Local Briefs
Organization works to bring Native elders into affordable housing
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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organization_works_native_elders_housingA lack of housing for Native American elders has attracted development within the Twin Cities. In particular, The American Indian Community Development Corporation (AICDC) recently began the construction of affordable apartments in southern Minneapolis.
The apartments are named "Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi" (come in and rest); an Anishinaabe title for Native residents. Co-sponsored and managed by Common Bond Communities, the apartments will offer services like program training, wellness and prevention workshops, independent living skills, and discussion circles.
To help elders transition into the apartments, AICDC's office has begun to pre-qualify individuals. In charge of this initiative is Shirley Cain, (Red Lake Ojibwe), an attorney who has recently come to work with AICDC.
"I'm enrolled in Red Lake. My father's a Red Lake band member, and my mother is from White Earth. My job is being a Housing Specialist. I was hired to help elders into the Bii Di Gain Dash Anwebi program."
Cain works to pre-qualify individuals for housing in the apartments. Pre-qualification begins the screening and admission process. The complete operation will begin next year.
Leith, Chris F. (July 2, 1935 - March 4, 2011)
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle Staff,
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 Chris Leith "Tasunka Wakinyan Ohitika", age 75 of Prairie Island, died Thursday March 4, 2011 at his home. He was born on July 2, 1935, the son of Walter and Cora (Lawrence) Leith. He attended schools at Burnside and graduated from Red Wing Central High School in 1952. He served in the United States Air Force from 1954-1958, as a pilot during the Korean War, while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After his discharge from the service he married Barbara Jackson and they started their family, Crystal, Arnold, Carl and Clark Leith. They lived in Montana where he worked as a ranch hand. Chris moved back to Prairie Island and helped on the family farm. He attended the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus from 1966-1969. He worked at Jules Fairbanks Center Aftercare Residence Program, St. Paul American Indian Center, was a consultant to a number of Native American programs throughout the Twin Cities, completed Family Treatment Training at Hazelden and the Thunderbird Halfway House. He was a consultant to adolescent programs in the St. Paul Area, Eden Youth Program, Ogema, Fairview Deaconess Residential Treatment Programs, New Visions Treatment Program, and Red School House Cultural Resource Instructor. He was a board member of the NICWA Board.
He is survived by his children, Crystal Leith-Shabaiash of Prairie Island, Carl and Clark Leith both of Minneapolis, Christine Leith of St. Paul, Arvol Looking Horse of Green Grass, SD, Antonio Dirzo of Shakopee, Looking Horse Family, Johnson Family, Dr. Lloyd Elm and Ron Harms of St. Paul; grandchildren, Antulio Aguila Leith, Wamb'di (Inajin) Leith, Amberann Ione Khan, Javad Latif Khan, Melynie Quaderer, Nick Anderson, Christine Leith, Cassandra Leith, Dezmond Smith-Leith, Dathan Leith, Denaya Leith, special granddaughter, Shining Star Woman (Mona) Gavilan; great-grandchildren, Elliana, Chris, Chaske, Cora; former wife, Barbara Erickson. He is preceded in death by his parents, son, Arnold Leith; sisters, Christine Leith, Marcella Bluestone, Gladys Scharmer; brothers, Vern Hellman, Amos and Ione  Owen and Wallace and Gertrude Wells.
The funeral was held on March 7 at the Prairie Island Community Cente in Welch, MN. His is buried at Prairie Island Community Cemetery. Arrangements made by Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel.
It aint easy being indian:
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle Staff,
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There is a whole lot going on these days, not so much with me (miraculously for a change I'm all good) but the rest of this planet and its denizens who appear to be riding the nuclear crazy train off the tracks right to hell.
Millions of severely stressed, traumatized people are trying to cope with natural and man-made disasters, global warming effects and yet another war in a Middle Eastern country.  Add to this mix more Muslim nations that wanna kick the old regimes out of power, worldwide radiation; shake-do not stir and whaddaya got? A big ole hot, lumpy, stinking pool of sick that is right out of Biblical text describing The End of Days, The Apocalypse, Doomsday, etcetera…  
I am far and away from most of the hot spots, literally, cuz it's still sickeningly cold in here in Rezberry. So I and my near loved ones and friends are okay thus far. But my heart is overseas with the Japanese people who are suffering unimaginable tragedy; the Muslim nations that are rebelling so their children will live a better life in a democracy, sans crazy brutal dictator regimes (I sympathize; I lived during GW Brutus Bush II years). BTW-Indians and Americans need to heed the fanatical Republican candidates signing up for the 2012 presidential election. This crazy crew of hate-mongers, hypocrites and disinformation specialist's are already delightfully amusing! Run Michelle Run!!!
Fond du Lac Follies:
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle Staff,
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I first heard about the proposed Polymet open pit mine some years ago and just as I feared it is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality.
I hear they plan to use a sulfide mixture to leach out the precious metals they find once they start crushing rocks. As I understand it, the process will require a lot of water. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a day by one estimate. And where does the water sulfide mixture go once they are done leaching? It goes into huge holding ponds. The holding ponds, like anything else made by man, can break and leak. Where does the water/sulfide mixture go then? Into the bogs, creeks, and rivers that are downhill from the holding ponds.
One of the rivers near the site is the Cloquet River that flows into the St. Louis River. The river that defines our northern and eastern boundaries on this Reservation. Where does the water/sulfide mixture go after that? Into the fish, the deer, the plants and animals that drink from that river. The water could then enter my personal food chain because I eat fish, deer meat, and wild rice and other plants.
With that in mind I decided to attend the mining forum held at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. The forum participants were from Polymet, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wild Life Commission and the Fond du Lac Reservation.
Book Review: Northrup has outdone himself in Anishinaabe Syndicated
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from
the Rez
By Jim Northrup  
Introduction by Margaret Noori  Ph.D.
Paperback, 248 pages
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Published January 1, 2011

arts_story_northrup_bookJim Northrup is somewhat of a folk hero; he tells the stories Natives want to hear from the press, from politics, and from the reservation. He is a remarkable man: story teller, BS'er, poet and performer. He is a character worth reading about and a columnist we recognize. His latest book, Anishiinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez, is the third of his autobiographical novels and a thrilling look into the past; a personal history from the viewpoint of reservation life.
From the front lines of fighting for spearfishing rights to the recounting of 9/11, a day he'll never forget (though the story may not be as you might expect), Northrup tells an elder's tale of current events intermingled with personal ponderings between the years of 1990 to 2001.
Northrup is an award-winning Native American author. His column, Fond du Lac Follies, earned the best column of the year in 1999 from the Native American Journalists Association and gave Northrup the writer of the year award in 2001 from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writer's and Storytellers.
Northrup has written for a number of anthologies and penned the books Walking the Rez Road (awarded a Minnesota Book Award as well as Northeast Minnesota Book Award) and Rez Road Follies: Canoes, Casinos, Computers and Birch Bark Baskets (nominated for the Minnesota Book Award).
Now we have a collection of some of Northrup's best reports from the 'rez, as he calls his home, the Fond Du Lac reservation. The results of his writing are at the same time nostalgic and sarcastic, insightful and irreverent as Northrup asks us to question the world we live in.
As Northrup puts it, "I've heard many questions over the years as I have travelled... people's questions are sometimes silly, sometimes dumb, sometimes cruel. I respond in kind."
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