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Editorials
What you need to know about infant immunization
Thursday, May 05 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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immunization_chart_fcr_children.jpgVaccines are a very important part of protecting your children and yourself from some serious diseases. Anyone who has seen a person die or get very sick from a disease that could be prevented by a vaccine knows how important they are.  

Immunizing your child is one of the most loving things you can do. Shots work. Shots are safe. They have very few side effects. The benefits far outweigh any risks.

Immunization starts before a baby is born when the mom gets shots to prevent whooping cough (pertussis) and flu when she is pregnant. These vaccines help keep the mom and baby from getting sick. It is important for dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and anyone else that will be spending time with your baby to get their whooping cough and flu vaccines too. This protects the newborn baby until they get their own vaccinations.
Be sure to get shots at the right ages. Kids get most of their shots by 2 years of age. But if your child is behind, they can still get vaccinated.

We don’t see some of these diseases very often anymore. That is because vaccines work. Vaccinations help keep children healthy so disease does not spread in our communities.

It is okay for a baby to receive several shots at the same time. It helps the immune system to grow stronger. Sometimes babies will be fussy or have a slight fever for the first day after shots– this is common. If you have any questions your health care provider will be happy to answer them.

Before you leave the clinic schedule the next appointment and ask your clinic to give you a shot record for each child. You will need them for the doctor, child care, Head Start, school, camp, and even college.

Sometimes parents are worried about how much shots cost. Free or low cost shots are available through the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program.

Find out if your child can get free or low cost shots at the website: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/
immunize/howpay.html
.

Historical Trauma of the American Indian People
Thursday, May 05 2016
 
Written by Nick Boswell,
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Historical trauma for American Indian peoples have encompassed wars, massacres, genocide, imprisonment, reservations, boarding schools and continued oppression and racism. The effects of historical trauma have had a horrific impact on the health and welfare of American Indian peoples for over 500 years – alcoholism and drug addiction, many health (including mental) issues, poor education, and poverty. All of this lands squarely on the shoulders of our children.

In September, 2000, Kevin Gover, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs described the effects of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) handling American Indian boarding schools, “They forbade the speaking of Indian languages prohibited the conduct of traditional religious activities, and made Indian people ashamed of who they were. Worst of all, the BIA committed these acts against children entrusted to its boarding schools, brutalizing them emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. The trauma of shame, fear and anger has passed from one generation to the next, and manifest itself in the rampant alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic violence that plague Indian country.”

Alcoholism in American Indian communities nationwide is not only a critical health issue, but is the leading cause of death in these communities. In Minnesota between the years 2000 and 2007, according to the State of Minnesota Department of Human Services, 42% of American Indian deaths were related to alcohol abuse. These include motor vehicle accidents, suicide, homicide, alcohol poisoning, and heart and liver disease.

This stark picture has not changed for the past 20 years, and in fact is increasing with each new generation.
Our American Indian experience is the psycho-social impact, depending upon a particular tribe’s geographic location and historical experience, of from one to five hundred years of the most brutal genocide, ethnocide and forced acculturation the world has ever seen. The effect of this holocaustic experience for both the individual and the tribal group is, of course, trauma. The result of this trauma is a condition that has come to be known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD has a generic application and can be either acute or secondary. The secondary form is reactive and can have a major inter-generational effect or it can be passed on to children and grandchildren. Acute PTSD can be defined as the normal human reaction to severe trauma, shock or pain. Acute PTSD can occur within an individual as a result of dramatic environmental change, including involuntary displacement or relocation, or being in a natural disaster; as a result of physical, sexual, emotional or spiritual assault, abuse or neglect; as a result of war-like conditions, including experience in battle, experience as a prison-of-war, civil imprisonment, involuntary subjugation at a boarding school, experience in a concentration camp (which is what our reservations were at first), experience as a hostage (including experience with a violent, dominant spouse or suffering a long-term or terminal illness); or as a result of a loss of a close friend or relative to death.

Secondary PTSD can be defined as the normal human reaction by an individual who is in a close interpersonal relationship with someone who is suffering from acute PTSD. Usually this will include a member of the acutely traumatized individual’s nuclear and/or an extended family, a lover or a close friend.
Secondary PTSD can also have an inter-generational effect, and here is where it is most harmful. Those suffering from the reactive type of secondary PTSD often change their behavior patterns and actions in order to cope with the behavior of the person with acute PTSD. These usually negative reactive behaviors and actions can then become learned by the following generations as “normal” behaviors. People never know that what they have learned was not the way it traditionally was in their tribe. These patterns of behavior and actions are identical to those that are found in families of alcoholics and especially with adult children of alcoholics.

There are a number of phrases that persons go through and they are different for different kinds of trauma. For acute PTSD they include:
1. Impact, shock
2. Withdrawal, repression, submission, resignation, insensibility, emotional numbing
3. Regression, ambivalent anger, acceptance, acquiescence, unrealistic optimism, honeymoon
4. Compliance, anger, ambivalent anger, dependent aggression, disappointment, euphoria, emotional anesthesia
5. Trauma mastery, recovery, reconstruction, reorganization

There are a number of different psychological or behavioral symptoms that a person with acute PTSD will have and which ones they have and how severe the symptoms are depends upon what kind of trauma they experienced and how severe it was. In helping a person to face their experience and begin to heal themselves, you must let them know that some of these behaviors may get worse before they get better. Theirs is a normal reaction and the symptoms include: phobias, guilt, shame, blunted emotions, depression, anxiety, hostility, substance abuse, anger, fear, isolation, acting out, feelings of failure or helplessness, mental or verbal liability, increased or decreased sexual function, increased or decreased work function, paranoia, déjà vu, flashbacks, irritability, disassociation, or inefficiency.

There are also a number of psychophysiological symptoms that a person will experience. These symptoms may also get worse before they get better during the healing process and it is important that you let the person with acute PTSD know that this is normal. These symptoms include: Insomnia, nightmares, night tremors, bedwetting, sleepwalking or sleep talking, skin disorders, trembling, hypertension, hyper-alertness, sexual inhibition, diarrhea, digestive disturbances, back trouble, migraines, restlessness, distorted perceptions, fatigue, verbal-audio-speech disorders, weight loss or gain, anorexia, diaphoresis, or tachycardia.

The process of therapy for the acutely diagnosed individual is much like that done in grief therapy and the individual will follow the same stages of denial, acknowledgement, rage, acceptance and mastery. However, there are some important variables in each individual’s experience that must be considered:
1. Intensity of trauma
2. Type of trauma
3. Length of episode
4. Whether trauma is by human hand
5. Age of onset of trauma
6. Stage of individual’s development
7. Length of time since event

Once an individual is past the denial stage and acknowledges the episode(s) it is important that you validate the pain of the trauma, validate them as a human being and, let them know that is was not their fault and they are not alone. It is also important to remember that the experience of trauma creates a “victim mentality” within the individual that becomes part of their identity. You must always confront the individual’s behavior and thinking regarding this “victim mentality” or they will not heal.

With the secondary form of PTSD that is inter-generational, this “victim mentality” can become a part of the family’s, or overall tribal group’s, identity as well. This is especially true for tribal groups that experienced one or more group traumas or the group experienced a series of individualized traumas over the same period(s).
For the individual and the group it is extremely important to point out that they are not to blame for many of their behaviors, because they were learned from those suffering acute or secondary PTSD. It must also be pointed out that many of their parents and grandparents cannot be blamed for their behaviors because they too, were innocent victims who never received help for their own personal trauma.

At the time that severe trauma was thrust upon our Native peoples the group therapy capabilities of each tribal group was being destroyed as well – and there was nothing to replace these capabilities when they were most needed. This destruction of the healing process only exacerbated an already very wounded psyche by increasing the sense of alienation in a spiritual context.

All of this trauma was external to our Native peoples and we cannot “own” the behavior of those who brought this trauma to us. What we can do is heal ourselves and put the blame where it belongs – on the perpetuators. After all, it is common sense to know that a rape victim cannot be blamed for being raped and our people for many generations have been raped physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Because of this holocaustic experience we now suffer daily re-victimized, lack of self-esteem, the highest levels of substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies. We also indulge in many other forms of self-destructive behaviors, including high levels of suicides.

We can successfully treat acute PTSD if therapy begins soon after the onset of the trauma. It is more difficult however, the longer it has been since the onset of trauma.

Much more work is needed to serve the “victim mentality” from the individual’s identity. Secondary PTSD in its primary reactive form is treated much in the same way as acute PTSD. The inter-generational form, however, is much more of a problem for treatment since you are dealing with learned behavior, and although easy to acknowledge, behavior is learned over much of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood – this will take time to learn and relearn new ways of coping and being in the world.

It is suggested that for both individual and group work, a self-empowering form of therapy be used that is culturally reinforcing. The task is a difficult one that we are also in the process of healing our ancestors as we try to heal ourselves.

As we approach the future there remains a great need in addressing the idea of Inter-generational PTSD. The hope is that empirical and theoretical work in this area is encouraged, since presently we have more questions than we have answers – especially in the treatment area.

Western civilization has always assumed that radical change can be brought about by changing the environment. That is why emphasis has always been placed on change in structure. This approach has failed to produce proper results. It has ignored the need to bring about change within men and women themselves and has concentrated on change in the outside world. What is needed, however, is a total change – within American Indian people them-selves, as well as their social environment. The starting point must be the hearts and souls of American Indian men and women, their perception of reality and of their own place and mission in life.

Duty to Warn: Northern Minnesota and the PolyMet Project
Friday, February 05 2016
 
Written by Gary G. Kohls, MD,
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PolyMet’s Tailings “Pond” could someday create a dead St. Louis River and a dying Lake Superior. Is that an acceptable risk to take?

In the December 23rd edition of the Duluth News-Tribune, a staff writer, using the byline of “News Tribune”, wrote a Local News article with the title “EPA signals its support for final PolyMet review”. The article ended with this (intentionally?) deceptive and woefully insufficient sentence, “Critics say the project is likely to taint downstream waters with acidic runoff”.

I will attempt to correct the notion that “acidic runoff” is the major reason for the widespread opposition to PolyMet’s proposed copper/nickel mining project (which is adjacent to the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness). PolyMet, it should be mentioned, is a total novice when it comes to operating copper/nickel mines.

On August 4, 2014, a mine at Mount Polley, British Columbia had its huge tailings pond dam (an earthen dam) suddenly burst, massively polluting downstream streams, rivers and lakes, not to mention aquifers which had already been polluted during the years before the catastrophe. The millions of tons of toxic sludge flooded into the migratory Sockeye salmon-bearing Fraser River, the 800 mile-long British Columbian river which empties into the Georgia Strait and the Pacific Ocean at the city of Vancouver.

Typical of most government and industry responses to such catastrophic mining industry failures, the Conservative Harper government of Canada – not to mention the ruling Liberal government of British Columbia – tried to cover up the disaster. Hence, most North Americans on either side of the border (certainly us Minnesotans) were not made aware of the catastrophic event.

Imperial Metals Corporation of Vancouver, the owner of the mine, admitted that they had been dumping the following toxic metals into the slurry (aka “slime”) pond in the years leading up to the failure of the earthen dam. The agency reported that the metallic contaminants that had been dumped in the tailings pond included: Lead, Arsenic, Nickel, Zinc, Cadmium, Vanadium, Antimony, Manganese and Mercury.

Any one of these 9 heavy metal contaminants are highly poisonous and have no safe levels in drinking water or in the serum or tissues of human or animal bodies. These contaminants, commonly found in hard rock mines, are also lethal to plant life, but only when they are ground up into fine powder form in the mineral extraction process.

It is important to recall that polluted aquifers can never be de-toxified by any known process.

If they don’t breach and spill massive amounts of toxic sludge into the environment like at Mount Polley, they leach that contamination slowly, poisoning the waters and lands around them.

The Hazeltine Creek, that enters into Quesnel Lake was the deepest, purest lake in British Columbia and a famous trout and salmon fishery, until August 5, 2014, when 24,000,000 cubic meters of toxic water and sludge breached the Mt Polley tailings dam and virtually exploded downsteam.

Millions of floating dead trees were swept away in the massive sludge flood. The only useful thing that the Imperial Mining Company could do in the immediate aftermath was to try to break up the floating logs so that they wouldn’t destroy downstream bridges as the poisoned water flowed into the Quesnel River (which ultimately empties into the Fraser River and then into the Pacific Ocean at Vancouver, B. C.).

In November 2015, the heavily contaminated sludge from Brazil’s worst environmental disaster at the Samarco iron mine, destroyed mining and non-mining communities that were situated downstream. The massive volume of toxic sludge entered the Rio Doce river in a sudden, thunderous flood (ironically, “doce” means “sweet” in Spanish). The toxic slime polluted and killed everything in its way as it flowed toward the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of 300 miles.

The guilty mining company perpetrators were as helpless in dealing with the aftermath as were the human, animal and aquatic victims. Samarco, incidentally, is co-owned and operated by the mining giants, Vale (Brazilian) and the largest mining company in the world, BHP Billiton (British-Australian).

Northern Minnesotans, Native Americans, sportsmen, environmentalists, wild rice harvesters, and working folks who need non-toxic water to survive must understand that such a catastrophe could destroy the aquifers in the BWCAW, Birch Lake, the Partridge River, the Embarrass River, the St. Louis River, the city of Duluth and ultimately, Lake Superior.

Any human with an ounce of morality would conclude that the risks of allowing PolyMet (or even a veteran company like PolyMet’s major investor, Glencore) to operate an open pit sulfide mine in the pristine areas of northern Minnesota are just too great. States that surround Lake Superior and the other great lakes downstream should have a say in the issue as well. The problem seems to be that amoral multinational corporations can’t be expected to act as one would expect ethical humans to act, especially when profits are involved.

Videos of the Mount Polley tailings pond failure can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/xAItFxc8bME, and  https://youtu.be/vg3yd8GPSnA.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN. He writes a weekly column for the Reader, Duluth’s alternative newsweekly magazine.

Attorney General Swanson does disservice to Minnesota
Tuesday, November 03 2015
 
Written by Honor the earth,
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On October l6, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn a recent MN Court of Appeals ruling, which revoked the Certificate of Need for the Sandpiper pipeline and required the Minnesota Public Utility Commission (PUC) to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement before proceeding with the permitting process. 

Last winter, Friends of the Headwaters and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy used the only option they had to interrupt a dysfunctional regulatory process:  an appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  On September 14, in a unanimous 3-0 decision, ruled the Court found that the lack of an EIS constituted a violation of the Minnesota Environmental Protection Act (MEPA). 

The Sandpiper would establish a new energy corridor through the lake and wild rice country of Northern Minnesota, moving up to l.4 million barrels of oil a day across the state, with more pipelines expected to be added in the future. 

The Court of Appeals found that the PUC was making decisions without following state law. The PUC process is also flawed because it:
• Does not take into account the environmental justice impacts of building new pipelines; 
• Does not take into account the implications on treaty rights in the 1855 Treaty Area;
• Relies on a self-serving environmental document prepared by Enbridge and a half-baked review by the Department of Commerce that glosses over the risks of building a new pipeline corridor across our most pristine lakes and wild rice beds and the headwaters of the Mississippi River;
• Does not consider the full impacts of pipeline construction and likely oil spills on wild rice; and 
• Disregards tribal governments and Native peoples by refusing consultation and refusing to hold hearings within tribal communities.

Winona LaDuke, Executive Director of Honor the Earth, said, “The AG’s attack shows that she does not think that the state should prepare an Environmental Impact Statement when it determines the need for a pipeline.  Apparently, her position is that the state should not consider the climate change impacts of importing more of the most carbon intensive oil on the planet, from the Bakken in North Dakota and the Tar Sands of Canada, much less fully consider alternatives to this dirty fuel, such as more fuel-efficient vehicles or renewable energy. In fact, she’s defending an end run schemed up by past anti-environmental administrations. That’s disappointing. Throughout this and prior pipeline hearings, Honor the Earth and other citizen groups have raised many concerns about the fairness of the PUC process and its failure to implement procedural rules in accordance with law. Yet, the state attorneys in the hearing room have remained silent on basic principles of due process and fairness. This indicates that the AG is most concerned about serving powerful oil companies and keeping the permitting as simple as possible – even if that means running over due process rights. That’s not what we elected Swanson to do.”

While both the state’s and Enbridge’s legal and expert costs are passed on to consumers, Minnesota residents had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to attempt to have their land, water, and future generations protected from what most recognized is a shameful public process. Swanson’s attack is entirely in opposition to tribal governments and tribal communities, which will bear most of the burden of the oil pipeline proposals that pass through our best wild rice territory. That’s disrespectful.  

The State of Wisconsin has required an environmental impact statement prior to the approval of any permits for an l8 mile section of the same Enbridge pipelines, and the US Army Corps of Engineers is also considering whether it should prepare an environmental impact statement to protect tribal rights. Given the impact that oil pipelines have on Minnesota’s and the world’s environment, why would Minnesota’s Attorney General think that a full environmental review is not necessary? Why would Attorney General Lori Swanson, who stands up against predatory lenders and prides herself in protecting the common people, defend what many, both inside and outside government, know is a rogue process? Perhaps that’s because predatory lenders are easy targets, but oil companies are big donors.  The word is that Attorney General Lori Swanson has ambitions for a gubernatorial run. Oil and pipeline money may help her campaign for sure, but principles would help it more.

To learn more about Honor The Earth see: www.honorearth.org

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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