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Political Matters
Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Wednesday, April 24 2013
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Meeting the activists
In late March I motored over to the Minneapolis American Indian Center (MAIC), from the far east of the Powderhorn neighborhood, for a reception and press conference with visiting guests at a symposium on environmental issues. I was told to show up around 7 p.m. for the event, which featured some Canadian activists with the Idle No More movement; however, the visitors had left about a half hour earlier. No problem, I can be flexible.

Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Tuesday, March 12 2013
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Sulfide Mining Update
It's time to take another look at the grand plans to ravage northern Minnesota and kill off the remaining wild rice. Yes, I'm talking about sulfide mining, brought to you by a host of multinational corporations that are promising jobs, economic vitality and concern for the environment.
On this latter point, readers should know that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) assured the Japanese public that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station would operate safely, before there was an earthquake two years ago and equipment failed, the nukes melted down and radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere. This was the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine exploded, in 1986.
Likewise BP and its contractors satisfied the environmental regulators, prior to the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig three years ago. The BP oil disaster released an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana.
Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Thursday, January 31 2013
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Idle No More
I just got back from the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, where an Idle No More flash-mob round dance took place. What is Idle No More?
Well, it originated in Canada, and, in late December, it appears to be a grassroots movement spreading quickly and in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence, of the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, who was entering the third week of a hunger strike in a teepee outside of the Canadian Parliament, in her quest for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Pamela Palmater, chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University and an indigenous activist, wrote in the Ottawa Citizen: "Idle No More is a coordinated, strategic movement, not led by any elected politician, national chief or paid executive director. It is a movement originally led by indigenous women and has been joined by grassroots First Nations leaders, Canadians, and now the world. It originally started as a way to oppose Bill C-45, the omnibus legislation impacting water rights and land rights under the Indian Act; it grew to include all the legislation and the corresponding funding cuts to First Nations political organizations meant to silence our advocacy voice."
Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Wednesday, November 21 2012
 
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Minnesota's wolf hunt In late October, the hunting and trapping of wolves is underway in Wisconsin; and Minnesota hunters will start shooting wolves on Nov. 3, after the state Supreme Court rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the wolf hunt under rules established by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Two groups, Howling for Wolves and the Center for Biodiversity, argued that the DNR did not allow a sufficient period for public comment last summer, after issuing its "Adopted Expedited Emergency Game and Fish Rules: 2012 Wolf Season." The Minnesota Court of Appeals will hold a hearing at a future date on the lawsuit's underlying argument; but state courts decided that the wolf hunt did not pose the threat of "irreparable damage" to Minnesota's wolf population. The Wisconsin DNR reported that 25 wolves have been killed during that state's hunting and trapping season, which started in mid-October, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. "It's encouraging for outdoor enthusiasts," DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp commented, regarding the first 10 days of the wolf hunt in Wisconsin.
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