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Local Briefs
Surgery, Medication, and Hard Ttimes
Tuesday, March 08 2016
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write and there’s an awful reason for that. December 23, 2015, I had another lumbar spinal fusion surgery. I’ve already been through a previous one in March 2012 so knowing what I was in for I felt horrible and it was traumatic for me.

Well, having ‘been there’ and knowing what I was in for (or so I thought) I thoroughly researched and cross-listed everything I knew was the most important, like my dog Mitzi and my cat’s needs plus. And, this is critical, my employer’s knowledge of my impending surgery and the NEUROSURGEON’S recommendation that I have 12 weeks of recovery time before I return to work. I know that sounds like a home vay-cay to some folks, but since I was only making cents above minimum wage it was all I had. Not cool.

Before the big surgery I KNOW I had all professional and home pet care stuff taken care, even clean undies and a clear space to roll my new walker through. Me! A walker! Actually, it’s just cute, and has one of those seats with a bag you can put your stuff in underneath.

After I got home I received a visit from an in-home Physical Therapist which I needed desperately so I could learn how to function and walk normally again. Then I got a call from her saying I had been cut off the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and do I have another insurance company? Well, it took me a bit to let that sink in, but no, I didn’t have another one. Not long after that, I got a certified letter from my now former  employer saying I had been terminated from my job, one reason being I had not been in contact with them telling them when I would return to work.

People, that was one of the most important things I did; made sure I had a job to return to, never mind the toxic workplace I was forced to put up with daily. I had a job to do, I did it. Unreal. Then I got a call asking when I was going to come get my personal items, mostly books, etc... and here’s me housebound not allowed to heft more than 5 pounds. I laughed. I am unable to even carry the dust outta there, never mind the other heavy stuff.

Okay then, that kind of vicious, rez-backward idiocy I can deal with, but fate wasn’t done with me yet. Late one night I got a call that changed everything; my Son’s life, my Granddaughter’s life, and my own reason for even bothering to stick around this vile, hateful environment (by that I mean this life).

But hey, I’m still here and gonna stick around to make sure that those who conciously set out to hurt me get theirs. And I’m going to keep writing, on a blog or essays perhaps, to bring awareness where before there was none. Uh uh. That is over because I am becoming an active participant in any way I can. Marching may be out of my agenda right now but I’m there, too.

One other thing I will do is if I say “I’m here for you, let me know” that is exactly what I will do and then some. I’ve never been so alone in my life and it really, really sucks. I even gave money and did favors to someone I thought was my friend, and who I thought would help me and stop by now and then to see if I was alive or dead. Nope.

Then there’s the time I needed stuff and the only person who helped me didn’t have a car at all but he did it to just to help me. We used a taxi. He helped me put everything away and said he will help me, not just leave us to rot. Miigwech. M, you saved my faith in humanity just when I was so done with everything and everyone.

That is the reason I’ve been gone. The pain, the medications and sorrows. I wish you all well and happy my friends. One thing I know for sure we are not alone in our troubles and trials, somehow Creator gives us the strength to go on.

Creator is why we are here so I suppose I take it that I’m here to make a good difference. We can all do this together, our communities are in severe crisis due to drugs. And I don’t know of any Indian family, including mine, who has not been affected. Let’s start with that.

Much Love.

Donavan “DJ” Golubowicz (Jan. 23, 1967 - Feb. 5, 2016)
Tuesday, March 08 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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golubowicz-obituary.jpgDonavan “DJ” Golubowicz, age 49, of the Lower Sioux Community entered the Spirit World on February 5, 2016 at his home. Donavan Jaye Golubowicz was born January 23, 1967 in St. Paul, Minnesota to Dennis Lothert and Lillian Columbus.  He graduated from White Bear High School, and later attended Century College for culinary arts.  DJ worked in construction and earned his boilermaker’s license. He traveled the world, and rode all over the United States on his Harley. He loved the outdoors and wildlife, taking care of dogs and training them. DJ enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and being goofy with his kids. He was a fun loving, outgoing person. DJ was an outstanding cook, loved watching movies, and enjoyed doing arts and crafts. His favorite pastime was playing guitar, singing, and dancing.
DJ is survived by his fiancée Angela “Shorty” Golubowicz; mother Lillian Wilson; father Dennis Lothert; children: Mario, Terrence, Shaya, Jonny, and the twins; grandchildren: Samyah, Cory, and Jeffery; siblings: Eileen, Tim, Deon, Stacy, and Caesar; the Golubowicz family; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is preceded in death by his brother Willard, nephew Marcus Roberts, nieces Ashley Whitebird and Monique Wilson, and cousins Chad Gruendemann and Salina Eller. 
Funeral services were held on February 9 at St. Cornelia’s Episcopal Church on the Lower Sioux Community. Visitation was held at the Lower Sioux Guild Hall. Burial was in St. Cornelia’s Episcopal Cemetery. Online condolences may be sent at www.stephensfuneralservice.com.

Spring Time Contemplation
Tuesday, March 08 2016
 
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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Spring will be here this month. It’s an exciting time of year. Everything that has been asleep will reawaken. The trees regain their leaves. The colors of nature become vibrant. The sounds of the morning birds will return. The bustle of nature will happen once again.

In my busy years of my professional life, I looked past nature. I was so busy with deadlines. I needed to get the next project off my desk. I needed to set up a meeting. Every call was urgent. Every moment was essential. At least, that is what I thought.

On February 16 at 10:20 pm, my Grandson was born. Mi Cante Olowan – Song of My Heart. He was 9 lbs 4 oz. A big boy. Amazing. The heavens opened up and allowed another angel to join us here, at least that is what I believe. I watched my son and his adoration. I saw myself many years ago. I remember that look. I remember that feeling. The awe of it all. It’s breathtaking.   

Another generation is born. This is the circle of life. I’ll enter into another stage of my life. I’ve been fighting it, but it’s necessary. I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into middle age and I hear the call of becoming an Elder. It’s time. Youth and being young was for that period of time, but now it’s time to move onto the next stage of my life. I’m the link from one generation to the next.   

Throughout this journey, I’ve had my Mother to help me understand what was happening. She was my rock. She was my comfort. She was my understanding. Nearly 5 years ago, her body gave way and she joined the heavens. I still speak to her daily. We have our conversations. I tell her the latest goings-ons. I ask her for guidance. I seek her consolation.

My favorite memory with my Mother was at Sundance. I’d gotten involved in our ceremonial way of life against my parents’ wishes. They were boarding school children who had these rich cultural ways of life torn from them. They believed they were saving me and my siblings from this loss by not teaching us. Yet, it is what defines us, so I sought it out.

Every morning during Sundance my Mother would be there to help me prepare. Before the sun came up, in the cold, damp dark night, I’d come out of sweat to find her at camp getting my ceremonial stuff ready. This particular year it was a hot year with several of the days in the upper 90s and 100s. I was physically exhausted. I sat there while she braided my hair and cried. I couldn’t stand myself. My skin was burnt. My muscles were sore. My feet hurt. I smelled. And, I didn’t know if I could go on.

I was hopeful that my Mother would comfort me, but she didn’t. In her true Native woman nature, she reminded me in Lakota, this is who we are. She reminded me of our strength. She reminded me, we sacrifice for the people. We offer our prayers so the people may live. She told me to put my sorrow and pain at the tree that day. I did.

As this new generation of my family begins, I have enormous amounts of hope that we continue to thrive. I reflect on the trauma we’ve survived. I reflect on how in the darkest of days of our ancestors, they dreamed. They knew that one day we’d be ok.

Yes, our community still struggles and some families are finding their way out of the darkest of places, but I see more and more people thriving. I’m witnessing our capacity. I’m witnessing people who’ve learned to maintain a rich cultural life in a contemporary world. We see each other. We hold one another up. We cheer one another along.

This spring time, as Mother Nature reawakens our part of the world, take a moment for quiet prayer or contemplation to be in awe of it. It’s magic. Our part of the world is a small part, yet important.
We are responsible to keep Mother Earth in its pristine state, so that our grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other generations that we will not see, will have a place for themselves. It’s our duty to them and ourselves to care for each other and the Earth.

This year, I’m going to enjoy watching my Grandson grow. I’ll be in awe and watch my son with his family. I know this, they are the best of me. I’m a writer, a storyteller, I’m the one who keeps the memories alive. I can hear my Mother remind me of this. I’m the best of her. And, she was here. Mitakuye Oyasin – All My Relations.

Who will win the 2016 presidential vote in Indian country?
Tuesday, March 08 2016
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Bernie or Hillary?

On the GOP side, I’m sure that some Indians like what they are hearing from the five contenders still standing, as of late February. The Republicans inhabit a political continuum from daffy to dangerous; but different strokes for different folks, I guess.

For example, Donald Trump, an equal opportunity offender, seems to hate Indians because tribal casinos compete with his gaming operations. In 1993, Trump testified before House Native American Affairs subcommittee, which was investigating press reports on organized crime and policing in Indian casinos. “They don’t look like Indians to me,” said Trump, regarding the leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, which runs the lucrative Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. “They don’t look like Indians to Indians.”

According to a report in the Huffington Post last year: “Trump’s remarks went on for an hour, and included unsubstantiated allegations that the mafia had infiltrated Indian casinos. Many in Congress were shocked by Trump’s irresponsibility.”

Then there’s Ted Cruz, who recently has become the champion of the Sagebrush Rebellion in Nevada – Cliven Bundy and his comrades. In a recent 30-second TV spot, the ultra-right-wing Texas senator takes the side of those Nevadans, the Bundys and their ilk, who have been fomenting some kind of anti-federal uprising. “If you trust me with your vote, I will return full control of Nevada’s lands to its rightful owners, its citizens. Count on it,” Cruz proclaims.

“Count on it? Rightful owners? The whole Sagebrush Rebel narrative misses the point that tribes in the region have called the area home for more than 10,000 years and if there’s any claim to rightful ownership then it’s the first owners who have the rightful claim,” Mark Trahant recently responded on his blog (trahantreports.com).

Trahant, a distinguished journalist and member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, went on to mention that William Anderson, a former Moapa tribal chairman, asked Sen. Bernie Sanders about extending stronger federal protection to lands in Nevada, including Gold Butte, which the Nuwuvi, the Southern Paiutes, and others, would like to be classified as a national monument.

At an MSNBC Town Hall, Sanders responded positively to Anderson’s informed question about how the U.S. government could do more to stop corporations “from destroying Mother Earth.”

“I don’t have to explain to you, or I hope anybody in this room, or anybody watching the outrageous way, unfair way, that governments have treated Native Americans from day one,” Sanders responded. “It is a disgrace.”

Sanders is now running a TV commercial that proclaims his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and fracking for natural gas, and promotes his vision of a shift to a “clean energy future.”

At the beginning of the Sanders spot, there’s a brief glimpse of Tara Houska, who was named as a Native American advisor to the Sanders campaign in late February. She will join Nicole Willis (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation) in writing a Native American policy platform and recruiting members for a policy advisory committee for the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign.

During a recent phone chat, Houska, who’s Ojibwe from the Couchiching First Nation (north of International Falls in Canada) mentioned that she spoke alongside Sanders at a Capitol Hill press conference last November. “That’s actually how I got involved in the campaign,” Houska commented. The press conference publicized Sanders’ sponsorship of the Keep It in the Ground Act, “which bans fossil fuel construction on public lands and waters, and stops Arctic drilling.”

As the national campaign director of Honor the Earth, the Indigenous environmental group founded by Winona LaDuke, Houska provided information on pressing environmental issues to Sanders’ Senate office. A graduate of the University of Minnesota and the U of M Law School, Houska also mentioned that she has been active in the campaign against Indian mascots and symbols in sports.

Regarding the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, Houska noted that Sanders, in his congressional career, has made environmental justice and economic equity, reining in the influence of Wall Street, the “foundational cornerstones” of his politics.

“He is not afraid to recognize that climate change is, first of all, real, and second of all, that we have to do something about it in a very significant way,” she said.

Referring to the previously mentioned TV commercial, Houska pointed out that Sanders states that he is “against fracking, entirely… Hillary Clinton just came out in support of natural gas; that’s not indicative of a move away from fossil fuels to a green economy.”

Native women’s “Sinew” art exhibit defies stereotypes
Tuesday, March 08 2016
 
Written by Andrea Carlson,
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sinew-exhibit-erdrich.jpg1992 marked the quincentennial of Columbus’s ruinous landfall. As state-sponsored anniversaries go, National pride and patriotic excitement was on a high that year. But, so was the critical voice. Natives did what they’ve done since 1492 and resisted triumphant expressions of colonization. Curators and some artists looked to frame many exhibitions with meaning derived from a critical, Post-Colonial context.

But not performance artist, James Luna. He viewed the swell of interest in Native Art as a fleeting “gold rush” as he fielded many call from curators suddenly looking for Natives to include in their exhibitions. He said “no” to 1992, refusing most exhibitions he was invited to participate in, with the simple phrase “Call Me in ‘93.” He was effectively asking if anyone would still care the following year.

“Call Me in ‘93” has been on my mind lately. Currently, the Guerrilla Girls are in town, a radical artist group that exposes sexism and racism in the arts industry. As part of the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover, a year-long residency where the Guerrilla Girls have spotlighted sexism in Twin Cities art institutions, many art institutions and galleries are presenting sympathetic exhibitions that focus on art made by women. The exhibition ‘Sinew: Female Native Artists of the Twin Cities’, on view at Artistry in Bloomington, is part of the takeover programming. I agreed to be one of the artists in this exhibition, but I’ve been wondering, as James Luna did, will anyone care next year?

The answer is assuredly, “no.”

In the wake of the Guerrilla Girls residency, The Walker Art Center released its plans to expand the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, adding new works of art and redesigning its grounds. Under the subtitle “A Diverse Collection,” The Star Tribune reported that, “With the new work, women and artists of color will have made about a third of the garden’s art, roughly double their previous tally.” In other words, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden went from having sculptures by 17% women/POC to a whopping 33%.

Furthermore, women and persons of color as a single category is another way of not having to say “white male” artists, who make up the lion’s share of the collection. By not uttering the category “white men” we are affording them the power to make work beyond their experience, they have the authority to not have their ideas bound to the “white male perspective.” It is hard to imagine a show subtitled, “White Male Artists of the Twin Cities.” Exhibitions that specify race and gender is something afforded to women and minority artists.

How is all of this related to Sinew? This exhibition might be the first exhibition to exclusively feature female Native artists of the Twin Cities. It might be the very first of its kind. It also may, at first, seem narrow in focus. Specifying a location, race and gender of the included artists brings many assumptions to the table, and one might expect to find a succinct, codified voice. On the contrary, Sinew is rich in materials and defies stereotype. This is a point of pride in the exhibition. Everything is allowed.

No truer example can be found than in the work of Heid Erdrich and Louise Erdrich. Here is their materials list for Advice to Myselves (an art instillation): “manufactured typewriter, table and chair; BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) school coatrack; commercial clothing, mask, and mittens; mukluks by Nancy Jones; vintage ephemera; hand-lettering by Heid E. Erdrich; photos by Louise Erdrich; commercial watercolor set with photos by Anne Marsden and hand-lettering by Louise Erdrich; reproduction telephone with Louise Erdrich audio re-fabricated by Pallas Erdrich.”

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