Local Briefs
Peter Matthiesson, Author of "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" Passes On
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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laduke-passing on-peter matthiessen 2.jpg“… For all those who honor and defend those people who still seek in the wisdom of the Indian way…”,

Peter Mattheisson, from the dedication of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.

He was a writer among writers, up to the last. Peter Mattheisson lived in an era of grand adventure writers, storytelling in words, and lived it well. I remember thinking that with our times together, walking, talking and watching him in his craft. I knew him as a friend, and loved him as a courageous and gifted man. He died April 5, after a gifted life. As a young writer, I admired his style and his agility. The word and the story is what he loved, a careful art, trampled often by todays’ era of tweeting and sensational journalism. The art, however still remains.

As a Native woman I appreciated his courage,that he came from immense privilege and had the heart, resources and tenacity to tell stories in a way, that only he could tell and that he loved our community. He was a man who could write about nature, and nuance of description, perhaps better than any other. He wrote 33 books and is the only writer to have won the National Book Award three times.

I remember Peter from l980, when he had come to Indian Country, in this case, first in the Navajo Nation, where I was working on uranium mining expansion proposals, in the midst of an arid land, already faced with groundwater contamination, and a way of life challenged by health issues of radiation contamination and an economic poverty forced upon a self sufficient people. He drove a rental car and I talked, taking him from house to sacred mountain, and elder to elder. He was an apt listener, crystalizing the essence and chronicling the stories. Then it was that he came to South Dakota, a place which would move him and a story which would catapult an environmental writer into a national controversy.

Letter to the Editor: Dayton Missed Opportunity
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by Constance Bonniwell,
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To the Editor,

A recent article in the Star Tribune reported that a group of politicians from northeastern Minnesota visited Gov. Dayton's office, telling him the sulfide mining companies worry about being able to comply with Minnesota's water quality standards and that the mining companies needed them weakened.

This was the moment when Mark Dayton could have chased every sulfide mining corporation out of the state by uttering one sentence: “I am proud to uphold the water quality standards protecting Minnesota's wild rice beds.” But that didn't happen.

Instead we who strive to protect Minnesota's natural resources are left questioning whether Mark Dayton lacks the will and the courage to protect them.

If it had been Gov. Jerry Brown visiting Mark Dayton, the conversation would have gone quite differently: years ago California poked Minnesota about water pipelines but was wisely refused.

Leaving decent governance on this vital issue to the people of Minnesota is not why many of us voted for Mark Dayton. We do so miss and suffer the loss of our dear Gov. Rudy Perpich. That is who we needed in the governor's chair that day in February 2014.

Constance Bonniwell

Passing On: Daniel James Amos, 1988-2014
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Daniel James Amos

Nov. 16, 1988 – April 18, 2014

passing on-daniel james amos.jpgDaniel James Amos, 25 years young, of Big Coulee, S.D. journeyed to the spirit world with his family by his side on Good Friday, April 18, 2014 at the Sanford Hospital-ICU in Fargo, N.D. An all-night wake service was held April 24, at the Big Coulee District Center in Big Coulee, SD. Rev. Enright Bighorn, Sr. officiated and the Big Coulee Choir sang hymns from the church where Daniel was baptized. Funeral services were held on April 25 at 2 p.m. at the Ascension Presbyterian Church in Big Coulee, S.D. Active pallbearers were William Langdeaux, Jr. and Raymond Eagle. Honorary pallbearers are Daniels family and all the staff at his various hospital and treatment stays.

Daniel James Amos was born in Sisseton, S.D. on Nov. 16, 1988 to the late Calvin Amos, Sr. and still-living, Susan Quinn (Amos) both of Sisseton. From that day on, Daniel was always smiling. He had an adventurous boyhood growing up a country boy with his older brothers Kevin and the late Calvin Amos, Jr. by his side. Daniel always had a plan and that plan was to see how tough he was, and he is the toughest young man ever known to his family.

Daniel attended Wilmot Public School from grade school to high school. He was the class clown because he would do or say anything to get you to laugh or smile. Daniel, known as the jokester in his school age years had been diagnosed on Jan. 14, 2002, with osteosarcoma, a rare bone marrow cancer. It has always been remembered as he learned this on the one-year memorial of Calvin Amos, Jr., his oldest brother.

Daniel underwent a year of chemo and radiation therapies. He showed osteosarcoma how strong of a warrior he was and his victory helps save the lives of many children who have the same diagnosis. Dan’s doctors and care team from the University of Minnesota-Fairview, Mayo Clinic and Masonic Cancer Center of Minneapolis, Minn. are forever grateful and respectful for his commitment to the research and cure of such a rare cancer as osteosarcoma. Thankfully, his roller coaster ride with cancer was resolved after the year of chemo and radiation. He was in remission although he has had multiple surgeries including an open heart surgery in November of 2012.

Fond du Lac Follies
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by Jim Northrup,
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_northrup_cover_mug_small.jpgThe time to harvest maple sap came and we were ready. By we, I mean the crew, son Joe, son Aaron, nephew Kris and two daughter in laws, Sara and Jackie.

We have been working together for about a decade and I think any one of them can set up their own sugar bush. That was my goal when I invited them all to work with me. The afternoon sun brought warm feelings to us.

Months before we tap we talk. We decide which trees we will use. This year we found a better place to get the gallon jugs, our drills are still good from last year. We use electric and hand drills to make the holes in the trees. Because of attrition we made some new taps.

The deep snow was a handicap, my brother Vern said he slipped off the trail and sunk into the snow, the only part of Vern that was showing was his hat, now that’s deep. My crew had to wear snowshoes most of the time.

In our first boil we began with 110 gallons of sap, when we were done we had four gallons of syrup.

After having the appropriate ceremony. The syrup was delicious and I am glad we do this every year.

I think we will have one more boil before we pull the taps to close another successful season.

It Ain't Easy Being Indian
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by Ricey Wild,
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ricey wild.jpgWoke up this morning, turned on the news and watched the story about the Sterling guy (owner of the LA Clippers) who made racist comments that were recorded and is now banned from anything to do with the NBA. In the same moment I thought ‘good enough for him’ I wondered how is that different from the Washington Red$kin$? Answer: we don’t have that much money AKA power for one thing and our culture is still actively degraded by the willingly ignorant. Grrrrr! I saw Native News Today put the story out on Facebook; sure it will get the word out but beyond that what can we do? It seems the only thing the dominant culture takes notice of is what billionaires want and violence. But … using other means to change the hateful team name isn’t impossible either. Let me think about it some more.
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