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Local Briefs
Playwright Explores Identity Through Family
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by Jamie Keith,
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playwright explores identity through family.jpg“In a World Created by a Drunken God” made its United States premiere at Mixed Blood Theater's “Seconds: A Festival of Readings” on March 15 and 16. The play, written by Canadian playwright, novelist and filmmaker Drew Hayden Taylor, was nominated for the Governor General's Award and was produced in Canada four times since it was published in 2004.

“This particular story is a 'what if' in my life,” Taylor said. “I grew up on a reserve with my mother's family – I'm half Ojibwe. My white half took off before I was born – I never knew him. So one day, I thought wouldn't it be interesting, wouldn't it be bizarre, if there was a knock at my door and it was a family member from my father's family that I never knew existed or cared about telling me that our father is dying from chronic renal failure and needs a kidney?”

“In a World Created by a Drunken God” was directed by Bill Partlan and starred Jake Waid as Ojibwe character Jason Pierce and Skyler Nowinski as his white half-brother Harry Dieter. Over the course of the play, Jason grapples with the dilemma of whether or not he will give his absent father one of his kidneys. As Harry tries to convince Jason to give their father the transplant, the two men share stories about their lives. The play touches on themes of identity, biology and the complexity of family relationships.

“It's basically a discussion about – what are the obligations, if you are in such a situation?” Taylor said. “Do those few strands of DNA make you responsible for his life? Or does the fact that he's a complete stranger for all intents and purposes mean you have no obligations? It deals with the moral implications of that.”

Indigenous Peoples Day Set for Minneapolis Vote
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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indigenous peoples day set for mpls vote.jpgColumbus Day in Minneapolis may soon be celebrated as Indigenous Peoples Day if a coalition of advocates, city leaders and organizations can convince a majority of the 13-member Minneapolis City Council to approve the change.

The effort is a result of recent organizing by the Native American Community Development Institute along with Minneapolis City Councilwoman Alondra Cano (Ward 9) and her policy aide and community member Ashley Fairbanks. The roots of the name change began at NACDI's first mayoral candidate forum held in November of last year.

“Last fall when we did our first mayoral forum – which is kind of a historic moment, too – one of the first times we had the candidates come down in our community and talk about our issues on our own terms. And we had community members ask questions of the mayoral candidates and one of them was 'Are you willing to un-recognize Columbus Day?' and so at that time, a majority of candidates said yes and one of them was Betsy Hodges who was elected and is now our current mayor,” NACDI President and CEO Jay Bad Heart Bull said. “And so everything aligned with our community work and civic engagement and then the big shift in the city council now with much more younger, progressive representation. And then also leadership by Alondra's office to really push this through.”

More Than A Name Change

“It's high time that we at least make this effort to rally the community and show the city population that we're still here, we're still vibrant, we're still contributing to make this a better city and a better state over all. The only way we can do that is by recognizing and calling out things when they're wrong,” Bad Heart Bull said. “We're starting with a deficit with Columbus Day and we have to get to the point where we have an even playing field before we can start making bigger moves, too. It's one of those things – and we don't like the term 'low-hanging fruit' – but it's a name change but there's so much significance with just that name change for us.”

PHOTO ESSAY: Ain Dah Yung's Cherish the Children Pow Wow
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by Jaida Gray Eagle,
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SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Ain Dah Yung Center's 16th Annual Cherish the Children Traditional Pow Wow was held March 15-16 at Central High School in Saint Paul and featured singers and dancers from around the region to honor Native American children through cultural celebration.

The event was emceed by Dave Larsen and Justin Huenemann with Hoka Hey as the host drum and head dancers included Caske La Blanc and Jennifer Kappenman.

 

 

 

Regional and Local Briefs
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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RED LAKE NATION CANDIDATES FILE FOR ELECTION

RED LAKE, Minn. – More than 30 Red Lake candidates filed for seven seats on the nation's council by the close of filing on March 15.

Positions up for election on May 14 are four district representative and three council officer positions, including tribal chair, secretary and treasurer.

After completing and passing a criminal background check, the candidates will be certified as candidates in April. The May 14 election may also include a possible run-off election to be scheduled 60 days after a counting and challenge period is complete, potentially in late July or August.

A candidate receives a majority of 50 percent plus one, they will be declared winner, however if a candidate does not reach a majority of votes, the run-off election will be formally scheduled.

Tribal chair candidates include: Floyd “Buck” Jourdain, Kathryn “Jody” Beaulieu, Ron Lussier and current tribal treasurer Darrell G. Seki, Sr. Incumbent Don Cook, Sr. filed for reelection as secretary, along with candidates Rochelle "Chelle" Kingbird, Judy Roy, Sam Strong and Jim White.

Among candidates for treasurer were Michael Barrett, Annette Johnson, Lee Lussier, Jr., Glenda J. Martin and Cheryl Schoenborn. Red Lake will have a new treasurer in May because of Seki's candidacy for chair.

Little Rock Representative William "Billy" Green did not file for reelection, triggering an election for that district. Those filing for that seat include, Adrian Lee Beaulieu, Katherine "Spears" Dudley, Christopher Jourdain and Robert "Charlie" Reynolds. Tribal council candidates for Ponemah District include incumbent Gary L. Nelson, Sr. and challengers Clifford C. Hardy and Eugene Perkins.

Red Lake candidates include incumbent Roman “Ducker” Stately, challengers David F. Desjarlait, Deanna K. Lasley, Donovan M. May, Roberty L. May, Martin “Mott” Parkhurst and Robert “Bob” Smith.

Julius “Toady” Thunder seeks reelection as the Redby District representative with challengers John W. Dudley, Matt Sayers, Clayton Van Wert and Thomas "Jambi" Westbrook.


National Briefs: April 2014
Friday, April 04 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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SCHIMMELS PROFILED IN HBO SPECIAL

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” profiled the much-vaunted Native American women's college basketball sisters Jude and Shoni Schimmel on March 25.

In the hour-long special, the pair, called “a force in women's basketball,” talked about their journey from the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon to the college basketball court.

HBO correspondent John Frankel went to the sisters’ home in Oregon where got a lesson in “rez ball” and learned that basketball is the tribe's national pastime.


SOUTH DAKOTA TRIBES' KXL PROTEST DRAWS NATIONAL INTEREST

WITTEN, S.D. – Delegations from several Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes – known collectively as the Oceti Sakowin – founded a spiritual camp on March 29 in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, drawing national attention to their cause.

The encampment is located in rural south central South Dakota on land owned by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and will serve as a cultural and spiritual rallying point in the ongoing fight against the pipeline, which still awaits approval from the Obama administration.

If approved, TransCanada's pipeline would carry tar sands from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. It would run through South Dakota, west of the Missouri River, on land guaranteed for tribal use under the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.

MSNBC's Ed Schultz featured the camp on “The Ed Show” over the March 29 weekend, interviewing tribal leaders from the Oglala, Rosebud and Crow Creek Sioux Tribes.

"We're going to be here at least a month, at which point, we're expecting President Obama and the administration will be making a decision. If the decision is no, we will pick up camp and go home and continue to be vigilant about the issue. If he says yes to the route, we're going to be here for an additional two months, plus we have more camps that we're planning to set up along the route," Rosebud Sioux Tribal citizen Wizipan Little Elk said to media.

The camp near Witten has tipis representing the Oceti Sakowin - the Seven Council Fires of the Great Sioux Nation. In the center is a council tent, which serves as a meeting place. In addition to serving as ground zero for South Dakota's resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline, the camp will serve as a teaching too to educate youth and community members in traditional living.

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