Local Briefs
The Age of AIM:The American Indian Movement turns 46
Thursday, August 07 2014
Written by Jon Lurie,
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the age of aim the circle.jpgClyde Bellecourt was naked, locked in a dark, solitary cell in the bowels of Stillwater State Prison. Almost two weeks had passed since the 32 year-old Anishinaabe inmate had been forced into that cold concrete dungeon; he awoke contemplating suicide.

Bellecourt's path to Stillwater had begun long before, while still in the fifth grade. He ran away from school on the White Earth Reservation, where he was often beaten for acting out. Even as a child, Bellecourt rebelled against a system that denied the history and culture of his people. He was judged incorrigible by local authorities and sent to the Red Wing State Training School, a juvenile correctional facility.

Years later, lying raw against his stone bunk at Stillwater, Bellecourt remembered the cries of boys pleading for help as they were sexually molested by the Red Wing reformatory's priest.

As he considered taking his own life, Bellecourt heard someone whistling “You Are My Sunshine” outside the cell door.

He wondered: Who the hell whistles a song like that inside a prison?

He heard someone call out, "Is there a Clyde Bellecourt here?"

It was the voice of Eddie Benton-Banai, an Anishinaabe prisoner from Round Lake, Wisconsin. Benton-Benai asked Bellecourt for help organizing Native prisoners for an Indian folklore group.

Their eyes met through the peephole of the cell door seeding a partnership that would eventually blossom into the American Indian Movement, perhaps the most influential indigenous organization of the 20th century. Bellecourt and Benton-Banai succeeded in convincing a majority of the prison's nearly 200 Native prisoners to join their group.

The Gift: Iroquois Nationals at the World Lacrosse Championships
Thursday, August 07 2014
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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the gift iroquois nationals at the world lacrosse championships winona laduke 1.jpg
“Lacrosse is our gift to the world. The game is a microcosm of the big game of life. We are in that arena right now.”

Chief Oren Lyons

He has never given up faith. Oren Lyons is a statesman and a 48-year member of the Iroquois Council of Chiefs. He is also a lacrosse player, of world renown. I found him with the Iroquois National Team in the World Championship Lacrosse games in Denver, the sixth of such world championships. Here, the Iroquois would end up with a Bronze Medal, after the U.S. and Canada. The sport has grown exponentially and this year, 32 teams came with new countries joining such as Uganda, Belgium, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel, Russia, Thailand and Turkey just to name a few.

I have driven 1,200 miles with two 14 year-old boys for these games, something which puzzles many. But this is not just a game, this is epic.

It is told that the first game of lacrosse was played between the animals and the birds. This game was won by the animals since it has been called the “Creator’s game.” Because of the bat, that creature who spans two worlds: mammal and bird, who won the game for the mammals. Because of this, the birds now fly south in the winter and the mammals do not travel. The game was gifted to the two-legged from Creator for enjoyment and as a medicine game for the healing of the people.

It is a preeminent Indigenous sport, most known for the Iroquois continuity and commitment and now it’s resurgence nationally and internationally. In June, for instance, two intertribal teams composed of players from four reservations Ihanktonwan/Yankton, Cansa’yapi/Lower Sioux, Sicangu/Rosebud and Winnebago defeated the Rapid City Shock in a three-game series in early June. There is a growing force, it is young and increasingly gifted.

Weekend Calendar: Aug. 1-3
Friday, August 01 2014
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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July 30-Aug. 2

Annual Anishinaabe Run for Sobriety and Health

Runners will be coming down Highway 89 starting about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, coming across Highway 2, through the City of Bemidji on Paul Bunyan Drive and then when through the city heading east toward Leech Lake on the Old Cass Lake Highway (Roosevelt Road). All runners are encouraged and welcomed to participate in any and all of the run. Join up at any time. If not, hope you can meet them along their long journey to cheer them on.

Run begins at Red Lake Chemical Health Programs, 10 a.m., July 30 and ends at Mash-ka-wisen powwow grounds, Fond du Lac, Saturday, Aug. 2.

For more information, call Ed Strong at 218-308-1201 or Sam Strong at 218-308-7803.

Aug. 2

Owamni Falling Water Festival

This one-day event celebrates indigenous Minnesota culture with music, art, food, a movie under the stars and more. Music by Chase Manhattan, Tall Paul, Bluedog, Wade Fernandez, Scatter Their Own and Keith Secola

Art: An arts fair area focused on American Indian contemporary traditional and fine arts will showcase the talents of Anishinaabe, Dakota, Ho-chunk and Oneida visual artists. Woodland style painter Gordon Coons (Ojibwe/Ottawa) will exhibit paintings and prints with painters James Autio (Ojibwe) and Karen Savage-Blue (Ojibwe). Traditional artists Cheryl Minnema and Denise Lajimodiere will demonstrate beadwork and birchbark traditions of the Anishinaabe. Also showing: Pat Kruse, Doug Limon, Melanie Sainz, Jimmy Simas and Gwen Westerman.

Food: The Sioux Chef and Native Food Perspective will be making and selling local indigenous foods. The Sioux Chef by chef Sean Sherman, is Minnesota's first "Pre-Contact" inspired Native American Restaurant featuring traditional and modern wild and cultivated foods of the Lakota and Ojibwe tribes. Christina White with Native Food Perspective utilizes traditional and seasonal foods to prepare dishes balancing flavor and nutrition.

Movie at dusk: “The Jingle Dress” Filmed in Minnesota, this movie follows John Red Elk who pulls up stakes and takes his family off the reservation and down to the big city to find out how his long lost Uncle Norton died.

Event is free and starts at 2 p.m. until dark, Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, Main St. SE and 6th Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call contact Jewell Arcoren at 612- 385-7528 or Denise Nelson at 612-205-1682

Aug. 2-4, 8-9

“Native Man The Musical: Phase 1”

New Native Theatre presents a collaboration where real Indian men open up about being warriors, fathers, lovers, politicians and more. Scored by a live band, this is a comedic and musical gaze into the Native American man's fiery heart and complicated mind. Multi-media production featuring live music, performance and video from Dennis Banks, Tall Paul, Cole Premo, Jeff Jordan, Sisoka Duta, Jase Roe and more.

Event is part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, tickets are $12. Performances at the University of Minnesota, Rarig Center Xperimental, 580 Rarig Center, 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN. Performances on Aug. 2 at 4 p.m.; Aug. 3 at 10 p.m.; Aug. 4 at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 8 at 8:30 p.m. And Aug. 9 at 10 p.m. For more information, visit

Week of July 28 Calendar
Monday, July 28 2014
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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July 28
American Indian Movement Honoring

The AIM Interpretive Center invites you, your family and friends, as we honor Pat Bellanger, Larry Leventhal, Clyde Bellecourt and Dick Bancroft, four instrumental people who continue to give their time, talent and energy to the American Indian Movement. Join us for a great evening of food, friends and light entertainment.
Event is free and open to the public, 5:30 p.m., Black Bear Crossing on Lake Como, 1360 Lexington Pkwy N., St. Paul, MN 55103. For more information, contact The AIM Interpretive Center at 612-886-2107 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

July 28-29
“Rainbow Crow” Children’s Auditions

Open to ages 8 to 19, “Rainbow Crow” by Rhiana Yazzie is produced by Stepping Stone Theatre for Young Audiences. We encourage children and youth with or without experience to audition. Our auditions are open to actors of all races, cultures, sizes, and abilities. Try it, it’s fun! Our auditions are held in groups and are friendly toward novice actors, but we are looking for performers with a variety of experience levels. No preparation is necessary for the audition. Directors will lead audition groups through a variety of activities during the 1/2 hour audition. Most of our productions have acting, singing and dancing, and those are a part of the auditions.
For more information, visit


Political Matters: The Iran Connection
Monday, July 07 2014
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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mordecai_specktor_some.jpgIn my column last month, I wrote about a multinational corporation, Glencore Xstrata, which has compiled a remarkable history of environmental pollution, labor and human rights abuses and corruption of elected officials. As it happens, Glencore is the major investor in Canadian-based PolyMet Mining Corp., which is seeking government approval for its NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals mine near Babbit, in northeastern Minnesota.

As I have noted in columns over the past several years, the proposed mine and mill are within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory. The Ojibwe bands in the region – Fond du Lac, Bois Forte and Grand Portage – are participating in the environmental review process. The bands are concerned that toxic mine wastes could migrate into lakes, rivers and groundwater and destroy wild rice beds, etc.

This is not wild speculation: hard rock mining across the West has been a catalog of environmental disasters. The National Wildlife Federation says: “The mining industry is the single largest source of toxic waste and one of the most environmentally destructive industries in the country. Today’s massive mining operations involve blasting, excavating, and crushing many thousands of acres of land and treating the ore with huge quantities of toxic chemicals such as cyanide and sulfuric acid. The mines that produce our gold, silver, copper, and uranium are notorious for polluting adjacent streams, lakes, and groundwater with toxic by-products.”

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