Local Briefs
July - August Powwows
Monday, July 03 2017
Written by The Circle,
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July 7-9
Fond du lac Veterans Traditional Powwow

MC(s): Pete Ghabow, Les Gibbs, and Dan Houle. AD(s): Jaimie Petite, Ken Fox, and Jay Smith. Host Drum(s): Midnite Express. Free admission. Mash Ka Wisen, Hwy 210 and Mission Rd, Sawyer, MN. For more info, call Jarvis Paro or Tom Whitebird at 218-878-8179 or 218-878-2670.

July 7-9
Treasure Island Contest Powwow

Northern and Southern style categories. Prize money for dancers and drummers. Grand entries: Friday at 6 pm; Saturday at 11 am and 6 pm; Sunday at 11 am. Celebrate Native American culture and history through traditional food, art, music and dancing and drummers come from all over the United States and Canada for this event. Treasure Island Outdoor Grounds, 5734 Sturgeon Lake Rd., Welch, MN. For info, call 1-800-554-5473.

July 14-16
Mii Gwitch Mahnomen Days Traditional Powwow

MC(s): Peter White. ADs: Bruce White and Roger Gotchie. Host Drum: Leech Lake Nation.  Ball Club, 30995 Arctic Dr., Deer River, MN. For more info, call Amanda at 218-246-8394 or 218-246-8210.

July 21 - July 23
2nd Annual Gii-Ishkonigewag Powwow

Head man Dancer: Shane Mitchell. Head Woman Dancer: Iliana Montoya. Host Drum: Swamp Nation. Invited Drums: Midnite Express, IronBoy, War Paint, Battle River, Pipestone. DrumSplit for first 10 non Invited drums (Minimum Of 5 singers). Dance prizes and various age categories. 3 man Hand Drum Contest. 3 man Youth Hand Drum Contest. Woodland Relay. 3 on 3 Co-Ed Basketball Tournament at East Lake Community Center. Drum Daily payouts for dancers and non invited drums. Bring your own chairs. 37736 State Highway 65, McGregor MN. For more info, contact: Tony Buckanaga at 218-565-1835.

August 4 - 6
39th Annual Sobriety Powwow Mash-ka-wisen

Free admission, raffle drawings, wristband sign-up, camping available.  Children under 12 must be supervised. 24 Hour Security on site. Friday: Warm ups at 6pm. Open AA Mtg at 8pm, Sweat lodge (limited seating). Saturday: Sunrise Pipe Ceremony at 6:30 am. Flag raising at 9 am. Open AA Mtg. 10 am and 9 pm. Grand Entries: 1pm and 7pm. Feast at 5 pm. Sunday: Sunrise Pipe Ceremony 6:30 am. Flag raising at 9 am. Breakfast at 9 am. Open AA Mtg at 10 am. Grand Entry at 1 pm. Mash-Ka-Wisen School: 1150 Mission Rd., Sawyer, MN.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi

MC(s): Ruben Little Head and Juaquin Hamilton. AD(s): Chaske LaBlanc and Mike One Star. Host Drum(s): Northern Cree, Alberta and The Boyz.  Contest Info: Junior (6-12 years) Traditional, Grass/Jingle, Fancy Teen (13-17 years) Traditional, Grass/Jingle, Fancy Adult JR. Men (18-34 years) Traditional, Fancy, Grass, Southern Straight, Chicken Dance Adult JR. Women (18-34 years) Traditional, Fancy, Jingle, Southern Buckskin/Cloth (Combined) Adult SR. Men (35-54 years) Traditional, Fancy, Grass, Southern Straight, Chicken Dance Adult SR. Women (35-54 years) Traditional, Fancy, Jingle, Southern Buckskin/Cloth (Combined) Golden Age Men (55+ years) Traditional/Southern Straight (Combined), Fancy/Grass (Combined) Golden Age Women (55+ years) Traditional/Southern Buckskin/Cloth (Combined), Fancy/Jingle (Combined). Head Singing Judge: Rooster Top Sky Head Women's Judge: Alva Fiddler Head Men's Judge: Canku One Star Sound Man: Dale Roberts - Hokah Sound Color Guard: Sisseton-Wahpeton Kit Fox Society Tabulating: iCreeazn Invited Drums: Midnite Express, Young Bear, Sharp Shooter, Southern Style, Yellow Hammer, Wild Band of Comanches, Young Spirit, Show Time Bullhorn, Mato Pejuta. Cost: $10 entire weekend. Free admission for 10 years and under, and 60+ years old. SMSC Wacipi Grounds, 3212 Dakotah Parkway, Shakopee, MN. For more info, call 952-445-8900.

Aug. 18 - 20
51st Annual Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Traditional Powwow

Drum Monies: Drums must have a minimum of 5 singers. All singers must personally register with their drum. At least 5 registered singers must be present at the drum during each roll call in order to be paid for that session. Grand entry times: Friday at 7 pm.; Saturday at 1 and 7 pm.  Sunday at 1 pm. Iskigamizigan Powwow Grounds (on the west side of Lake Mille Lacs 12 miles north of Onamia or two miles north of Grand Casino Mille Lacs on Highway 169.) Onamia, MN. For more info, call Tony Pike at 320-980-5367 or Carla Big Bear at 320-362-0862.

Summer musings
Monday, July 03 2017
Written by Ricey Wild,
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When I write it’s in the moment and a culmination of the past month or years. I have so much to say, yell about, and communicate.  It’s very difficult to put all that into 800 words. That’s all, you say? Yes, that’s all. But I take it very seriously when need be, and then because I like to laugh that content belongs in this space, too. But I’m running out of things to laugh about.

It has to do with the hate and fear-mongering the Republicans are spewing and the Democrat’s kicked-dog syndrome in response to it. Really though, what is happening to our country? Turtle Island was ours first and then the immigrants showed up and literally destroyed and poisoned it. If there was a Garden of Eden, we Indigenous People lived in it. We prayed and were appreciative of the bountiful gifts the Creator provided us with.

The reckless haste and waste that the 1% are acquiring $$$$$$$$$$$ is sickening and short sighted. They don’t get that money in and of itself is worthless except as toilet paper or lighting a fire with. I say let them go into their bunkers and leave the rest of us alone to deal with the aftermath of their destruction. Yes, I’m very sad but mostly angry at the current state of our Earth. No animal, except humans, could or would have laid waste to our Mother such as is happening now.

Call me Debbie Downer but the worst of capitalism happens to we who are browner.

So here in Rezberry there is an annual celebration for enrollees and their family. There are festivities for the kids, a feast and cash drawings for the adults. There are always cultural activities too, like at the museum I used to work for. Boozhoo Jeff! I got to make some jingle earrings with his daughter Leah and they are soooo pretty! I love that we get to celebrate us especially since we weren’t supposed to be here anymore.

Think on that for a moment. We were hunted down to certain extinction but we survived.

All thanks to our ancestors who refused to be beaten even in the face of true evil. Yanno what? I feel in my bones and blood their love and strength to carry on yet another day and then some. We – you and I – have to honor that sacrifice. We wouldn’t be here without them.

For the record I didn’t win any cash but I got a free pizza cutter when I signed up. Im’a use it next per-cap day when I can afford frozen pizza. Shhhhh!!! I also saw a bunch of people who I love and hugged, and more that I absolutely abhor. <shivering> Those creatures are horrible any time but having to see them in a concentrated venue is torture. Ick. Talk about a microcosm of insanity. It only happens once a year so that’s good. I just wanna know who’s throwing my ticket out of the barrel.

Next up is the Fond du Lac Veterans Powwow the first weekend in July. I know a lot of the Veterans Committee and they are such good people who want their kindred to be recognized. If you are a Vet, near or far, come check out our hospitality. And thanks for your service. My father Jerome Charette was Air Force. I’m sure every Indian family has someone who served voluntarily in the military. This was our land first.

Sooo…. My social calendar is filled up for the foreseeable future but I still need to make it to Minneapolis, my old stomping grounds, to visit with Daniel, Rachel and kids.

It’s so comforting for me when I stay with them, it’s like I never left! I become the City Indian I grew up as and I love it! I think it’s strange though how even if we live in the Big City we still consider our rezzes as ‘home’. Come to think about it, wherever we step is ‘home’ for us!!!

I know quite a few former City Indians who moved back to their rezzes and I really wonder why? My own motive was my Gramma Rose, so I can be near her. But what of others? Write me and let me know. My email is at the end of this column.

My sister Stefanie is in NICU for a head injury and while I usually don’t post or write for help she could really use some support right now. Miigwech. Stef has a long road ahead of her and will never be the same active person. I brought her a little statue of an Indian woman dancing because she wants to do that again. Don’t we all.

Just dance. Even if you can only do it in a chair.

Cherokee artists denounce Jimmie Durham as a fraud
Monday, July 03 2017
Written by brian boucher/new.artnet,
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durham_cover.jpgHot on the heels of the opening of Jimmie Durham’s touring retrospective at the Walker Art Center, 10 Cherokee artists, curators, and other professionals have published a forceful editorial disputing the artist’s Native American heritage. Durham has long claimed to be Cherokee, was involved with the American Indian Movement in the 1970s, and has made issues of colonialism and Native American identity the center of his work.

Titled “Dear Unsuspecting Public, Jimmie Durham Is a Trickster” and published by Indian Country Today, based in Verona, New York, the editorial is blunt:

“No matter what metric is used to determine Indigenous status, Durham does not fulfill any of them. Jimmie Durham is not a Cherokee in any legal or cultural sense. This not a small matter of paperwork but a fundamental matter of tribal self-determination and self-governance. Durham has no Cherokee relatives; he does not live in or spend time in Cherokee communities; he does not participate in dances and does not belong to a ceremonial ground.”

The signers of the editorial include America Meredith, an artist and publishing editor of First American Art Magazine; Cara Cowan Watts, a former member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council; Luzene Hill, artist and former deputy speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council; and Kade Twist, an artist and co-founder of the group Postcommodity, featured in the recent Whitney Biennial and current documenta 14.

First American Art Magazine has also published a detailed fact sheet about Durham. It includes a striking graph looking at JSTOR listings, and showing that Durham is by far the most mentioned artist when it comes to Cherokee art, with 81 references, compared to the next-mentioned artist, Kay WalkingStick, with just 18.

The controversy over Durham’s identity comes just weeks after an uproar at the Walker Art Center over a sculpture by Sam Durant. Scaffold (2012) was, in part, modeled on a gallows where some 38 Dakota Indians were executed in 1862, and provoked major protests for being offensive. Durant ultimately agreed to allow the work to be removed by local Dakota community and burned.

Long discussed in indigenous art circles, Durham’s claims have come under renewed scrutiny on the occasion of his traveling exhibition, “Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World,” originally organized by the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles, and set to show to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Remai Modern, a new private museum set to open this year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, after its run in Minnesota.

“I am perfectly willing to be called Cherokee,” said Durham in a recent article in the New York Times, though he went on to muddy the waters by adding, “But I’m not a Cherokee artist or Indian artist, no more than Brancusi was a Romanian artist.”

The signers of the editorial say that Durham’s claims are not only untrue, but actually damaging to other Cherokee artists: “These false claims are harmful,” they write, “as they misrepresent Native people, undermine tribal sovereignty, and trivialize the important work by legitimate Native artists and cultural leaders.”

Critics and writers also come in for criticism. “While [Durham] has toned down his positioning of himself as the representative of all things American Indian,” they write, “art writers now do the job for him…, That scholars writing about Durham repeatedly fail to fact-check any of Durham’s claims is egregious, especially when a multitude of research and resources are available. The Cherokee Heritage Center, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and John Hair Cultural Center and Museum all strive to provide accurate information to the public.”

The Walker now features the following note at the bottom of the website for his retrospective:

“Note: While Durham self-identifies as Cherokee, he is not recognized by any of the three Cherokee Nations, which as sovereign nations determine their own citizenship. We recognize that there are Cherokee artists and scholars who reject Durham’s claims of Cherokee ancestry.”

Reprinted with permission from Art Net News at .

Editor’s note: Durham’s show is scheduled to run at the Walker Art Center June 22nd through Oct 7th, 2017.

Mankato hangings an uneasy topic for MN schools
Monday, July 03 2017
Written by solvejg Wastvedt/MPRnews,
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dakota_hangings_color.jpgIt’s a troubling piece of Minnesota’s past: Thirty-eight Dakota men hanged from a Mankato gallows in December 1862. Their deaths scarred generations of Native people and cemented Minnesota as home to the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

Despite that infamy, if you’re a Minnesotan in your 30s or older, it’s likely you were never taught about the hangings – or the prairie war between the United States and the Dakota that led to them. Minnesota didn’t require students to study that tragic chapter in the state’s history.

That past, and how it’s taught, surfaced again recently with installation of “Scaffold,” a Walker Art Center sculpture built in the shape of a gallows with a reference to the Mankato hangings. It led to an outcry from Dakota community members. While “Scaffold” has been torn down, the controversy has called into question how much Minnesotans know about what happened at Mankato.

Historians say younger Minnesotans get more teaching on the topic than their parents or grandparents ever did, but that the executions, and the whole Dakota story, still don’t receive the treatment in school they deserve.

“I think it’s getting better than it used to be, but there’s a long way to go,” said Kate Beane (Flandreau Santee Sioux), outreach and program manager for the Minnesota Historical Society.

Beane also teaches about Dakota culture and history at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She said every year she asks her students if they know about the U.S.-Dakota War.

“Seven years ago when I started teaching that class maybe one or two hands would be raised. Now I’m seeing more hands being raised,” Beane said.

Still, Beane said very few recall learning the content in school.

The war has been part of Minnesota’s grade school social studies standards for more than a decade. After a 2011 revision, the content is now taught in sixth grade.

The updated standards don’t mention the hangings at Mankato specifically. They do say students must learn “reasons for the [war]; compare and contrast the perspectives of settlers and Dakota people before, during and after the war.”

A widely used sixth grade social studies textbook published by the Minnesota Historical Society describes how U.S. Army officers “rushed through” trials of the Dakota men who “had no lawyers to present their case” and calls it “the largest mass execution in U.S. history, before or since.”

But while it’s made it into textbooks, responsibility for teaching everything in the standards rests with individual school districts.

State law requires inclusion of American Indian history and culture across subject areas. Beane and others said it’s important to teach that broader context. The state Education Department said it isn’t able to police how schools and districts teach the standards, although it does follow up with districts if there’s a complaint.

There’s no state social studies test, as there is for reading, math and science. And the U.S.-Dakota War itself isn’t required in social studies outside of sixth grade.

That lack prompted Mankato West High School teacher Matt Moore to build his own lesson for his Advanced Placement U.S. History class.

“For a Mankato student, I don’t think it’s right for the last time for them to go in-depth and learn about the U.S.-Dakota war to occur in sixth grade. I just think that’s kind of an injustice to the local history,” Moore said.

Moore said his students come into the eleventh-grade class with a range of knowledge about the war and the hangings at Mankato. “Likely the same will result in my class,” he admitted.

Still, Moore said students need to revisit a history that’s too complex for sixth graders to grasp fully.

It’s also a traumatic history. “We have to make sure that in presenting this material to children that we remember that there can be Dakota children in that classroom. How do you teach this history in a way that helps protect their spirit as well?” Beane said.

Beane and others said it’s a matter of how to teach it, not whether to present the story.

“We all learn how to teach what we’re teaching ... We learn how to teach chemistry. We learn how to teach rocket science. We have to learn how to teach Minnesota Indian history,” said Osseo Area school district secondary Indian education director Ramona Kitto Stately (Santee Sioux).

Stately said her great, great grandmother was one of a group of mostly women and children force-marched to a prison camp at Fort Snelling following the end of the U.S.-Dakota War.

“I have teachers who ask me, ‘When is it appropriate to tell kids this story?’” she said. “My answer is always the same: ‘When is it appropriate to lie to them?’”

Minnesota  Public Radio News can be heard on MPR’s statewide radio network or online at .


Red Lake housing project in Mpls to house elders, wellness center
Monday, July 03 2017
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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red_lake_story_2.jpgThe city of Minneapolis has approved more than $2.7 million from its Affordable Housing Trust Fund to assist the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe in launching its Mino-bimaadiziwin housing project on the edge of the American Indian Cultural Corridor in South Minneapolis.

The Red Lake Band announced in July last year it had purchased a former hardware warehouse site at 17th Ave. S. and Cedar Ave., near the Franklin Avenue Metro Blue Line light-rail station, to develop the housing project.

Current plans call for a complex of 109 housing units, and the complex will also house the Red Lake Nation Embassy and a Wellness Center in the six-story building.

Sam Strong, director of Economic Development and Planning at Red Lake, said the band has been working with other groups on finance and planning since that initial announcement. The city’s support is an important part of the financing plan, he said.

Mino-bimaadiziwin, meaning “the good life” in Ojibwe, will have 10 efficiencies and 15 one-bedroom units. These are to encourage elders to live in communities with young families, the band said. It will also have 29 three-bedroom and 55 two-bedroom apartments for families.

Fabian Hurd, director of the Red Lake Nation Embassy office in Minneapolis, said plans include a walkway to the Franklin Avenue Blue Line station for convenience of tenants and their visitors.

The hardware warehouse complex consists of four separate but connected buildings that will be demolished for new construction, said George Spears, the embassy’s housing advocate.

Like other tribes in Minnesota and throughout Indian Country, Red Lake now has more enrolled members – not even counting descendants – living in urban areas than back home on its sovereign land. Red Lake counts slightly less than 6,000 living at home and 6,000 or more living away.

Minneapolis is the largest non-reservation urban center for Red Lake Ojibwe and other Upper Midwest Native people. Current U.S. Census data show there are 10,591 people living in Hennepin County and 4,043 residents of Ramsey County, across the Mississippi River in St. Paul and suburbs, who identify themselves as American Indians to Census takers.

“The location on the Cultural Corridor along Franklin Avenue represents an opportunity for Native Americans to create a community destination of pride. Mino-bimaadiziwin augments the Cultural Corridor through creating a comprehensive, holistic living environment that blends housing and traditional healing practices with contemporary therapies,” the Red Lake Band’s statement said.

Plans for the housing complex include green space, underground parking and amenities such as the wellness center. It will also provide housing for low income individuals and families on up to households with incomes in the 50 percent and 60 percent of area medium income levels.

That puts Mino-bimaadiziwin within the scope of Minneapolis’ Affordable Housing Trust Fund program (AHTF), said Angie Skildum, manager of residential finance for the city’s Housing Policy and Development office. The fund was started in 2003 to help affordable housing development and rehabilitation of properties serving various population groups, including seniors, homeless, AIDS, families, workforce, veterans, artists and others deemed to have special needs.

The program is also used to help create developments along transportation systems, called Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) by urban planners and city officials, that in Minneapolis’ case involves light rail, bus rapid transit and local mass (bus) transit service. The Red Lake development is just 200 feet from the Franklin Avenue Blue Line station.

By Red Lake’s reckoning, the Cedar Avenue project represents the first direct investment in housing off sovereign land by a Minnesota tribe. It addresses a need for affordable housing by Red Lake members and descendants living in the Twin Cities metro area while also further diversifying Red Lake’s investment portfolio.

Other Minnesota-based tribes, however, are partners and participants in housing projects in the Twin Cities and Duluth although that assistance doesn’t make them sole owners and their stakes in projects aren’t listed among tribal-owned enterprises.

Skildum said the Red Lake award of $2,718,591 is the 11th new construction or rehab project supported by city AHTF funds aimed at improving affordable housing for Native Americans. It is the largest of Native related projects. 
Other projects where financing was assisted by the city’s fund include:

  • The Indian Neighborhood Club expansion, 2101 S. 5th Ave., for 20 sober housing and support of chemically dependent men. 20 units. It has various government and non-profit partners. 2014.
  • Anishinabe Wakiagun rehab (45 units) and new construction of Anishinabe Bii Gii Winn (32 units), in the American Indian Corridor, for homeless and near-homeless people with disabilities. American Indian Community Development Corp. (AICDC) and Project for Pride in Living (PPL) are partners. 2013.
  • Bii Di Gain Dash Elder Housing, 2401 Bloomington Ave. S., for new construction of 47-unit apartment complex for Native elders. AICDC and CommonBond Communities are partners. 2009.
  • Rehabilitation work at Anpa Waste House, 10th Ave. S. Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches/ Division of Indian Work. 2008.
  • Noko-Wakiagun Elder Housing, 1919-1929 Columbus Ave., and 726-30 E. Franklin Ave., new construction of 32 apartment units for Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe elders. AICDC. 2005.
  • Pokegama North, 2111 14th Ave. S., and Pokegama South, 2313 13th Ave. S., new construction of 23 affordable single-family homes for home ownership. AICDC. 2004.
  • Anpa Waste Apartments, 3146 Cedar Ave. S., for rehabilitation of an 11-unit apartment building for chronically homeless teen parents and their children. The Division of Indian Work, and the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation. 2004.
  • Maynidoowahdak Odena, 1321-1351 E. 23rd St., rehabilitation and stabilization of 15 units for Native families and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Indigenous Peoples Task Force and partners. 2002.
  • Indian Neighborhood Club, 1805 Portland Ave. S., rehabilitation of housing for 16 Native Americans recovering from substance abuse. 2001.
  • Little Earth of United Tribes Housing Corp., 2501 Cedar Ave. S. for rehabilitation and stabilization work on the 212 units of affordable housing Little Earth purchased from the city. 1995.

Dates shown above were for applications for AHTF financial support. Approval, construction and rehabilitation work often came in later years.

Skildum said Minneapolis awarded $7.8 million for eight projects in 2016 across the spectrum of groups and individuals working to provide affordable housing in the city. These projects are developing and rehabilitating 569 affordable housing units, she said.

As with any large development, Red Lake’s Mino-bimaadiziwin has partners in its planning, financing and development stages.

Red Lake said its team includes Cunningham Group Architects, an international architectural and consulting firm temporarily headquartered in St. Paul; Loeffler Construction, a minority-owned (White Earth Ojibwe member) and woman-owned regional construction company that does extensive work with Native communities; Plumer Law Office, Bemidji; Woodstone Builders Inc., Bloomington; Westwood Professional Services, an Eden Prairie-based surveying, engineering and consulting firm; and Landon Group, a St. Paul-based women-owned business enterprise (WBE) that specializes in helping secure financing for affordable housing projects.


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