Local Briefs
Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Thursday, February 05 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgLove, Love, Love, Love

We live in an American society that is obsessed with love. It's plastered everywhere this time of year. Valentine’s Day brings out Cupid, heart shaped chocolates, flowers, balloons, cards and music about love. Those of us with children help our kids fill out their Valentine’s Day cards to take to school. We may give a gift. We may receive gifts. Everything is about love.

This month I wanted to write about love – my understanding of love; how I came to know love; and my experience with love. I’ve learned over the decades that I’ve been on this journey called life that love is easy. We complicate love with popular ideas of what it is, what love should be, how love is manifested, who is allowed to have love, when love is given and how love is given.

It’s important to note here before you continue any further, what you read are my experiences. My experiences and the experiences of other Native people are just as diverse, unique and varied as the people in our community. Both of our experiences are valid, not generalizable and should never be construed as such.

My life-changing experience with love was when my son was born, Hoksicila Cante Ma Yuha (Child of My Heart). When I first saw him, when he took his first breath, I feel deep into parental love. The love of a parent is all consuming, all confusing and scary at times, but wonderful and filled with many moments of joy. This experience profoundly shifted my notions about what I knew about love, and what love could be. It is from this experience that I began to explore love, my experience with it and how I defined love.

I am a survivor of sexual abuse and domestic assault. These experiences influenced me and I share this so you can understand how I came to know love. These experiences are not an excuse, nor are they a justification when I failed to return love when it was given to me unconditionally. These experiences are what I needed to heal from so I could experience love.

It Ain't Easy Being Indian: February 2015
Thursday, February 05 2015
Written by Ricey Wild,
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ricey wild.jpgAt age 19, I became absolutely unhinged. I had recently left an abusive relationship with a man it was taken for granted I would marry; I thank all the Gods living and dead that did not happen. The moment of truth crashed upon me the morning I looked at my big, swollen bloody lips after being punched by a man who professed to love me. “No one,” I said to myself, “No one who loves someone would do this to someone they say they love.” In that astonishing moment I was freed from misery, knowing especially that I deserve better and I would settle for nothing less.

In the meantime and in between time after becoming legal age, I morphed into the Club Queen I felt I was meant to be. I missed out on the sweaty, glittery Disco days but Prince and other amazing artists like Teddy Pendergrass, Rick James and Teena Marie were smooving and so I began my glory days partying to their music. I’m happy I have that to share at whatever bridge I end up under if republicans get their way.

So … this one night I was wearing a really sexy backless jumpsuit and talking to fine, FINE suave men at the Yellow Brick Road Knight Klub and for some reason I became really twitchy and uncomfortable while gabbing what I thought were witticisms. I looked down toward my feet and saw one foot of pantyhose dangling under the bottom of my attire. (Younger readers: ask your Mom or Gramma what ‘pantyhose’ were. Absurd garment if you ask me). I gasped and ran for the ladies room where I grabbed the foot and pulled and pulled and pulled at least forty yards until the entire hose was out. I had not noticed while hastily getting dressed that the previous hose were still in there!

Ahem!!! Excuse me while I collapse in hilarity at a most fond memory of my wild, unapologetic youth. I’m pretty sure no one else saw it but I will never forget it and have never taken myself too seriously after that. Trickster is real and will get you, just laugh at your silly self, stay aware and go with it.

Political Matters: Ma'iingan update
Thursday, February 05 2015
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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mordecai_specktor_some.jpgThe Minnesota House of Representatives now has a Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy Committee. Such a thing didn’t exist when I worked as a writer at the House Public Information Office, in 1994 and 1995. I covered meetings of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, on the House side of the Capitol. The late Willard Munger, a champion of the natural environment in Minnesota, chaired the committee. He often waged a lonely, uphill fight – against an array of well-funded industry lobbyists and the elected officials in their service – for measures that would have encouraged sustainability for the benefit of our planet.

Anyway, the Mining and Outdoor Recreation Policy panel held an informational hearing about ma’iingan, brother wolf, on Jan. 20. As I wrote briefly in my last “Political Matters” column, on Dec. 19, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell, in Washington, D.C., ruled that wolf management in the western Great Lakes states should be returned to federal control.

Judge Howell’s decision, on a motion brought by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups, upended the regime of wolf hunting and trapping that ensued after the wolf was removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act, in April 2011, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protection for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes, in January 2012.

However, agriculture interests and hunting groups want to put the wolf back in the gun sights and traps, so some members of Congress are getting into the act. In January, the Associated Press reported that U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.), is leading an effort to legislatively undo Judge Howell’s decision.

Native Lives Matter: A Solution to Police Violence in Indian Country
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Jon Lurie,
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native lives matter-web.jpg“Black Lives Matter!” The chant has echoed through America’s streets since Aug. 9, the day unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. The Brown case focused attention on longstanding problems in black communities: racial profiling and police violence against young black men.

The perceived lack of justice in these and many other cases sparked major demonstrations, including a Dec. 20 rally at the Mall of America that drew more than 3,000 protesters.

But as millions rallied around the cause of human rights for African-Americans, many Indigenous people wonder if America thinks their lives matter. For every Michael Brown, for every Eric Garner, they say, there is a victim of police violence in Indian Country whose name you probably don’t know.

“It's imperative to understand that this issue is not just about black people and white people. Despite the available statistical evidence, most people don't know that Native Americans are most likely to be killed by police, compared with other racial groups. Native Americans make up about 0.8% of the population, yet account for 1.9% of police killings,” Simon Moya-Smith, an Oglala Lakota journalist, wrote in a CNN editorial last month.

“There is no outcry against what’s happening in Native American communities,” Lemoine LaPointe, a Lakota educator and community organizer from Rosebud, S.D. who lives in the Twin Cities said. “These very same atrocities that have been happening in the Black community have been happening to Native American people and without protest. It has to stop.”

While police and military violence against Native American people has been occurring for hundreds of years, LaPointe said a recent rash of incidents could have been avoided if police officers had been trained to use violence as a last resort. He refers to the following as cases where lives might have been saved had responding officers deployed nonlethal tactics.

Great Lakes wolves ordered returned to endangered list
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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great lakes wolves ordered returned to endangered list-web.jpgA federal judge has ordered that endangered species protection for gray wolves must immediately be restored in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The decision puts an end to controversial hunts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell returned management of wolves in the western Great Lakes states to the federal government, overturning a 2012 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"The D.C. Circuit has noted that, at times, a court 'must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough,'" Judge Howell wrote in her 111 page decision. "This case is one of those times."

The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups filed the suit last February. They argued Fish and Wildlife's decision to remove the wolf from endangered species protection threatens the animals' recovery in the Great Lakes region.

More than 1,500 wolves have been killed since Minnesota and Wisconsin authorized hunting seasons in 2011, said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel at the Human Society. "We are pleased that the court has recognized that the basis for the de-listing decision was flawed, and would stop wolf recovery in its tracks," he added in a statement.

The other plaintiffs in the suit include Born Free USA, Help Our Wolves Live and Friends of Animals and Their Environment.

The decision restores wolves to "threatened" status in Minnesota, and "endangered" in Wisconsin and Michigan. People may kill wolves in self-defense, but not to protect livestock or pets, said Minnesota DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen. Federal workers must be enlisted to kill wolves when there is proof they are threatening animals.

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