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The Arts
10-minute play about AIM stirs controversy in Mpls. Indian community
Sunday, February 19 2012
 
Written by By Sheila Regan TC Daily Planet,
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A 10-minute play by Navajo playwright Rhiana Yazzie was at the center of a controversy within the local Native American community. The play focuses on two fictional characters in 1968 - the year that the American Indian Movement (AIM) was founded - and several real-life people  are mentioned, including AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt.
The History Theatre premiered "1968: The Year That Rocked The World" on January 21 at Minnesota History Center's 3M Auditorium. The theater commissioned seven playwrights from the Playwrights' Center, including Rhiana Yazzie, to write plays focusing on the events.
Yazzie's play, The Corral, takes place during the time when AIM was just beginning in Minneapolis. It is titled after a bar on Franklin Avenue frequented by American Indian people at the time; the bar was the site of much police brutality during that time period.
Yazzie was commissioned to write two plays. The first play Yazzie wrote didn't focus on AIM. Yazzie said that History Theatre artistic director Ron Peluso asked her to write a second play that focused more on AIM. He had suggested that Clyde Bellecourt, one of the founders of AIM, could a character, Yazzie said.
Yazzie said she never wanted Bellecourt to be a character. Peluso suggested that Yazzie interview Bellecourt, which at first she didn't want to do. In the end she agreed to interview Bellecourt.
Premiere of Two Spirits to air on June14 on PBS
Friday, June 10 2011
 
Written by Andrea Cornelius,
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arts story - two spirit.jpgIn a remote town, 16 year old Fred Martinez became one of the youngest hate-crime victims when he was brutually murdered a quarter mile from his house. The documentary, Two Spirits, directed by Lydia Nibley, is the tragic story of Martinez, a Navajo boy that was beaten to death because of his gay identity, interwoven with a look at a time in history when Native American culture was not split into solely male and female genders.
Martinez's mother, Pauline Mitchell, serves as the main source in Martinez strory and along with Navajo anthropologist Wesley K. Thomas, Gay and Lesbian activists; Richard LaFortune, Cathy Renna, John Peters-Campbell, Mark Thompson among many more gay/lesbian community members who share their insight into Martinez's short life.
In the Navajo tradition, there was also a fourth gender called nadleehi, a person born as a male and as an adult assumed the role of a woman in society. Nadleehi was not uncommon and those who held that position were respected and worked as negotiators, healers, matchmakers within the tribe and when children were orphaned they became their caretakers. This tradition of nadleehi is a position that Martinez occupied and a demonstration of his struggle to follow his Native traditions while being himself.


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."
"Dakota 38" documetary remembers the 38 Dakota executed in 1862
Friday, February 11 2011
 
Written by Mark Steil Minnesota Public Radio News,
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dakota 38 documentaryThe largest mass execution in U.S. history occurred 148 years ago, when 38 Dakota warriors were hanged from a single scaffold in Mankato.
 The shock waves of that mass execution still reverberate today among the Dakota people. A new documentary film remembers the 38, and also a group of Dakota who ride on horseback each year at this time to Mankato to commemorate the executions of Dec. 26, 1862.
 The U.S.-Dakota War played out along several all too familiar themes of U.S. history: broken treaties and unfulfilled promises. The war started in August of 1862 and when it was over six weeks later, hundreds of Indians, settlers and soldiers were dead along the Minnesota River valley.
 Filmmaker Silas Hagerty said his introduction to the war came five years ago. At a traditional sweat lodge ceremony, an Indian spiritual leader told Haggerty about his dream.
"Dakota Music Tour" will feature Native composers/musicians and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra
Thursday, January 13 2011
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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"Dakota Music Tour" – a 90-minute musical response to the Dakota-American events of 1862 in Minnesota – will feature four concerts that will reach out to Dakota and non-Dakota communities in southern Minnesota.
The tour will begin in Mankato, Minnesota, which was the site of the largest mass execution in American history when 38 Dakota men were hung on December 26, 1862.

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