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Local Briefs
Tribes Begin Defense Against Keystone XL
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Spiritual Encampments Planned Along Proposed Route

With the release of a U.S. State Department environmental impact study of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that reported no significant impact, tribes and environmental groups across the Northern Plains rallied against the project's advancement.

Over the next 90 days, during which, the federal government begins its final review process for approval of the pipeline, an alliance of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes in South Dakota and Nebraska – known as the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires), analogous to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – have gone on a defensive campaign against TransCanada, the company responsible for the proposed pipeline.

Of those tribal nations dissenting, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has taken the lead in opposing the pipeline approval process. It launched an initiative called Oyate Wahacanka Woecun (“Shield the People”) through its Tribal Historic Preservation Office, that is calling for action from all corners of the political world beginning with environmental activists all the way up to the White House. One of the project's direct actions in opposing the pipeline will be to set up a series of tipi encampments along the proposed route in South Dakota and Nebraska, beginning at the end of March and going throughout the summer.

According to a video produced by the project, and featuring tribal officials and spiritual leaders, including Leonard Crow Dog, Sr., a set of tipi sites will be erected to, “provide awareness on the need for cultural preservation based on the existing treaties with the United States government and to shine a light on the root cause of the XL Pipeline … greed.”


From the Editor's Desk: Thinking Beyond Our Own Salvation
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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whats_new_-_walfred_walking_bull.jpgWhether by flood, fire or rapture, almost every culture has its own form of eschatology. There seems to be no end in how people predict the end of the human race. The earth will be consumed by fire, it will be re-appropriated by the waters or the faithful of the world will be called upward toward heaven, body and soul.

The focus is that there will be an end to humanity as we know it and that there are very clear markers of when, where and how.

The problem with eschatology is that it is a human-centered system of belief that removes any kind of responsibility when it comes to how we treat our environment, other forms of life and each other. As a millennial Catholic Christian, my generation's religious education was not to focus on the Second Coming as a means to judge others and use up what resources we could in our lifetime; we were taught to respect the inherent dignity of other people, in all forms of life and to be respectful of our surroundings.

As a Lakota, educated in Wolakota – our belief system – I was also told the stories of our people's creation and how we became the dominant species on this planet. Lakota are not dominionists, nor are we salvationists; we believe in merit. The story of how we came to be where we are is a story of merit. We believe that we once lived as equals with our relatives in the animal world but over time, the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) began to think they were superior to others because of their size and strength. A great race was held on the outer rim of the He Sapa (Black Hills) between the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds to decide which group would have primacy over the others.

 


Lacrosse Clinics Teach Culture and Engage Community
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Jamie Keith,
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lacrosse_clinics_teach_culture_and_engage_community_2.jpgIndigenous Lax kicked off its first lacrosse clinic on Feb. 15 with special guest speaker and Edmonton Rush player Jeremy Thompson (Onondaga). He also plays for the Iroquois Nationals, is a Nike N7 Ambassador and the co-star of a documentary titled, “The Medicine Game.” He shared his knowledge and experiences with 30 Native youth representing the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Dakota, Ho-Chunk, Lakota, Ojibwe, Omaha, Potawatomi and Yakama nations.

The goal of these introductory clinics is two-fold: introduce Native youth to the history and significance the game has to many tribal communities; and to teach them the foundational skills they need to compete in lacrosse leagues in the Twin Cities.

“Both Native and non-Native [people] locally seem to think the sport is for and began with White Americans from elite communities and schools,” Clinic Director Shane Thompson (Odawa/Seneca) said. “This is far from the truth.”


Political Matters: Mining in the Penokee Hills
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Mining in the Penokee Hills

I’ve devoted several recent “Political Matters” columns to the environmental threat posed by sulfide mining in northeastern Minnesota, the proposed PolyMet mine. This month, I’ll change things up and write about taconite mining. Specifically, Gogebic Taconite, LLC (GTAC) is considering developing what reportedly could become the largest open pit mine in North America.

GTAC’s big dig, just south of the Bad River reservation, would be 4.5 miles long, 1.5 mile wide and 1,000 feet deep. The Wisconsin DNR states that, if developed, “the project would likely include an open pit mining operation, a plant site and waste disposal facilities.”

The GTAC project, as you might imagine, has sparked controversy across northern Wisconsin. I talked recently with Cyrus Hester, an environmental specialist with the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa.

Fond du Lac Follies
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Jim Northrup,
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_northrup_cover_mug_small.jpgC'mere I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time, no wait, that is the wrong story. How about a Vietnam veteran war story? It starts out like this … this is no shit you guys. No that isn't it either.

Try this one: Fond du Lac Follies jetted to Budapest, Hungary to recite poetry. I went over there as part of the U.S. Embassy's Official Speakers Program.

I flew to Budapest with a short stop in Paris. I barely had enough time to get lost in the DeGaulle airport. It was a short two-hour hop to my destination – Budapest. I was met at the airport by Dimitri Tarakhovsky of the U.S. Embassy who took a taxi to take me to the plush hotel that overlooked the Danube River. I knew it started in Germany and ran downhill to Buda and Pest.

The next morning I met with Gabor who had earlier contacted the Embassy to see if they would bring me over. He wanted them to help celebrate the publishing of his book called “Nagy Kis Madar” (with a hyphen over the a) the book was about Jim Northrup and his poetry. Monika Vali and Attila Nemeth provided translation, transportation and photography.

I learned that poets are venerated in Hungary. There are children, streets, schools and bridges named after their poets.


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