Local Briefs
Red Lake council receives new member and youth report
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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red lake council receives new member and youth report-web.jpgRED LAKE, Minn. – Shortly after the call to order of the Red Lake Tribal Council on Dec. 9, Hereditary Chief James Loud was called upon by Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr. to swear in Robert Smith, recent winner of the special election for Red Lake District Representative.

He joins council member Roman Stately representing the community on the eleven member Tribal Council.

A special run off election was held on Nov. 19, to elect one Red Lake District Representative to a two-year term. The only eligible candidates in this contest were Donald Desjarlait and Robert Smith. Smith was declared the winner of the election winning 278 votes over Desjarlait's 227.

Hereditary Chief George "Billy" King was appointed by the council in March 2014 to serve temporarily in the Red Lake seat after former council member and Smith's father-in-law Donald "Dudie" May, Jr., died on March 8. May had won a four year term on July 18, 2012. King also served temporarily as Chairman after the death of former Chairman Gerald "Butch" Brun in 2003 until a special election was held.

Critics object to pumping oil through MN lakes country
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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A series of hearings in early January will gather public opinions on a proposed pipeline that would increase the amount of oil flowing across Minnesota by 225,000 barrels a day.

The line is called Sandpiper, and the crude it would carry from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields would be a significant addition to the more than 2 million barrels of oil that daily travel through underground pipelines bound for refineries in the Twin Cities and beyond. Trains carry an additional half-million barrels.

But the plan has raised concerns among environmentalists and state agencies about potential risks to lakes and rivers.

A project manager for Enbridge, the Canadian company that wants to build the line, said the project is necessary "because there's a growing supply of crude oil in western North Dakota, and it needs efficient, cost-effective and safe transportation to get to the markets in the Midwest and the East in the U.S. where it's needed."

Bill Blazar, interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, voiced strong support, saying calling the project "key to the development and growth of our state's economy."

"We'd be nuts not to support this kind of infrastructure development," Blazar said.

From the Editor's Desk: Rebuilding and Exercising Power
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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whats_new_-_walfred_walking_bull.jpgNative faces and issues came to the fore on the regional and national stage in 2014. Our concerns became part of a conversation that doesn't happen in meaningful ways. Whether we attempted to educate, rally or simply live from day to day, we found our power.

After her election in 2013, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges made good on her promises to the Indian community by fostering a political environment that led to the creation of Indigenous Peoples Day in the city, in place of Columbus Day. More than that, however, the exercise of the organizing power from within the community is what should be highlighted. The Native American Community Development Institute began the process in 2013 by surveying community members on what they'd like to see achieved and shepherded it through until the ultimate city council vote on April 25 and subsequent celebrations on Oct. 12.

Inextricably linked was also the growing attention to the Washington NFL team's racist mascot. On Nov. 2, thousands gathered in front of TCF Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus to once again protest the institutionalized prejudice and ignorance that accompanied the team when it played the Minnesota Vikings. The work of the protest began in two prongs through the well-established and prominent organization National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media that organized a formal rally at the stadium. The other wing of activism included a protest march through the streets of Minneapolis by a coalition of grassroots organizations including Idle No More-Twin Cities, AIM-Twin Cities, Protest Our Manoomin and the Minnesota Two Spirit Society, among several others.

Among those organizations rising within the community to raise awareness and education about LGBTQ Native issues was the Minnesota Two Spirit Society. While the group has had over 20 years of presence in one incarnation or another in the area, the society began reaching out to tribal communities to educate about the Two Spirit identity, fostering leadership on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. Part of its goals for the upcoming year is to secure a non-profit status and provide mental health, social service and employment opportunities for Two Spirit individuals in the region. This presence in the community is an important method for reclaiming cultural roles concerning Two Spirit people in modern Native culture after colonization's attack on tradition sexual and gender identity in tribal communities.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgSometimes being a urban Indian ain’t easy cause we gotta exist along many edges of the world. It’s winter in Minnesota now. It’s that time of year that we – Native people – are storytelling. Most of our stories include a trickster character. The trickster is the protagonist, or the main character, in our stories that teach us important life lessons. It’s through the trickster’s adventures that we learn about the world around us, our relationship to everything and how we conduct ourselves.

It’s also that time of year that those of us who make New Year’s Resolutions are doing them. Myself and others will be spend time reviewing our last year. We remember what occurred. We recall the lessons we've learned. We hold onto the sweet moments we experienced. We lovingly remember those we lost. We do this assessment in an effort to establish our personal goals for the year.

Socrates said, "An unexamined life isn't worth living.” OK. I know, I know, Socrates is a Greek philosopher. I share it because this quote is my life anthem. I'm one of those people who works at changing patterns of toxic or unhealthy behavior. I’m a self-help book junkie. It’s important to me to not share generational trauma with my kids. I’m doing my part at ensuring the generations that follow me can live different lives.

I'm told that it takes 21 days of consistent behavior change for a new pattern to be integrated. I’ve learned for myself that I learn from other people. People love to share their stories with me. It is a trait that I appreciate because I learn from them. I wholeheartedly listen to them and use their knowledge. Everyone teaches me something about the world around me.

It Ain't Easy Being Indian: January 2015
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Ricey Wild,
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ricey wild.jpgMy heart is full because the wolf hunts in the Great Lakes regions have been stopped by a federal judge. The horrific carnage of trapping, baiting, killing and continued disruption of the wolves’ families are no more; they are back on the endangered list where they will stay with the love, compassion and diligent advocacy of people who worked hard and long for their lives. To those of you who were directly instrumental I am deeply thankful and so much for everyone who became active on the wolves behalf to speak for them.

An odd thing though, just a few days before the announcement I had called the Minnesota Fish & Wildlife office and spoke to someone who was directly involved with the so-called 'wolf harvest.' “Harvest!” Aghhh. That **name for what is actually savage, bloody slaughter upon superior sentient beings disgusts me and I told him so.

Then I told him a short version of how Anishinabe (First Man) and Maa’ingan (Wolf) in the beginning of time traveled the world together naming all animals, plants and places. Eventually they had to go their own ways and Maa’ingan knew Anishinabe would be lonely without him so he gave him Animoosh (dog).

That part always gets to me and I cried as I am doing now. No longer buried in my skin is my spiritual, cellular connection with Maa’ingan, it’s out now and I honor it as the most basic level of being that is love in the purest form. We both benefit. Maa’ingan will live their lives as Creator intended and I benefit by putting my vulnerability out there for all to see and in my own eyes I become a better person for having done so.

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