Local Briefs
Mascot Protest Spurs Continued Momentum
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Art Coulson,
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mascot protest spurs continued momentum-tcf crowd-web.jpgIn the weeks since thousands of native people and their allies converged on TCF Stadium to protest the Washington NFL team’s offensive name, those involved in the #NotYourMascot march and rally have continued the conversation with a focus on maintaining momentum toward a name change.

“Five hundred and twenty-two years of stereotypes is difficult to eradicate,” Robert DesJarlait, a Red Lake elder, said. He carried the eagle staff to lead the People’s March from the American Indian OIC to the stadium on the University of Minnesota campus on Nov. 2 as an organizer for Save Our Manoomin. “We need to use education as a means of dislodging decades of stereotypes. [Washington owner Daniel] Snyder's team is just the starting point. But it's the beginning of the process to eradicate such imagery and restore pride and human dignity to Native people.”

Organizers of the march said while the Washington team name is the most racially offensive, their battle to end the use of native mascots in sport does not end there.

“We need to go after not just the NFL, but the NHL and major-league baseball also,” Jason Elias, a march organizer and member of AIM-Twin Cities said. “I think it's too bad we missed an opportunity this last summer to protest the All-Star game when it was here in Minneapolis. One thing I would like to say is that I would like to give credit and thank Vernon Bellecourt who is the founding father in the fight against Native mascots. He truly deserves the credit.”

Elias plans to continue the battle by focusing on schools and using anti-bullying policies to target those who wear native mascot gear to school.

#NotYourMascot is a coalition of grassroots organizations including Idle No More-Twin Cities, AIM-Twin Cities, AIM Patrol of Minneapolis, United Urban Warrior Society, Idle No More-Wisconsin, Protect Our Manoomin, Twin Cities Save the Kids, Minnesota Two Spirit Society and several other organizations.

The march and rally for the Minnesota-Washington football game, which drew a crowd of between 3,500 and 5,000 people from across North America who marched on the stadium from several directions, was the largest so far to protest the use of native mascots by sports teams. Organizers vowed to protest at each of the remaining Washington football games this season. On Nov. 23, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in San Francisco before the San Francisco-Washington game.

December 2014 Calendar
Friday, December 05 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Dec. 9

We are Still Here: The Circle at 35!

Join us to celebrate the work of pioneering Native American author Laura Waterman Wittstock and photographer Dick Bancroft as well as The Circle's continued mission to presenting the news from a Native American perspective.

8-9 a.m., All Nations Church, 1515 E. 23rd St., Minneapolis, MN. Doors open at 7:30 for coffee. $35 suggested donation, to RSVP, call 612-722-3686 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dec. 9

Parents of Tradition Family Winter Gathering

Families with children, ages birth to five winters-old are invited! Learn how to reclaim tradition ways of parenting. Learn more about using Indigenous language in your home. Hosted by Minneapolis Indian Education Parents of Tradition Early Childhood Education Program. Lunch will be provided and children are welcome!

12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Division of Indian Work, 1001 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN. Call to reserve your space for lunch. Transportation is available upon request, call Jean at 612-290-9936.

Dec. 10

Prevention through Culture Awareness Program

Dakota Language Table by Neil McKay.

4-5 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

Dec. 11

Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Meeting

Twin Cities Native Lacrosse Organization is hosting a community feast and information meeting about our new boys and girls lacrosse teams. Children and parents are invited to eat and learn about playing lacrosse on a youth team. Players do not need to have any experience playing lacrosse before. Practices are after school and run from January through the spring.

6 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, Second Floor Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN.

Dec. 11

Prevention through Culture Awareness Program

Ojibwe Language Table by Joe Spears.

6-7 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN.

Thank You!
Friday, November 14 2014
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Warroad Warriors Rededicated
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by Jon Lurie,
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web-warroad 1.jpgIn its 30 year quest to influence teams to change their names, mascots and logos from those that are offense to Native Americans, the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media is making strides. Thousands of high schools and colleges across the country have felt the pressure and given up names which encourage stereotyping of indigenous people.

NCARSM, which is based in Minneapolis, still has work to do before the thousands of offensive team names still in use are relegated to the annals of history. The organization’s current strategy is to go after the National Football League's Washington team, a nationally prominent team whose name is a racial slur and whose tradition of mocking Native American people is seen as particularly vile.

“We believe that when the Washington team changes, everyone else will follow,” NCARSM board member Clyde Bellecourt said. He also said the Washington team has a tradition of upholding institutional racism that goes far beyond the current disagreement over its name. The team was last in the National Football League to allow – in October of 1961 – non-white players on its roster, a move that prompted their former supporters, the American Nazi Party, to protest outside RFK Stadium.

But as NCARSM focused its efforts on organizing a major rally against the Washington team (who play the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota Nov. 2) one of its board members, the organization alleges, Alan Yelsey – without the knowledge or blessing of others within the organization – was mailing threatening letters to schools with disparaging team names. Yelsey and NCARSM have since parted ways.

Native man wants to open The Sioux Chef
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by Deanna Standing Cloud,
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There are many things we are busy reclaiming as Native people. Whether it be our minds, homelands, children, language or history, there is always a noble fight to be fought every single day. The same holds true for our connection to food. Before colonization, food was treated as a sacred gift from the Earth. There has always been a deep spiritual component to ourselves, the landscape and what we eat. Everything we did, whether it was ceremony, celebration or our seasonal activities, food was always a main part of our lives.

Lakota chef, Sean Sherman is one of those in our community committed to reclaiming our ancient foods. It began with an interest in developing a Lakota cookbook modernizing Native foods. He found during his research that there was a tremendous lack of information about Indigenous foods. This prompted him to launch his own learning plan to rediscover many of the first foods. He found many resources; bookstores, history centers and online. “I had to dig deep into very old history books to find first account records,” he said. What he found was an abundance of traditional knowledge waiting to be awakened.

Sherman credits his ancestors for being connected to plant life, animals and the environment. He feels that Native people have rich history when it comes to ways of sustaining themselves for generations, “Our ancestors were incredibly intelligent. They understood ancient technology has been working for our people for thousands of years.” This is the knowledge Sherman is using as a foundation his work with Twin Cities Native community to revitalize these old ways of gathering, preparing, preserving and serving these sacred Indigenous staples.

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