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Local Briefs
Letters to the Editor
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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Donating to DAPL Camp

Good Day Relatives,
I just wanted to send a letter regarding donation sites for the camp in North Dakota. If you are looking to support Standing Rock’s legal fees and camp support (i.e paying spiffy biff porta potties, trash pickups, food, and camping supplies), please go to: www.standingrock.org.

All other PayPal & GoFundMe sites are to support other camps and their campers. As far as Standing Rock Nation and main camp support, only Standing Rock is paying all of the above items. I hope this helps relieve confusion.
In kind clothing and shoe donations for land protectors should be screened for quality. Please be conscious that sending shoes that have cracked soles, and clothing that are soiled or have holes do not help the men, women, children and elders that wear such items.

Donations that are unwearable are discarded, in return this causes more trash to the land fills and more money for the tribe to spend to get it hauled out. Think to yourself “Would I wear this?” before donating.

Also, if you are doing cash donations it would be more beneficial for Standing Rock if you use all funds towards supplies and not to fund trips out to the camp to bring supplies. Using fundraised money to get out to the camp takes away funding that could be used for the camp and land protectors. Standing Rock Nation has the accountability to spend money for items they need and have the means to keep records of where funding is being spent.

Winyan (woman) visitors and campers are urged to wear skirts while at the camp. We are so used to seeing a written enforcement that we forget that in our culture we originally followed oral traditions. The word for camp is wicoti (Wi is the connection to the sun and woman. Cokata is the center where people come together.)

The tipi is symbolic for unity and back then the women were responsible for putting up this sacred structure. There are 13 poles that make up a tipi. The last pole is the strongest and has the tipi dress tied to it. It is put in the back of the tipi resembling the backbone of the structure. This 13th pole represents women, being the strongest and the backbone of our nation.
Back then, when a tipi was put up it meant that ceremony was in motion as every family had a sacred bundle they cared for. At that time women wore dresses and skirts to connect to Kunsi/Unci Maka (grandmother earth) just like how visually a tipi connects to the earth.

Women have the gift to give life, like grandmother earth. When we wear skirts or dresses, it means we connect our sacred energy and spirit to the earth. The wicoti (camp) brings sacred energy together and it is the circle of life.
Isnati (moon camp) also had to be away from the camp. This is done so that the sacred energies do not collide, as both ceremonies are equally powerful.

Lastly, anyone that comes into the camp has to have good energy (sober and positive.)  
Relatives I hope this helps and will assist in your next trip to be done both in respect and representative of where you come from. Be safe, be happy, and Pidama for your support in protecting our Kunsi Maka.
For more information:Visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website at www.standingrock.org

Toksa,
Graci Horne

Pardon Leonard Peltier

Dear Friend,
Leonard Peltier has languished in prison for forty years for a crime that the evidence shows he could not have committed.  He was prosecuted in connection with deaths during a shoot out where two FBI agents and an American Indian died. His two co-defendants, who were tried under normal court rules, were acquitted. 

Leonard’s trial, which was initiated with an admittedly perjured affidavit, shocked many legal observers as being unfair. Leonard has served more time than others convicted for such crimes.  It is time for healing between the federal government and Native American peoples from centuries of tension and abuse. It is time for Leonard Peltier to come home.

The President has the constitutional power of clemency. He can utilize this power in the interest of fairness and justice.  Many voices around the globe have asked for years for this long delayed clemency. Traditionally, Presidents consider petitions for clemency near the end of their term.  As President Obama approaches the conclusion of his service, it is time for you to join the call for Clemency for Leonard Peltier and request the President act now. Now is the time to be heard.  

Please view and share the video connected to this message. (See: www.vimeo.com/183860129.) The video presents images of Leonard and a new song for Peltier (password: larry).

Also there is a petition for clemency that is being circulated by Amnesty International. Over fifty-five thousand people have signed. (See: www.amnestyusa.org/LeonardPeltier) Your signature will provide added strength.

Additionally you can help by calling the White House at 202-456-1111. Ask President Barack Obama to grant Leonard Peltier Clemency. All calls are logged and available to the President. 

As the song we are sharing with you proclaims, love will lay hatred down.   

Sincerely, Larry Leventhal, Larry Long and friends.

Tobacco is sacred

Boozhoo, Aaniin,
Fall has settled in and Biboon is on his way. The water is getting colder and streams flowing slower. The lakes begin to freeze. Before the first snowstorm we offer our asemaa and ask Biboon to be kind as he lays the first blanket of snow to protect mother earth.

We continue with life and do our work, much like the water and the animals, but first we start with tobacco, pray for mother earth, the water, our medicines, food and our ancestors who came before us.

We need to remind our youth and young adults of this generation and the next about the gifts of the creator and remember that tobacco is always first. Tobacco is a medicine and it is sacred like the water. Smoking commercial tobacco is not a way to send prayers to the creator. We were forced to use commercial tobacco, when we could not conduct our ceremonies in public, because it was against the law to practice our religion, until 1978.

Smoking cigarettes has become a way to deal with stress. Commercial tobacco is very addictive commercial tobacco smoke is loaded with over 7,000 chemicals such as those used in bleach, anti-freeze, and rat poison! Unfortunately, commercial tobacco use has become the norm in our communities, and too many families are suffering the consequences. Big tobacco companies target our people in order to remain profitable, with no concern for the lives lost all around us.

Let’s take a stand and educate our community about the dangers of commercial tobacco use. We need the State of Minnesota to dedicate funding to tobacco prevention efforts in our community so the next generation does not face the same consequences from commercial tobacco use. Let’s work together to keep tobacco sacred.

If you would like more information on this and or would like to be an advocate for change in your community, please call me and join us and take a stand and keep tobacco sacred.

Thank you,
Suzanne Nash

www.indigenouspeoplestf.org
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November 2016 Events
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

Oct. 4 - Nov. 8
Let’s Get Cookin’

The Indian Health Board of Minneapolis will be hosting a weekly, family-based nutrition education and cooking class series “Let’s Get Cookin”. For adults, children, parents, family members, and family friends interested in an interactive program that is focused on nutrition, health, physical activity, and cooking. To better help families in our community understand the importance of healthy eating and getting regular physical activity. Dinner will be provided for all participants. Program runs every Tuesday from October 4 to November 8, from 6:00-7:30 pm. Held at the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, 1315 E. 24th St., Minneapolis (3rd Floor Assembly Rooms). For more info, call Chelsea Moyle at 612-721-9860.

Nov. 2 - 28
LLTC Native American Heritage Events

Leech Lake Tribal College will hold events throughout November in honor of Native American Heritage Month. All events are open to the community. Held in Room 204, 6945 Little Wolf Rd NW, Cass Lake, MN.  For info, contact 218-335-4220 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Nov. 2:LEARN THE HAND GAME, 12-1 pm (light refreshments). Learn to play the hand game by LLTC Student Brandon Bowstring. Similar to the moccasin and stick game, this was one of the original games played by the Native people.
Nov. 9: LUNCH & LEARN - NATIVES IN THE MILITARY, 12-1 pm. Listen to local veterans’ share their stories in honor of Veteran’s Day.
Nov. 14: ANISHINAABE MOVIE NIGHT, 5-7 pm (light refreshments).
Nov. 15: ROCK YOUR MOCS, wear a pair of your favorite moccasins all day.
Nov. 17: OJIBWEMOWIN SPEAKERS GATHERING, 4:30-7 pm (dinner). Opportunity for learners of all levels to talk and learn from our first language speakers.
Nov. 18: ARTS/CRAFTS FAIR & FOOD SALE, 10 am-4 pm. Students, student senate, and local artist selling arts & crafts before the holidays.
Nov. 23: WILD RICE COOK-OFF, 12-1 pm. Students and staff challenged to make any Wild Rice Dish. Winner take all.
Nov. 28: OPEN MIC NIGHT, 5-7pm (light refreshments).

Nov. 3, 12, 17
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. We will be holding Saturday morning Quilting Bees at Two Rivers Gallery and Thursday evening Quilting Bees at Studio 207 at The Ivy Building.  Quilting Bees at Two Rivers Gallery (1530 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis) from 10 am - 2 pm on Saturdays: Nov. 12 and Dec. 10. Quilting Bees at The Ivy Arts Building (2637 27th Ave S, Minneapolis, Studio #207) from 6-8 pm on Thursdays. Nov. 3 & 17 and Dec. 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.

Nov. 4 - Jan. 20
On Fertile Ground

Celebrate the wealth and diversity of contemporary Native artists from the upper Midwet region. On Fertile Ground is the third and final segemnnt of this regional exhibition and providers comprehensive overview of 45 artists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Features work from: Cannupa Hansak Luger, Dyani White Hawk, Gwen Western, Andrea Carlson, Jeffrey Chapman, James Autio, Chholing Taha, Dwayne Wilcox, Keith Brave Heart, and more. All My Relations Arts, 1414 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For info, call 612-235-4969 or see: www.allmyrelationsarts.com.
• Nov. 4: Opening reception:  from 6 - 8 pm. Featuring a local JD, Powwo Grounds catering, and a chance to meet the artists.
• Dec. 7: Seed Bomb Community Arts Workshop:  from 5 - 8 pm. With hands-on and all-ages activities led by Cannupa Hanska Luger and other artists.
• Jan. 20: Artists Talking Circle: from 6 - 8 pm. Hosted by Dyani White Hawk and a variety of exhibited artists featuring the debut of the On Fertile Ground 2014 - 2016 catalogue.

Thru Nov. 5
Skin(s) Exhibit

The Skin(s) exhibit, on view at Intermedia Arts, is a showcase of artworks by Minnesotans who express multi-dimensional identities from Dakota, Ojibwe, Ponca, Lakota, Navajo, and other indigenous nations. Featuring the work of Hilary Abe, Carolyn Lee Anderson, James Autio, Julie Buffalohead, Andrea Carlson, Elizabeth Day, Aza Erdrich, Marlena Myles, Jonathan Thunder, Maggie Thompson, Rory Wakemup, Dyani White Hawk and Marne Zafar. Curated by Heid E. Erdrich, these paintings, prints, sculptures, and films reveal the power and diversity of urban Native artists. Opening reception will be held October 21st at 6:30 pm. Exhibit cost: Sliding scale; $3-10 per person suggested. All proceeds support visual arts programming at Intermedia Arts. Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Ave South, Minneapolis, MN. For more info, see: www.intermediaarts.org.

Nov. 1
MNSure Enrollment Event

Meet with a certified MNsure navigator for assistance with MNsure and enrollment questions. A light snack will be provided. 9 am to 4 pm. Walk-ins also welcome. Native American Community Clinic, 1213 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis. To set up an appointment call 612-872-8086, Option 1.

Nov. 2
NDNZ in the City

NDNZ in the City: Multi-media narratives of American Indian culture in the heart of Los Angeles, CA. Join us for an evening of talk, short films, photographs, and personal stories from Indigenous multimedia documentarian, Pamela Peters (Navajo). The event will showcase Peter’s newest film “Legacy of Exiled NDNZ” and multimedia presentation “Real NDNZ re-take Hollywood.” Reception 6:15 - 6:45 pm. Screening begins at 7 pm. Discussion with filmmakers follows. Augsburg College, Sateren Auditorium, Music Hall, 715 22nd Ave. S., Mpls. This event is free to the public. For info, see: www.augsburg.edu/filmseries/2016/08/30/pamela-peters-presents-legacy-exiled-ndnz.

Nov. 2 (deadline)
Rural Initiative Grant

The Laura Jane Musser Fund will be accepting proposals for their Rural Initiative grant round. Program planning grants up to $5,000 and Program implementation grants up to $25,000 will be considered. Organizations must be from communities with populations under 10,000. Organizations from CO, HI, WY, MI, and MN may apply. Applications will be accepted online through the Fund’s website from October 2 – November 2. For additional info, see www.musserfund.org. 

Nov. 3-4
ABC’s of Economic Dev. in Indian Country

The American Indian Business Alliance (AIBA) comprised of the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance (NDIBA); Minnesota Indian Business Alliance (MNIBA); Montana Indian Business Alliance (MIBA); South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA); and Wisconsin Indian Business Alliance (WIBA) announces the 2016 American Indian Business Conference, “ABC’s of Economic Development in Indian Country.” To be heldin Bismarck, North Dakota, at the Downtown Radisson. This American Indian Business Alliance 4th Annual conference has attracted Native-Owned businesses, tribal leaders, business development experts, community based organizations, policy makers, and financial institutions. Sessions will highlight successful models and strategies that foster the development of private Indian businesses, both on and off reservations, and to develop policy ideas and strategies to address the challenges that Native business owners face. Our goal is for attendees to leave the conference with specific tools and strategies to strengthen the economy. For more information visit the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance’s website at www.ndiba.com.

Nov. 5
Gathering For Our Children/ Returning Adoptees Powwow

10am – 1pm: Adoptees/formerly fostered individuals and birth relatives are invited to gather in the auditorium on the 2nd floor of the Indian Center for a meet and visit with other adoptees. 1pm: Grand Entry. 3pm: Wablenica Ceremony - The Wablenica Song (Orphan Song) will be sung for those returning adoptee and fostered individuals and their families. A ceremony will be offered to heal the grief caused by separation from family and heritage. 5:30 pm: Feast. 7 pm: Grand Entry. 8 pm: Honor Song for foster and adoptive parents. 9 pm: Honor Song and recognition for our Young Relatives who have turned 21 in foster care. We will be collecting coats of all sizes to donate to the Sacred Stone Camp. Look for a table in vending area to drop off your donation. Dancers, please come dance and welcome our relatives back to our circle. Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 East Franklin Ave. Minneapolis.

Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28
Bison Moon AA Meeting

AA meeting meets every Tuesday from 4-5 pm. Co-ed group. No childcare provided. Indian Health Board, 1315 E. 24th St., Mpls., MN. For info, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nov. 8
Election Day

Register to vote by October 18 to save time on Election Day. Absentee voting: vote by mail or in person Sept. 23 through Nov. 7. For more info, see: www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting.

Nov.  9
Birchbark Books Reading

Gwen Westerman, Naomi Cohn, Donte Collins and William Reichard will read from their works. Gwen Westerman is a Dakota author. Her books include: Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, and Follow the Blackbirds. The reading will be at The Bockley Gallery, 2123 W 21st Street, Minneapolis (couple doors down from Birchbark Books). For info, see www.bockleygallery.com or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nov. 15, 29
Family Education Diabetes Series (FEDS)

FEDS is a culture-centered and community-driven education program for American Indian families on preventing and managing Type 2 Diabetes. Program includes free health checks (blood glucose, blood pressure, feet, height, and weight), refreshments and a healthy meal featuring traditional foods (prepared by chef Austin Bartold). Also included are presentations on a variety of health topics with group-led discussions, fun physical activities, raffle prizes, and education for youths of all ages. All are welcome to attend. (Held every other Tuesday through May 2017).  5:30-8pm. 1671 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN. For info, contact Yeoun-Jee Pine at 651-789-3862, or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nov, 16
Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting

Learn more about the ways you can help children though foster care or adoption. 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Hennepin County Library/Edina,  5280 Grandview Square, Edina, MN. For info, call 612-348-5437, or see: www.hennepin.us/fostercare.

Nov. 16
Fall Feast

Wild rice soup, fry bread, wojapi, garden salad and cedar tea will be served starting at 11:30 am. MIWRC, 2300 15th Ave. S., Mpls, MN. For more info, call 612-728-2000.

Nov. 17-19
Bearing Witness Retreat

A three-day retreat is being offered to bear witness to the continuing genocide and historical trauma suffered by the Native Peoples of Minnesota and their ongoing resilience. It is open to all, and Native Americans can attend at no cost. The retreat will be held at Cherokee Park United Church, and it includes time at Mni Sni (Coldwater Springs), Fort Snelling State Park, and Oheyawahi (Pilot Knob Hill). Organizers hope to have roughly equal numbers of Native and non-Native peoples. Co-sponsors include: Healing Place, Cherokee Park United, Saint Paul Interfaith Network, Healing Minnesota Stories, and the Zen Peacemakers Order. Free to Native American participants. For more, contact Laura Kennedy at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Jewell Arcoren, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nov. 18
Honoring Native American Veterans Dinner

Dinner will be served at 5:30 pm. All Native American Veterans and their guests are welcome. Door prizes, and raffle with a queen size star quilt. Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For info, contact Lyle Iron Moccasin at 952-703-3104.

Nov. 19
Ojibwe Moccasin 2-Day Workshop

Learn techniques of working with leather to make a pair of Ojibwe-style moccasins to take home in this two-day workshop. 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. Minimum of five participants required. Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required three days prior to workshop. $60/$55 MNHS members, plus $25 supply fee. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. Reservations required, call 320-532-3632.

Nov.  20
All the Real Indians Died Off

Birchbark Books is delighted to welcome Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States) and Dina Gilio-Whitaker for an event in celebration of their new book "All the Real Indians Died Off": And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans. Tackling a wide range of myths about Native American culture and history that have misinformed generations, the authors trace how these ideas evolved, disrupting enduring myths and challenging readers to rethink what they have been taught. Q & A and book signing to follow the reading. 7 pm at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church, 2020 W Lake of the Isles Parkway, Mpls (near Birchbark Books). For info, call (612) 374-4023 or see: http://birchbarkbooks.com.

Nov. 21
Native American Heritage Night with Timber Wolves

See Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Boston Celtics for Native American Heritage Night! The Prairie Island Indian Community will perform traditional drum and dance at halftime along with the Flag Song prior to the start of the game. Afterwards, an exclusive post-game activity will take place. Starts at 7 pm. For info, contact Jennica Astleford at 612-673-8434 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Nov. 29
Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting

Learn more about the ways you can help children though foster care or adoption. 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Hennepin County Library - Brookdale, 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Room C, Brooklyn Center, MN. For info, call 612-348-5437 or see: www.hennepin.us/fostercare.

Nov. 30
FAN Wellness Support Circle

Are you Native American and looking for chronic illness support? Join us, the Native FAN Wellness Support Circle, for a meal and good company every last Wed. of the month, from 6-8 pm. 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

Dec. 1
Billy Mills

Tiwahe Foundation fundraiser with Billy Mills. Celebrate the work of Tiwahe Grantees and the importance of language, culture, education and giving in our community. Billy Mills is the only American to ever win a gold medal in the 10K Olympic event. He is the founder of Running Strong for American Indian Youth and a nationally known speaker on youth, giving back to community and living a healthy life. 6 - 9 pm. Tickets $100.00. McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, 200 SE Oak Street, Minneapolis. Buy tickets online at: tiwahefoundation.org/tiwahe-events.

Dec. 1
NoDAPL Fundraiser Art Requests (deadline)

The American Indian Community Housing Organization will be hosting a benefit titled Standing Strong for Our Precious Water on Friday, Dec. 9. We are looking for visual artists to submit work in any medium for display. We encourage artists to contribute a portion of their profit to the Standing Rock cause, but are not mandating it. Submit art to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it - from there, you will be notified if your work has been selected.  Artwork must relate back to the NoDAPL Movement, Standing Rock, or the sacredness of water.  Deadline is Dec. 1. For info, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call Wendy at 607-760-8235, or Moira at 218-722-7225.

Dec. 2
29th Annual MAICC Awards Dinner

Join us at Mystic Lake Casino to celebrate the accomplishments of American Indian Businesses in Minnesota. Dinner, awards presentation, networking, and entertainment. Reception at 4:30 pm. Awards Dinner begins at 6:00 pm.   Mystic Lake Hotel and Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN. For info, contact Joanne Whiterabbit at 612-877-2117 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dec. 2
Vendors Day

MIWRC Vendors Day is Dec. 2 starting at 11:30 am. Vendors please reserve your spot by Nov. 18th by calling Amanda at 612-728-2020. MIWRC, 2300 15th Ave. S., Mpls, MN.

Dec 10
American Indian Family Day

Enjoy a family day featuring speakers and artists from American Indian communities. Learn about the Dakota and Ojibwe languages and about Indigenous place names throughout the state. Discover traditional music, dancing, games, birch bark art demonstrations, museum collections, art projects, winter storytelling and more. Visitors are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Horizons Unlimited Food Shelf, which serves the American Indian population in the west metro. Noon - 4:00 pm. Free. Gridiron Glory admission sold separately. Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN. For info, call 651-259-3015 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Home is where the heart is
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

Home is where the heart is. Yes. This month, I want to talk about home. It’s that time of year that the holiday season begins and there are some of us who long for a home. Some of us hold onto a time in our life that represents home. Some of us have created a home, but we have to defend it against the ravages of trauma. Some of us are searching for home. Some of us are lost.
When I left the reservation in 1990 for college, I was devastated. I didn’t know who I was. I yearned for home. Like many other people, poverty, addiction, abuse, and trauma, was a part of my upbringing. It was my familiar.

I was lucky to have parents who were supportive of me in my transition away from that life. Each time and every time I tried to whine or talk about coming home, they intervened. They brushed away these lies I told myself. They reminded me of the desperate circumstances that still exist. They would encourage me to try a little bit harder to make it better. They would come to visit me. They helped me.

My parents understood the limitations of where they raised me. They loved me, but they wanted more for me. That is something every parent wants for their children.

I know for myself, I want my children to go further than I have. I want them to do better than I have. I’m thinking it’s instinctual. It is about survival of our species.

Ultimately, my pursuit for education and my experience have provided opportunities for my siblings to follow. It’s amazing how this worked. I have siblings who came to live with me off the reservation to attend school or pursue work. Many of them are doing quite well for themselves now. Our parents would be proud.

Yet, there is a sickness that festers in our community. Addiction. Addiction is ugly. I hate meth. I hate alcohol. I hate pills. I hate that some of us sedate ourselves to the beauty of living.

“When you allow the wrong people in your house stuff will come up missing like: Joy, Peace, Love, Hope, Faith…(Yes, people steal those things) – Peace & Blessings” online meme.

Our family has dealt with addiction. We are no different than many families. As this country was colonized, alcohol was fed to us freely and some got caught up in that cycle. Many of us had a front row seat in watching addiction destroy the lives of the people we love. We had to create healthy boundaries with them. Yet, we want to embody our Native values of kinship and family. It’s hard loving someone from a distance. Discerning enabling an addict, and disabling an addict, is difficult. But, we must do it for the safety of our family.

Home still calls to me. I yearn for it. I visit as often as I am able now. Both of my parents have passed and many of my siblings live away from the reservation, so going home is different. I have many first cousins, aunts, and uncles who remain, but they are all living their lives.

A few years back, my son wanted to spend some time on the reservation, so I let him. It was an experience I wanted him to have. I wanted him to bask in the warmth of family everywhere. I wanted him to experience our language being spoken. I wanted him to see people who looked like him, people who thought like him, and people who believed like him. It was an incredible year for him. He also saw the limitations of living on the reservation. He understood why some of us left.

We suffocate our children. We keep them so close they don’t grow. They don’t learn the skills to be adults. They don’t fail. They don’t learn how to be adults in America. It’s important that we allow our children to do this. One day we will not be here. I know for myself, I want to be there for my kids to help them through adult experiences. I’d hate for them to do it when I’m dead and gone. Preparing them to be adults is essential.

Home now is Minnesota. The land of the Dakota and the Anishinabe. I’m in my third decade here and I still love it. But I still yearn for the vast prairies of South Dakota. The rolling hills of golden wheat. The ability to see far. When I can, I go visit. Home is where the heart is. My heart has the ability to stretch across hundreds of miles and distant places. Home is where my family is. My blood family and my family of choice.

Home is a safe place where I can grow. I’m nurtured. My kids grow. And, they are nurtured. That’s what home is for me.

NoDapl in Photos
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by Rob Wilson,
Average user rating    (0 vote)

Rob Wilson is covering the Water Protectors at Standing Rock 24/7. To help him continue covering the struggle, see: www.gofundme.com/RobWilsonPhoto .

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Natives in the Running
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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The 2016 elections could see big strides forward for American Indians seeking elective office. While there are several Native candidates vying for congressional seats, the real action is in state legislatures. In Minnesota, for example, seven American Indians are competing in state House and Senate races, including DFL incumbents Susan Allen (Rosebud Sioux), of Minneapolis, and Peggy Flanagan (White Earth Band of Ojibwe), of St. Louis Park.

Veteran journalist Mark Trahant has created a spreadsheet of American Indian candidates running for state legislative seats on his website (trahantreports.com). In Montana, 10 American Indian candidates are running for legislative posts; Oklahoma is a close second with nine Native candidates.

Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, has worked for both tribal and big city daily newspapers. He is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota, at Grand Forks. We talked on the phone in late October.

Getting back to Congress, there are only two American Indian members of the U.S. House: Tom Cole (Chickasaw Tribe) and Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation), they are both Republicans from Oklahoma.

Trahant specified that the American Indian congressional caucus amounts to .037 percent – a bit more than one-third of one percent – of the body’s total membership. However, in the case of Tom Cole, who was first elected in 2002, to represent Oklahoma’s Fourth District, Trahant said he plays an influential role.

“When the issues involve tribes, and especially, tribal sovereignty, Cole has been one of the most important members in the history of Congress,” Trahant wrote in October. “What makes Cole so important? He can argue the case within the Republican caucus, and, even better, with the House Republican leadership. He is a measured, reasoned voice, not just for Indian Country, but for his idea of what a conservative party should be. And that means being inclusive.”

Cole reportedly is supporting Trump for president; however, Trahant told me, “As a Republican, he’s been able to do things that others haven’t been. He’s in the leadership. The Violence Against Women Act, for example, never would have happened without Cole.”

Apparently, Trahant was referring to the 2013 extension of the law, which was opposed by a number of GOP House members because of provisions related to the jurisdiction of tribal courts and the inclusion of same-sex couples.

Asked about where the Indian vote is significant across the country, Trahant said that the “most significant for congressional districts is the Arizona First District, where [Indian voters are] more than 22 and a half percent.” That district is represented by Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who is challenging Sen. John McCain this year.

“There’s no Native candidate in that race,” Trahant added. Arizona’s First District includes the huge Navajo reservation. “I’ve written that that will be a Native seat; it’s just a question of when.”

And Trahant points to three American Indians, all Democrats, contending for U.S. House seats.

There’s Chase Iron Eyes, from Standing Rock, who’s running for No. Dakota’s lone seat in the House. Of course, the world is watching Standing Rock, which is leading the fight to protect water resources from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Asked about Iron Eyes’ chances, Trahant said, “That’s a tough one.” If there is a huge wave for Hillary Clinton, a tsunami-sized wave, perhaps Iron Eyes could go to Washington.

In a more competitive race, Denise Juneau, a Democrat, is running for Montana’s U.S. House seat. In 2008, Juneau, a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes and of Blackfeet ancestry, became the first American Indian woman ever elected to an executive statewide office. She was elected to a second term as Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2012.

The Daily Kos website recently reported that the House Majority PAC would invest $451,000 for TV ads on behalf of Juneau’s campaign, “signaling they think she has a shot against GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke.” Polls show a close race.

Also running for a House seat is Joe Pakootas, who could become the first former tribal leader ever elected to Congress, according to Trahant. Pakootas, the former chairman of the Colville Confederated Tribes, is running as a Democrat in Washington’s Fifth District.

“I think this is going to be a record year,” Trahant concluded. “The opportunity to elect the first Native American woman to Congress is huge. People are taking advantage of it.”

In the end, Trump’s horrific crash-and-burn presidential campaign might contain a silver lining for American Indian political contenders.

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