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Local Briefs
What's New In The Community: August 2015
Monday, August 03 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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bemidji american indian resource center-bill blackwell.jpgBemidji’s American Indian Resource Center names new director

(By Lee Egerstrom) Bill Blackwell Jr. became director of the novel, two-school American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji in July and is now overseeing merged programs for In­dian students at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.

The collaboration between the two nearby Bemidji campuses is partly an economic move for better use of resources, Blackwell said in an interview. At the same time, it will build critical mass for programs.

Three weeks into the job, Blackwell was already holding meetings with students and com­munity people planning for the 43rd annual BSU Council of Indian Students Pow-Wow next April. The Northwest Tech students will likely become a chapter of the BSU group, working both jointly with the university students and separately, he said.

That makes a fit given the relationships between the two Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) institutions at Bemidji. Students at the two-year Northwest Tech can select on-campus dormitory housing at Bemidji State and access dining services and cultural events at the four-year university, the only such arrangement in the MnSCU system.

An enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Blackwell has a bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State and a master’s from University of Minnesota-Duluth. Most recently he served as director of institutional advancement heading private and public fundraising efforts for Leech Lake Tribal College and previously was an admis­sions and outreach coordinator at Leech Lake.

He succeeded Dr. Anton Truer who as returned to the BSU faculty after a three-year term as the center’s director.


Letters: Welcome Back to MPS Native Families
Monday, August 03 2015
 
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
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It’s hard to believe we’re approaching yet another school year here in Minneapolis. Native families will spend this month scrambling to hold onto remnants of summer living while preparing their children for focusing on their academics.

As the Family Engagement Coordinator for Minneapolis Indian Education, I would like to extend an invitation to connect with me about ways to help our children be successful in school. I’m a Minneapolis parent myself.  I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have a solid understanding of how Minneapolis Public Schools work.

On behalf of the Minneapolis Indian Education Department, I would like to extend the opportunity to connect with me as the Family & Community Engagement Coordinator to make your child’s school year successful. Being at school is far more important for our Native students than their non-Native counterparts. There is data that shows that in order to be successful in school and graduate on time, Native families must make it a priority to be in school on time every day. There are many community resources to support you make attendance a top priority. The Division of Indian Work, one of our community partners works with students at Anishinabe Academy in the Be At School program, as well as the Check & Connect project mentors who provide practices to support their consistent attendance. Please feel free to connect with these resources at Anishinabe Academy.

Another exciting offering this year is Middle Schools with 10 or more Native students in their school will have Native student groups that meet weekly to learn more about Native culture and history, as well as meeting their fellow students in the school. Families in Middle School, check with your school’s Family Engagement Liaison to learn more about when these Native student groups meet.

The Minneapolis Indian Education Parent Committee will also be hosting our Fall Gathering sometime in October. We will once again be offering informational sessions along with educational activities for the students who attend. Lunch & door prizes will also be available. Last year, we had craft activities with the students as well as our portable planetarium so students could experience star stories.

I encourage you to reach out to me as we gear up for a new academic year in Minneapolis. Like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/mps.indianed

Please feel free to contact me at the Indian Education Department at 612-668-0612 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it I look forward to working with you this year!


Sincerely,

Deanna StandingCloud

August 2015 Calendar
Saturday, August 01 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Through Aug. 21

The World Through Our Eyes

The World Through Our Eyes is an exhibition of works by eight Two Spirit artists curated by 2015 Guest Curator, Orlando Avery. The exhibition showcases a beautiful variety of art from fashion design, photography, acrylic, and installation art. Featured artwork depicts the artistic rendition of the world seen through the eyes of a Two spirit artist. Avery is a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He grew up in Redscaffold Community in South Dakota. Avery studied Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM.

2015 Guest Curator Artist Participants: Nadya Kwandibens, Asa Wright, Sharon Day, Whitney Minthorn, George Bettleyoun, Jolonzo Goldtooth, Ryan Dennison and Edison Richards

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


July 31-Aug. 2

Pezihutazizi Oyate Traditional Wacipi

Warm-ups: Friday, 7 p.m.; Grand Entries: Saturday, 1 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.

Pezihutazizi Oyate: Upper Sioux Community, Granite Falls, MN.


Aug. 1

Owamni: Falling Water Festival

This one-day event celebrates Minnesota’s Indigenous culture with music, art, food, exhibitors and more. Featuring Scatter Their Own, Bluedog, and Wade Fernandez.

An arts fair area focused on American Indian contemporary and traditional arts will showcase the talents of Anishinaabe, Hochunk, and Dakota visual artists. This event is made possible by a grant from the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. Events partners include the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, St Anthony Falls Heritage Board, Minnesota Historical Society, and Dream of Wild Health.

Father Hennepin Bluff Park

4 to 8 p.m., Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 420 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call MaryLynn Pulscher at 612-313-7784 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Rally Against Pipeline Expansion
Tuesday, July 21 2015
 
Written by Jim Lenfestey,
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rally against pipeline expansion.jpgOn June 6, more than 5,000 colorful, committed marchers snaked through the streets of downtown St. Paul from the banks of the Mississippi River to the State Capital, the first shrouded in morning mist, the second shrouded in construction scaffolding. Marchers were rallying to say no to expansion of the matrix of pipelines that cuts through northern Minnesota carrying Alberta tar sands oil and fracked Bakken crude, potentially endangering the freshwater heart of Minnesota’s native land.

Aztec drums and conch musicians led the march. At the capital, Greg Grey Cloud offered a welcome song and later there was a performance by Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota hip hop artist, among other musicians.

Many native speakers led the rally in front of the capital building, as Native communities are directly faced with the impacts of pipeline expansion and are leading the charge against them. Winona LaDuke (White Earth Anishinabe), founder of Honor the Earth, and Tom Goldtooth (Dine/Dakota), executive director of Indigenous Environmental Network, have organized for decades to call attention to better ways to manage our planet than tearing out its natural resources and are leaders in the effort opposing pipeline expansion.

LaDuke asked the crowd to support, “us and tribal governments tribal leadership” who are in saying “no” to pipelines crossing reservation and treaty lands. “[They] cannot poison us,” she declared, telling the audience, “you have a choice between water and oil. Make the right choice.” She told a story that, at a protest in in Washington, D.C. a year ago, she walked from her tipi to a ride in an all-electric car. “That’s what the future looks like,” she said,” from a tipi to a Tesla.”

Melissa Daniels (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation) spoke on behalf of the estimated 23,000 Aboriginal people who live in the devastated area of Alberta’s oil sands development – 18 First Nations and six Métis Settlements located in the region. She testified to the dramatic local impacts of tar sands development and the robust resistance of native communities and allies across Canada to pipeline expansion.

How bad is tar sands oil extraction in Alberta? A google search for photos of Alberta tar sands turned up this from an article in Business Insider: “These Pictures May Give you Nightmares about The Canada Oil Sands.” And this: “We're not saying the project is good or bad. We're just saying the scale and severity of what's happening in Alberta will make your spine tingle.” And this from Wikipedia: Or read this selection from Wikipedia: “The Athabasca River is the largest freshwater delta in the world but with Suncor and Syncrude leaking tail ponds the amount of polluted water will exceed 1 billion cubic meters by 2020.”


Mille Lacs diversifies with ties that bind
Monday, July 20 2015
 
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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mille lacs band diversifies with ties that bind.jpgWhen his peers in the Native American Finance Officers Association honored Joe Nayquonabe, Jr. this spring as their Executive of the Year, attention was given to the progress the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is making in diversifying its investments and business enterprises.

Nayquonabe is Commissioner of Corporate Affairs for the Band and is chief executive officer of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV), the Band’s business investment arm that operates like a holding company with management responsibilities.

MLCV now has more than 35 different business entities. Together with the Band’s government and earlier investments in enterprises, the Mille Lacs Band is responsible for creating more than 3,500 jobs on and off the reservation.

The two anchors of the Band’s enterprises at the reservation, Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley, have 2,648 employees while non-gaming businesses located there have 225 employees. Other businesses are scattered around neighboring communities in East-Central Minnesota, in the Twin Cities metro area and now include a hotel in Oklahoma City.

The Mille Lacs Band entered the gaming business 24 years ago. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) then listed reservation unemployment at a staggering 80 percent. The Band now assesses its unemployment rate at 14 percent, a rate derived from knowing who is still in need of a job. That is a more simple, accurate but unofficial formula than methods used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure unemployment for states, counties and cities.

“We are continually evaluating opportunities and looking for the next potential deal,” Nayquonabe said. No new deals are imminent, he added, “but I can share that we have our eye on a few properties throughout the country that would possibly make nice additions to our portfolio.”

Diversification was a stated goal at Mille Lacs when Band chief executive Melanie Benjamin named Nayquonabe to the commissioner’s post three years ago. With acquisitions and business expansions along the way, Mille Lacs leaders have insisted that gaming revenue is flattening out. Future economic growth must come from non-gaming enterprises.


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