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Local Briefs
Dec. What's New in the Community
Tuesday, December 06 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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MHS Announces New Director of American Indian Initiatives

The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) has appointed Joe D. Horse Capture as the new director of American Indian Initiatives. MNHS created the leadership position to help develop and implement a vision and strategy for American Indian programs and services in collaboration with American Indian communities throughout the state and beyond.

“MNHS has been building relationships with American Indian communities,” said Stephen Elliott, director and CEO. “We welcome the leadership Joe Horse Capture will provide in developing existing relationships and building new ones between MNHS and American Indian communities to better interpret and share our history.”
Horse Capture is an enrolled member of the A’aninin (Gros Ventre) Tribe of Montana. Since 2013 he has been a curator for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Prior to that he served for 15 years as a curator of Native American arts at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His work history has allowed him to build strong working relationships with many tribes. “This type of collaborative work is what I enjoy the most, and I have come to believe collaborative efforts should be paramount among the priorities of cultural institutions,” he said. Horse Capture’s start date is Dec. 5, 2016.

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. For info, see mnhs.org.

Watermark hires Native Am. Gallery Program Director  

The Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, Minn. has hired Karen Goulet (White Earth Ojibwe) as Program Director of the Native American Gallery. Goulet recently completed her role as the program coordinator of Gizhiigin Arts Initiative, a tribal entity serving artists on the White Earth reservation. In addition to her work as an arts leader, Goulet is also a multi-discipline artist who has been showing art both nationally and internationally for twenty years.

Goulet has longstanding ties to the region, with both her parents growing up and attending school in Bemidji.
As Program Director of the Native American Gallery, Goulet will be responsible for the development and orientation of Watermark’s Native American Gallery and related programming. She will also act as community liaison to cultivate relationships with Native American artists and tribal members.

Goulet earned her BA in Fine Arts and Cultural Education from The Evergreen State College, her MFA in Sculpture from The University of Wisconsin – Madison, and her M Ed from University of Minnesota Duluth. Throughout her career, she has worked primarily in education, most often with Indigenous institutions and programs.

Heid Erdrich’s new collection named the 2016 Winter Book

Heid Erdrich’s (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) new collection has been named 2016 Winter Book by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. “every-blest-thing-seeing-eye” features poetry and prose, and explores the complex conversations between artists and viewers. “every-blest-thing-seeing-eye” features poetry and prose by Erdrich, a poet, writer, and faculty mentor for Augsburg College Low-residency MFA. The Winter Book was produced in two editions, with illustrations by Jim Denomie, Aza Erdrich, Eric Gansworth, Dyani Whitehawk, Louise Erdrich, Adrea Carlson, and Jonathan Thunder.

Artists, staff and board at MCBA will celebrate the handmade book on December 10. at 7 pm. Readings by Heid E. Erdrich will be followed by a book signing and public reception with light refreshments in MCBA’s Studios and Gallery. Free and open to the public.
MCBA’s annual Winter Book publication was created to preserve and promote the traditional crafts of bookmaking (hand papermaking, letterpress printing, printmaking and hand bookbinding), and the contemporary exploration of the book as art. Since 1988, Winter Book has engaged artists, designers, papermakers, printers, bookbinders and community volunteers in producing a handmade, limited edition artist’s book featuring poetry by a Minnesota author or editor. The hand craftsmanship of each Winter Book makes it a collected series, included in museum and rare book library collections across the country.


NoDAPL: The Beginning is Near
Tuesday, December 06 2016
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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nodapl-wall.jpgStanding Rock is an unpredicted history lesson for all of us. More than any moment I recall since Wounded Knee, the Vietnam War, or the time of Martin Luther King, this moment stands as a crossroads in the battle for social justice. It is also an economic issue, in a time of economic system transformation, and profoundly a question of the future of this land. The world is watching.  

As the US Army Corps of Engineers issues a December 5 eviction notice for thousands of people gathered on the banks of the Missouri River, we face our truth. Those people at the Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior Camps, along with the 550 people who have been arrested so far, are really the only thing standing between a river and a corporation that wants to pollute it. That we know, because absent any legal protections, and with a regulatory system hijacked by oil interests and a federal government in crisis, the people and the river remain the only clear and sentient beings.  

In short, this is a moment of extreme corporate rights and extreme racism confronted by courage, prayers, and resolve. This moment has been coming. The violence and the economics of a failing industry will indeed unravel, and this is the beginning.  

The Deep North
North Dakota did not become Alabama – or the Deep North, as it is now called – overnight.   Native people in North Dakota have been treated poorly for more than a hundred years, whether by the damming of the Missouri and the flooding of millions of acres of tribal land, or by poverty and incarceration, North Dakota is a place of systemic and entrenched racism.

Two of the poorest counties in the country are on Standing Rock, Native people comprise almost a fourth of the people in prison, Native suicide rates are ten times that of North Dakotans, infrastructure (like the fifty year old hospital with four doctors for 8000 people, and a now blocked Highway l806, without a shoulder) is at an all time low, and people freeze to death and overdose in the shadow of the Bakken Oil fields. That’s the first layer of abuse, aside from the day to day racism, emboldened by Morton County and the incoming Trump government. It is visible for the world to see now.

Indian Country moves closer to the sun; takes Saga Solar with it
Tuesday, December 06 2016
 
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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Northern Minnesota’s Indian Country is reaching out to the sun for clean energy and is finding innovative ways to get it.

In the most recent development, upstart photovoltaic solar panel manufacturer Saga Solar SBC will move from St. Paul to Cass Lake in the second week of December to become the first indigenous-owned manufacturer of the 21st Century technology products on tribal land. Saga Solar was founded in St. Paul about a year ago by R. Marie Zola, a Minnesota solar energy leader of Cherokee descent.

Aki Development LLC, a newly formed company based at Cass Lake, acquired a 60 percent controlling interest in Saga Solar in September. It is one of three ventures for Aki, a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe chartered corporation that is not tribally owned. One of the other startup businesses it is launching will construct housing. The third business is a new “green” industry venture, like Saga Solar, and will have a factory where employees assemble and test LED street lights.

Mike Myers, founder and chief executive officer at Aki Development, said the green companies could have as many as 24 employees within the next year. The LED light factory – LED is short for “light emitting diodes” lights – will have eight employees at the start of the coming year. Twenty jobs in the two businesses will be in manufacturing with pay starting at $12.80 per hour. Four additional jobs in marketing will be created along the way.

Aki Development recently received a $29,000 job-training grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to train employees for both businesses through the Leech Lake Tribal College at Cass Lake.

These developments further Northern Minnesota Ojibwe commitments to green, or environmentally effective and sustainable enterprises. In August, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa opened a 1-megawatt solar farm projected to light 150 homes and 10 percent of the band’s electric power needs for its Black Bear Casino. While doing so, it is also projected to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal-generated plants by 2.6 million pounds annually.

Earlier this past year, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa entered agreements with construction and engineering companies for an even larger solar farming project from rooftops of its largest buildings. Design plans call for 15-megawatts, or equal to 15 million watts, harvested by solar panels that should light the tribe’s three casinos, government buildings and the tribal college. The first phase to power tribal buildings is anticipated to save the tribe $2 million a year in energy costs.

Red Lake Band Chairman Darrell G. Seki Sr. said the goal over the next five years is to generate enough solar power on tribal land to meet the electricity needs for every home on the Red Lake.
Solar and wind generation both reduce harmful carbon emissions that come from fossil fuel burning power plants. LED lighting, meanwhile, is more energy efficient than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and the incandescent light bulbs in homes and offices.

November It Ain't Easy
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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I’ve had a difficult time beginning this column but I feel I have to address what is so disgusting to me and draining on my spirit. The rape culture commentary in Trump and Billy Bush’s tape from 2005 has brought all my raw emotions to the fore of having been raped myself, and my immediate family members having been raped and victimized by close friends.

People who were trusted by our small family circle were the perpetrators of heinous crimes and have never had to answer for it. In fact, it is their closeness to the victims that make it much more likely they will commit rape.

Rape is rape no matter how old you are or what gender. I trusted and loved a person for 26 years and they preyed upon someone close to me who was very vulnerable. And that is beyond unforgivable no matter what protestations or reasons are given. That betrayal still causes me to retch when I think about it.

I have seen the damage up close and would turn back time if I could because it’s done irreparable damage to my family. Remember there are enablers who are every bit as responsible for the rapists themselves. One person made the devastation of another’s rape about themselves and sought to garner sympathy.  In addition, they blasted the victim’s heinous experience to anyone who would listen without their permission. Despicable.

Another person brought in a sexual predator to our circle and was well aware of that person’s disgusting actions, yet chose to stand with them. Sadly, these scenarios are not by any means unique to my family alone. This happens all the time and I believe it’s time to open up, being the victim carries no shame so let’s end it forever. This is not our collective Native American Indian culture. I ask you all to look out for the innocents and believe the victim when they tell you the truth.

I am going to keep on speaking up for the victims and I will not allow myself to become blasé or ignore it any longer. I’m angry and plan to write more about it. For more information please check the link below to learn more about Rape Culture.
http://www.vox.com/2014/12/15/7371737/rape-culture-definition

A sample: “And although rape culture has its roots in long-standing patriarchal power structures that were designed to benefit men, today’s rape culture burdens men too – for instance, by ignoring the fact that men can be victims of rape and sexual assault, and women can be perpetrators of it. That means that male victims are also left without legal protection and social support.”

On another rant, I am very concerned about the Water Protectors in Standing Rock, No. Dak. who are being constantly harassed by local, State and other police forces using armored vehicles and tactical equipment on innocent people. I know of many, many people, Native and non-Native, who have been to the encampments and have come away changed forever and whom plan to return there. To all of you I say chii miigwech and I’m grateful for your phenomenal loving stance in protecting our precious water for all to enjoy.

FYI: To all the money-grubbing, land grabbers – your people tried to kill us Natives off via gruesome massacres, intimidation, legislation and blood quantum quotas. That hasn’t worked in the 500+ years in the past and will not work now, and not ever.
I don’t know of any more tenacious people than Natives, and now we have allies that really get what our true message is. For me, it’s take care of our Mother and Her gifts to us in every way. We are responsible. We are strong and indefatigable. We are here to stay.

I can happily say that as of this month I’ve been writing my column for 18 years! It has been a wonderful time and some terrible times, like when I literally could not write because of depression and other illnesses. But here I am now. I wonder now what great future I have to create because I ain’t done yet by any means.

Of course, I will write about my experiences and trials in life and my hope is that all of you will do so too…begin by keeping a journal, submit story ideas, (note to self) and be present in your life. Easy to say, I know, but doing so is therapeutic and can be uplifting. If you don’t tell your own stories, who will?

Well…I’m preparing for another freezing, snowy winter season but hey, what else can I do? Rezberry is soon to become “Freezeberry” in a short time.  

Happy Native American Heritage Month!

Letters to the Editor
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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Donating to DAPL Camp

Good Day Relatives,
I just wanted to send a letter regarding donation sites for the camp in North Dakota. If you are looking to support Standing Rock’s legal fees and camp support (i.e paying spiffy biff porta potties, trash pickups, food, and camping supplies), please go to: www.standingrock.org.

All other PayPal & GoFundMe sites are to support other camps and their campers. As far as Standing Rock Nation and main camp support, only Standing Rock is paying all of the above items. I hope this helps relieve confusion.
In kind clothing and shoe donations for land protectors should be screened for quality. Please be conscious that sending shoes that have cracked soles, and clothing that are soiled or have holes do not help the men, women, children and elders that wear such items.

Donations that are unwearable are discarded, in return this causes more trash to the land fills and more money for the tribe to spend to get it hauled out. Think to yourself “Would I wear this?” before donating.

Also, if you are doing cash donations it would be more beneficial for Standing Rock if you use all funds towards supplies and not to fund trips out to the camp to bring supplies. Using fundraised money to get out to the camp takes away funding that could be used for the camp and land protectors. Standing Rock Nation has the accountability to spend money for items they need and have the means to keep records of where funding is being spent.

Winyan (woman) visitors and campers are urged to wear skirts while at the camp. We are so used to seeing a written enforcement that we forget that in our culture we originally followed oral traditions. The word for camp is wicoti (Wi is the connection to the sun and woman. Cokata is the center where people come together.)

The tipi is symbolic for unity and back then the women were responsible for putting up this sacred structure. There are 13 poles that make up a tipi. The last pole is the strongest and has the tipi dress tied to it. It is put in the back of the tipi resembling the backbone of the structure. This 13th pole represents women, being the strongest and the backbone of our nation.
Back then, when a tipi was put up it meant that ceremony was in motion as every family had a sacred bundle they cared for. At that time women wore dresses and skirts to connect to Kunsi/Unci Maka (grandmother earth) just like how visually a tipi connects to the earth.

Women have the gift to give life, like grandmother earth. When we wear skirts or dresses, it means we connect our sacred energy and spirit to the earth. The wicoti (camp) brings sacred energy together and it is the circle of life.
Isnati (moon camp) also had to be away from the camp. This is done so that the sacred energies do not collide, as both ceremonies are equally powerful.

Lastly, anyone that comes into the camp has to have good energy (sober and positive.)  
Relatives I hope this helps and will assist in your next trip to be done both in respect and representative of where you come from. Be safe, be happy, and Pidama for your support in protecting our Kunsi Maka.
For more information:Visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website at www.standingrock.org

Toksa,
Graci Horne

Pardon Leonard Peltier

Dear Friend,
Leonard Peltier has languished in prison for forty years for a crime that the evidence shows he could not have committed.  He was prosecuted in connection with deaths during a shoot out where two FBI agents and an American Indian died. His two co-defendants, who were tried under normal court rules, were acquitted. 

Leonard’s trial, which was initiated with an admittedly perjured affidavit, shocked many legal observers as being unfair. Leonard has served more time than others convicted for such crimes.  It is time for healing between the federal government and Native American peoples from centuries of tension and abuse. It is time for Leonard Peltier to come home.

The President has the constitutional power of clemency. He can utilize this power in the interest of fairness and justice.  Many voices around the globe have asked for years for this long delayed clemency. Traditionally, Presidents consider petitions for clemency near the end of their term.  As President Obama approaches the conclusion of his service, it is time for you to join the call for Clemency for Leonard Peltier and request the President act now. Now is the time to be heard.  

Please view and share the video connected to this message. (See: www.vimeo.com/183860129.) The video presents images of Leonard and a new song for Peltier (password: larry).

Also there is a petition for clemency that is being circulated by Amnesty International. Over fifty-five thousand people have signed. (See: www.amnestyusa.org/LeonardPeltier) Your signature will provide added strength.

Additionally you can help by calling the White House at 202-456-1111. Ask President Barack Obama to grant Leonard Peltier Clemency. All calls are logged and available to the President. 

As the song we are sharing with you proclaims, love will lay hatred down.   

Sincerely, Larry Leventhal, Larry Long and friends.

Tobacco is sacred

Boozhoo, Aaniin,
Fall has settled in and Biboon is on his way. The water is getting colder and streams flowing slower. The lakes begin to freeze. Before the first snowstorm we offer our asemaa and ask Biboon to be kind as he lays the first blanket of snow to protect mother earth.

We continue with life and do our work, much like the water and the animals, but first we start with tobacco, pray for mother earth, the water, our medicines, food and our ancestors who came before us.

We need to remind our youth and young adults of this generation and the next about the gifts of the creator and remember that tobacco is always first. Tobacco is a medicine and it is sacred like the water. Smoking commercial tobacco is not a way to send prayers to the creator. We were forced to use commercial tobacco, when we could not conduct our ceremonies in public, because it was against the law to practice our religion, until 1978.

Smoking cigarettes has become a way to deal with stress. Commercial tobacco is very addictive commercial tobacco smoke is loaded with over 7,000 chemicals such as those used in bleach, anti-freeze, and rat poison! Unfortunately, commercial tobacco use has become the norm in our communities, and too many families are suffering the consequences. Big tobacco companies target our people in order to remain profitable, with no concern for the lives lost all around us.

Let’s take a stand and educate our community about the dangers of commercial tobacco use. We need the State of Minnesota to dedicate funding to tobacco prevention efforts in our community so the next generation does not face the same consequences from commercial tobacco use. Let’s work together to keep tobacco sacred.

If you would like more information on this and or would like to be an advocate for change in your community, please call me and join us and take a stand and keep tobacco sacred.

Thank you,
Suzanne Nash

www.indigenouspeoplestf.org
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