Local Briefs
National Briefs: October 2014
Monday, October 06 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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HELENA, MT – Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans received the final cash payments the week of Sept. 16 from one of the largest government settlements in U.S. history, about three years after the deal was approved.

Checks ranging from $869 to $10 million were sent beginning on Sept. 16 to more than 493,000 people by the administrators of the $3.4 billion settlement from a class-action lawsuit filed by the late Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont. Approximately $941 million was distributed in this second round of payments.

Cobell, the former Blackfeet tribal treasurer, sued after finding the government squandered billions of dollars in royalties for land it held in trust for individual Indians that was leased for development, exploration or agriculture. The mismanagement stretched back to the 1880s, the lawsuit found. She died of cancer in 2011, after more than 15 years of doggedly pursuing the lawsuit, rallying Native Americans around the cause and lobbying members of Congress for its approval.

Cobell was present when a federal judge approved the settlement just months before her death. But it took years to work through the appeals and then sort through incomplete and erroneous information provided by the government to identify all the beneficiaries. Some 22,000 people listed in the data provided had died, while 1,000 more listed as dead were still alive, according to officials.

The payments are the second of two distributions in the settlement. The first distributions of $1,000 apiece went to more than 339,000 people. This second, final round of distributions is based on a formula looking at 10 years of the highest earnings on those individual landowners’ accounts.

The settlement also includes a $1.9 billion land buy-back program now underway in which willing landowners sell the government their land allotments to be consolidated and turned over to the tribes.


October 2014 Calendar
Monday, October 06 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Through Nov. 15

“On Fertile Ground: Native Artists in the Upper Midwest”

Join us to celebrate the wealth and diversity of Native artists from this region. This exhibition will take place once annually over a period of three years. Each show will highlight 15 different artists, ultimately providing a comprehensive overview of 45 artists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.

2014 artists include: Judith Allen, Wendy Boivin, Alexandra Buffalohead, Julie Buffalohead, Nelson Chasing Hawk, Jim Denomie, John Hitchcock, Wanesia Misquadace, Karen Savage, Nelda Schrupp, James Star Comes Out, Jodi Webster, Dennis White, Jennifer White, and Monte Yellow Bird.

Exhibition Events: Gallery Talk with James Star Comes Out, Oct. 17, 6-7:30 p.m.

All My Relations Gallery, 1414 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Closed Mondays. For more information, call 612-235-4970 or visit

Oct. 7

Circle of Generations Community Staff Building Project

Allen. 2 to 3 p.m.; Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Mi-zi-way Mi-gi-zi DesJarlait, Cultural Resource Coordinator at 612-879-1785 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Oct. 8

Circle of Generations Teaching Circle

Dakota Language with Neil McKay, 4-5 p.m.; Teaching Circle, 5-7:30 p.m.; Tipi Painting with Endaso Giizhik (Robert Desjarlait); Mazinigwaasowin (Beading) with Angela Kappenman; Nagamowin miinawaa Niimiwin/Wacipi Dowan (Singing and Dancing) with Ringing Shield, Zach RedBear and Alana Dickenson; Community Staff Building Project, Allen.

Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Mi-zi-way Mi-gi-zi DesJarlait, Cultural Resource Coordinator at 612-879-1785 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Oct. 8

Linda LeGarde Grover & Erika Wurth: Reading & Conversation

Join authors Linda LeGarde Grover and Erika Wurth for an evening of reading and conversation. Linda LeGarde Grover (“The Dance Boots”) will be reading from “The Road Back to Sweetgrass” – a powerful debut novel of love, hardship, and family bonds on an American Indian reservation. Erika Wurth will be reading from her first novel, “Crazy Horse's Girlfriend.” Filled with complex characters overcoming and being overcome by circumstances of their surroundings, “Crazy Horse's Girlfriend” thoroughly shakes up cultural preconceptions of what it means to be Native American today. Book signing at Birchbark Books to follow.

Event is free, 7 p.m., Bockley Gallery (next to Birchbark Books), 2123 W 21st Street, Minneapolis MN. For more information, call 612-374-4023.

Oct. 9

Circle of Generations Ojibwemowin

Ojibwe Language with Joe Spears, 5-6 p.m. Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Mi-zi-way Mi-gi-zi DesJarlait, Cultural Resource Coordinator at 612-879-1785 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Weekend Calendar: Sept. 12-14
Friday, September 12 2014
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Sept. 12-14

Bob Brown Memorial/Mendota's 15th Annual Traditional Wacipi

Emcee: Mitch Walking Elk; Arena Director: Windy Down Wind; Host Drum: Scotty Brown Eyes; Co-Host Drum: Luttle Thunder Birds; Men's Head Dancer: Nick Anderson; Women's Head DancerL Mary So Happy.

Friday: Lighting the Sacred Fire, followed by potluck dinner, 5:05 p.m. Saturday: Dancer registration, 11 a.m.; Grand Entry/Honored Guests, 1 p.m.; dancer registration, 5 p.m.; Grand Entry/Honored Guests; Registered dancers payout, 8:45 p.m. Sunday: Dancer registration, 11 a.m.; Grand Entry/Honored Guests, 1 p.m.; Closing Ceremony and Feast, 5:30 p.m.; Registered dancer payout, 5 p.m.

This is a traditional wacipi, not a competition. Sponsored by the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. Giveaway and donations needed and appreciated. $5 entry button donation, no one turned away. No drugs, alcohol, firearms or pets allowed.

St. Peter's Church Grounds, 1405 Sibley Memorial Highway, Mendota, MN. For more information, call 651-452-4141, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit


Sept. 13
11th Annual Wild Rice Festival

Wild Rice Pancake Breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m.; Food Concessions by Pow Wow Grounds, noon-4 p.m.; Free entertainment and activities, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Harriet Alexander Nature Center, 2520 N. Dale St., Roseville, MN 55113.
For more information, call 651-765-4262 or visit


Sept. 13

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center 3rd Annual Fit-4-Fun Family Fitness Event
This on site event will include a family oriented one- or three-mile walk or run. Other events include a neighborhood bike ride, aerobics, music, dancing, prizes, healthy food options, health and wellness information, and most importantly fun.

10 a.m., NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, 1313 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Tanya Williams at 612-543-2560.

Sept. 13

Gathering in Winona Traditional Powwow

One day with day money for all dancers. Dance specials in adult men and women’s traditional, adult men and women’s fancy, adult men’s grass and adult women’s jingle. Guimaraes-DeCora Family Ho-Chunk Women’s Applique Special, 18 and older. First prize: $300; second prize: $200; third prize: $100; fourth prize: $50. Invited drums only. Camping available, vendors on site.

Grand Entry, 1 and 7 p.m. Unity Park, Winona, MN (off Hwy 43). 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
Bdote Learning Center opens in South Minneapolis
Monday, September 08 2014
Written by Laura Waterman Wittstock,
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bdote learning center opens in south minneapolis 1.jpg On Aug. 25, a sunny morning in Minneapolis, Bdote Learning Center opened. The historic beginning marked the end of six years of planning and developing as – children entered the school to study what all children learn in Kindergarten to third grade – except that they will be learning in the Ojibwe and Dakota languages. These languages, now only spoken by a few, are reflected throughout Minnesota in place names and the very names of the city and state where the school is located.

Mike Huerth is Bdote’s first principal. “One thing that attracted me to this school is my love of the Ojibwe language. I have wanted to learn the language since my high school days but somehow, throughout my career in education, I never seemed to have had the time to learn my mother tongue,” he said.

The children swarmed around the principal and he returned their affection with a pat or some softly spoken instructions. He remembered the experiences of children who went to boarding school. Unlike then – when English was forced on children – Ojibwe and Dakota are spoken in a friendly environment.

The first day of school was expected to be somewhat difficult for most of the children. There are a very few who come from day care and pre-school experiences where they did learn Ojibwe and Dakota. For these children, it is easy to converse with the teachers and as time goes by they will also help the other children learn through the natural propensity for children to share language, no matter which one it is.

On Aug. 24, Huerth and the teachers and some of the board members gathered for two important ceremonies: a pipe ceremony conducted by Bdote’s Curriculum Coordinator Deidre WhiteMan and an Ojibwe water ceremony, led by second and third grade teacher Lisa Bellanger. Those ceremonies marked the end of a six-year journey from when the idea of a language immersion school was proposed to moving into St. Albert’s at 3216 E. 29th Street in South Minneapolis. The many words of encouragement and hard determination pushed the school forward through what seemed to the Bdote board of directors, nearly impossible odds.

Huerth looks forward to a successful year. The school has a capacity of 104 for the 2014-15 school year and over 90 students are enrolled. Full enrollment is likely once families make their choices in the next few days.


Native Man The Musical redefines Native masculinity
Monday, September 08 2014
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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native man the musical.jpgThe paradigm of Native American manhood shifted with New Native Theatre's production of “Native Man the Musical, Phase I,” performed at the Minnesota Fringe Festival with its last performance on Aug. 9.

The stories were authentic accounts from Native men from around the Twin Cities and the region. New Native Theatre's artistic director Rhiana Yazzie (Dine) sought to set the expectation from stereotypes to previously unimagined identities by non-Native audiences.

“Some of it isn't pretty. And it's certainly not what the mainstream has dreamed up. Defying the stereotype of the Indian brave, the warrior, the oppressed, these stories are open and vulnerable moments necessary to be share in order that we might understand ourselves better, and possibly, the non-Native world can re-adjust its boundaries, fantasies, fears and misconceptions about Native male-hood.”

The performance features the life experiences of each cast member and interviews from men in the Twin Cities Native community. Among those in the live performance were Jeff Jordan (Boise Forte Ojibwe), Wade Keezer (White Earth Ojibwe), Jase Roe (Northern Cheyenne), Sisoka Duta (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Raphael Szykowski (Kuna) and rapper Tall Paul (Leech Lake Ojibwe). The production also featured filmed interviews with Dennis Banks (Leech Lake Ojibwe), Black Fox (Oglala Lakota), Chema Pineda-Fernandez (Nahuatl Mayan), Cole Premo (Mille Lacs Ojibwe) and Jim Thunder Hawk (Oglala Lakota).

One of the more compelling moments of the performance came when Keezer opened up on screen about his hatred for the warrior mentality that's expected of young Native men. He spoke in his video segment about the culture that he was raised in that praised stoicism and emotional repression among men and that he combats that by telling his children that he loves them, allowing them to feel their emotions, instead of shaming them.

In his performance piece, Keezer talked about his relationship with his own father who sobered up and later became a born-again Christian. “Some people started calling me 'the preacher's son.' I really hated that, I really didn't care for any kind of Christianity, for a lot of different reasons, but mostly what it's done to Indians. I'm sick of all the Christians, the Muslims, the pipe carriers; it doesn't mean nothing to me. All these ultimatums and stereotypes that they use, it doesn't work on me.” When asked what he believed in, he closed with a air-guitar performance of Twisted Sister's “We're Not Gonna Take It.”


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