Local Briefs
Photography helps Native youth enrich their lives
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Deanna Standing Cloud,
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photography helps native youth enrich their lives.jpgBefore the cold winter season claimed its place in the Twin Cities area this year, six Native American high school students from across the area were able to enjoy a memorable experience.

On an October afternoon, participants in the Mazinaakizige: American Indian Teen Photography Project and their mentors connected with the elements on a canoe journey down the Mississippi River.

The students were armed with 35 mm film cameras and anticipation for whatever this journey may have brought. Second year participant, Breanna Green shared about her experience, “Being on the water is healing and so calming.”

Participants and mentors alike carefully moved along one of the largest rivers in the world across the glistening sparkle of the reflection of the sunlight with wonderment and curiosity. This incredible opportunity was the perfect environment for connection to the natural world, the basis for creative thought which is fertile ground for photographic practice.

On Nov. 22, six Native American high school students celebrated the completion of their participation in the Mazinaakizige: American Indian Teen Photography Project at the Minneapolis Photography Center. Rainey Rock (White Earth Ojibwe), Sage Mills (Lakota), Breanna Green (Red Lake Ojibwe), Andrew Fairbanks (White Earth Ojibwe), Lupe Thornhill (Red Lake Ojibwe) and Elizabeth Santana (Hunkpapa Lakota) invited their families to their very own gallery opening featuring their work. Hoka Hey drum group, a collective of young Native men, recognized the students and families with an honor song. Dozens of supporters from the Native arts community came to support the young artists as well to share food, stories and prayer for this project.

The word “Mazinaakizige” is an Ojibwe word meaning, “the act of creating pictures.” Mazinaakizige: American Indian Teen Photography Project launched a pilot program three years ago in collaboration with the Minneapolis Photo Center and the Minnesota Historical Society with sponsorship from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Mascot Protest Spurs Continued Momentum
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Art Coulson,
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mascot protest spurs continued momentum-tcf crowd-web.jpgIn the weeks since thousands of native people and their allies converged on TCF Stadium to protest the Washington NFL team’s offensive name, those involved in the #NotYourMascot march and rally have continued the conversation with a focus on maintaining momentum toward a name change.

“Five hundred and twenty-two years of stereotypes is difficult to eradicate,” Robert DesJarlait, a Red Lake elder, said. He carried the eagle staff to lead the People’s March from the American Indian OIC to the stadium on the University of Minnesota campus on Nov. 2 as an organizer for Save Our Manoomin. “We need to use education as a means of dislodging decades of stereotypes. [Washington owner Daniel] Snyder's team is just the starting point. But it's the beginning of the process to eradicate such imagery and restore pride and human dignity to Native people.”

Organizers of the march said while the Washington team name is the most racially offensive, their battle to end the use of native mascots in sport does not end there.

“We need to go after not just the NFL, but the NHL and major-league baseball also,” Jason Elias, a march organizer and member of AIM-Twin Cities said. “I think it's too bad we missed an opportunity this last summer to protest the All-Star game when it was here in Minneapolis. One thing I would like to say is that I would like to give credit and thank Vernon Bellecourt who is the founding father in the fight against Native mascots. He truly deserves the credit.”

Elias plans to continue the battle by focusing on schools and using anti-bullying policies to target those who wear native mascot gear to school.

#NotYourMascot is a coalition of grassroots organizations including Idle No More-Twin Cities, AIM-Twin Cities, AIM Patrol of Minneapolis, United Urban Warrior Society, Idle No More-Wisconsin, Protect Our Manoomin, Twin Cities Save the Kids, Minnesota Two Spirit Society and several other organizations.

The march and rally for the Minnesota-Washington football game, which drew a crowd of between 3,500 and 5,000 people from across North America who marched on the stadium from several directions, was the largest so far to protest the use of native mascots by sports teams. Organizers vowed to protest at each of the remaining Washington football games this season. On Nov. 23, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in San Francisco before the San Francisco-Washington game.

December 2014 Calendar
Friday, December 05 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Dec. 9

We are Still Here: The Circle at 35!

Join us to celebrate the work of pioneering Native American author Laura Waterman Wittstock and photographer Dick Bancroft as well as The Circle's continued mission to presenting the news from a Native American perspective.

8-9 a.m., All Nations Church, 1515 E. 23rd St., Minneapolis, MN. Doors open at 7:30 for coffee. $35 suggested donation, to RSVP, call 612-722-3686 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dec. 9

Parents of Tradition Family Winter Gathering

Families with children, ages birth to five winters-old are invited! Learn how to reclaim tradition ways of parenting. Learn more about using Indigenous language in your home. Hosted by Minneapolis Indian Education Parents of Tradition Early Childhood Education Program. Lunch will be provided and children are welcome!

12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Division of Indian Work, 1001 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN. Call to reserve your space for lunch. Transportation is available upon request, call Jean at 612-290-9936.

Dec. 10

Prevention through Culture Awareness Program

Dakota Language Table by Neil McKay.

4-5 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

Dec. 11

Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Meeting

Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Organization is hosting a community feast and information meeting about our new boys and girls lacrosse teams. Children and parents are invited to eat and learn about playing lacrosse on a youth team. Players do not need to have any experience playing lacrosse before. Practices are after school and run from January through the spring.

6 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, Second Floor Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN.

Dec. 11

Prevention through Culture Awareness Program

Ojibwe Language Table by Joe Spears.

6-7 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

Thank You!
Friday, November 14 2014
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Warroad Warriors Rededicated
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by Jon Lurie,
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web-warroad 1.jpgIn its 30 year quest to influence teams to change their names, mascots and logos from those that are offense to Native Americans, the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media is making strides. Thousands of high schools and colleges across the country have felt the pressure and given up names which encourage stereotyping of indigenous people.

NCARSM, which is based in Minneapolis, still has work to do before the thousands of offensive team names still in use are relegated to the annals of history. The organization’s current strategy is to go after the National Football League's Washington team, a nationally prominent team whose name is a racial slur and whose tradition of mocking Native American people is seen as particularly vile.

“We believe that when the Washington team changes, everyone else will follow,” NCARSM board member Clyde Bellecourt said. He also said the Washington team has a tradition of upholding institutional racism that goes far beyond the current disagreement over its name. The team was last in the National Football League to allow – in October of 1961 – non-white players on its roster, a move that prompted their former supporters, the American Nazi Party, to protest outside RFK Stadium.

But as NCARSM focused its efforts on organizing a major rally against the Washington team (who play the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota Nov. 2) one of its board members, the organization alleges, Alan Yelsey – without the knowledge or blessing of others within the organization – was mailing threatening letters to schools with disparaging team names. Yelsey and NCARSM have since parted ways.

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