From the Editor's Desk: White Earth Blood Quantum Reform a Courageous Act
Wednesday, December 04 2013
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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from_the_editors_desk_alfred_walking_bull.jpgThere is a courage to be admired by those who take an action first. The White Earth Band of Ojibwe recently voted in a constitutional reform effort to effectively remove its blood quantum requirements for citizenship. Of the Ojibwe that I have come to know here in Minnesota, there's been mixed reaction ranging from hopeful joy about the future to immediate calls for the dissolution of the tribal government for taking what they regard as an unwarranted action.

Having covered my own tribal council for just over two years, it wasn't a question if – but when – a tribal citizen or fellow council member would allege constitutional violations, followed by long executive sessions where the press and members of the public were required to leave the room for hours at a time.

From the Editor's Desk: Again We Speak Against Injustice
Monday, November 04 2013
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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from_the_editors_desk_alfred_walking_bull.jpg“Ake” is a word we use in Lakota to express our frustration. It's translated as “again.” Growing up on the Rosebud reservation, I would hear my parents say, “Ake!” when someone unnecessarily repeated themselves, made another promise that may have been suspect or when another frustration took hold in the family or in the community.

Again, we find ourselves discussing the issue of Native American mascots in the American mainstream. Again, we find ourselves having to explain to non-Native people why this is not just a demoralizing but dehumanizing issue for our people. And again, we find ourselves listening to the same ignorance involved with the caricaturization of a minority group of people.

The Washington D.C. team will play the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 7 and the Native community in Minneapolis, led by the perennially-outspoken American Indian Movement, will protest the Washington team. In fact, the team was met by a similar protest in Denver on Oct. 27.

Again, the fans of the Washington team were effectively amoral when they saw the protests against the name, regurgitating the ignorance with phrases like, “Get over it,” or “We're honoring you.” And again, they are dead wrong.

Letters: Mark Andrew Owes Native Community an Apology
Monday, October 21 2013
Written by Peggy Flanagan,
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I've spent the majority of my career working to increase civic engagement in Native American communities. I believe in this work passionately and see it as a significant part of my vocation. That's why my heart was overflowing due to the incredible turnout of hundreds of members of our community to the Minneapolis American Indian Mayoral Forum sponsored by the Native American Community Development Institute on Oct. 17.

Unfortunately, much of that joy was overshadowed by the fact that Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew didn't attend the forum. He promised he'd be there – weeks before – and then canceled at the last minute and sent staffers instead. We asked his staff where he was and they could not tell us. We have waited for an explanation from Mark Andrew. We have heard nothing.

From the Editor's Desk: The meaning of Native Pride
Monday, October 07 2013
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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The meaning of Native Pride

By Alfred Walking Bull

With the close of the powwow season, sightings of the embroidered fashion bearing “Native Pride” will be few and far between until next season. It gives one pause to contemplate those two words and delve into their meaning, beyond that of a fairly profitable model for Native clothiers and entrepreneurs around the country.

Growing up and having worked for my home tribe in South Dakota, the concept of Native pride has always been more abstract. For those who wear the gear, it’s indicative of a shared culture, history and legacy of our ancestors; whether that’s honoring the battles and wars they fought or the current culture that developed from those roots. However, with poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, health, domestic and sexual violence statistics being what they are, it’s difficult to find deep meaning in what it is to be proud of being Native.

From The Editor's Desk
Thursday, September 05 2013
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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from_the_editors_desk_alfred_walking_bull.jpgCovering the news in Minnesota’s Native community is proving an interesting experience, as with any topic in Indian Country, there are universal elements of sovereignty as well as elements of guarded interactions. We’re tribal people, we take time to warm up to new people or concepts. Overall, it’s been encouraging.

As the past editor of a tribal publication on the Rosebud Sioux reservation, I’ve seen the best and worst in people and institutions. In the case of the latter, I’ve witness and experienced the crab-in-the-bucket mentality. Whether that’s hiring and firing practices, funding allocations or battles of wills, there are times we simply fail to be the best that we can be.
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