Local Briefs
August Whats New
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by The Circle,
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Danielle Grant Named CEO of AchieveMpls

daniellegrant.jpgAchieveMpls, the strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools, has announced the selection of Danielle Grant as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Grant stepped into this position in July, following the retirement of Pam Costain. 
 Grant has worked for Minneapolis Public Schools for the past nine years. She currently serves as Executive Director for MPS Educational & Cultural Services & Indian Education. She directed the development of a district-wide Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors Memorandum of Agreement, secured over $3 million in competitive grants, realigned programming to integrate cultural relevance with academic rigor, established professional best practices for working with Native students, and created culturally-specific programs to engage families and communities with Native youth.

She serves on the boards of American Indian OIC and the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, and sits on the Minnesota Historical Society Indian Advisory Committee. She holds a Master of Public Affairs in Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from Marquette University.

MNHS receives grant to update Fort Snelling Historic District Designation

The Minnesota Historical Society has received a federal grant to update the historical designation of the Fort Snelling Historic District for both the National Register and National Historic Landmark listings. The update will result in a more inclusive description of what is historically important and why.

The current designation focuses on military history, from the arrival of Col. Henry Leavenworth and his troops in 1819 to the decommissioning of the military base at the end of World War II. The updated documentation will be more inclusive, recognizing all historical aspects of this place from American Indian history that dates back 10,000 years, to the stories of Dred and Harriet Scott, enslaved people who sued for their freedom, to the Japanese Military Intelligence Language School during World War II, and many more stories.

Over the next two years, MNHS staff will work with local communities and regional Tribal Historic Preservation Offices to re-examine the historical resources. The study will help determine the appropriate boundary and period of significance for the updated district.
National Historic Landmark and National Register designations are federal recognitions of historical significance. This documentation helps land managers protect the most important parts of a property.

Local writer wins 2016 national Artist Fellowship Award

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation has awarded its National Artist Fellowship to a new group of 16 artists in five categories, selected from a national open call of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artist applicants. The awardees reside in 14 states including author Susan Power (Yanktonai Dakota) of Minnesota.

During her fellowship, Power will continue completing her novel that centers on the lives of her five Native American student characters at Harvard (class of 2013), each from a different tribal nation. The friends seek to raise ancestor spirits and bring to light what many seek to keep hidden. They are preparing to turn the tables and do some teaching of their own.

The NACF National Artist Fellowship includes a monetary award that provides additional support for Native artists to explore, develop and experiment with original and existing projects. Fellows also work with their communities and share their culture in numerous ways.  

To date, NACF has supported 180 artists and organizations in more than 26 states and Native communities. To learn more about the National Artist Fellows and NACF’s work, visit:

Treasure Island begins $86 million expansion

Treasure Island Resort & Casino began an $86 million expansion with a ground breaking on July 12. The expansion will add two towers and 300 hotel rooms, a renovated front desk, new restaurant, and an expansion to the Lagoon Water Park.  
The towers, eight-story and seven-story, will connect to the current Eagle Tower, and will feature upgraded amenities. They will add 184,000 square feet to the hotel. The first phase is scheduled to be finished in 2017.
The Prairie Island Indian Community said the project will create around 200 construction jobs and 150 news positions.

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.

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