentic American Indian artworks. Call Bill McNeil at 507-454-4627 or 507-459-6032 for vendor information. Unity Park, 860 Parks Ave., Winona, MN. For more information, call Valerie DeCora Guimaraes at 507-289-7401 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 12
Red Lake Oshkiimaajitahdah Games Gathering
Red Lake Nation College; 9: Welcome by Jerry Loud, Oshkiimaajitahdah Director, Welcoming Song by Young Kingbird Singers; 9:15-9:50: Introductory Activity Comments by Dan Ninham (Oneida), Wooden Lacrosse Game, Freeman Bucktooth (Onondaga), Modern Lacrosse Game and Angelo Baca (Hopi/Dine), Running Games; 10-11:30: Wooden Lacrosse Game (Football Field, 13-17 years-old), Modern Lacrosse Game (Softball Field I, youth 12 and younger) and Running Games (Softball Field II, adults); 11:40-12:10 p.m.: Lunch Provided, Red Lake Nation College; 12:15-1:45: Wooden Lacrosse Game (Football Field, adults), Modern Lacrosse Game (Softball Field I, 13-17 years-old), Running Games (Softball Field II, 12 and younger); 2-3:30: Wooden Lacrosse Games (Football Field, 12 and younger), Modern Lacrosse Games (Softball Field I, adults), Running Games (Softball Field II, 13-17 years-old); 6-8: Film Screening with Filmmaker Angelo Baca, Red Lake Nation College and Travelling Song by Young Kingbird Singers. All events are free and open to youth and adults. Red Lake Nation College and Red Lake School Fields, Red Lake, MN. For more information, call or text Dan Ninham at 218-368-6430 or email coach.danninham@ gmail.com, to pre-register for the Saturday Sept. 15 deadline First Nations Development Institute Invites Applications for Agriculture Scholarships The purpose of the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Scholarship Program is to encourage more Native American college students to enter agricultural and entrepreneurial fields so that they can better assist their communities with these efforts. First Nations will award five $1,000 scholarships annually to Native American college students majoring in agriculture and agriculture-related fields, including but not limited to: agribusiness management, agriscience technologies, agronomy, animal husbandry, aquaponics, fisheries and wildlife, food production and safety, food-related policy and legislation, horticulture, irrigation science, plant-based nutrition and sustainable agriculture or food systems. Scholarship Eligibility: Applicants must be full-time undergraduate or graduate student majoring in agriculture or an agricultural-related field, including food systems; applicants must be Native American (enrolled citizen of a current or terminated federal/state tribe); have at least a 3.0 GPA; demonstrate a commitment to helping his/her community reclaim local food-system control. Scholarship Application Checklist: Online application; Proof of tribal enrollment; Enrollment verification form; Unofficial transcript; Letter of recommendation from faculty member; Essay (250-500 words) addressing how you will use your degree to help your community reclaim control of their local/traditional food system, and how you plan to spend the scholarship money. For more info, visit www.firstnations.org/ grantmaking/scholarship.

Sept. 17
19th Annual American Indian Elder Picnic
10 a.m.: Wisdom Steps Walk; 11: Music by Johnny Smith and Ken Danielson; Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch with more music; 1-2: Games and prizes. Throughout the event, you are invited to play games and win prizes. You may bring one guest. Come and join us for lunch and door prizes. This is a day to honor you, please no children. Minnehaha Falls Pavilion, 4801 S. Minnehaha Park Drive, Minneapolis, MN. If you would like to volunteer, donate or have questions on transportation, call April Smith at 612-879-1770. Resource tables available, call Diane Groomes at 612-251-8794 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 18
American Indian Cultural House Fall Gathering
Please join us as we celebrate 13 years of existence, welcome new students and recognize students now graduating from the University of Minnesota. Refreshments will be served. This year we will be honoring the following graduates: Monica Briggs, Sonyna Castillo, Drew Coveyou, Nicole LaFontaine, Clarissa Leino, Warlance Miner and Simone Ninham. Free, 3:30 p.m., Comstock Hall Ballroom, 210 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Donavan Begay at 612-624-0295 or 612-624-2555 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 18-20
Battle Point 18th Traditional Powwow
Battle Point Pow Wow Grounds, Battle Point Drive, Federal Dam, MN. Directions: (N) 35.9 mi E. on US-2 E of Bemidji MN; Right County Road 8 (Bena), NE/County 8 NE 10.0 mi 8; Turn right County Road 73 NE 6.2 mi; (S) 20 mi. E of Walker Hwy 200 left MN 84 11.8 m; R. County Road. 73 6.2m. to Battle Point Drive. For more information, call Diane Smith at 218-654-5667, Leah Gale Monroe at 218-760-3127, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or LaVonne Thompson at 218-308-3680 or email lavonne.thompson@ leechlakegaming.com.

Sept. 21
Foster Care Information Meeting
ICWA foster and adoptive families are needed. Do you know someone who has love to share? All are welcome! Please come to an information session to learn more. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hennepin County Library-Hosmer, Hosmer Meeting Room, 347 E. 36th St., Minneapolis, MN. Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center, MN. For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/residents /human-services/foster-care.

Sept. 21-23
Northern MN Tribal Economic Development Summit
Keynote Speakers: Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin: “Successes of a Corporate Model” and Prof. Robert Miller: “Entrepreneur Based Economics” Summit Workshop Tracks: Tribal Leadership: Book your Tourism Expedition, Food Sovereignty, Lack of Industry: Tools to Attract Industry, Housing Development: Red Lake Model, Tribal Utilities Commission; Entrepreneurship: "We use to..." Traditional Economic Activities, Web Marketing: Social Media, Being Part of an Arts Economy, Business 101, Youth Entrepreneurship; Workforce Development: Institute of Technology, Health Care: Inspire Entry, Bridge the Gap: Cultural Ed for Employers, Child Care: Needed but is it Feasible, Match Workforce Development w/ Job Creation. Artist's Tradeshow, Tuesday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Display and sell your arts, crafts, and designs as a vendor at the tradeshow; registration is required; scholarships are available to those who register early. Space is limited. Open to the public, free admission for shoppers. Seven Clans Casino Hotel & Event Center, Red Lake, MN. For more information, call 218-679-1893 or visit www.nmtedc.org.

Sept. 22
Adoption Information Meetings
ICWA foster and adoptive families are needed. Do you know someone who has love to share? All are welcome! Please come to an information session to learn more. 6 to 8 p.m., Hennepin County Library-Brookdale, Room C, 6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, visit www.hennepin.us/residents/human-services/adoption.

Sept. 24
Listening Session on Women's Economic Issues
The Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women will host an unstructured discussion. We simply ask, “What are the primary economic issues for women in your area?” “What are the economic success stories of women in your area?” and “What are barriers to women’s economic success in your area?” The purpose is to gather information to advise state legislators on women’s economic issues in Greater Minnesota. Individuals and organizations that deal with a broad range of women’s economic issues are invited to attend. The invitation list includes local elected officials; the chamber of commerce; and agencies and organizations that address the needs of low income women, older women, and veterans. 10-11:30 a.m., Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. NW, Bemidji, MN. For more information, contact Barbara Battiste, Director of the Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women at 651-296-0711, email barbara.battiste@ oesw.leg.mn or visit www.oesw.leg.mn.

Sept. 30
Grow Your Own with Mashkiikii Gitigan
Subjects will include: Growing, Harvesting, Preparing and preserving food, Traditional Native American methods, Foraging, Sacred tobacco, Wild rice, Nutrition, Diabetes and heart disease prevention and Diabetes Screening. Healthy Living Starts with Healthy Eating! 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., free to all, drop-ins welcome! Mashkiikii Gitigan (Medicine Garden), 24th Street Community Urban Farm, 1316 E. 24th St., Minneapolis, MN. For more information call Christina or Annelie at 612-436- 2676 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 30
The Native American Cancer Support Group
If you or someone you know is a cancer patient or survivor, we encourage you to join us. Every group session is potluck style, bring something if you can or just bring yourself. 6 to 8 p.m., East Phillips Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Joy Rivera at 612-202-0588 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

ONGOING

MONDAYS

Senior Walking Group
10 to 11:30 a.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For more info, call April Smith at 612-879-1770.

Senior Dining
11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For more info, call April Smith at 612-879-1770.

Ginew/Golden Eagles
Our program serves American Indian youth 5 to 18 years-old. We follow a 23 unit culturally specific curriculum designed to highlight and enhance the resiliency of American Indian youth. Monthly themes are instructed by staff and guest speakers. 5 to 7:30 p.m., youth must be enrolled to participate. For more info call Rachel Greenwalt at 612-879-1754 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Medicine Wheel AA Meeting
Open 12 Step AA meeting, no transportation or childcare provided. Come to parking lot door. 6 p.m., Church of Gitchiwaa Kateri, 3045 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN.

Indian Education Family Language Table
Experience the teachings of our ancestors. Anishinaabe scholar and James Vukelich and Dakota teacher and linguist Neil McKay and explore the teachings of the Dakota and Ojibwe people. All community members are welcome to attend, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Anishinabe Academy, 3100 E. 28th St., Minneapolis, MN.

DSMMA Class
7 p.m. Muay Thai Kickboxing; 8 p.m. Jiu Jitsu. For more information, call Vaughn Lodge at 612-913-2619.

TUESDAYS

Women’s Anger Management
Educational and culturally specific anger management and domestic violence classes for women. Groups are free of charge and daycare is provided. Groups meet for 15 sessions. Intake required prior to participation. 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Division of Indian Work, 1001 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN. For intake or more information, call Fredora Justin-Alcindor at 612-279-6319.

Senior Dining
11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call April Smith at 612-879-1770.

Red Road Wellbriety Meeting
Light lunch provided. Noon-1 p.m., St. Stephen's, 2309 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

Parents of Tradition Guiding Elder
Ida Downwind. For parents with small children ages birth to five years-old. Parent and child learning activities and reconnect to the good path of parenting through Ojibwe and Dakota languages. Little Earth of United Tribes, 2495 18th Avenue South, LERA Youth Center, noon to 2 p.m. To register call Jean Colemen at 612-290-9936.

Women of Traditional Birthing
Topics and activities include: breastfeeding, labor and delivery, infant mortality, baby blankets, birthing plans, prenatal yoga, dream catchers, tobacco ties. Upon completion, participants receive a Target gift card. Dinner, daycare and transportation will be provided. 5 to 7:30 p.m., Division of Indian Work, 1001 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. For more info, call Ruth Mestas at 612-279-6312 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Father Project
Comprehensive parenting support for fathers. Services included are child support services, employment training, case management, GED tutoring and legal services (family law). Free, 5 to 7 p.m. Division of Indian Work, 1001 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN. Call Joe Regguinti to complete an intake for the program at 612-279-6342.

It Ain't Easy Being Indian
Thursday, September 03 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

ricey wild.jpgSovereignty is a powerful word. I believe it means more to Indian People than to anyone else in the United States. For my own refresher and further elucidation I looked up the precise meaning(s) to make sure I knew what the heck I’m writing about rather than thinking I already know and start yakking about it off the top of my head. So: sov-er-eign-ty noun 1. Supreme power or authority. A self-governing state. Okay den.

Speaking of my head I thought hey! I can use my own spirit/mind/body to describe how I understand and feel about the concept of sovereignty. My entire being is a Sovereign Nation. NO ONE tells me who/what to worship and how to do it. I have the right to an opinion on everything and I can say what I think and feel and it does not matter to me who chooses to be offended. NO ONE, especially old white men, has the privilege to legislate what I decide to do with my body. I do have to abide by some physical environmental constructs (that darn Matrix!) but no one, and I mean NO ONE has the power over me to say I can’t boogit when and where I please. It was in the early 1970’s that I first heard the word sovereignty in reference to American Indians. I was still a kid and I puzzled over it without any real comprehension as to its meaning.

A reservation was a place where a bunch of Indians lived; that much I knew and also that I had one but didn’t grow up there. I heard about ‘Indian Militants’ Wounded Knee and the American Indian Movement that all sounded kind of scary. All I wanted to do is the ‘butterfly’ dance at powwows and all I had was an ugly maxi-dress. Hai! I didn’t yet know how much my ancestors had fought for and sacrificed so that I could be here, just be here. Chii Miigwech Gichii Manidoog!

Ironically it was when we moved to the Big City that I learned the most about my own culture. It was there I met and interacted with kids from different Indian Nations, learned my first Ojibwe words and for the first time I can recall had my identity positively validated as an Indian girl publicly. I know I rant and rave about U.S. education and the blatant lies schools teach about Indians even now, but people, it’s one of the most important parts of our individual and collective lives and we need to understand that so we can continue as sovereign nations!!!

Historical fact: first the English and the French and later the United States negotiated treaties with Indians, nation-to-nation. Let that sink in. The whole of the North and South American continents were Indigenous lands. The European immigrants were violent, greedy and ruthless always wanting more land to exploit thinking we were too dumb to know what we had. Oh we knew but when facing annihilation and genocide our people had to sign treaties to survive but always made sure they retained the rights to hunt, fish and gather so that we, their descendants can continue our way of life.

Those who become educated and informed of American Indian Treaty Rights cannot be uneducated nor do they passively accept what the U.S. government or state says we can or cannot do on our own ancestral lands. Yes, we Indians have been savagely oppressed by whatever means necessary by the U.S. but that does not have to continue to be the situation. We need to fight for our children and theirs for a better life and set of circumstances.  

Just now I was reading about Minnesota Chippewa Tribal members who are going to gather manoomin-wild rice in a ceded territory without purchasing a Minnesota State permit to exercise their 1855 treaty rights. The state has warned them they may prosecute and seize their manoomin and equipment. The people know that and are preparing for it but the crux of the matter is … sovereignty. There is a paternalistic lie so often repeated still that Indians were GIVEN our rights by the United States in the treaties. NO. The Chiefs’ who signed them, under great duress I add, RETAINED those rights for us.

eah I get all choked up when I hear about or witness all the historically oppressed peoples who take a stand for their humanity. They are not only refusing to be victimized any longer but putting themselves out there to be recognized. To them I say thank you and I honor your presence, integrity and courage.
See yooz in Shock-tober when I will reveal my Halloween costume…I’m thinking one of the Koch brothers. Ewwwww!!!! Demonic!

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Thursday, September 03 2015
 
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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nickmetcalf-web.jpgSovereignty is one of those concepts that seems to allude some of us. It’s this lofty goal and expectation for our tribes, yet it impacts us individually, communally and socially. My immediate impression is when we rely on the government to provide financial resources to sustain our own tribal government then how are truly sovereign are we? How can we achieve sovereignty and be economically sustainable?

Economic development is essential to making a sovereign government. Yet rural tribal communities have been unable to establish a tax base and resources to sustain itself. The money that is allocated to tribal governments is not enough to cover the basic needs of its tribal citizens.

Poverty is difficult. Being poor is a luxury that none of us can afford. Many reservations continue to have 80 percent unemployed, with the largest employer usually being the tribe or a church organization. Essentially, we are reliant on hand outs from the government and ‘good’ church going people to sustain ourselves. This is ludicrous.  
Self-governance is an ideal. We elect our government leaders every four years and it changes. There is no investment in the long-term vision of the tribe. Newly elected officials take a few years to understand the inner workings of government then begin to make change. Suddenly, they have to figure out how to get re-elected to fully realize their promises and campaigning begins again. No matter how many free turkeys, gifts for kids or money for propane that is given there is a time in those leaders lifespan that they must demonstrate true leadership.

Freedom is a state of mind. When some of our own people are trapped in their own trauma and sedating themselves with alcohol or drugs, then how are we free? When generations of our children witness this type of behavior, they become who they are surrounded by. A generational pattern is inherited and given without any forethought.

We are trapped by our own limited thinking. If we do not see our place amongst the nation then how can we truly be sovereign? What economic force are we to reckon with? What do we offer the country we reside within? How does our way of life contribute to nation-to-nation alliance? When are we needed or necessary? Why are we needed?

Traditionalist vs. non-traditional is an argument that tears our community apart. Traditionalist continue to believe in the old way of life. There is a nostalgia of holding onto those traditions and an attempt to bring them forward into our contemporary lives. Traditionalist are oftentimes the gatekeepers of culture, a culture that defines us as a people. They are the keepers of the language, of our stories, of our rituals and of our traditions. If they are unwilling to establish themselves as contemporary people living in a fast paced world and not allowing culture to adapt to its contemporary life then I’m afraid it will not survive. What is kept in the dark will eventually die.  

I’d like to propose a radical idea. I look to our indigenous cousins, the Hawaiians, who have utilized their culture as a source of strength and a source of economic development. There are organizations that people will pay to go to a ‘real’ Indian reservation. It is here that reservations can begin to establish an economic base: placate to tourists, identify cultural teachings that are able to be shared, demonstrate a teaching or two to tourists, share our food and share a moment of our way of life. But, create an opportunity to educate them about the contemporary realities of Native America.
We are a people at a cross roads. We have been building up to this for a few generations. Our children are contemporary American children yearning for an identity. They will seek out the identity that they see in mainstream media. If we do not provide them with a foundation of who they are then they will disappear into the ether. They will leave our sovereign nations searching for their place in the world.  

Nation building is difficult. Nation rebuilding is equally as hard. We must come together to create a common vision for our sovereign nations. We must agree on the manner in which we build it. We must agree in the long-range vision and not get caught up in the fighting amongst each other. We must elect acculturated leadership who can help us move our tribal communities into the contemporary world that we exist in and we must develop our own economic base to operate from.  
We are a proud people. We continue to be proud. It is my hope that our pride will not get in the way to building a sovereign nation. A nation that is self-sustaining, a nation that is recognized for the cultural force that it was destined to be. I know all of this is possible. 

From the Editor's Desk: Sovereignty and responsibility
Friday, August 28 2015
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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awb-office-web.jpgIn this issue, we've explored the acts of Ojibwe citizens who are exercising their treaty rights by harvesting wild rice in off-reservation territory as well as the impacts of other tribes asserting their authority in economic, land and environmental concerns.

One of the more outstanding speeches on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council floor while I served as the managing editor of The Sicangu Eyapaha, was given by Rep. Russell Eagle Bear (Black Pipe Community). When a tribal citizens spoke on what the council should do to exercise sovereignty in his name, Eagle Bear countered with, “Take out your wallet, look at your ID, is that a South Dakota ID? When you receive a Social Security check, do you cash it? Yes? Then you are not sovereign.”

It was one of the more bold statements made about the state of tribal and individual sovereignty in America. In two questions, Eagle Bear had reminded us all that we are dependent on a foreign government that dictates our own powers to us in our own territory and either we must accept what is given to us or we must make sacrifices and do what's best to ensure our collective future.

In that spirit of sovereignty, we take a moment to consider this newspaper. This newspaper has been the paper of record for the Twin Cities and regional Native communities for over 35 years. It is an independent body, free from tribal government and private influences. In Western parlance, we consider a newspaper and the journalists it employs members of the Fourth Estate.

It Ain't Easy Being Indian: September 2015
Friday, August 28 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

riceywild-web.jpgSovereignty is a powerful word. I believe it means more to Indian people than to anyone else in the United States. For my own refresher and further elucidation I looked up the precise meaning(s) for myself to make sure I know what the heck I’m writing about rather than thinking I already know and start yakking about it off the top of my head. So: sov-er-eign-ty noun 1. Supreme power or authority. A self-governing state. Okay den.

Speaking of my head I thought hey! I can use my own spirit/mind/body to describe how I understand and feel about the concept of sovereignty. My entire being is a Sovereign Nation. NO ONE tells me who/what to worship and how to do it. I have the right to an opinion on everything and I can say what I think and feel and it does not matter to me who chooses to be offended. NO ONE, especially old white men, has the privilege to legislate what I decide to do with my body. I do have to abide by some physical environmental constructs (that darn Matrix!) but no one, and I mean NO ONE has the power over me to say I can’t boogit when and where I please. If I like you I will warn you well beforehand.

It was in the early 1970’s that I first heard the word sovereignty in reference to American Indians. I was still a kid and I puzzled over it without any real comprehension as to its meaning. A reservation was a place where a bunch of Indians lived; that much I knew and also that I had one but didn’t grow up there. I heard about ‘Indian Militants’ Wounded Knee and the American Indian Movement that all sounded kind of scary. All I wanted to do is the ‘butterfly’ dance at powwows and all I had was an ugly maxi-dress. Hai! I didn’t yet know how much my ancestors had fought for and sacrificed so that I could be here, just be here. Chii Miigwech Gichii Manidoog!

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