Local Briefs
What's New In The Community: December 2014
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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ST. PAUL, MN – In recognition of winning a 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, the Native American Community Development Institute of Minneapolis and First Peoples Fund of Rapid City, S.D. have received continued funding from the Bush Foundation in the amounts of $157,201 and $313,068, respectively.

NACDI grew out of research that showed outcomes for American Indians in Hennepin County had not improved substantially in the past 40 years. NACDI spent three years asking Native people what they wanted for their future, as opposed to what they needed to meet their basic needs. The gatherings resulted in a rich and bold vision for a vibrant, resilient community that celebrates Native identity.

This work has spawned numerous efforts, from homeownership opportunities to youth entrepreneurship training to the building of the American Indian Cultural Corridor, a half-mile physical manifestation along Franklin Avenue of the community's vision for a prosperous home in Minneapolis.

The only entity of its kind in the country, NACDI has employed an asset-building approach to reposition the American Indian community as an engine of economic growth. It works from the premise that comprehensive, asset-centered strategies and cross-sector partnerships embracing technology, entrepreneurship and community development will promote innovative ideas. (2014 Bush Prize winner)

First Peoples Fund set out nearly 20 years ago to devise an approach that empowers Native artists to be culture bearers and leaders of social change in their communities.

Today, First Peoples Fund empowers Lakota, Dakota, Nakota and Ojibwe artists through a combination of financial support, mentoring and entrepreneurship opportunities. The program helps revitalize cultures while providing artists with tools to grow as creative leaders and financially support themselves, their families and their communities.

Recognized nationally as a leader in its field, First Peoples Fund is sharing its model across the country, working with other Native communities to provide artists with access to knowledge, materials, networks, capital and markets.

Passing On: Ronald Charles “Bear” Cronick
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Ronald Charles “Bear” Cronick

January 17, 1939 - December 1, 2014

Ronald Charles “Bear” Cronick, 75, of Minneapolis journeyed to the spirit world on Monday, Dec. 1 at his residence.

He was born on January 17, 1939 and was an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and an honorary member of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. He was also a sundancer and helper for 17 years.

Bear worked as head helper at Porky’s Sugarbush Camp for over 20 years. He was the recipient of The 1989 McKnight Award.

Bear was a constant service to his community directing AIM patrols and Community Youth Programs in the 80s and 90s. He continued to serve as AIM’s head of security at community events until 2012.

His service and generosity enriched the lives of all that knew him, he was a pillar of a cherished, extended community. His presence and love will be remembered and missed by all!

Cronick is survived by an entire community of brothers and sisters; uncles and aunts; nephews and nieces.

Traditional funeral services for were held on Friday, Dec. 5 at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ceremonies were led by Art Owens. An all night wake was held Dec. 3 at the Minneapolis American Indian Center.

Casket Bearers are Rory Scoles, Jon Gephardt, Mike Skinner, Elliot Skinner, Brinton Martin, Vaughn Lodge, Bob Walker and Hunter Bancroft.

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted, Minnesota is providing funeral and wake services for the family. Online condolences may be made at

LaDuke: Looking for Work?
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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The Enbridge Company has announced its looking for a new tribal relations specialist for northern Minnesota. They are hiring. This is going to be interesting, particularly since no tribal government or Native organization, or, let’s just say, traditional Native person in the north seems to want this Sandpiper pipeline.

Chairwoman Karen Diver of the Fond du Lac Ojibwe wrote a letter this last month, expressing significant concerns about both the pipeline and Enbridge’s safety record, in light of significant tribal harvesting interests. This letter follows resolutions by tribal governments, testimony and legal interventions opposing the Sandpiper, by the White Earth and Mille Lacs band and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. In short, it’s tricky terrain.

This reminds me of the federal government’s Office of the Nuclear Waste Negotiator in the 1980s. This guy was charged with getting communities to consider a no strings attached grant to review nuclear waste options and then a bigger grant to look at it some more. Now, no one wanted really to hang out with this guy, I’m betting, but 16 of the 20 recipients of the initial money were Indian tribes, so he was working hard to get Native people involved. And, after all a lot of tribes were pretty poor at that time, so it was a good target, besides having all that land.

Political Matters: 'An act of war against our people'
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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mordecai_specktor_some.jpg‘An act of war against our people’

I tried to call Cyril Scott, the president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota Oyate), after Thanksgiving. Nobody in his office was answering the phone; but I was a little surprised that the on-hold music was “Foxy Lady” by Jimi Hendrix. So, there’s that.

On another tangent, I recall visiting Rosebud more than 30 years ago. I stopped on the way to one of the Black Hills survival gatherings, in 1979 or 1980, and interviewed Leonard Crow Dog, a Lakota spiritual leader who came to prominence during Wounded Knee II. And I later spent time at Crow Dog’s Paradise to support a friend on a Vision Quest and at a Sun Dance.

On one of these trips, I traveled by car from Minneapolis with friends and we stopped in Winner, on the eastern border of the rez. The off-reservation towns in South Dakota and Nebraska have a reputation for anti-Indian racism. As we were about to enter a café in Winner, my friend, who was from Rosebud, commented, “Mordecai, they don’t like Indians here; but after Indians, they don’t like Jews.” I was a stranger in a strange land.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgHow to Enjoy the Holiday Season

We are in the midst of the Holiday Season and it will reach a fever pitch soon. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy the holiday season.

Find meaning in the Holidays

We learn what a holiday means to us from our childhood. We observe what the holiday means for other people then interpret meaning to it. We gain notions about what a holiday is from the media. It is important to spend some time figuring out what is important for you and your family. Is it the time you spend together? Is it cooking? Is it being in fellowship together? Is it the rituals you built with them over time together? Figure out the meaning of the holiday for yourself and your family.

Building Family Traditions

The holiday season can be an incredible time of the year, but they can also be difficult for some of us. For myself, I am in the midst of building traditions with my family. Every year we clarify what is important to us, as individuals and as a family. Every activity is reviewed for whether or not it will continue on to the next year, or not. We are building family traditions together. It’s an exciting process.

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