Local Briefs
Native Appointed to MNSupreme Court
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by Jon Lurie,
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mckieg.jpgMinnesota’s newest supreme court justice is also the first Native American to serve as a member of the state’s highest judicial body.
Hennepin County Judge Anne McKeig, 49, wept as Governor Mark Dayton announced her appointment in late June.

“Today is a historic day, not only for myself and for my family but for all Native people. It underscores the importance of one person leading so that another can follow,” McKeig, who is a descendant of the White Earth Nation, said during the proceedings.

McKeig, 49, recollected watching the 1995 swearing-in ceremony of Robert Blaeser, the state’s first judge from White Earth, calling it an inspiration that set in motion her own career path.

“It is people like him who have led the way that have allowed for others like me to dare to dream,” she said of Blaeser, who served nearly twenty years in Hennepin County District Court.

Dayton said in choosing a new justice he looked for “excellence, for proven public service, for people who have demonstrated that they have compassion, that they understand that even if it is not directly out of their own experience, the plight of so many Minnesotans. Diversity is part of that but, again, that’s no substitute for experience and excellence.

OPOS Tours & Travel makes “Mni Sota” culture/history come alive
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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opos.jpgIt worked for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow back in 1855. It’s working again for OPOS (Our People, Our Story) Tours and Travel of Bloomington.
By blending some Dakota and Ojibwe culture together, with a little help from the Iroquois, Longfellow created a remarkable Great Lakes regional legend and a poetic classic that is still bringing tourists to Minnesota where they may also learn about Native American culture and history.

OPOS Tours and Travel is a restarted Twin Cities-based tour and travel agency previously known as T & T Native Tours, which was the first 100 percent Native owned travel business two decades ago. Reincarnated, it brings Longfellow’s epic “Song of Hiawatha” to life as part of its Metro Tours packages for visitors and for locals who want to know more about Native legend, culture and history in their own backyards.

About half of the groups that arrange OPOS tours are outsiders from out of state who simply want to enjoy and learn about Minnesota, said Sonja Tanner, founder and president. The other half are locals, including large groups of Native Americans, who want fun outings and to learn more about Native culture, she said.

Half-day metro tours include stops at Minnehaha Falls, the legendary home of Longfellow’s warrior Hiawatha, as well as the ancient Dakota settlement Kaposia in South St. Paul, Mounds Park burial grounds, Ft. Snelling Park Interpretive Center, Battle Creek Park and a touristy stop at Ancient Traders Market in the Longfellow area of south Minneapolis.

Tanner and daughter Ashley are members of the White Earth Nation and bring Ojibwe culture and traditions into the enterprise. Both are alumni of Bemidji State University.

Another OPOS partner is Chris Prescott, Shakopee Mdewankaton and descendent from a long established Dakota family. Prescott joined with Sonja Tanner to restart the business in October a year ago and was guided by two yearnings. He said, “I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” he said. The other motive was equally personal. “I have always loved travel.”

He has traveled extensively around the world in what indigenous people in Australia might call “a walkabout.” The reception for Native American exhibitors he recently witnessed at an international travel fair in Germany reminded him that North American Native people and their cultures are of great interest to world travelers. Going forward, he said, the tour and travel company will seek to attract more of these travelers to Minnesota and its 11 Ojibwe and Dakota tribal communities.

Protect your teens with vaccinations
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by The Circle,
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Have you scheduled a back-to-school doctor visit for your preteen or teen?
As kids get older, the protection from some of their childhood vaccines begins to wear off. There are also new diseases that teens can come in contact with in this stage of their lives. Keep your teens healthy with the meningococcal, HPV, Tdap, and influenza vaccines.  
 • Meningococcal Vaccine (MCV4, MenACWY): Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against some of the germs that can cause two serious infections. One of them is meningitis, which is swelling of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. The other is a life-threatening blood infection. Your teen needs meningococcal vaccine at 11 or 12 years old and again at 16 years old.
• HPV Vaccine: This shot is cancer prevention! Almost all people will be infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) at least once in their lives, and some forms of HPV can cause cancer at six different sites in the body, including the cervix and an area of the throat. There is no way to predict whether an HPV infection will be a type that may turn into cancer. HPV vaccines help protect against HPV infections and the cancers they cause. Teens need a series of three HPV shots. They can get these shots as early as age 9, but the shots are usually given with the other vaccines for teens at 11 or 12 years old.
• Tdap Vaccine: This vaccine protects against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). Your teen should receive the Tdap vaccine at 11 or 12 years old.
• Influenza Vaccine: This vaccine protects against influenza (flu) and should be given every fall. The flu can cause health problems such as dehydration or lung infections.

When should my child be vaccinated?
A good time to get these vaccines is during a yearly checkup. Your teen can also get these vaccines at a physical exam required for sports, school, or camp. Even teens who missed these vaccines at 11 or 12 years can still get them at older ages. It’s a good idea to ask your health care provider at every visit if there are any vaccines your teen may need.
What else should I know about these vaccines?

All vaccines are studied in thousands of people before they are recommended to the public. Researchers check to be sure that less disease occurs in people who get a vaccine. They also make sure the vaccine doesn’t cause serious side effects. Vaccines can cause mild effects, like soreness or redness at the spot where the shot was given, and some people cannot receive certain vaccines because they have allergies to the ingredients. Occasionally, teens faint after getting any kind of shots. It’s a good idea to sit for 15 minutes afterwards.

How can I get help paying for these vaccines?
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides free or low-cost vaccines for some children and teens. Talk to your health care provider to find out if you’re eligible. Visit for more information on keeping your teen healthy and happy.

A Perfect Earth
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by Ricey Wild,
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I dream often of a perfect Earth... one that is simply itself, a supreme being that pulses and embodies all animals, plants, rock, and waters the entire surface above and below. The dreams led me to this conclusion: this entity was a lot better off without human interference and modern capitalism toward eventual destruction.

Personally, I don’t believe that’s a bad thing. The demise of humanity I mean. The truth is the damage has been done by the industrial nations beyond any last minute repair and we are all going to suffer for it. There will be pockets of humans who survive the cataclysms as they have learned and have always done living in...the first word that comes to mind is ‘harmony’ but it’s much deeper than that. My ancestor’s got it – they lived with Earth and her gifts and were generous with it as it all came from our mutual Mother.

The major trouble began when some people felt more entitled to natural resources than others were and many wars began that used the people under their fiefdoms to fight battles for them and called it nationalism. “Us vs them” became the call to arms. If you actually read and disseminate European history it’s all about wars, beheadings, treachery, extermination and greed for more land. I used to wonder at how the European invaders of Turtle Island could ever treat any human being the way they treated the Indigenous People. Then reading history it hit me: they massacred their own kind just as they did to us, only we were propagandized as less than human and were living on lands they wanted.

Tthe invaders wanted gold, silver, slaves and whatever else was considered tradable. In this 21st century we are all still suffering from and invested in this sickness inflicted upon us whether we wanted it or not. Indigenous civilizations and their nations are under constant assault by representatives of Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Greedy Monsters whose agendas  are the continuing assassination of our leaders, who righteously object to any further incursion.

FWI: As proud of and grateful for I am for those Warriors in Defense of Our Homelands they have proud people who will never let their legacy die. I’m one of them. I am ill, sad, disgusted by the collective apathy of 98% of us but I have to fight on for my granddaughters’ sake and the sake of this world.

Yes, I said what I said before yet I refuse to give up altogether because that’s what ‘they’ want us to do while ‘they’ jet off to Mars, Planet X or wherever, leaving us to deal with the nuclear mess left to us. We are that character on “Lost” who punches the button every 38 minutes so as not to blow up the rest of the place.

I’m sickened to read how even backyard chicken coops, Bee hives and many other small family agriculture is being outlawed. We are supposed to become drones in the service of Monsanto, GMO products and never question where our food really comes from.

I have gastrointestinal illness (Ya, I know you think it’s TMI but it’s not just me) which causes me extreme pain and not wanting to leave my house. I now peruse grocery store ads like I used to do fashion magazines salivating over foods I used to eat and dinners I could make. The only time I do take time to cook is when I visit my Gramma Rose and we get to eat good food together, which is how it’s supposed to be. We all deserve to eat well and not only the government cheese (hey thanks, I guess) they feed us.

Now, after a generous repast of home cooked comfort food look at your children and theirs. Ask yourself if they are worth working for, fighting for, living for their kids and grandkids to consume a healthy meal. It’s a start. Now listen here. I’m not preaching in any way. I recently bought a bag of cheez ballz and I ain’t no judge of anyone. I simply encourage others to open their eyes to alternative methods of preserving our environment because it’s the right thing to do for all of us. Still, I recycle because I believe it’s the least I can do. The fact is I have to eat more natural foods. Ya’ll take care, know I love you and Ima go make me some manoomin.

Freedom and Liberation
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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It’s that time of year that we celebrate freedom and liberation. I’d be anti-American if I say I didn’t support this, but for Native people it is a further example of the treachery we endured in the formation of this country. I’d like to take a different view on this and challenge ourselves to free ourselves and liberate ourselves.

As with most of my columns, I take a perspective of growth, development, and evolution, particularly mine. I don’t ever ask anyone to ever agree with me wholeheartedly, but take what I write as a different viewpoint of the world. Take what you need and leave the rest. That’s what good writing does. It inspires you.

Ok, freedom from the past. In my many years of work in social services, I’ve witnessed many people struggle with a difficult past. They are coming to terms with hurt they experienced. They are trying to understand why something happened in their life. They are realizing a new way of being in the world.

It’s been an extreme privilege and honor to work in the helping profession. I enjoy it. I learn from the many people that I’ve sat with over the years.

What have I learned and come to understand?  We hold onto to pain for too long. Sometimes we have to let something go. We cannot go back in time and have a different childhood experience, or force someone to treat us differently, or make someone love us.
I know for myself, I’ve held onto pain and hurt from my life. I sat with it while it festered. I allowed it to change me. Until one day, my therapist said to me, ‘Why are you doing this to yourself Nick? All you are doing is wallowing in self-pity and feeling bad because your family didn’t live up to your expectations. They are your expectations, not theirs.” Wham!  

In order for me to move on with my life, I needed to let go of how I believed it should’ve gone, or what I expected from people. Duh! Yeah right. I spent many hours feeling bad while the people I felt slighted me were laughing, loving, and living their life. They had no knowledge of how their behavior impacted me. I was the one who was torturing myself. I was stopping myself from living a full life. I had a chance to laugh, love, and experience joy, too.

Don’t get me wrong, people who have harmed you should be held accountable. If you have a legal action, then take it. If you have the type of relationship where you can talk with someone about they treated you, then do it.

I do have to share, I’ve been pretty lucky that my family has been helpful in my healing. Throughout my therapy, my parents remained available to me. They sat through some pretty hard stuff. They listened to my hurt and pain. They acknowledged and owned what they needed to. They understood for my wellbeing that I needed to reconcile somethings with them. I’m ever so grateful for that opportunity. Before my parent’s died, we got a chance to grow together.

Ok, ok, ok, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that this process is some pretty hard work. If you truly want to feel freedom from your past then you’ll have to put in the time and look some ugly truths in the face. You will have to decide what you can tackle on your own, and what you may need a therapist for.

Finding a therapist isn’t only calling the clinic up and making an appointment. You have to meet with the therapist a few times before you decide if you want to work with them. Ask them lots of questions. Ask them questions about their professional experiences. Ask them if they are capable of helping you heal. If you feel comfortable with them, then stay. If not, then move along and find someone else. Remember, this is all about your own healing. Someone needs to earn the right to hear your story.

Liberation from past hurts is incredible. I don’t harbor any ill will toward people. Of course, there are people in my life who I’ll never reconcile some hurt with. I decide who is in my life, or not. I am not required to have someone in my life who is harmful to me physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

At the end of the day, this is my life. This is my liberation. This is my opportunity to live my life to the fullest. I don’t intend to look back on my life with lots of regrets,  I want to look back with incredible moments and profound memories. I want to say, I did my best and I lived. Yes, I lived to my fullest potential. Now join me…   

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