Local Briefs
Governor Dayton’s Sandpiper comments lack common sense foresight
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Frank Bibeau,
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It is apparent from Governor Dayton’s recent announcement (in reaction to the Minnesota House Speaker’s allegations of appellate court meddling) that he supports the Sandpiper crude oil pipeline and that the Governor does not understand climate change, pipelines or the associated, compounded, environmental risks for Minnesota.

Sandpiper, if approved, will be the first domino in the next, big, toxic chain reaction set of future pollution dominos. What Governor Dayton fails to understand is that when you support Sandpiper, you are in support of fracking Bakken crude in North Dakota and the highly volatile, toxic gases that are being released and/or burned off. The fact is fracking Bakken crude is not profitable currently or in the foreseeable future.

When Governor Dayton supports Sandpiper fracking, then by extension the Governor supports Enbridge’s other PUC pipeline application for Line 3 co-alignment (in the same new, Enbridge preferred, pipeline corridor from Park Rapids, Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin) which transports Canadian tar sands, the dirtiest crude oil extraction and one of the single, biggest global environmental hazards and climate change contributors, just upwind from Minnesota.

Worse, when Governor Dayton supports Sandpiper Bakken fracking and Line 3 Tar sands, then he is also supporting old Line 3 pipeline abandonment along the U.S. Highway 2 corridor to Lake Superior. A corridor where other aging pipelines need replacement in the foreseeable future. (FYI, I live within a half mile of U.S. Highway 2 and the 8 pipelines in the corridor where Enbridge’s pipeline abandonment is planned.)

Therefore, Governor Dayton really supports a series of future abandoned pipelines (for free?) across northern Minnesota along U.S. Hwy 2, for what sounds like 22 permanent new Enbridge jobs from Sandpiper? Kalamazoo should be the lesson learned not to sacrifice more of Mother Earth’s gifts and treasurers of nature and water to create a new, crude oil pipeline corridor through virgin lakes, rivers and wild rice country. We need to protect the environment for what will become the next, future, old pipelines to be abandoned, which are easily foreseeable environmental hazards for grandchildren and great-grandchildren to cope with 50-60 years from now.

Apparently Governor Dayton cannot see what the rest of us are able to see and understand. For Governor Dayton and other politicians, campaign contributions are at risk, whether from labor unions or big oil. Fortunately, the third branch of government, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, was also able to see an environmental impact statement (EIS) is necessary before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) makes long term, important decisions about granting eminent domain for a major pipeline project. Unfortunately, the citizen, environmental intervenors had to appeal the state PUC decision to avoid an EIS, to get the review that was argued for at the PUC Sandpiper proceedings nearly a year ago.

Sandpiper pipeline involves extremely hazardous and ultra-risky activity running crude oil pipelines across the ultrasensitive aquifers, lakes and rivers fresh water sources of ecosystems and environments for three of the four North American continental watersheds (N, E and S) all beginning in northern Minnesota. Sure big oil says it can be done with 99.9999% safety, but lest we forget, before Kalamazoo the largest pipeline oil spill in the U.S. was in Grand Rapids, Minnesota right by the Mississippi River, or the Cohasset oil spill and burn-off in 2003 within a mile of the Mississippi and the big, Clearbrook fire in 2007.

We, the people, have a better chance to protect the environment with an EIS being required, but the desire for big money keeps some people trying to rush through the bureaucratic maze to get to today’s cheese with too little concern for everyone’s tomorrow.

Stop the Sandpiper and you stop the lead domino to a lot of pipeline domino insanity, incredible contributors of climate change impacts and save a lot more of the fresh water environment for those to come. Of course, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not be born soon enough to vote for Governor Dayton and give campaign contributions to today’s politicians. They must rely on us, citizen environmental groups and the Chippewa to be the protectors of their environment.

As Winona LaDuke often says “”Let’s make a graceful transition from a fossil fuel economy now and work towards the many, long-term, good paying jobs of environmental protection, solar energy and wind for cleaner air and water.”

Instead of pipeline abandonment, the old, badly corrupted Line 3 should be removed first! This is the best opportunity to prevent inevitable environmental risks that will happen over the next couple of centuries when Enbridge no longer exists. Then the same U.S. Hwy 2 corridor, which is already established, can be re-used for the new Line 3 if there is actually a market demand. This way Enbridge, the company that wants to benefit for decades to come, will actually bear some of the environmental clean-up costs to make our environment safer now.

This kind of Line 3 replacement project will probably create 2-3 times as many jobs, all across northern Minnesota for probably a couple extra years, and no new land owners would be impacted within the existing right-of-way corridors, where Enbridge already has leased that parallel U.S. Highway 2. This would eliminate the need for new water crossings and eminent domain across new, untouched aquatic territories and private property.

It makes no good sense to give away our best gifts and treasures from Mother Earth (the nature and water) to only make certain, future, environmental destruction which will require even higher clean-up costs. It’s all foreseeable.

Love Water, Not Oil!

Frank Bibeau is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Pillager Band. He is an attorney for Honor the Earth at the Minnesota PUC for the Sandpiper pipeline proceedings.

DNR chief: No guarantees for Mille Lacs winter walleye season
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Dan Kraker/MPR News,
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Despite Gov. Mark Dayton’s call for a walleye ice fishing season this winter at Lake Mille Lacs, it’s still not clear if the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will allow it.

An ice fishing season is vital for many resorts and businesses around the lake, especially after the open water walleye season was cut short this summer after the state exceeded its quota for how many fish anglers could take from the lake.

Many resort owners say winter months account for up to 75 percent of their business.
In late September, Dayton told reporters it was “crucial that we have a good winter fishing season for Mille Lacs, and I will insist that there be one.”

But in September, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr said Dayton’s insistence does not guarantee the DNR will OK Mille Lacs walleye ice fishing.

Instead, DNR biologists will survey the walleye population in Mille Lacs over the next three weeks, he said. That includes setting 52 gill nets throughout the lake to determine the population size of spawning adult walleye, the size and distribution of those fish, and reams of other data.

“We’re going to wait until we get the data to make any decisions,” Landwehr told MPR News. “There’s no proposals we’re going to be putting out there before we really get a chance to sit down with the data, with the bands, and come up with what's biologically justifiable.”

Asked how the DNR would respond if the data suggest there aren’t enough walleye to allow any ice fishing harvest this winter, Landwehr said, it was too soon to speculate.

“The big danger we have to be aware of in our desire to provide a lot of opportunity is we do not want to ding that population further, because that just hurts us in the future,” he said.

Dayton, he added, is not proposing the DNR bypass its scientific work “but rather work within the process to get the maximum opportunity for Minnesota anglers.”

In mid-October the DNR will meet with biologists representing eight Ojibwe Indian bands that have treaty rights to harvest fish from Mille Lacs, to analyze that data and determine a safe allowable harvest of walleye from the lake.

Landwher says in those discussions the DNR will insist on as much fishing opportunity as possible for Minnesota anglers.
“We’re hopeful that the data will support a season of some sort,” he said.

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has taken a different approach to the upcoming season. The band announced last month they will forego netting walleye on the lake next year. The other seven bands with treaty rights to the lake, including the Fond du Lac Band in Minnesota, have not yet announced their plans for next year.

In recent years the safe allowable harvest of walleye from Mille Lacs that’s been identified by DNR and tribal biologists has plummeted, from 500,000 pounds in recent years to only 40,000 pounds this year.

Of that total, 28,600 pounds were reserved for state anglers with 11,400 pounds for the bands.

Biologists are perplexed by what’s driving the decline in walleye in one of the state’s largest and historically most productive walleye fisheries. They say plenty of young walleye are hatching, but many of those walleye are failing to reach adulthood, for what they suspect is a variety of complex reasons including invasive species, climate change, water clarity, and predation.

Tribal and state officials are anxious to see what data the survey nets reveal in Mille Lacs this fall, said James Zorn with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

“We’re in a situation now where I think everyone’s going to wait with baited breath to see whether or not there would be enough walleye to even have a fishing season, for both the state and the tribes,” he said.

Minnesota  Public Radio News can be heard on MPR’s statewide radio network or online at .

Pipestone Superintendent walks cultural tightrope
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Jon Lurie,
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pipestone_waterfall.jpgOn the high prairies of Southwestern Minnesota one site, and one man, provide a textbook study of the spiritual and political complexities of America’s cultural imposition upon Native American lands.

For the past 15 years, Glen Livermont, the Oglala Lakota superintendent of Pipestone National Monument, has spent his days walking a precarious tightrope of competing visions. As a career Park Service employee, Livermont says he is obliged to act first in the interests of his employers.

“People will often ask me, ‘As an American Indian, what do you think should happen here?’ While I may have an opinion, and I may have feelings about what should happen, I am still a park service manager, and I need to accommodate that first and foremost.”

The sacred red stone quarries have been visited by indigenous peoples for at least 3000 years. Research indicates the earliest quarrying began around 200 B.C. The Yankton Sioux controlled the pipestone quarries from approximately 1700 until the 1920s, at which time stewardship of the area was transferred to the U.S. government.
Today, no fewer than 23 indigenous nations claim affiliation with the site, each of whom rely upon the red stone for crafting the ceremonial pipes central to their spiritual ways.

Black Elk explained why the red stone is so revered by his Lakota people. “When you pray with this pipe,” he said, “you pray for and with everything.” This quote stands at the top of the Monument’s webpage, one of the myriad ways Livermont has influenced interpretation of the quarries. To manage such a venerated place under the banner of a colonial government would be difficult for a commission of officials, and yet a single Park Service employee is tasked by federal authorities with its care. Livermont seeks commonalities between the Park Service’s mission and the visions Native people maintain for the quarries.

"It is the mandate of the Park Service to preserve and protect natural places for future generations,” he says. “That’s a philosophy that matches so well with many American Indian belief systems. Is this place sacred? I think it is, and as such, it needs the protections that the park service can give it. Fortunately there’s enough of those protections that fall in line with what American Indians believe.”

That doesn’t mean the visions of Native people and the Park Service have never clashed during Livermont’s tenure. The superintendent says sometimes federal employees don’t understand the “special relationship the government has with American Indians.”

Livermont says he runs up against colleagues who have been indoctrinated into the park service so thoroughly they feel they must always strictly follow regulations without regard for that special relationship. “These bureaucrats are not willing to compromise for executive orders that mandate American Indian access to sacred sites; they’re not even sure how to talk with Indians. American Indian employees here must straddle the fence, trying to figure out the right thing to do without jeopardizing our careers. It’s sometimes a major conflict, and I’ve experienced it a number of times.”

The son of an Oglala Lakota mother and white father, Livermont grew up on his family’s ranch in a remote district of the Pine Ridge Reservation, some 20 miles south of Interior, South Dakota. His family did not participate in Lakota spiritual ways. When he was 15 years-old, however, his mother brought him to the town of Pine Ridge, where the first openly celebrated Sun Dance in generations was being held.

“Fools Crow and a few of the other elders were bringing the Sun Dance back. There was a lot of excitement over that,” he says. “Having grown up in an era when there was a prohibition on American Indian spiritual practices, my mother had never seen a Sun Dance before, and so she was eager to go.”

Livermont’s uncle lived in Pine Ridge and told them they should avoid the Sun Dance. He had heard that members of the American Indian Movement were in town from Minneapolis and planned to “disrupt things.” Livermont recalls the electricity in the air as a crowd “waited around the arbor for something to happen.” He also remembers a carnival atmosphere surrounding the dance grounds, complete with circus music, and vendors selling snow cones and cotton candy.

Around noon, a priest arrived wearing beaded vestments. He entered the Sun Dance grounds intending to perform communion. In those days, the ceremony could not proceed without the consent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the church. Livermont watched as two men followed the priest, held a quiet conversation, and “guided” the priest off the grounds. Soon BIA police arrived and escorted the men off the reservation.

Young Livermont didn’t know who the AIM men were, or that he had just witnessed the rebirth of the Sun Dance. In the years that followed, dozens of Sun Dances would spring-up across Lakota country.

Nearly three decades later, Livermont gathered with his employees at Pipestone National Monument for a cultural sensitivity presentation by American Indian Movement leader Clyde Bellecourt (in advance of the annual Sun Dance Bellecourt oversees at the site). Bellecourt told the story of how he and Lehman Brightman removed a priest from the Pine Ridge Sun Dance in 1971. It was then that Livermont understood the significance of the events he had witnessed. The two men now work cooperatively to provide accommodations for the dozens of dancers and supporters who converge on the red stone quarries each summer. Livermont credits the events of 1971 with shaping his understanding of who he is as a Lakota person, and with influencing his understanding of his role as superintendent.

One of Livermont’s most important duties is interpretation of the pipestone quarries so that visitors of all backgrounds can grasp their significance. Livermont personally writes much the content included on the Monument’s website, within its visitor’s center, and on its signage.

To help guide this potentially contentious work, Livermont enjoys the advice of an informal council of elders, who, from throughout Indian Country, will knock on his office door and sit down for extended chats. One of these elders, Oglala spiritual leader Wilmer Mesteth, was a particularly welcome site across the superintendent’s desk. Livermont calls the recently deceased Mesteth a mentor and a good friend. The two met while Livermont worked in the South Unit of the South Dakota Badlands.

“Wilmer held a sun dance over in Venture Table. I would stop in and visit with him every year and got to know him that way. When I moved to Pipestone he would visit me. I really respected and liked Wilmer,” Livermont says.
Unlike some of his predecessors, Livermont says he takes his responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act quite seriously. Section 106 of the Act requires him to consult with leaders of the 23 tribes historically affiliated with the pipestone quarries whenever changes to the site are under consideration.

“The previous superintendent didn’t believe in consulting with the tribes. But it’s the law, and we have to do it. Because of that spiritual connection they have with the pipestone quarries, it’s also the right thing to do.” Livermont says at first the tribes didn’t take him seriously. They were used to the old way of doing business, where they were told how things were going to change, rather than asked how they should.

Last year, in attempt to educate his colleague on the intricacies of working hand-in-hand with the tribes, Livermont sponsored a training in Omaha. The session drew 25 participants who learned about the rewards and challenges of folding tribal input into Park Service policies. The event, Livermont says, was a tremendous success in transmitting “the American Indian way of thinking.” While he would like to hold annual sessions, the first one may well be the last due to budgetary constraints, which Livermont calls “unacceptable”.

“We in the National Parks Service need to reach out and develop meaningful relationships with the tribes,” he says. “If we don’t, we aren’t meeting our obligations under the law, and we are not doing right by American Indians or the best interest of the sites under our stewardship. We’ve got to start working in a different way.”

Whats New In The Community For October
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by The Circle,
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Native Americans in Philanthropy Announces New CEO
nap_new_ceo.jpgSarah Eagle Heart joined Native Americans in Philanthropy as its new Chief Executive Officer on September 2, 2015. “I am humbled and honored to be selected as the new CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy,” said Eagle Heart.
Founded in 1990, Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) strives to power reciprocity and investment in Native communities. Eagle Heart’s experience working at small nonprofit organizations and corporate tribal organizations, as well as large international non-governmental organizations has built upon her knowledge to understand the essential need for communication, education, mutual respect, collaboration, and advocacy.
Eagle Heart is an accomplished non-profit executive, having worked as Team Leader for Diversity and Ethnic Ministries and Program Officer for Indigenous Ministry at The Episcopal Church, New York, NY. Under her leadership, The Episcopal Church became the first major denomination to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery focusing programmatic education and advocacy on accurate history education, cultural teachings, healing and asset based community development. She has excelled at activating key leaders from grassroots to corporate level through capacity building – skills she plans on bringing to her new role at NAP.
Eagle Heart holds an Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, San Diego, CA; a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communications, and a Bachelors of Arts in American Indian Studies from Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD. She is a 2014 recipient of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s “40 under 40 Award”. She is enrolled at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

New Native Theatre Celebrates Non-Profit Status
New Native Theatre’s founder and artistic director, playwright, Rhiana Yazzie, announced that the company is now a non-profit organization. New Native Theatre’s presence in the sea of over 100 theatre companies in the Twin Cities is an opportunity for more Native artists to see their ideas come to life on stage.
New Native Theatre is celebrating its new status with a review of the six years they’ve been producing plays and events. It will feature excerpts from The Dreaming Bundle (2010), 2012: The Musical! (2012), Native-Somali Friendship Play (2013), and Native Man the Musical (2015) among other events that have happened in New Native Theatre’s last six  years. The 2010 and 2011 winners of Franklin Avenue Indian Idol will return along with the New Native Theatre Actor Ensemble and surprise guest appearances.
The celebration will take place at October 30, starting at 7:30pm at the Bedlam Lowertown, 213 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN. Ticket price $20. No one turned away. For more info, see: at

First Nations Development Institute Awards $165,000 in Grants
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has awarded four grants to Native nonprofit organizations and two grants to tribes through its Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative (NACBI). The initiative is part of a three-year project targeting Native nonprofits and tribal government programs serving the field of Native arts and artists in the four-state region of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The 2015 NACBI grantees are:
• American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), Duluth, Minnesota, $30,000 – The Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin Artist/Community Collaboration will be a year-long art-making and artist-development project for Native American artists primarily from the Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, White Earth, Mille Lacs, Leech Lake Bands and Red Lake Nation.
• Dakota Wicohan, Morton, Minnesota, $30,000 – Dakota Wicohan will use the grant for its Tawokaga Program to create opportunities to develop artists and for artists to make art. Dakota Wicohan will also focus on strengthening its organizational capacity to support the artists to be able to better sustain the artists and the arts while also expanding the visibility of and supporting the network for Dakota arts in rural Minnesota.
• Lower Sioux Indian Community, Morton, Minnesota, $30,000 – This project will help revitalize the Native American artists who have been teaching, preserving and showcasing art in the mediums of pottery, quilting/sewing, woodwork/sculpting, beading, leather work, painting/drawing, and quillwork. The Lower Sioux Agency Historic Site will be the hub station for artists to showcase their art, market their products and provide educational workshops to the Lower Sioux Tribal Community members and other Natives in the area.
• Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake, Minnesota, $30,000 – The Red Lake Native Arts Program serves predominantly adult artists and emerging youth artists living on and or near the remote Red Lake Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. The grant will provide a wraparound approach from developing the artist’s personal/business foundation to providing access to expanded markets and the necessary tools for success.
•Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF), Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, $15,000 – The Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF) will utilize the grant to expand its capacity as a Native nonprofit. LEAF will plan and implement a board retreat for a planning, growth and expansion project, which will serve the LEAF Board of Directors and the Native artists (predominantly Ho-Chunk and other Great Lakes-area tribes) that benefit from LEAF's programs.
• Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association, Belcourt, North Dakota, $30,000 – The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians has experienced a loss of art forms that were essential to its heritage and culture. Creating an authentic Native American artwork project will assist in redeveloping the lost arts. The Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association has created an art project, the Artistic Renewal and Preservation Project, consisting of three component: beadwork, red willow basket creation, and dance regalia, focusing on the traditional styles of the ancestors.

SMSC and MAZON partner with U of Arkansas School of Law
A landmark project to enhance tribal food sovereignty was unveiled as the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger announced their collaboration with the University of Arkansas School of Law as part of the tribe’s Seeds of Native Health initiative.
 Due to a long history of limited access to nutritious food, Native Americans suffer with obesity, diabetes, and other nutritional health problems at disproportionate rates compared to other ethnic groups. In an effort to create and sustain lasting policies and programs that will overcome these challenges, the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the School of Law will lead the development of a long-needed, comprehensive set of model food and agriculture codes to be customized and adopted by tribal nations.
The project will be led by Janie Simms Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and former U.S. Department of Agriculture senior adviser for tribal relations.
The SMSC’s leading gift of $250,000 through its Seeds of Native Health campaign and MAZON’s gift of $50,000 through its Rural and Remote Initiative will support the first phase of an anticipated three-year project.
For more info about Seeds of Native Health, see:
Native Poet Roberta Hill reads for Literary Witness
Friday, September 11 2015
Written by Catherine,
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Native Poet Roberta Hill reads for Literary Witnesses on Monday, Sept. 21, 7pm.
On Monday, Sept. 21 at 7pm at Plymouth Congregational Church (Nicollet Ave. at Franklin), Literary Witnesses presents award-winning Oneida Nation poet and University of Wisconsin professor Roberta Hill. Poet Joy Harjo calls her “one of America’s best poets of her generation.”   Author Louise Edrich says "Roberta Hill is a poet who understands struggle, and generously imparts her passion for renewal.”  The free event is co-sponsored by The Loft Literary Center and RainTaxi Review of Books.  There is plenty of free parking.  A reception and book signing will follow.
Roberta Hill is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in The American Indian Culture and Research Journal, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Luna, and Prairie Schooner among others.  She has received a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund Award and a Chancellor's Award from the University of Wisconsin. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Her newest book, Cicadas: New & Selected Poems, gathers together seventy-five poems, from previous poetry collections Star Quilt and Philadelphia Flowers, plus a generous selection of new poems culled from the past thirty years.  Roberta's poems are powerful lyrical expressions of love and respect for family, friends, and fellow artists within a wide context of contemporary life.
Literary Witnesses is a program of the Fine Arts Board at Plymouth Congregational Church. Over the past seventeen years, it has hosted readings by major national poets, including four US Poet Laureates.
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