Local Briefs
Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Thursday, August 27 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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Sovereignty is one of those concepts that seems to allude some of us. It’s this lofty goal and expectation for our tribes, yet it impacts us individually, communally and socially. My immediate impression is when we rely on the government to provide financial resources to sustain our own tribal government then how are truly sovereign are we? How can we achieve sovereignty and be economically sustainable?

Economic development is essential to making a sovereign government. Yet rural tribal communities have been unable to establish a tax base and resources to sustain itself. The money that is allocated to tribal governments is not enough to cover the basic needs of its tribal citizens.

Poverty is difficult. Being poor is a luxury that none of us can afford. Many reservations continue to have 80 percent unemployed, with the largest employer usually being the tribe or a church organization. Essentially, we are reliant on hand outs from the government and ‘good’ church going people to sustain ourselves. This is ludicrous.

Weekend Calendar: Aug. 8-9, 2015
Friday, August 07 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Aug. 8

Honoring Community through Strength and Healing”

Natives Against Heroin invite the community for its First Annual Traditional Powwow to sing and dance for those who have overcome addiction, are in recovery and need to find recovery.

Head Dancers: Dave Larson and Valerie Larson; Host Drum: Redbone and Ringing Shield; MCs: James Cross and Joe Perez. Movie during dinner: “State of Using.” Resources on treatment and recovery will be available. Outdoor event, bring your own lawn chair and canopy. Firearms prohibited, security will be provided, not responsible for lost/stolen items, accidents or injuries.

Free. Grand Entry, 1 p.m., Feast, 5 p.m., Cedar Avenue Field, 2500 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, visit


Aug. 9

Telling Queer History: Two Spirit

A series of gatherings based on sharing stories in an open, informal, and participatory format. It’s about connecting queer communities, queer history and generations so that we can learn from our shared past, present, and future.

Featured speaker: Coya White Hat-Artichoker, Reva. Allies are welcome to join, listen and volunteer. Hearing our stories is a great way to be an ally, allowing and assisting us in having the space to tell our stories is a way to be an advocate.

Suggested donation, 2 to 4:30 p.m., Hennepin History Museum, 2303 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ojibwe Culture Celebrated at Ponemah Round House
Tuesday, August 04 2015
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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ojibwe culture celebrated at ponemah round house 1.jpgFor the third year in a row, the Red Lake Band hosted an Ojibwe Language and Cul­ture Camp for youth from July 21-23 in Ponemah, Minn.

The three-day Gabeshiwin (camp), hosted by Red Lake Chemical Health and Red Lake Eco­nomic Development and Planning, featured eat­ing traditional foods, lacrosse, moccasin game, plant gathering practices and identification, birch bark crafts, traditional Anishinaabe teachings and more. Gabeshiwin is a part of Red Lake Na­tion’s Ojibwemowin Revitalization efforts.

As elders pass away, the people of the Red Lake Nation are concerned that language and tradi­tion will disappear. To combat those fears, Red Lake officials are focused on language revitaliza­tion and related efforts to retain tribal culture. Much of indigenous culture depends on Native language, as many concepts cannot be translated to English.

The camp was held at the Round House in Ponemah, near the Point, home to more than half of the remaining fluent Ojibwemowin speakers in the United States.

At camp, children participated in Ojibwe sports and crafts, ate traditional foods and learned about traditional spiritual ceremonies and plant-gather­ing practices at Obaashiing, a village known for practicing traditional ways.

By far this was the most well-attended camp yet with 74 youth and 56 elders, staff and parents at­tending the first day. In 2013 only 30 children, 10 to 14 years-old, attended but that attendance nearly doubled in 2014. Each day started off with a hearty breakfast of traditional foods, which was served throughout the camp as part of the cur­riculum.

Tom Barrett, Sr., Director of Red Lake Chemi­cal Health Programs, and a major sponsor of Gabeshiwin (the camp) provided some background. “Our language was basically stripped from us a generation or two ago. The children were forbidden to talk their na­tive language.”

Barrett recalled how U.S. government authorities swept onto reservations and took Ojibwe children to boarding schools to assimilate to the white culture. The rip­ple effects of that action are still being felt by American Indians today.

“We feel if we can raise kids’ self esteem their chance of using chemicals will be less,’’ said elder and first speaker Murphy Thomas. “Self esteem is all tied up with knowing who you are and having a sense of pride in your heritage, language and cul­ture.”

Minnesota’s tribes face threat from currency markets
Tuesday, August 04 2015
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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On the beautiful North Shore, citizens of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe often keep one eye looking out over the horizon of Lake Superior and another eye on traffic coming down the shore from Canada.

The U.S. dollar is rising against most of the world’s hard currencies and widening the exchange rate gap with the Canadian dollar as well. From past experience, any imbalance in the exchange rate of currencies can distort trade volume and direction of trade flow; it can certainly influence where people go for tourism and shopping.

Eight out of 10 cars, vans and coaches parked outside the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino most days have Canadian license plates. Other hospitality industry enterprises operated by Northern Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and other border state tribes and bands are nearly as dependent on international trade as Grand Portage.

But Grand Portage may top them all, said former Minnesota Trade Office director P. Richard Bohr, recently retired from the College of St. Benedict and St. Johns University. He continues to monitor global markets while teaching in the master’s of international business (MIB) and the master’s of international development (MID) programs for St. Mary’s University graduate school in Minneapolis.

“It’s hard to image there is another Minnesota enterprise as dependent on international trade as them,” he said.

The State of Minnesota’s Indian Affairs Council notes that 80 percent of Grand Portage’s hospitality industry revenues come from Canadian visitors. The reservation at the tip of the Arrowhead Region is Cook County’s largest employer, with about 300 people holding jobs in its hospitality industry enterprises. Of them, the Council estimates 18 percent are international employees – First Nation Ojibwe from Thunder Bay – who cross the border each day from their homes in Ontario.

Dayton: Mille Lacs walleye woes require special session
Tuesday, August 04 2015
Written by Tim Pugmire, MPR News,
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DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing a special legislative session in August to consider an emergency financial aid package for resorts and other businesses in the Lake Mille Lacs area. But House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, says he thinks it may be too early to talk about bringing back the Legislature.

Dayton is concerned about the economic hit that the popular fishing destination will suffer if state officials close the walleye season early due to a dwindling fish population. He discussed the idea with Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, on July 28, and they agreed to the following week to begin planning.

No decisions have been made, but Dayton told reporters on July 29 that the state assistance could include zero interest loans, property tax abatements and additional tourism promotion. He said “time is of the essence” to address a potentially “catastrophic” situation.

“We need to get the loan program under way,” Dayton said. “The resorts up there need working capital so they can pay their employees and just keep open, especially if the walleye fishing has to be closed beginning next week.”

Before a special session area legislators, lawmakers who oversee natural resource issues and state commissioners should meet to talk about the problem and ways to respond, Daudt told MPR News.

“We’re very concerned about the situation. We want to make sure we do what’s right by these resorts. We don’t want to see them suffering because of this closing of the season early,” Daudt said. “But we also want to make sure we’re doing the right thing. And we want to look at all options.”

Dayton met on July 29 in St. Paul with Mille Lacs area officials and business owners. He plans to visit the area later in the week.

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