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Local Briefs
Prairie Island Makes Evacuation Plans
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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prairieisland2.jpgThe Prairie Island Indian Community appears to be the first Native American community to buy land and make emergency evacuation and relocation plans under the threat of living next door to nuclear power plant reactors and stored radioactive fuels.

The PIIC Tribal Council announced in March that it had purchased 112 acres of land east of St. Paul for possible future development. This was a precautionary action in the event of a nuclear event with either the power plant or continuing radioactive waste storage at Prairie Island.

On June 6, PIIC applied to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to have the newly acquired land placed in federal trust in the event the community must vacate its ancestral island homeland.  

The importance of this step became obvious on June 3 when the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that spent fuel rods from the power plant may remain indefinitely on the island – unless the federal government finds a suitable depository somewhere else that no one wants.

Tribal Council President Shelly Buck said the community and its allies among states, utilities and environmental groups in ongoing litigation are unaware of any other tribal entity that has taken such steps from a nuclear threat.

Robert Holden, deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Washington, D.C., said other tribal entities across the country are close enough to nuclear plants and hazardous sites to be concerned for safety. “But none are as close as Prairie Island,” he said, noting that the power plants and stored fuel waste are only 600 yards from PIIC homes and businesses.

There are tribes in Arizona and tribes concerned for water safety and salmon fisheries in Washington state that are too close for comfort, he said. No other group is literally “living next door” to a site that could become another Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima (2011) nuclear disasters.

PIIC’s Buck said that the Community doesn’t plan to completely relocate. “Prairie Island remains our ancestral homeland and a location with significant spiritual meaning; that will never change.”

At the same time, she said, Prairie Island doesn’t have room to grow and expand “with a nuclear neighbor, so finding safe, usable land for future use is a priority.”

Columbus and Genocidal Assault
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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Native American Indians have been under genocidal assault by immigrants since they got here. European immigrants saw what they thought of as wild, untouched, fertile land that was scarce in their countries. In fact, we Indians had been here for millenia and had civilizations that had risen and fallen because that way of life is unsustainable, and we lived happily and healthy. That changed quickly with the arrival of the first immigrants.

First contact has Columbus (I hate even mentioning his evil name) writing in his journal about the Taino People and how healthy and good-looking they were. He and his evil crew then proceeded to enslave them and decimate their entire population for gold. Later Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and were saved by Indians from starvation and death. The Pilgrims brought nothing but their racist beliefs and diseases that we had no natural immunity to.

Blankets infected with smallpox were given to Indians as gifts. Entire Nations perished because there was no cure and were wiped out by the Pilgrims and the immigrnts who followed after them. We have been murdered outright and been subjected to biological, chemical and mental means to annihilate us. Yet we never gave up. We are still here.

We Indians had sickness and old age symptoms but not the multiple viruses and diseases that were used as warfare by the immigrants. Our people were wise and skilled in natural medicines and remedies. Those plants were put here by Creator for our use and are still used today. However, Big Pharma has taken over and is medicating our entire American population into zombies.

I have a lot of physical issues that I seek help for, and for which there are a lot of pills. I also suffer depression and anxiety and see a therapist, and there’s also pills for that. When I go to my appointments there are always many people who are patients and those who work in the health care industry. I say industry because that’s what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I admire people who choose a profession that helps people.

My issue is that the American health care industry profits from our illnesses, and have lobbyists in Washington D.C. that buy congress to ensure it stays that way. In short, corporations are making money off of our health crises. And if one cannot pay, too bad. Or you go into debt for the rest of your life. I believe the reason cannabis is outlawed is that it can cure cancer and other multitudes of ailments. You see, the US Gov can’t regulate it and make money off it, but that is slowly changing.

However, there are more critical health issues in Indian Country. Ask yourself how and why so many destructive drugs are infiltrating our reservations. Chemical warfare. I personally don’t know anyone who has not been affected by the heroin, methamphetamine and opioid deaths in our community. In my former job as Graves Registrar I met with family members who suffered great losses due to overdoses and chronic drug use.

Suicide is also an epidemic in Indian County. I cry and rage about it yet I understand the hopeless feeling that one sometimes experiences in life. I feel this is another genocidal tactic that sucks the soul out of us.

Oppression takes us down a dark road into depression and sickness of spirit. To you I say you are needed, and seeking help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Please just do it.

The good news is there is help out there. And there are many success stories, like my friend Christopher Shabaiash who dealt with addiction to opioid pills. He struggled daily with it and eventually went to a methadone clinic to ease the withdrawl symptoms. After the birth of his third child he realized it was no way to live, and is drug free now with zero need  to do it again. (Chirstopher, chii miigwech for sharing your story with me, I'm very happy you are now well.)

We Indians face more challenges for staying healthy than any other ethnic group in this country. Yet, I see many more positive changes if we have access to good health care. I know there any many Indians who live in remote areas that need help desperately and I hope this vital issue will continue to be addressed.

o all my readers I wish you well and good health. We have to be responsible for our own well-being. Love Yooz!

Be Aware of the Effect of Drugs and Violence on Native American Children
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Rosalinda Salazar,
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I am a 9th grade Native American student attending South High School. I was recently assigned to do a Ripple Effect Project of my choice. I chose drugs and violence in the Little Earth Community. Currently there is a huge problem with drugs and violence within the community.

I chose Little Earth because I have strong ties to the community. I once lived in the community. In my early childhood I lived and attended preschool there. I witnessed friends and families lose their loved ones and homes, and some have lost their lives due to the drugs and violence.

I have interviewed five individuals living or working with our community. Two of them are long time residents and elders of United Tribes of Little Earth community. Two of them are youth workers currently working in the community. And a Native American Teacher working with Native American students from the Little Earth community. I chose drugs and violence because of the ripple effect it is having on our children, our elders and the Native American community.

My goal is to bring awareness of the effects these current issues are bringing to our community, our Native American people. It’s time to stand together and strengthen our community and our Native American people. Currently with in the Little Earth Community drugs and violence are a huge problem. Children are losing their homes and families and friends due to the drugs and violent outbreaks. Children are losing hope. Children are losing their parents and the place they once called home.

Also, many of our youth are no longer grasping their hopes, dreams, or their futures because of the drug and violence around them. Our children and our elders should be proud, protected, and able to enjoy everyday living in the community. Our children and elders should be able to help one another.

An elder of the Little Earth Community stated, “the community is no longer as strong as it once was, and the effect on the community is devastating.” Another long time resident and elder stated “we can’t even enjoy the beauty of watching our children play in the park or community without viewing violence or getting approached by drug dealer or drug addicts.”

These elders love their community and they want a safer environment for the community. A youth worker within the community stated, “Personally, I’m viewing the youth believing that violence is the only option. However, some want to resolve the issue without violence but the end results leaves no choice but for the youth to defend themselves”.

Youth workers state the young are using social media to expose violent acts on others, and to expose adults walking around like zombies due to the drug use. These youth workers love working with the children and want to show our children positive role models.

A teacher for our children of the community states “The drug epidemic right now is leading to many death and violent acts within the community, and has a huge effect on our youth.” Although the drugs and violence within the community are a huge issue, things such as youth programs, sobriety programs and security on foot is helping slow down the drugs and violent outbreaks within the community.

It’s time for the Native American community to join this fight against drugs and violence. It’s time to strengthen one another. It’s time for unity as a community! Rosalinda Salazar

Powwow June July
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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June 17-19
13th Annual Waa Wiye Gaa Maag Traditional Powwow
Powwow, Walk/Run, Horseshoe Tournament. Pow-wow Grounds, S-Lake, MN. (28 mi. N of Deer River MN 56681 on Hwy 46). For info, call 218-760-7955 (Gary) or 218-308-3680 (LaVonne).

 

June 24-26
23rd FRC Indian Day Celebration Contest Powwow 
Fort Randall Casino, Pickstown, SD. For info, call 605-487-7871 ext. 473.

July

July 1-3
Oneida Contest Powwow

Norbert Hill Center, Oneida, WI. For info, call 920-496-5311 or 800-236-2214.

July 1-3
4th of July Trad’l Powwow
Veterans Memorial Grounds (located next to Palace Casino on Palace Casino Drive), Cass Lake, MN. For info, call LaVonne Thompson at 218-308-3680 or lavonne.thompson @leechlakegaming.com.

July 1-3
38th Annual Red Cliff Traditional Powwow
Pow-wow Gorunds, Red Cliff, WI. For info, call 715-779-3700.

July 2-3
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Jiingtamok
Traditional Powwow with some dance and drum specials. No Admission Fees, Native vendors only. Camping: On-site camping, some electricity hookups available, bathrooms with showers. Call ahead to reserve a room at the Little River Casino Resort located across the street from the Powwow Grounds Toll-Free: 1-888-568-2244. 2608 Government Center Drive, Manistee, MI. For info, call Kareen Lewis 231-398-6895 or email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

July 8-10
Prairie Island Dakota Contest Powwow

Grand entries: July 8 at 7 pm; July 9 at 1 pm and 7 pm; July 10 at 1 pm. Contest categories: Teen Girls Jingle Dress - 1st place $600, 2nd place $400, 3rd place $200; Women's Fancy Shawl - 1st place $500, 2nd place $400, 3rd place $300; Teen Girls Fancy Shawl - 1st place $300, 2nd place $200, 3rd place $100; Sybling Special Boys and Girls; Teen Girls Fancy Shawl; Men's Fancy Dance 18+ (Note: Man Bells needed, five on each side, old style) - 1st place $1,000, 2nd place $800, 3rd place $600, 4th place $400; Men's Grass Dance; Cowboy Hat/Boot Special; Moccasin Game Tournament (held all weekend); Women's Crow Style; Men's Crow Style; Women's Backup Singing Contest. Tiny tots (up to age 5) get day money. 5636 Stugeon Road, Prairie Island, MN. For info, call 651-267-4024 or 651-385-4161, or see: www.facebook.com/PIICWacipiPowWow.

July 15-17
43rd Annual Honor the Earth Traditional Powwow

LCO Pow-wow Grounds, Hayward, WI. For info, call 715-634-8934.

July 15-17
Mii Gwitch Mahnomen Days

54th Annual Traditional Powwow. 6 mi. W of Deer Diver MN on US 2, Ball Club, MN. For info, contact Rose Wilson at 218-398-2893 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

July 22-24
49th Annual Fort Totten Days Contest Powwow

Andrew Shaw, Sr. Arena, Fort Totten, ND. For info, call 701-381-9753.

July 29-31
Onigum 19th Annual Traditional Powwow

13 mi. E of Walker Mn. on Co. Rd.13, Onigum, MN. For info, call Theresa Jordan at 218-536-0213.

Living a principled life
Friday, August 05 2016
 
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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It’s that time of year for renewal. It’s a time to be reminded of our principles.   For some of us, it’s this time of year that we participate in our ceremonies. It’s this time that we put our worries away, give thanks, imagine possibilities, and be in awe of creation. It’s time for ceremonies.

What do I mean by a principled life?  Principled is defined as: a person or their behavior acting in accordance with morality and showing of right and wrong. Morality is defined as: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. Oftentimes, these are taught to us by our parents and our relatives. It is there we are taught how to conduct ourselves in the world and in relationship with others.

I have recently been learning about the 7 Anishinaabe Grandfather teachings. They include:
• Nibwaakaawin (Wisdom): To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
• Zaagi'idiwin (Love): To know peace is to know love.
• Minaadendamowin (Respect): To honor all creation is to have respect.
• Aakode'ewin (Bravery): Bravery is to face the foe with integrity.
• Gwayakwaadiziwin (Honesty): Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave.
• Dabaadendiziwin (Humility): Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation.
• Debwewin (Truth): Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.

As I sat and listened to an Anishinaabe Elders it dawned on me that the Lakota have similar teachings. I was taught many of these by my parents and family.

As I sat there in ceremony, it dawned on me that not everyone lives their life in accordance to these teachings, or participates in our ceremonies. There are parts of our community who are in survival mode, or caught up in addiction, or are afraid to learn.

What I know is that each time I meet a person, I give them the benefit of showing me who they are. It’s then that I decide if they are someone I want in my life. I’ve learned that not everyone should be in my life.
Not everyone lives a principled life. Shocking, I know, but for me it was a realization. Recently, I was fooled into believing that a family shared similar values as me, but they didn’t. I mistakenly brought them close to my family and assumed they were my family, but they weren’t.

It’s been a life of trial and errors as I learn that people have different values. Some people don’t value family. Some people do not have any regard for others. Some people deliberately exploit people for their own personal gain. Some people are cruel for the sake of being cruel. These are the kind of people that I avoid.

I’ve come to realize that sometimes my disappointments are tied to my expectations of people. For me, these relationships are not how I imagine them to be. People aren’t living up to my expectations. People aren’t behaving how they’re supposed to. Note, all of this is occurring in my mind.
A

s I write, I struggle. I am reminded that I don’t know how to give voice to my desires. The sound of my voice is unfamiliar. I fall back into myself. As I shrink into myself, I wonder, how dare I speak?  Who am I to give voice to what I need?  Who am I to give voice to what I want?  My words taste unfamiliar. Are these my needs and wants?  

Verbalizing my expectations requires confidence, or sense of agency about oneself. Confidence, it’s a trait I’m learning. Oftentimes, I quiver in myself. Years of abuse, assault, and rape taught me to disassociate.

As a child, I didn’t have control over who I was around because the adults oversaw this. It was confusing because our parents encouraged us to respect our Elders, but we were treated disrespectfully by some Elders. I later learned that they ain’t Elders, they are just old.   

As an adult, I choose who is in my life. It is my right to exclude people from my life. If someone tears at me, diminishes my light, speaks to me disrespectfully, then they have no place in my life or my families. Respect, it goes two ways.   

I have a right to state if my needs are not being met. Yes, I’m learning to manage my expectations in relationships and disappointments. They are a bit unwieldy. Life is still teaching me how to live it.

s the summer is upon us, and for those who go to ceremony, it is that time for renewal, for understanding, for forgiveness. I’m not carrying any disappointments into my new year with me. Life is too wonderful and living is too beautiful. I’m taking clarity into my new year and a sense of renewal of our principles.

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