Local Briefs
Whats New In The comment:
Sunday, February 19 2012
Written by The Circle News,
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Allen first Native woman elected to MN legislature
whats_news_susan_allen_swearing_in.jpgSt. Paul, Mn (AP) - State Rep. Susan Allen has been sworn in as the newest member of the House of Representatives and the Legislature's first Native (Dakota) woman member.
Allen took the oath on Jan. 19 to the beat of a drum circle in the House chamber. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said it was a historic day that will better reflect Minnesota diversity in the lawmaking process.
Allen represents a diverse south Minneapolis district with a high poverty rate. Allen says she is eager to begin work and plans to make job creation a top priority. She says she also plans to focus on environmental protection.
Allen fills the House seat of newly elected Sen. Jeff Hayden. He recently won a special election to replace longtime Sen. Linda Berglin.
Letter to the editor:
Sunday, February 19 2012
Written by Steve Elliott Director and CEO of the Minnesota Historical Society,
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Response to Metro State Students Protest article in January

We at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) very much appreciate the chance to add our perspective to an article from the January issue of The Circle, "Metro State students protest lack of Native classes offered in 2012."
We deeply regret that the protestors' petition, cited in the article, maligns our organization and the work of our staff, repeating old accusations. MHS has worked hard and in good faith, with the help of many American Indian communities, to strengthen and increase its programming related to American Indian history generally and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 in particular. Perpetuating generalizations serves no good when the topic is so important and the educational need so great.
The history of MHS is permanently entwined with the history of the Dakota. MHS was founded in 1849 by some of the same men who were taking Dakota and Ojibwe lands for settlement. Some of our founders participated in businesses that exploited native people and in governments that acted deplorably. Many led or fought in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862; they did and said things that are reprehensible.
Through the years, MHS has been influenced by the temperament and the tenor of the times. At times, our interpretation did not adequately reflect Dakota perspectives and MHS was silent when we should have talked about the historical trauma surrounding the war.
Today, we continue to evolve as an organization dedicated to preserving the history of our state and all of its people. This year, the 150th year since the war, we're working harder than ever to record oral histories from Dakota people throughout Minnesota, the Midwest and Canada to ensure that their truths, experiences and viewpoints are part of the permanent historical record. We're also working hard to provide many new opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the war, how it shaped our state and how its bitter consequences are still felt today.
Today, we are listening more closely to the Dakota, with a new commitment to inclusiveness, openness and transparency. We can do better and we're committed to that effort. The Minnesota Historical Society has a lot to learn from the Dakota and a lot to learn about itself. Together we can be powerful educational partners.
Letter to the editor #2
Sunday, February 19 2012
Written by Mark B. Johnson Sr.,
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A Native student's perspective on the Metro State protest

Last month, The Circle featured an article on the front page about Metro State and a student led protest here regarding Native American studies courses. After reading the article, I had many thoughts and feelings. But the one thought that has continued to worry me is, "I hope this article doesn't stop Native Americans from coming to Metro State".
In my mind, Metro State is a good place to get an education. My name is Mark B. Johnson Sr. and I am an older Native American student (49 yrs.) at Metro State. I am majoring in the Alcohol and Drug counseling program and I am involved with the American Indian student group on campus. I wanted to write this letter because, as a Native student here, I have always felt respected, supported, and encouraged; my needs as an Indian student are being well met.
Since the beginning of my academic career at Metro State, the staff and faculty I have encountered have all exhibited a high level of cultural competency, which everyone at the university holds as a value. I have been able to build strong, positive relationships with all staff and faculty, but especially the American Indian staff, faculty and other students. And my American Indian student advisor has helped me get my tribal scholarship, and other funding. I have a job on campus, and I have been able to take advantage of some really unique opportunities made available to me as a student leader. For example, through my Native American student organization I was able to connect with American Indian Magnet School in the Saint Paul community. I hope that we can build bridges of communication with the children of this school so they know that anything is possible in pursuit of their higher learning.
The issues that were brought up at the protest and rally are important. I know that the university is planning on hosting a variety of programs this semester and in the fall that will focus on the Dakota War of 1862, and I have been invited to participate in the planning of some of those events. Working through these issues on campus will require everyone involved to participate with an open mind and a sincere spirit of collaboration.
This is only my perspective on the situation. There is no right or wrong. In my mind, people should form their own thoughts and conclusions about Metro State after seeing what Metro State has to offer - after being involved. They should not take my word or anybody else's in forming their opinion. It has been a great experience for me to be here and I hope that more Indian students continue to come and get their degrees to help our Native American community move forward.

Mark B. Johnson Sr.
Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma

February 2012
Sunday, February 19 2012
Written by Jenny,
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Through Feb. 24
Making New Traditions
Making New Traditions features works by 8 Native American artists from the region. Featured artists include: Keith Brave Heart, April Holder, Layli Long Soldier, Floyd Nez, Henry Payer Jr., Michael Schweigman, Hoka Skenandore, and Marty Two Bulls Jr. On view through February 24. Free and open to the public. All My Relations Gallery is located at 1414 East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.  For more info, call 612-235-4970, or see:  
Through June 30
Mni Sota: Reflections of
Time and Place
"Mni Sota: Reflections of Time and Place" features works by 17 Native American artists from the Minnesota region.  All exhibits are free and open to the public. Sites and dates are:
MPS Superintendent Speaks
Sunday, February 19 2012
Written by Bernadeta Johnson,
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January 20 was an exciting day in Minneapolis, as national leaders visited to focus on the work that we do every day to prepare students for college and career. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited South High School to talk with the senior class and their parents about college affordability and the new simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken and Mayor R.T. Rybak, who have consistently demonstrated their support for Minneapolis schools, also addressed students. (Visit the MPS website to view our video of the event.)
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