Local Briefs
UMD’s MTAG Program graduates move into higher positions
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Dr. Ed Minnema,
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mtag_graduates.jpgThe Master of Tribal Administration and Governance (MTAG) program at UMD graduated its first cohort in 2013. Since then at least four MTAG graduates have become elected tribal officials in the Minnesota – Wisconsin region. Most recently, Jason (Jay) Schlender (MTAG ’13) and Jason Weaver (MTAG ’16) were elected to the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa tribal council. Jay and Jason were sworn in July 7, 2015.

Also from the Class of 2013 was Carolyn Beaulieu, who had been a tribal administrator at the Mille Lacs Reservation and was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Mille Lacs Band in 2014. Similarly, in 2014 Annette Johnson was elected the Treasurer of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa after graduating from MTAG in 2013. The Class of 2014 included sitting Tribal Councilman Brooks Big John who said, “.... The curriculum is relevant, the professors are knowledgeable, and the staff is professional. The diverse experience and expertise of my classmates has made learning again a pleasure not a burden or challenge.” Brooks serves on the council of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
MTAG now has over sixty students or grads in California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Michigan, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Washington State and Minnesota.

The MTAG program has also included several tribal executive directors or people who became head administrators after graduating. The first cohort included Cory Strong of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and Tiger Brown Bull of the Oglala Lakota Nation, both were promoted to the position of tribal executive director after completing MTAG.

The MTAG program was developed through two years of tribal consultation from 2009-11. From the consultation, several ideas and courses rose to the top: a year-long course on tribal sovereignty in which the entire history of federal, tribal and state relations is examined; a year- long course in tribal leadership and ethics; and a series of courses in tribal management (strategic, operations, human resources and project management) all of these courses were geared for tribal governments. Johnson said, “The MTAG program was designed for tribal governments by tribal governments.”

The consultation also revealed that people wanted a better understanding of the complexities of tribal finance, accounting and budgets – and Federal Indian law –which were added. MTAG is a 2 year program that meets with 4 synchronous meetings each semester, which can be attended in person or online – the rest of the program is online. The 35 tribes of the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes (MAST) endorsed the program with a resolution, and MTAG was approved by the University of Minnesota Regents in February of 2011.

With the success of MTAG, UMD is adding a new all online Bachelor’s degree in Tribal Administration and Governance (TAG) this fall. The new TAG program is designed for persons who have an Associate of Arts degree and want a totally online program. However, the TAG program can easily accommodate students with other academic backgrounds. While consulting with Indian people and non- Indian people on and off reservations, we discovered many potential non-traditional students who had gone to Tribal Community Colleges, or gone to college for a year or two, and then settled down, had children and were looking for ways to complete their Bachelor’s degree online and work for tribal governments. MTAG Director Johnson says, “We believe the TAG program will fill this need.”

For more info on MTAG, see: . For the TAG program see: or call Tami Lawlor at 218-726-7332.

October Events
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by The Circle,
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Thru Nov. 20
On Fertile Ground Exhibit
This exhibition is the second of three annual showings of Native artists, providing an overview of 45 artists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Artists include: Roger Broer, Gordon Coons, Lauren Good Day-Giago, Heid Erdrich, Duane Goodwin, Laura Heit-Youngbird, Cole Jacobson, Pat Kruse, Marlena Myles, Chris Pappan, Bad Art Press, Keith Secola, Maggie Thompson, and Jonathan Thunder. All My Relations Arts, 1414 E Franklin Ave.

Oct. 3, 10, 24, 31
Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post Events

For a complete list of all MNHS events and news releases please visit News releases are typically posted by the end of the day Wednesday. Check back often to see what's new at all MNHS sites and museums. Media Contacts: Lauren Peck, 651-259-3137, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
• Oct. 3: Kids Learn How Craft a Beaded Ring
• Oct. 10: A Fashion Showcase of Traditional Skirts of the Great Lakes Region
•Oct. 24: Discover the Art of Making a Sweetgrass Basket in a Two-Day Workshop
• Oct. 31: Art Exhibit “On Home Ground,” Featuring the Work of Steve Premo, Closes.

Oct. 5
Sherman Alexie and Bob Hershon poetry reading

Both authors will read their own poetry. A Spokane/Coeur D'Alene Indian, Alexie has won many honors, culminating in the National Book Award for his novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Hershon has won two National Endowment for the Arts writing fellowships and three from the New York Foundation for the Arts. In the Q&A after the reading, they'll talk about their life-long relationship - Hershon published Alexie's first book of poetry, launching his career as a poet and writer. Sponsored by the Macalester English Department. Macalester College, Alexander G. Hill Ballroom, Kagin Commons, 1600 Grand Ave, St. Paul, Minn., FREE, 7 p.m., For more info, call 651-696-6387.

Oct. 5 - 28
Tradition Not Addiction

Learn about traditional tobacco, commercial tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Now recruiting youth ages 12-18. New group: October 5-28. Mondays & Wednesdays from: 4:30-7:30 at All Nations Indian Church, 1515 E. 23rd Street, Minneapolis, MN.  Stipend Offered: $120.00 (gift card) must attend all sessions. For more information contact: Suzanne Nash at 722-6248 or Curtis Kirby at 428-7692. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Oct. 10
Indian Education Fall Gathering

An afternoon with MPS students & families! Lunch provided for MPS parents & students. Activities include: Spirit Rock Painting, College Photo Booth, Native Lacrosse Clinic, Star Lab, Parent Gathering, Title VII information, Jeopardy game and door prizes. 11 am to 2 pm at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For info, contact Deanna StandingCloud at 612-668-0612 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Oct. 12
Saint Paul's Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration

Celebrate the First Inaugural City of Saint Paul's Indigenous Peoples Day celebration. 11:30 am - 1:30 pm Crown Plaza Hotel Saint Paul, 11 Kellogg Blvd, East Saint Paul, MN.

Oct. 12
SPPS Indigenous Peoples Day

The City of St. Paul recently issued a resolution recognizing the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day. SPPS is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day by hosting a day of activities at the American Indian Magnet to teach our students and community more about indigenous culture. Schedule: 10:00 – 12:00 grades K-4, activities for students. 1:00-3:00 grades 5-8, activities for students. All events will take place at the American Indian Magnet School, 1075 East Third St., St. Paul MN. For more info, call 651-778-3100.

Oct. 13 - 14
Anishinabe Academy Parent-Teacher Conferences

Anishinabe Academy is holding their first Parent Night. There will be roundtable discussions on: Bullying, Today’s Math, and Raising Tweens/Early Childhood Resources. Anishinabe Academy will also be holding Parent-Teacher Conferences that same evening from 4-8 and on October 14. If you wish to hold a table at our Resource Booth to support one of the above topic email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 612-668-0905. For more info, call 612-668-0880.

Oct, 13 - 15
Sex Trafficking in Indian Country Conference

Topics presented include: Pre-Colonization, Common Misconceptions of Sex Trafficking, Contemporary Reality, Red Flags & Identifying Victims of Sex Trafficking, Exploring the Intersections of SA, DV and Sex Trafficking, Impact and Needs of SA Victims, Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Meeting the Needs of Sex Trafficking Victims, Healing and Justice for Victim/Survivors of Sex Trafficking, Importance of Developing and Providing a Collaborative Community. Presenters: Dr. Alexandra Pierce and Bonnie Clairmont. 9 am to 5 pm. Red Lake 7Clans Casino & Event Center, 10200 Hwy. 89, Red Lake, MN.

Oct. 14
Birchbark Books Readings Series

Reading will be Eric McKendry, Cheryl K. Minnema, and Thomas R. Smith. Cheryl K. Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Cheryl grew up on the Mille Lacs Reservation and is a graduate of Nay Ah Shing Tribal School. Cheryl is the author of the children’s picture book, “Hungry Johnny” and is currently working additional Johnny stories for a series of books. Eric McKendry is a poet and carpenter from Crystal, Minnesota. Thomas R. Smith is the author of six full-length books of poems: Keeping the Star (1988), Horse of Earth (1994), The Dark Indigo Current (2000), Waking Before Dawn (2006), The Foot of the Rainbow (2010), and The Glory (2015). The reading will be at the Bockley Gallery, 2123 W 21st Street (a couple doors down from Birchbark Books), Minneapolis.

Oct. 14
Mobile Mammography Day

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Mobile Unit visits NACC every quarter to provide free mammograms. Mammograms screen women for signs of breast cancer and are recommended for women 40 years of age and older. Women with a family history of breast cancer should start at age 35. Activities include: Breast & Cervical Cancer Education, Colon Cancer Education, Screening Incentives. Reserve your appointment today, call Sarah at 612-872-8086, ext. 1023 to reserve your 20 minute appointment. If you have insurance, please bring your card with you. If you do not have insurance, call the clinic before your appointment to sign up for the SAGE FREE MAMMOGRAM Program. Native American Community Clinic 1213 E. Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN.

Oct. 15
Indian Child Welfare Education Day

Co-Sponsored by WMCL Indian Law Center. Registration begins 8:00 a.m. Programing begins 8:30 a.m. Please join us as we share the strengths and wisdom within our community. CEU’s will be provided. There is no cost to attend this event – Lunch is provided For information, contact: Sandy White Hawk at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or 651-442-4872. William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN.

Oct. 15
Linda LeGarde Grover

Community talk by the award-winning author and member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, Prof. Linda LeGarde Grover. Event is free. The event is cosponsored by the English Department, the American Studies Department, and the Department for Multicultural Life. 5:30 pm at Old Main 4th floor lounge, Macalester College campus, St. Paul, MN.

Oct. 16
Ties that Blind: Race and the Criminal Justice System

A conference for members of the legal system, religious leaders and justice advocates addresses Minnesota’s high rate of racial disparity involving arrests, incarceration and re-incarceration of people of color. “Ties that Blind: Race and the Criminal Justice System” convenes in a co-presentation of the Council on Religion and Law (CORAL) and the Black Church Leadership Program at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (United). The half-day conference (8:00 AM – 1:00 PM) features a plenary address by University of St. Thomas law professor Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds. Rev. Alan Bean of Tulia, Tex., founder of Friends of Justice, is the closing speaker. United’s campus, 3000 Fifth Street NW in New Brighton, MN. Fo info and registration see:, or contact conference director Brian Braskich at 651.255.6170. The fee is $20, general, and $150 for CLE (applied for).

Oct. 17
The Dakota Experience

The community is invited to an informal and informative gathering to experience the Dakota people’s food, culture, and spirituality. The Dakota people were the original occupants of this land, but their stories are little known. This event is an opportunity to experience some of their history and rich traditions. It will include: Native American storytelling, a traditional drum group, a teepee and campfire, horses (and lessons about Dakota horse traditions), the Tatanka Food Truck selling pre-colonial foods, an eagle from the Raptor Center with discussion of the significance of eagles in Native American spirituality, a display exploring Native American myths and stereotypes in public art, a screening of the film Dakota 38, and more. 4-8  p.m. Free and open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN)/Healing Minnesota Stories and World Without Genocide. On the grounds of Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley, 7800 West Country Road 42 (just west of Cedar Avenue).

Oct. 17, 20, 29
Financial Skills for Families

Free to public. Native American-based curriculum on money management, budgeting to create savings, credit and your credit report. Hosted by Northwest Indian OIC, 520-4th St. NW, Bemidji, MN.
• Oct. 17: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
• Oct. 20: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
• Oct. 29: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 

Oct. 18
No Honor In Racism Rally

The National Coalition Against Racism In Sports and Media and the AIM Interpretive Center  will hold a No Honor In Racism Rally on Sunday October 18th starting at 9 AM at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota Campus. The rally is marching against all Indigenous mascots and to raise awareness of the damage and harm racial stereotypes can cause to people of all cultures. They will be marching to TCF Bank Stadium at 10 am, before the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Football Team game. For more info, see:

Oct. 21
Augsburg Native Film Series

Augsburg Native Film Series presents “First Light: Sisters of Sunrise” hosted by filmmaker Missy Whiteman (Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo) and including selected work Indigenous women filmmakers and animators. Reception from 6:15 to 6:45. Screening begins at 7:00, discussion with filmmakers follows. This event is free to the public. Augsburg College, Sateren Auditorium, Music Hall, 715 22nd Ave South, St. Paul. For more info, see:

Oct. 23 (deadline)
Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship

The Loft Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship is now open for applications. The Immersion Fellowship is for artists of color and Indigenous artists and provides writers financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement community learning and enrichment plans.  Winners will be selected to receive grants of $7,500 to underwrite projects of their own design. At least one winner will be a Minnesota resident. Four winners will be selected. The application deadline is October 23rd. For more information and application, see: 

Oct. 26 - 29
Third Annual Native Food Sovereignty Summit

The Third Annual Food Sovereignty Summit will take place in  Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Pre-Conference Experiential Learning Training Sessions are Oneida Commercial Farm, Tsyunhehkwa Organic Farm, Oneida Orchard/Cannery, Environmental Restoration/Where the Birds Nest, and Indigenous Peoples and Nations Consultation on Climate Change: Defending Our Rights and Food Sovereignty on the Road to Paris and Beyond. The Green Bay Food Sovereignty Summit also features Regional Roundtables, an Optional Tour at the end of the conference and the three main session tracks of Applied Agriculture, Community Outreach, and Products to Market. Native American communities come together to learn from one another in order to promote Native health, wellness and food sovereignty. Native farmers, ranchers, gardeners, businesses, policymakers and other practitioners from around the U.S. will share information, program models and tools to meet growing and marketing challenges, as well as provide inspiration, mentoring and networking opportunities. Register at

Oct. 28 (Deadline)
Nature Conservancy Seeks Proposals for School Gardens

The Nature Conservancy is working to promote environmental education through the creation of Nature Works Everywhere gardens. The core principle behind the program is that gardens model conservation science on a relatable scale. The program empowers students and teachers to work together to create and implement their own solutions to environmental challenges in their communities. To that end, grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded to support the building, amendment, or revitalization of gardens on school campuses, with preference given to rain, pollinator, native habitat, and other natural infrastructure projects. Food gardens will also be funded. To be eligible, a school must be public or charter. Schools can be elementary, middle, or high schools. See the website for guidelines and application:

October 29
An Evening with Martín Prechtel
A leading thinker, writer, and native teacher in the search for the indigenous soul in all people, Martín Prechtel is a dedicated student of eloquence, history, and language with ever-evolving and fresh approaches to these ancient arts.  Martin grew up on a Pueblo reservation in his youth wandering through Mexico and Guatemala where he was eventually trained in the Tzutujil Mayan shamanic tradition.  Martin will discuss his new book Smell of Rain on Dust and share differences in how many native traditions deal with the twins of grief and praise.  October 29, 7pm, Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN.  Free admission.

Oct. 30
Celebrate 6 Years of New Native Theatre

Celebrate 6 Years of New Native Theatre with a Comedy and Musical Review of NNT's Past Plays and Events. Celebrate their new non-profit status as they review the last six years of producing plays and events in the Twin Cities Native community. Featuring excerpts from The Dreaming Bundle (2010), 2012: The Musical! (2012), Native-Somali Friendship Play (2013), and Native Man the Musical (2015) among others. Plus get a look into the future of New Native Theatre. The night will end with a concert by Scatter Their Own! 7:30 pm. Suggested fundraiser ticket price $20. No one turned away. For more info, see:, or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Bedlam Lowertown, 213 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN.

Nov. 3
Reception to Kick Off Why Treaties Matter Outreach

Minnesota American Indian Bar Association will be co-hosting an event with the United States District Court, District of Minnesota and Federal Bar Association-MN focusing on Indian treaty rights. As part of the event, the Why Treaties Matter Exhibit will be on display at the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis for two weeks in November.  A reception will be held on November 3 in the atrium of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis for the outreach event. The Honorable Diane Humetewa (Hopi), the first Native American women appointed to an Article III Judgeship and the first enrolled tribal member to serve as a United States District Court Judge will be providing the keynote address at the kickoff reception. 4:30-7:00 pm. U.S. Courthouse, Minneapolis, 300 South Fourth St., Minneapolis, MN.

Nov. 4 - 6
MIWRC Intro to Motivational Interviewing

This 3-day training, titled Motivational Interviewing (MI), is an Evidence-Based Practice that holds a key to unlocking our clients’ own unique intrinsic motivations to make significant changes in their lives. Much of our focus will be on meaningful connections and uses of MI in a way that appreciates and supports the Native cultural value system. We will examine the basic concepts and uses of MI, practice using MI tools, and learn the steps in mastery of this valuable tool for our counseling toolboxes. Presenters: Betty Poitra and Jane Nakken, Ed. D. Nov. 4 and 5: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Nov. 6: 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. $175.00 for the 3-day training. Registration information, contact Jo Lightfeather at 612-728-2031 or: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it MIWRC, 2300 15th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN.

Nov.  4 - 6
MN Indian Education Association Conference

The 2015 Minnesota Indian Education Association Conference will be held at the Shooting Star Event Center in Mahnomen, MN. Registration is now open. Early Bird deadline: October 22. Visit our website where you can: View the tentative agenda, Register to attend the conference, Register as a vendor, exhibitor, or advertiser, Register a Quiz Bowl Team, Nominate an individual for an MIEA Outstanding Award or Scholarship, Nominate 2016 MIEA Board Members, and more. Call for Workshop Proposals: Now accepting proposals for the 2015 Conference Workshops. Visit the Workshop Presenters page of our website for more info. This year, the MIEA Conference will include a full day of youth activities on November 5. Youth activities will take place at the Circle of Life Academy and will include games, traditional activities, lunch, feast, powwow and more. Shuttle transportation will be provided from Shooting Star to the Circle of Life Academy. Youth Day will be FREE to participate (does not include the MIEA Conference Fee). For more info, see:

Nov. 7
Gathering for Our Children & Returning Adoptees Powwow

MC – Jerry Dearly. Arena Directors- Windy Downwind and Kirk Crowshoe. Host Drum – Oyate Techa. 11:00-1:00 pm: Adoptees/formerly fostered individuals and birth relatives are invited to gather in the auditorium for a meet and visit with other adoptees.1:00 pm: Grand Entry, Wablenica Ceremony. The Wablenica Song (Orphan Song). A ceremony will be offered to heal the grief caused by separation from family and heritage. 5:30 pm: Feast 6-7:00 pm: Celebration of Life Dance for our youth. 7:00 pm: Grand Entry, Honor Song. Honor Song for foster and adoptive parents. Vendors contact Tina Knafla at 612-348-9662. Contacts: Sandra White Hawk, First Nations Repatriation Institute, 651-442-4872 or sandywhitehawk@ Jacque Wilson, Bois Forte Urban Office, 612-747-5247, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. 

Nov. 18 - 20
Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Training

Native American Curriculum or Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Programs in Minnesota: The primary intent of this substance abuse-related curriculum is to provide an educational experience primarily for prevention specialists and substance abuse staff of state licensed programs in Minnesota. The curriculum is also relevant for health, mental health and social work staff members, and other service providers working with Native Americans. Curriculum topics include: Cultural and spiritual values (Pre-European contact), Government policies, treaties and federal laws, Prejudicial and discrimination issues, Cultural orientations, Traditional family relationships, Introduction to spiritual ceremonies, History of alcohol and drug abuse, Multiple addictions and diseases, Counseling strategies & culturally and spiritually related assessment instruments. Attendance at full training is 22 CEU’s. 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (will end early if possible). Registration is required as there is a capacity limit for this training & Manuals will be ordered. Cost: $120.00 (includes materials and copy of curriculum). Cambria Hotel & Suites, 9655 Grove Circle North, Maple Grove, MN.

Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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Language is the topic for this month, but I’m not going to talk about language preservation and demand that we learn our indigenous languages. Believe me, these are important topics.  I want to write about how we use language. I want to write about how we use language to define ourselves.

The language we use to define ourselves is important. As a writer, I adore language. I like the sound of language. I like slang. I adore Rez accents. I like to hear non-English people grappling with the nuances of our language. When non-English speaking people begin to speak English there is rigor they have about the English language that many of us don’t who grew up speaking it. 

I am continually amazed and confused at the harmful language that we use toward ourselves. Some of us, struggle with how we describe ourselves. In this column, I want to grapple with this issue and share some of the things I learned. 
Daily on Facebook, my morning ritual includes looking for inspirational memes or boxed quotes. I read for inspiration. I read before my internal self-talk takes over. I want to ensure that I begin my day focusing on good things about the world, transformative notions, moments of clarity, etc. 

I learned long ago that the way I speak to myself is much harsher than how anyone can speak to me. I’m very critical of myself. I tear myself apart if I make the slightest misstep. I examine everything about my looks, my clothes, my house, and my life. I am my own worst critic.   
Learning to speak kindly to yourself is a process. The first step is to identify what you are saying to yourself. Describe yourself to someone. 

Did you describe yourself in a positive, affirming manner? Do you describe yourself in broad generalities, such as, I’m a nice person, or I’m ok?  Go ahead, try it, describe yourself to someone.

Once you’ve identified how you speak about yourself, make changes.  If something you are saying about yourself portrays you in a bad light then change it. This is the hard work. 

Change the way I speak to myself? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can change the way I think about myself – sounds easy, right? It’s not. You may have figure out where you learned this type of thinking. You may have to spend some time exploring this. Be gentle with yourself during this process. Change is never easy.

This is why I enjoy reading inspirational quotes. It helps me develop a language that I can use. It educates me on how to be gentle with myself.  It gives me a frame of reference that people can be kind. 

Where do we develop our internal voice? Well, lots of different places. Once place is our parents or our caretakers when we were children. I learned that the voice my son hears in his mind is my voice. It is every moment throughout his childhood that I helped him define himself. 

Once I understood this, I worked very hard to keep positive thoughts in his mind. I am deliberate about what I say. When I do say something that I didn’t intend to say to him I take the time to apologize. We then talk about how it was wrong. 

I am the example of how my son will treat himself throughout life. If I take the time to demonstrate that he has value then he will treat himself as valuable. It’s important to remember this.   

“Loneliness is a human condition.  We all want to be seen. Our job is to bear witness to the magnificent stories that people honor us by sharing,” said an instructor in one of my college courses. 

This quote has had a profound impact on me and my worldview. It gave me a foundation of my understanding how to help people. I don’t enter into a helping relationship with a power dynamic where I am the expert, but I enter into a helping relationship as a partnership of people who are striving to overcome some barrier. 

I am one of those people that strangers love to tell their deepest fears to, or what they are struggling against.  I enjoy it. It is here that I learn more about how people speak about themselves. I may be riding the bus when someone sits next to me and starts sharing their life story with me. I patiently listen. I ask leading questions.  I never, ever give advice. I challenge the way they are framing their thinking, or ask them to think a little harder about an issue. Sometimes, they just want me to listen and I oblige.   

In my ideal world, I’d like for us to speak kindly to ourselves, speak kindly about ourselves to others, and to be gentle with ourselves so that we never take away from the incredibleness of who we are. I don’t want us to ever diminish ourselves. Our time here in this physical world is limited, so we all deserve to tell everyone what magnificent, incredible, stellar people we are…and, we believe it. 

Treaty rights today
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Treaty rights today I’ve been thinking about the upsurge in Indian activism over recent years. The sudden rise of the Idle No More movement – which began in Canada and swept through the Western Hemisphere – was quite a surprise, as a new generation of activists made their presence, and grievances, known.

Young Indians, along with graying American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders who brought Indian issues to the world more than four decades ago, also have spearheaded a renewed movement to stop the exploitation of Indian culture and religion by professional sports teams. Thousands of Indians and their allies marched to TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus, on Nov. 2, 2014, to protest the continuing racist slur propounded by the NFL’s Washington franchise.

And tribal leaders and activists have been an important factor in the popular resistance to the continuous assault on the land from oil and gas interests, and multinational mining firms. In Minnesota, for example, the White Earth Nation, along with environmental groups, has campaigned against the Sandpiper Pipeline, which would carry crude oil from the Bakken oil field in No. Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. The project received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC); but in September the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that a full environmental impact review had to be completed before moving ahead with a certificate of need proceeding.

In the case of proposed copper-nickel mining in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region, the concept of Indian sovereignty provides a legal framework for protecting the natural environment. Specifically, reserved rights to hunt, fish and gather on lands ceded in 19th century treaties between Indian nations and the United States provide the legal underpinning to tribal intervention

When I started as journalist in Indian Country, in the late-1970s, I was fortunate to meet a number of elders who carried knowledge of the lifeways of their peoples: Phillip Deere, of the Muscogee Nation (Oklahoma), David Sohappy, of the Wanapum Band of the Yakama Nation (Washington), and many others.

I also had the good luck to meet Vine Deloria, Jr., of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (So. Dakota). Deloria, a former executive director of National Congress of American Indians, made Indian sovereignty and culture comprehensible to a wide audience through his books, including Custer Died for Your Sins, God Is Red, Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties and The Nations Within (with Clifford Lytle).

In God Is Red, for example, Deloria explains that the lands on which people resided gave birth to the religions that arose: “The chance that lands would be lost meant that religious communities would be destroyed and individual identities forsaken. As sacred mountains became secularized, as tribal burial grounds became cornfields, as tribes no longer lived on the dust of their ancestors’ bones, the people knew that they could not survive.”

In the 19th century treaties between Indian nations and the U.S. government, Indian leaders recognized that an irresistible wave of European immigrants was flooding the land; and, as they relinquished their ancestral land to the new nation, they had the wisdom to reserve their rights to sustenance within the ceded territories.

Of course, after treating with the Indians, the U.S. government often engaged in double-dealing; the U.S., broke treaties at its whim. Such was the case with 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, between the U.S. and the Great Sioux Nation and Arapaho. In 1874, General George A. Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills, accompanied by miners looking for gold. And when gold miners usurped the Sioux hunting grounds, they demanded protection from the Army. Things came to a head at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (Little Bighorn), in 1876.

I happened to be at an Indian gathering in Montana, the 1980 International Indian Treaty Conference, an AIM-led annual summer forum, when the Indian Claims Commission announced that the Sioux would be compensated for violations of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty – with money. A sum of $105 million was awarded; and I was startled to see the Lakota people gathered on the Fort Belknap reservation react to the news of the settlement with anger and with tears.

So I learned that, along with the land, the treaties are sacred, at least to the heirs of the Indians who negotiated these contracts, which take supremacy over all other laws, according to the U.S. Constitution.

I’m not a treaty law expert, but I know that treaty rights have been upheld by the Supreme Court; and this acknowledgment of Indian sovereignty will continue to play a useful role in efforts to beat back energy development schemes and extractive industries that threaten the survival of Indian nations, and of the earth’s ability to sustain life for coming generations of humans and other living creatures.

Governor Dayton’s Sandpiper comments lack common sense foresight
Friday, October 02 2015
Written by Frank Bibeau,
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It is apparent from Governor Dayton’s recent announcement (in reaction to the Minnesota House Speaker’s allegations of appellate court meddling) that he supports the Sandpiper crude oil pipeline and that the Governor does not understand climate change, pipelines or the associated, compounded, environmental risks for Minnesota.

Sandpiper, if approved, will be the first domino in the next, big, toxic chain reaction set of future pollution dominos. What Governor Dayton fails to understand is that when you support Sandpiper, you are in support of fracking Bakken crude in North Dakota and the highly volatile, toxic gases that are being released and/or burned off. The fact is fracking Bakken crude is not profitable currently or in the foreseeable future.

When Governor Dayton supports Sandpiper fracking, then by extension the Governor supports Enbridge’s other PUC pipeline application for Line 3 co-alignment (in the same new, Enbridge preferred, pipeline corridor from Park Rapids, Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin) which transports Canadian tar sands, the dirtiest crude oil extraction and one of the single, biggest global environmental hazards and climate change contributors, just upwind from Minnesota.

Worse, when Governor Dayton supports Sandpiper Bakken fracking and Line 3 Tar sands, then he is also supporting old Line 3 pipeline abandonment along the U.S. Highway 2 corridor to Lake Superior. A corridor where other aging pipelines need replacement in the foreseeable future. (FYI, I live within a half mile of U.S. Highway 2 and the 8 pipelines in the corridor where Enbridge’s pipeline abandonment is planned.)

Therefore, Governor Dayton really supports a series of future abandoned pipelines (for free?) across northern Minnesota along U.S. Hwy 2, for what sounds like 22 permanent new Enbridge jobs from Sandpiper? Kalamazoo should be the lesson learned not to sacrifice more of Mother Earth’s gifts and treasurers of nature and water to create a new, crude oil pipeline corridor through virgin lakes, rivers and wild rice country. We need to protect the environment for what will become the next, future, old pipelines to be abandoned, which are easily foreseeable environmental hazards for grandchildren and great-grandchildren to cope with 50-60 years from now.

Apparently Governor Dayton cannot see what the rest of us are able to see and understand. For Governor Dayton and other politicians, campaign contributions are at risk, whether from labor unions or big oil. Fortunately, the third branch of government, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, was also able to see an environmental impact statement (EIS) is necessary before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) makes long term, important decisions about granting eminent domain for a major pipeline project. Unfortunately, the citizen, environmental intervenors had to appeal the state PUC decision to avoid an EIS, to get the review that was argued for at the PUC Sandpiper proceedings nearly a year ago.

Sandpiper pipeline involves extremely hazardous and ultra-risky activity running crude oil pipelines across the ultrasensitive aquifers, lakes and rivers fresh water sources of ecosystems and environments for three of the four North American continental watersheds (N, E and S) all beginning in northern Minnesota. Sure big oil says it can be done with 99.9999% safety, but lest we forget, before Kalamazoo the largest pipeline oil spill in the U.S. was in Grand Rapids, Minnesota right by the Mississippi River, or the Cohasset oil spill and burn-off in 2003 within a mile of the Mississippi and the big, Clearbrook fire in 2007.

We, the people, have a better chance to protect the environment with an EIS being required, but the desire for big money keeps some people trying to rush through the bureaucratic maze to get to today’s cheese with too little concern for everyone’s tomorrow.

Stop the Sandpiper and you stop the lead domino to a lot of pipeline domino insanity, incredible contributors of climate change impacts and save a lot more of the fresh water environment for those to come. Of course, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not be born soon enough to vote for Governor Dayton and give campaign contributions to today’s politicians. They must rely on us, citizen environmental groups and the Chippewa to be the protectors of their environment.

As Winona LaDuke often says “”Let’s make a graceful transition from a fossil fuel economy now and work towards the many, long-term, good paying jobs of environmental protection, solar energy and wind for cleaner air and water.”

Instead of pipeline abandonment, the old, badly corrupted Line 3 should be removed first! This is the best opportunity to prevent inevitable environmental risks that will happen over the next couple of centuries when Enbridge no longer exists. Then the same U.S. Hwy 2 corridor, which is already established, can be re-used for the new Line 3 if there is actually a market demand. This way Enbridge, the company that wants to benefit for decades to come, will actually bear some of the environmental clean-up costs to make our environment safer now.

This kind of Line 3 replacement project will probably create 2-3 times as many jobs, all across northern Minnesota for probably a couple extra years, and no new land owners would be impacted within the existing right-of-way corridors, where Enbridge already has leased that parallel U.S. Highway 2. This would eliminate the need for new water crossings and eminent domain across new, untouched aquatic territories and private property.

It makes no good sense to give away our best gifts and treasures from Mother Earth (the nature and water) to only make certain, future, environmental destruction which will require even higher clean-up costs. It’s all foreseeable.

Love Water, Not Oil!

Frank Bibeau is a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Pillager Band. He is an attorney for Honor the Earth at the Minnesota PUC for the Sandpiper pipeline proceedings.

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