Book Review
Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe
Tuesday, November 03 2015
Written by Crystal Dey, Bemidji Press,
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Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe
By Anton Treuer
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press (September 1, 2015)
Paperback: 288 pages

Since European settlers arrived on the eastern shores of what became the United States, land borders have been drawn, people moved and communities erased. Centuries have passed and the Red Lake Nation, located in Northwestern Minnesota, has stood solid, unyielding and with little of its story known by the outside world. Anton Treuer's book "Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe," sheds light on what has been left in the dark.

“Researchwise it’s very different from a lot of books,” Treuer said. “It covers the entire history of the band from the Battle River fight in 1760 to present.”

Red Lake, one of two closed reservations in the U.S., is touted as having the first modern indigenous democratic governance system in the nation, while maintaining a hereditary chief system. Treuer was called upon by former Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd “Buck” Jourdain Jr. to begin researching Red Lake's history and write a book chronicling the band’s progression over the years. Current chairman Darrell G. Seki Sr. continued to support the project after his election in 2014, Treuer said.

“They have had a long, long battle to keep their land and water and sovereignty in tact,” Treuer said.
Treuer was selected in part due to his experience with oral histories. Treuer, an Ojibwe historian and linguist, conducted oral history interviews with elders across the Red Lake reservation. Treuer is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Being of a different band can be seen as positive in that Treuer writes without bias, but he said, some people may say “Warrior Nation” should have been written by a Red Lake band member.

“There are very few people who work with oral histories. And of those, few who work with Ojibwe,” Treuer said. “And they wanted their people and their voices to tell the story.”

Treuer also had access to Red Lake archives and personal papers of Peter Graves, a leader preceding Roger Jourdain. Jourdain was elected in 1959 as the first tribal chairman. Both men have chapters dedicated to them in the book. Treuer said the reason the book reads well is because of the “stunning and dramatic leaders” showcased in each of the seven chapters.

“Each chapter is a new story, a new person and a new political change,” Treuer said.

Chapters are titled with a summary of what a monumental person did for the Red Lake Nation. “The Uniter,” a chapter on Nodin Wind – a spiritual leader from Ponemah who lived to be 106 years old – is an observation of missionaries attempts to convert Red Lakers and also a revelation about isolationism.

Red Lake has been mentioned in books before, but Treuer’s “Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe” is the first major history book about the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Treuer said the book has multiple purposes. It can be used in curriculum, for research, to educate people of Red Lake and others on the band’s history, and as a historical guide.

“I’m sure it will be used in a lot of different ways,” Treuer said.

Treuer teaches Ojibwe language at Bemidji State University where he served as president of the American Indian Resource Center for three years. Treuer resigned the position in June to return to faculty, he is currently on sabbatical.

“Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe,” a Minnesota Historical Society publication released this month, is Treuer’s fourteenth book. He is currently writing a National Geographic work about U.S. Indian wars.

Treuer will be presenting “Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe” from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Bremer Student Union on the Red Lake Nation College Campus in Red Lake. In addition to Treuer, Red Lake spiritual leader Anna Gibbs, who chapter seven “The Dreamer” is named for, is scheduled to speak. Books will be available for sale and signing at the Red Lake event. Books can be purchased for $19.95 on, through the Minnesota Historical Society Press, at the BSU Bookstore, Bemidji Woolen Mills and at other stores where fine books are sold. The book is also available in e-book format.

Crystal Dey is a Crime, Courts, Tribal Relations and Social Issues Reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. Reprinted with permission of The Bemidji Pioneer. .

Community Calendar April
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle Staff,
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April 4
The Practice of Indian Law and the Politics of Identity
William Mitchell College of Law is hosting an Indian Law Panel Discussion and Reception. The Practice of Indian Law and the Politics of Identity is a panel discussion with Judge Robert Blaeser, Wilda Wahpepah, Joseph Halloran, and Mark Jarboe. Join us for an hour of thought-provoking discussion at 5 pm. Reception and appetizers to follow at 6 pm. William Mitchell College of Law, 875 Summit Avenue St. Paul, MN.Parking will be available in the William Mitchell lot. For more info, contact James Hull at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

April 4 - June 5
Art Exhibit: Original Green
The art exhibit Original Green has been expanded and will be showing thru June 5. Native artists include: Joseph Allen, Carolyn Anderson, Gordon Coons, Mona Smith and Gwen Westerman. Reception and artists talk: May 13. All My Relations Gallery, 1414 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis. Gallery hours: M-Fri: 11 am - 6 pm. Visiting Artists: Sat.& Sun. 11 am - 3 pm. For more info, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or see website: 
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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March 3-7
Great Lakes Indigenous Farming Conference
"Maawanji'idiwag Ji Gizhaadamowaad Miinkaanan - They Are Gathering To Protect the Seeds." Hosted by: White Earth Land Recovery Project. Conference Lodging: Maplelag Resort, White Earth, MN, 800-654-7711. For Information contact White Earth Land Recovery Project, Karla Bellanger at 218-375-2600 or email:? This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

March 5
Rally for Progressive LCO Tribal Government
Potluck Lunch. As future candidates for the Tribal Governing Board, we would like to hear your thoughts on building our tribe's present and future: discuss positive changes we can all make as we work together for a better Lac Courte Oreilles. We embrace this opportunity to share our ideas and goals while working with you, for a change! Vernon Martin, LuAnn Kolumbus, Gordon Thayer.  Coffee and refreshments served, bring a favorite hotdish or desert to share. 12:00 ~ 2:00 P.M. 2020 Bloomington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. Call Iva at 612-871-1208 for more information

Powwow Calendar MARCH
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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March 11  
St. Paul Public
Schools Powwow  
St. Paul American Indian Education Monthly Powwow at the American Indian Magnet School. Grand entry is at 6 p.m. Powwow will be held at the American Indian Magnet School, 1075 East 3rd Street, St. Paul. For more info, call 651-778-3100.
MARCH 18-20
Denver Powwow
Admission: 6 and under FREE. $7 per day $18 for 3/day pass. 60 & over $3 per day $9 for 3/day pass. Tickets sold at the door. Permits must be purchased for use of video and digital cameras. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily. Denver Coliseum , 4600 Humboldt Street , Denver, CO. For more info, see:?
March 19
Augsburg Powwow
Augsburg Indigenous Student Association & American Indian Student Services Powwow. Grand Entries: 1 P.M. and 7 P.M. Feast: 5 P.M. Free Admission. Host Drum: Standing Bull. MC: Danny Seaboy, Sr. Arena Director: Ricky White. Honor Guard: Red Lake Post 6889. Honorarium for dancers; must be in regalia. First 12 registered drums guaranteed honorarium (Split); Minimum of 5 singers, no drum hopping; chairs provided for singers. Registration for drums and dancers starts at 11 A.M. until 1 P.M. and again from 6 P.M. until 7 P.M. for dancers. No pre-registration; Day of only. Craft and informational vendors are welcome. Si Melby Gymnasium, 715 23rd Avenue, S. Minneapolis. For more information contact Jennifer Simon at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or 612-330-1144; Or Kathy Forliti at: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , or 651-235-1813. Also see:
March 26
Circle of Nations Powwow
The 27th Annual Circle of Nations Indian Association Powwow will be held at the University of Minnesota-Morris, Physical Education Center. Master of Ceremonies: Keveon Kingbird. Arena Director:  Gabe Desrosiers. Host Drum: Battle River. Color Guard:  Sisseton-Wahpeton Vietnam Veterans/Dakota Kit Fox Society & Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Sandman Honor Guard. Doors open at 11 am. Grand Entry at 1 pm and 7 pm. Day Money Registered Dancers. Must be in Regalia. Drum Split - First 12 registered Drums. 5 Singers minimum. No Drum hopping. CNIA Princess & Brave Contest. Specials - Jingle Dress, Men's & Women's Traditional, Grass Dance. American Indian Arts and Crafts. For more info, call Gabe Desrosiers or Tracy Peterson at 320-589-6097.
Community Calendar of events
Sunday, January 16 2011
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Jan. 8
MN warm Native American Heritage Night
The Minnesota Swarm pro lacrosse team will host its second-annual American Indian Heritage Night, presented by Treasure Island Resort & Casino and the Prairie Island Indian Community, at the team’s home opener at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. Once again, Heritage Night will feature a halftime exhibition game of traditional lacrosse, featuring teams from the Oneida and Menominee nations. There will also be exhibits by native organizations and businesses, as well as a drum group performing before the game. Heritage Night will also pay tribute to local Native American youth lacrosse players and recognize children from Prairie Island, as well as other reservations, who participated in the in the Lax-4-Life lacrosse camp. There will be special ticket prices, with a portion of each ticket sale benefitting the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce. To order tickets or for additional questions, contact Brett Miller at 651-726-1794.

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