Local Briefs
September Whats New in the Community
Friday, September 09 2016
Written by The Circle,
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NACDI announces new All My Relations Gallery Director

nacdi-gallery-new-director.jpgThe President and CEO, Robert Lilligren, of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) announced the appointment of Rory Erler Wakemup as new Director for All My Relations Gallery.  Wakemup brings to the organization 20 years of experience in contemporary Native arts as a student, artist, and curator.

As the Youth Activities Coordinator for the Golden Eagle Program at the Minneapolis American Indian Center,  Rory introduced local youth to art activities and a wild rice camp at the White Earth Reservation. Wakemup, who received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2015, cofounded a successful visual arts gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Wakemup brings an artistic and gallery background to the All My Relations Arts program.

“I am excited and humbled by the NACDI team’s invitation to serve as the Director of All My Relations Arts.  As both a Native artist and a committed community member, I am thrilled to begin a role that allows me to work closely with the American Indian community in Minneapolis – one that I consider to be my home and people,” says Wakemup.
Wakemup started his work as AMRA Director on August 15.

Gov. Dayton Appoints AIOIC President to Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board

Governor Mark Dayton has appointed American Indian OIC’s president and CEO, Dr. Joe Hobot, to the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership board. The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership works with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities, and keep high-quality jobs in the state. The board is comprised of public, private, and educational leaders who are tasked with ensuring the ongoing stability and growth of the state’s economy and labor force- principally through the management of the Dislocated Worker program and the issuance of grants and other supportive measures.
 In his role as a member of the board, Dr. Hobot will ensure that underrepresented communities, particularly the American Indian community, remain a part of the conversations, planning, and resource allocations administered by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.

FDLTCC selected for Dept. of Ed Program

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College was selected to participate in the new Second Chance Pell pilot program. Featuring a renewed partnership between Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee, the college’s application was selected as one of only three Second Chance Pell pilot program sites in Minnesota. The Second Chance Pell program allows incarcerated individuals access to Pell Grants for college courses delivered online and in person. The college will serve an estimated 45 students each year who are incarcerated at the prison in Shakopee.

Pine Technical College and South Central College were the only other Minnesota colleges to receive Second Chance Pell program funding. Across the United States, selected colleges and universities will partner with 141 federal and state penal institutions to enroll approximately 12,000 incarcerated students in educational programs. Through the pilot program, colleges may provide federal Pell Grants to qualified students who are incarcerated and are likely to be released within five years of enrolling in college coursework.

The Second Chance Pell is an experiment started last year to test whether participation in high quality education programs increases after expanding access to financial aid for incarcerated individuals. The pilot program allows eligible incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs when they are released.

A 2013 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education programs. The study also estimated that for every dollar invested in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs.

Indian Health Board wins Giebink Award

The Minneapolis Indian Health Board has been awarded the 2016 G. Scott Giebink Award for Excellence in Immunization. The organzation was nominated by Immulink, the Hennepin County-based organization that provides MIIC support to the 7 county metropolitan area. IHB was one of four nominees that was presented to the selection committee made up of MDH staff. The committee selected the organization because of their excellence in MIIC use and data interoperability. Some of the activities considered for the award were: First organization to have bi-directional MIIC data exchange, Excellent use of immunization assessment reports, Excellent data quality and MIIC participation and High immunization coverage for clinic population.

AIOIC Recognized for Its Work

The American Indian OIC (AIOIC) was recently recognized by the First Nations Development Institute, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition for its work helping Native Americans living in urban areas attain meaningful employment.
 The group partnered with AIOIC to help more individuals of Native descent break into technology careers. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, of the 34,000 “computer systems design and related services” workers in the state, only 180 or .5% identified as American Indian. AIOIC is working to change this by providing rigorous training for good-paying, in-demand technology jobs through its accredited career college, the Takoda Institute of Higher Education.

Dr. Rock among 100 Influential Minnesota Health Care Leaders

Dr. Patrick Rock, CEO of the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, has been named one of the “100 Influential Minnesota Health Care Leaders” based on nominations from the Minnesota Physician’s readers. Every four years, Minnesota Physician recognizes the 100 most influential health care leaders in Minnesota.

Missouri River threatened by DAPL
Friday, September 09 2016
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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dapl-protestors.jpgIt’s 2016, and the weight of American corporate interests has come to the Missouri River, the Mother River. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry, or the Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, it is Enbridge and Dakota Access Pipeline. In mid August, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II was arrested by state police, along with 27 others, for opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. In the meantime, North Dakota Governor Daplymyre called for more police support. Every major pipeline project in North America must cross Indigenous lands, Indian country. That is a problem.  

The road west of Fargo is rarely taken. In fact, most Americans just fly over North Dakota, never seeing it. Let me take you there.
 My head clears as I drive; my destination the homeland of the Hunkpapa Oceti, Standing Rock Reservation. It is early evening, the moon full. If you close your eyes you can remember the 50 million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world. The pounding of their hooves would vibrate the Earth, and make the grass grow. There were once 250 species of grass. Today the buffalo are gone, replaced by 28 million cattle who require grain, water and hay. Many of the fields are now in a single GMO crop, full of so many pesticides that the monarch butterflies are being wiped out.

If you drive long enough you come to the Missouri River. Called Mnisose, a great swirling river by the Lakota, she is a force to be reckoned with. She is breathtaking.  

The Missouri River has a fixed place in the history and mythology of the Lakota and other Indigenous nations of the Northern Plains. In the time before Sitting Bull, the Missouri River was the epicenter of northern agriculture; the river bed so fertile, the territory was known as the fertile crescent of North America.

Now Enbridge and their partners are preparing to drill through the river bed. The pipeline has been permitted in sections from the west and from the east. The northern portion was moved away from the water supply of Bismarck, into the watershed of Standing Rock.  That’s unfortunate.

Measure twice, cut once: carpenters and Summit Academy students
Friday, September 09 2016
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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summit-academy.jpgNo one wants to hear the word “Oops” uttered at a construction site. And not at healthcare and medical facilities, either.
So printed on a wall above blackboards in a carpentry classroom at Summit Academy OIC in North Minneapolis is the carpenters’ proverb: “Measure twice and cut once.” That also sums up what the adult students are doing with their lives, said Steve Shedivy, director of marketing.

Literally, the old adage means carpenters and construction workers should double check their measurements before sawing lumber or putting building materials into place. Figuratively, for everyone else, it simply means to prepare thoroughly before taking action.

Summit Academy (SAIOC) offers 20-week job training programs that ready students for apprenticeships and internships in the construction trades or in healthcare and medical-related career positions.
The program offerings vary during the year, Shedivy said.

Within the construction fields, training programs include electrician, heavy equipment operator, concrete form carpenter, residential carpentry and pre-apprentice construction/carpentry.

Healthcare programs are for community health workers, certified nursing assistants, medical administrative assistants and pharmacy technicians.

Using Minnesota state government projections, the school notes that there will be $6 billion in construction projects in the Twin Cities metro area by 2018. Nationally, the aging population is driving 5.6 million new healthcare jobs within the next four years.
For many students wishing to prepare for expanding job opportunities, a lack of a high school diploma is a large barrier to success. SAOIC has started a unique 10-week GED certificate program to precede the training programs.

Native American students are a small but growing percentage of SAOIC enrollment, Shedivy said, but could increase with the GED preparation program. Roughly half of the Native American population in Minnesota left school before graduating, according to various federal and state studies.

It’s still too new to determine how the 10-week GED preparation, tutoring and help with a personal study program will affect SA enrollment. There are technical training programs at Minnesota community colleges geared to similar career paths, but accessing those programs is not easy for adults without high school diplomas who want to go back to school.

Meanwhile, the logic of nonprofit training programs for recognized real world jobs would seem to be patently obvious. That isn’t the case in most parts of America.

Friday, August 05 2016
Written by The Circle,
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Thru Aug. 25
Child/Adolescent Drum Circle Anishinaabewiwin

Co-leaders: Megan Eastman, MSW, LICSW, (Apsaalooke’/Crow) and Joel Harris, Ph.D. (Seneca/ Haudenosaunee). A drum group inviting boys and girls ages 8-16. Come together to learn and share traditional songs. Singing and drumming, talking circle, and traditional medicines. Thursdays: 2 to 3:30 pm. at the Indian Health Board Counseling and Support Clinic, 1315 E. 24th St., Minneapolis. For intake, call 612-721-9807 Or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Thru Sept. 16
Reframe Minnesota

Two Rivers and All My Relations Galleries present: Reframe Minnesota, a group exhibition shown across two art galleries along the American Indian Cultural Corridor, uses a range of visual mediums to explore the future of public art at the Minnesota State Capitol. It features original works from 12 Minnesotan artists as well as student artwork from area elementary schools. Local artists, including painters, printmakers, photographers, and sculptors, respond to the Capitol artwork, its depictions of Native Americans, and its lack of representation for other communities of color. Showing at: Two Rivers Gallery: 1530 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, and All My Relations Arts: 1414 E Franklin Ave, Minnneapolis. For info see: or

Thru Sept. 23
Four Sisters Farmers Market

Fridays: 3 - 6 pm. Come for fresh produce from area vendors. Use your EBT-SNAP card. Buy tokens and get Market Bucks to matchdollar-to-dollar (up to $10). Use tokens to buy from maret vendors or keep for future visits. NACDI parking lot (next to the Powwow Grounds), 1414 E. Frankline Ave., Mpls, MN. For more info or to be a vendor, call Jenn Hall at 612-235-4971.

Aug. 3
Wakanyeja Kin Wakan Pi Positive Indian Parenting

In collaboration with several early childhood education partners, including the American Indian Family Center, American Indian Magnet School PreK, Montessori American Indian Childcare Center, and the St. Paul Children’s Collaborative, a Positive Indian Parenting course will be hosted. During this course, families will be guided through traditional teachings on family and community wellbeing. A light lunch and childcare will be provided. Please call to register. 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Free. 579 Wells St, St Paul, MN. For info, contact Colette Lawrence at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-793-3803.

Aug. 3-6
20th Annual Anishinaabe Spiritual Run

Red Lake to Mash Ka Wisen Powwow. Opening Ceremony on Aug. 3rd at  9 am. Red Lake Pow wow grounds. For info, contact  Tom or Buck at 218-679-3392, or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 5
Natives Against Heroin

Honoring Those in Recovery. Grand Entry at 6:00 pm. Light meal at 5:30 for powwow participants. Minneapolis American Indian Center Program Sponsors: Prevention through Cultural Awareness and Native Fitness and Nutrition. For info, call Cheryl Secola or Gary Spears at 612 879-1700.    

Aug. 6
Bead a Ring

Learn a basic stringing technique while beading a ring to take home. Allow an hour to make the craft. Recommended for ages 8 and up. 11 am - 3 pm. $3 per kit, does not include museum admission. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, contact 320-532-3632 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 6
56th Birthday Celebration

Help celebrate the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post's 56th birthday. Refreshments will be provided. Explore the exhibits, including the popular Four Seasons Room with life-size dioramas, then head next door to shop for American Indian arts and crafts at the Trading Post. Included with site admission of $10 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $6 ages 5-17, free ages 4 and under and MNHS members. As part of the celebration, there will be 10 percent off purchases for the day. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, contact 320-532-3632 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 10-11
Free Diabetic Eye Exam

Do you have diabetes? Has it been over a year since your last eye exam? Come in for a free retina exam. Diabetes education, snacks and incentives provided. 9 am to 3 pm.  Call Sarah to schedule an appointment at 612-843-5928. NACC, 1213 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN.

August 10-11
MABC Summit

Topics include: financial capability and education models, VITA site best practices, IDAs, child savings accounts, small business development, Native Asset Building, legislative advocacy training, and more. Keynote presentations by: Jamie Harvie, Institute for a Sustainable Future, and Jessica Webster, Prosperity for All. Registration fee: $50 (includes all meals and sessions). Northern Lights Casino and Events Center in Walker MN. To inquire about discount registration, contact Dave Snyder at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-842-6910.

Aug. 11, 20, 25 and Sept. 8, 17, 22
Catalyst for a Community Quilting Bee

We are creating a series of 84 hand sewn quilts. When completed, the quilts will be laid outdoors for an all night performance filled with dance, storytelling and stargazing! We provide all materials as well as beverages and snacks. Feel free to bring drinks or snacks to share. We will be holding Saturday morning Quilting Bees at Two Rivers Gallery and Thursday evening Quilting Bees at Studio 207 at The Ivy Building. Please join us for any of all of them! Quilting Bees at Two Rivers Gallery (1530 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis) from 10 am - 2 pm on Saturdays: August 20, September 17, October 15, November 12 and December 10. Quilting Bees at The Ivy Arts Building (2637 27th Ave S, Minneapolis, Studio #207) from 6-8 pm on Thursdays. August 11 & 25, September 8 & 22, October 6 & 20, November 3 & 17 and December 1 & 15. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions. For more information on the project please visit

Aug. 16
HHS, IHS and SBA Small Businesses Outreach

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Indian Health Service along with the Small Business Administration will host a community outreach event for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native American small business owners and Indian Tribes about contracting with HHS and other federal agencies. Information on available resources for local small business owners to compete and thrive in the federal marketplace. Registration: 8:30 am. Event: 9 am – 12 pm. Bemidji Public Library, 509 America Ave. NW, Bemidji, MN. For info call Richard Gerry at 218-444-0453. Or attend via teleconference at noon (CDT). Teleconference: 267-930-4000. Participant Code: 514 259 180. URL:

Aug. 17
Indian Child Welfare Education Day

Co-Sponsored by MHSL Indian Law Center. Registration: 8 am. Program: 8:30 am  - 4 pm. Free. Lunch provided. CEU’s will be provided. Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN. For info, contact Sandy White Hawk at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-442-4872.

Aug. 17
Mobile Mammogram Day

SMSC Mobile Unit will visit NACC. Screening for signs of breast cancer. Education on beast, cervial and color cancer. Earn screening incentives. Call Sarah to schedule an appointment at 612-843-5924. If you have insurance, bring your card. If you don’t have insurance, call before your appointment to sign up for SAGE free mammogram program. NACC, 1213 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN.

Aug. 17-18
Return to First Medicines 3rd Annual Gathering

A gathering for adults and youth to learn about sacred medicines, growing traditional foods, and how to care for our environment. Topics: Restoring traditional knowledge and basic skills about gathering; Using and respecting our traditional medicines; How to grow and prepare Native food crops; Learn about the environment and natural resources to protect and preserve; Barter and Swap event. Fee: $40. Fortune Bay Reort and Casino, 1430 Bois Forte Road, Tower, MN. For more info, call Suzanne Nash at 612-722-6248 or see:

Aug. 19 (deadline)
Mazinaakizige - American Indian Teen Photography

This 12 week long arts-based internship with the Minnesota Historical Society lets you work with artist mentors as you investigate American Indian representations - historic and contemporary - and create your own gallery show. Learn digital photography, get behind-the-scenes access to artwork and objects, and build your resume. At the end of 12 weeks, students will create a body of work and exhibit their photography in a gallery show at Two Rivers Gallery in Minneapolis. Dates: Saturdays, 12-5 p.m., September 13 - December 6. Six American Indian High School Students from the metro area will be selected. Apply by August 19. Classes will take place at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., Saint Paul, plus field trips to other locations.  Fill out online application at For info, contact Jessica Hobson at 651-259-3485, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 20
Open House

Augsburg Fairview Academy is holding an open house from 1 to 5 pm. Meet students and staff. Student vs staff kickball, dunk tank, tours and more. Meal catered by La Loma Tamales and Holy Land Deli. Enrolling grades 9-12. Augsburg Fairview Academy, 2504 Columbus Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. For more info, call 612-333-1614.

Aug. 21
New Native Theatre’s 2016 Summer Tour

STOLEN GENERATION by Ardie Media (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) and SNEAKY by William S. Yellow Robe Jr. (Assiniboine). And the return of FRANKLIN AVENUE INDIAN IDOL Karaoke Contest. Join us all day during Franklin Avenue Open Streets. Stolen Generation: 11-11:30 am, 1:15-1:45 pm, 4:45-5:15 pm. Sneaky: 11:45 am-12:45 pm, 2 -1 pm, 5:30-6 pm. Franklin Avenue Indian Idol Karaoke Contest: 3-4:30 pm. Free. At the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Outdoor Amphitheater, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For more info, see

Aug. 21
Homeland: Native Artists Create on the Ave

Native artists of all backgrounds with ties to Homelands in or near the Twin Cities, including storytellers, beaders, quiltmakers, craftspeople, makers, performers, muralists, create collaborative work sharing our stories of homeland here in the cities and along the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis. Teams work together share $20,000 to implement their collaborations from mid-summer to fall along Franklin Avenue with a public celebration on August 17 at Open Streets. 11 am - 5 pm at Franklin Open Streets. For info, contact Taylor Payer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Jun-Li Wang at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 21
Fun Run

Take a short walk around the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Powwow grounds and earn a free gift courtesy of the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post. Registration for the walk is located at the pavilion on the powwow grounds. 9 - 10:30 am. Free. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, call 320-532-3632 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 21

Kwestrong Triathlon will include run, bike, and canoe. 9 am - 3 pm, Bde Maka Ska Lake (Thomas Beach, Lake Calhoun), Minneapolis, Minnesota. For Native women, girls and boys. (Women and children participants only.) $25 registration fee. Sponsorships Available. For info, see:

Aug. 23 (deadline)
Grants to Support Nutrition Ed. for Food on Reservations

The Nutrition Education for Native American Communities project will provide grants to Native American communities interested in starting or expanding nutrition education programming for Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) recipients. First Nations will award up to 30 grants totaling $10,000 each to FDPIR programs. Supports FDPIR programs that are looking to provide or expand nutrition workshops, cooking classes/food demonstrations, healthy recipe development, development and dissemination of educational materials. The grant begins Sept. 1 and ends June 1, 2017. Organizations eligible to apply will be Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs), other programs that are NAFDPIR members, FDPIR programs and tribal programs or nonprofit organizations working with FDPIR programs. For info, visit

Aug. 25
Community Arts Night
5 - 8 pm at Two Rivers Gallery, 1530 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis. For info, see, or email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 27-28
Ojibwe Moccasin 2-Day Workshop

Learn techniques of working with leather at this two-day workshop. Participants will make a pair of Ojibwe-style moccasins to take home. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided both days. The workshop runs Saturday from noon to 4 pm, and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. $60/$55 MNHS members, plus $25 supply fee. Reservations required, call 320-532-3632. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post, 43411 Oodena Dr., Onamia, MN. For info, contact 320-532-3632 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Aug. 29 (deadline)
Native Nation Rebuilders

Connect with amazing Native leaders. Learn about innovative tribal governance practices. Strengthen your leadership abilities. Help advance your Native vision for the future. Become a Native Nation Rebulder. The Native Governance Center is currently taking applications for Cohort 8. Application and references must be received by Aug.29th at 12:00 p.m. CST.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. For info and application, see: Session dates for Cohort 8:
• Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2016 (Twin Cities, MN)
• April 26-28, 2017 (Spearfish, SD)
• Sept. 20-32, 2017 (Location TBD)
• Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2017 (Twin Cities, MN)

Aug. 30 (deadline)
Call for articles

Vanishing Indians/Painting Indians. Thomas McKenney, the Origins of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Beyond. University of Milan, Milan/Italy, November 21-22. The University of Milan will host an international conference entitled “Vanishing Indians/Painting Indians. This conference will examine not only McKenney’s role in the definition of the powers of the agency under the control of the Department of War, but his effort to describe with images the life and costumes of the tribes East of the Mississippi River. Art historians to Native Americans historians are invited to send their proposals before the end of August 2016. Paper proposals should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it The organizers will offer two days stay in the center of Milan, lunch and dinner for the days of the conference. Speakers cover their own travel expenses. For info, see:

Aug. 31
Native FAN Wellness Support Circle

Native FAN Wellness Support Circle (formerly known as Native American Cancer Support Circle). If you or someone you know would benefit from a monthly Native American Wellness Support Circle (for all chronic illnesses), we encourage you to join us for a meal and good company. We meet every last Wed. of the month at MAIC, 1530 E Franklin Ave., Mpls, MN. For info, contact Val Lafave at 612-879-1722 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 9
Wisdom Steps 13th Annual Golf Tournament

Fundraising event for Elders in the Wisdom Steps program. Starts at 9 am for registration, 10 am is Shot Gun Start. Prices vary depending on the type of sponsorships. This event will be held at the Black Bear Golf Course in Carlton, MN (20 miles south of Duluth, MN). For info, contact Drew Annette at 218-335-8586, or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 9
Leech Lake Twin Cities Annual Picnic

For Leech Lake band members. Free. 11 am-2 pm. Veterans Memorial Park - Picnic Shelter, 6335 Portland Ave, Richfield, MN. For info, call Valerie Larsen at 612-729-0554.

Not a Teddy Bear Indian
Friday, August 05 2016
Written by Ricey Wild,
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It’s weird how things work out. Or don’t. First off, I didn’t think I would still be around to write the above so in my case it’s cool. I’ve had a spectacular life and not all of it has been good, but most def spectacular. For so long I’ve been threatening all of yooz that I’m gonna write a book and that is going to happen. I will also be working with author, journalist and playwright Mark Anthony Rolo on a play about my crazy life.

Some of you may have your sparse Indian hairs standing up after reading about this incredible (insert your reaction here gr and kb) collaboration, but let me assure yooz the time has come so just be ready. I’m now able to focus for the first time in my life on what I’ve been writing about for almost 18 years. All my life, really!!! I know some of you have read my column for years now and you must know how much I appreciate yooz. Big love ya’ll.

The best part of all my personal experiences has been that I’m not alone. Probably 99.9% of real brown Indians have been through what I have and more, which is sad. When I say ‘best part’ I mean it’s not us personally, it is the color of our skin and our culture we have never left after 500 years. That is strength, resilience, courage and the refusal to give up in the face of unrelenting racism and colonization. I’m so proud of us.

I’m so not a “Teddy Bear Indian”. Never have I written or said anything to make non-Indians feel comfortable or that I’m not a threat. Let me be clear: I am a threat and you may not like or agree with what I say but it is my life experience and no one can dismiss it or marginalize me. I AM and I matter. Bring it, I got you.

The reason I bring that up is that so many Indian writers bow down to what white people think will sell and I call that selling out. Not all of us are mystical beings who are in tune with the Earth. Deep in our DNA we are but not all of us listen.

A character I named Moosie is just that; a cultural caricature I invented when I saw paperback books of a bronze Indian man holding a white woman who succumbed to his savage love albeit unwillingly, at first. I laughed just hard. I said to myself I can do better than that and did so. The response was hilarious. I had women asking who Moosie really is and men who made their ponytails float like Moosie’s in the wind even when there was no wind.

Point is a lot of people liked my fictional character and wanted more of it but my column has been about an Indian woman living in this crazy space and writing about my life trying to survive. Apart from my own problems I’ve addressed many life issues that affect us all as Indian Nations. I cry and rage a lot wondering how I can help and make a difference for the better and continuation of our People. That is and will be my main purpose, for the love of us as a distinct and sovereign people.

I share now that I’ve been betrayed and deliberately hurt by close family and friends. It sickens me most of all because of the time and trust I wasted on them. They have serious character flaws and thanks to my therapist I don’t carry any trauma they inflicted on me. He said, “It’s not your fault” after I told him how my former best friend hurt me. That statement saved me and I now say it to yooz.

So much of what you have suffered is not your fault. It’s the fault of the racist, colonial, oppressive culture being inflicted upon us. The good news is a great many people are awakening and making their voices heard. Those people are also walking the talk in life and politics (Plz go register to vote!) who will be recognized as a serious power.

It is so easy to acquiesce to the mundane machine and think that no matter what you do or not it’s already been rigged so your vote doesn’t count. I say it does and that if you choose not to vote you then have no right to complain about anything. I know that our political system sucks but it’s all we have right now so make your voice heard, please.

Not everyone has the platform I have to speak out but you still can. Love to my granddaughter, Love to All.

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