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MIA Has New Native American Tour Guides
Friday, October 15 2010
 
Written by Sheila Regan,
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 The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) recently graduated 17 tour guides for their Native American collection, in the Collections in Focus (CIF) Guides Program. The  Native Americans who completed the training include: Doug Limón (Oneida), Rachel Limón, Janet Gratton (St. Croix Ojibwe), John Hunter (Winnebago/ Creek/Seminole), Ardie Medina (Lac du Flambeau Anishinabe), Amanda Norman (White Earth Ojibwe), Roy Taylor (Choctaw/Pawnee), and Marne Zafar (Lenape/Peigan).
The highly competitive program last offered the rigorous course about the American Galleries in 2001. Volunteers met on Thursday evenings and Saturdays as they prepared to lead tours of the Native American collection at the museum. 
Some of the graduates are old hats at this. Gratton, Medina, and Hunter have been guides since 2001, and Taylor has been a guide since 2006.
Two of the new graduates, Doug and Rachel Limón, are a husband and wife team who decided they wanted to learn more about Native American art – both from their own culture and throughout the Americas. Doug is a bead artist and is a descendant of the and an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin. Rachel is in the process of researching her ancestry, but she believes she may have roots in the Oneida tribe of New York. She does photography, pottery, jewelry and painting. 
Doug and Rachel met at a Spiritual Art show St. Boniface in Northeast Minneapolis several years ago and then at an opening party at Ancient Trader’s Gallery where Doug’s work was featured in 2008.  They share a love of art and Native American culture and decided they wanted to become volunteer guides together to enrich their understanding of Native American art history. 
Doug said he found out about the CIF program through an email notice. After speaking about it with Rachel, they decided that though it would be a big commitment, the program was something they wanted to do together. “It’s been pretty intense,” he said, but in the end the training has been a rewarding experience, and Doug even had the opportunity to share his own knowledge of Anishinabe beadwork with the class.
Amanda Thompson Rundahl, who runs the MIA’s Collection in Focus Guide Program, said that CIF originated in 1998 as an opportunity for attracting a more diverse group of volunteers. 
“We wanted more voices, from different perspectives and ideas than the museum was traditionally able to support,” Rundahl said.  
Past training topics include the arts of Africa, China, Japan and Korea, South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
Doug and Rachel have now completed all their CIF training and their “checkout tours” where they are evaluated based on their performance leading a group through the Native American galleries. They’ll have a graduation ceremony on July 25, and will then commit to at least a year of volunteering once or twice a month, leading both public and private tours, and facilitating hands on experiences with the museum’s art cart. 
The format of being a CIF guide is conversational, so even if they are talking about a piece of art that they are less familiar with, they can enter into a dialogue about the piece with the group they are leading.
The Native American galleries are located on the 2nd floor of the museum, and cover Native cultures from North, Central, and South America from Ancient Times through today.  Joe D. Horse Capture, the curator for the galleries, said that in his tenure as curator he has transformed the collection, which take up three rooms, from a chronological layout to a geographical/cultural one. Horse Capture said the reason for moving away from a chronological format is to focus on the artistic and cultural continuity between ancient, historic and contemporary art that exists within each region.  
For example, Doug and Rachel love the work of Maria and Julian Martinez, another husband and wife team of artists based in Southwestern United States. Maria Martinez, who died in 1980, incorporated ancient pueblo pottery techniques into her contemporary work. 
In some cases the cultural regions are not completely cut and dry. For example, there might be a tribe that is located in the middle of two different regions that would incorporate elements of both region.  Also, in the case of the Mississippi Valley region, which contains tribes that are no longer in existence, elements from that region can be found in the work of artists from the plains region. For example, a number of the Anishinabe bandolier bags contain symbols and themes that are reminiscent of Mississippi region art.  
Horse Capture said that the MIA doesn’t have any sacred objects in its Native American collection, because as a Native person himself, he doesn’t feel comfortable displaying that kind of object in a museum. He also said that sacred objects, though powerful, are not usually beautiful. Instead, he looks for high quality artwork of cultural and artistic significance. “We’re an art museum, not a historical museum,” he said. 
As for Doug and Rachel, they’re excited about delving into their new roles as CIF guides, and will continue to broaden their expertise as new pieces are added to the collection. They also continue to create art themselves and are active in the Native American art scene in the Twin Cities. 
Three gubernatorial candidates would consider expanding gambling
Thursday, October 14 2010
 
Written by Tom Scheck,
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Minnesota Public Radio News
Minnesota’s three gubernatorial candidates would consider expanding gambling to help the state recover from the economic downturn, a prospect that has brightened the hopes of those lobbying to put slot machines in the state’s horse tracks.
Although Native American tribes say they’ll fight any attempts to expand gambling that would present competition to Indian casinos, two of the candidates – Democrat Mark Dayton and the Independence Party’s Tom Horner – both say they’d like to expand gambling to help solve the state’s $5.8 billion budget deficit.
Horner is proposing a racino measure which would allow the state’s two horse tracks to install slot machines. He wants to use the $250 million in projected new revenues to build a new Vikings stadium and to fix the state’s budget.
“We have a $6 billion shortfall. Legislators understand how deep that hole is and how hard it will be to climb out of it,” Horner said. “I think gambling is going to be an option that will get a closer look than it has in past years.”
Dayton would like to establish a new casino at the Mall of America or at the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport. He also said a state-run casino in the Twin Cities metropolitan area would be good for the state because it would provide competition to Mystic Lake, which is run by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe.
“I think for there to be a government-protected monopoly on that in the metro area is not in the best interest of the people in Minnesota,” Dayton said. “We need the revenues. Competition is good for retailers as my family has learned. They’re good for politicians and I think it’s good for casino operators as well.”
Republican Tom Emmer’s support of gambling is less certain. Emmer, who co-sponsored a racino bill during his time in the Legislature, said he doesn’t support an expansion of gambling to help fix the state’s budget problem. But he isn’t taking the option off of the table as a general boost to the state’s economy.
“If there’s an opportunity in the marketplace that’s going to create jobs and that’s what it’s about, absolutely, we should support that concept,” Emmer said. “But again, there are people out there right now, there are politicians who refuse to do the job that needs to be done in terms of redesigning government and getting rid of the bloat and the excess.”
Racino lobbyist Dick Day said he’s pleased to see the three gubernatorial candidates indicating support for gambling. He also expects lawmakers could be more inclined to support the concept once they’re faced with the prospect of cutting key government programs to fix the budget deficit.
“We got a little wave going that is pretty good and people know we need money,” Day said. “If we can’t get it done when there’s a $5.8 billion deficit, it’s going to be tough to do it.”
But the backing of a governor doesn’t always guarantee success. In 2005, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Republicans in the MinnesotasHouse spent heavy political capital on a bid to authorize slot machines at the state’s horse track.
But a wide variety of groups heavily opposed the effort. The religious right opposed it on moral grounds. The Native American tribes, who donate heavily to the Democratic Farmer Labor Party and DFL candidates, opposed it to maintain the status quo.
“The tribes aren’t going to roll over on this,” said John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
McCarthy said his members will fight any attempts to expand gambling. He argues expanding gambling would harm the jobs and economic development created by the 18 Native American casinos in the state. He also contends state-run casinos in other states didn’t fulfill on the promised revenues.
“We’re going to use every coalition that we can to try and prevent this from happening which is part of the way the system works,” McCarthy said. “Just because someone wants to do this doesn’t mean it’s going to get done.”
McCarthy said he’s disappointed that Dayton, a Democrat, has called for the expansion of gambling. But he said the tribes have not made a decision on whether they’ll back a candidate in the governor’s race.

Minnesota  Public Radio News can be heard on MPR’s statewide radio network or online.
Frankin Library Events
Saturday, December 19 2009
 
Written by Circle Staff,
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Events for Teens at the Franklin Library, 1314 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. For more info call 952-847-2925.

Dec. 1-Feb. 23: Game On! Gaming Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Play PS2 or Wii games at the library! Grab a friend, bring your favorite board or card game, or play ours!

Dec. 2-Feb. 24: Game On! Gaming Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Play PS2 or Wii games at the library! Grab a friend, bring your favorite board or card game, or play ours!

Dec. 2-Feb. 24: Teen Center Reading Club. Wednesdays, (except Jan. 13), 5-6 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Come get cozy! Stretch out on the couches, chairs, or floor and settle in to read aloud or just listen — books, short stories, current events, it’s up to you. No need to read anything ahead of time.

Dec. 3-Feb. 25: Design Club. Thursdays, (except Dec. 24 & 31) from 4-6 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Get creative! Design and take home T-shirts, posters, jewelry, magnets and other creations. Check out the posters at Franklin Library to see what project is coming up!

Dec. 8-Jan. 5: Tronix Team. Tuesdays from 6-7:45 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. Learn basic circuitry as you modify a regular lunch box into a fully functional boom box with MP3 player. Learning never sounded so good!

Dec. 10, Jan. 7, 21, Feb. 4, 18: Group Games. Thursdays 6-7 p.m. For teens in grade 6 and up. No consoles needed! Learn social games designed for large groups of all ages: Charades, Wink, Mafia, Whiz Bam, Thumper, Taboo and others. Sure to make you laugh!

Misuse of Sweatlodge results in 3 deaths in Arizona
Sunday, December 06 2009
 
Written by Associated Press,
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Story.jpgJames Arthur Ray, motivational speaker, author and self-help guru offers clients the promise of both spiritual and financial wealth if they sign on to his programs. But the five-day “Spiritual Warrior" course that 50 participants paid more than $9,000 each at attend, ended in 3 deaths and twenty one people being taken to the hospital.

Ray had rented the Angel Valley Retreat Center near Sedona, Arizona. The culmination was the sweat lodge ceremony that ended in tragedy. Ray led more than 50 people, both men and women,  into a makeshift “sweat lodge” on Oct. 8. After about two hours, Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee were pulled out of the sweat lodge unconscious, and nineteen other people were taken to hospitals.

City supports Shakopee's Land-into-Trust request
Sunday, November 01 2009
 
Written by Associated Press,
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Before Prior Lake City Council members voted to support the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s latest trust-land request in September, Mayor Jack Haugen gave an impassioned speech about the benefits of tribal contributions vs. the potential loss in tax revenue.

Addressing the tribe’s request to place 78 acres of land in Prior Lake into trust status, Haugen challenged Scott County commissioners who opposed the request to consider the benefits of $21.5 million in tribal contributions to area infrastructure and programs over the last four years. “How does that compare to $4,000 in lost tax revenue? Is this truly a tax issue, or is it something else?” Haugen said.

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