Urban News
Jourdain Seeks to Be A Voice for Native Students
Thursday, May 01 2014
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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ira jourdain-web.jpgRaising the profile on Native American student issues and accountability are the top priorities for Ira Jourdain in his bid for the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education.

The Red Lake citizen and father of four – two of whom are enrolled in the city's school system – sees equity, its allocation and application to minority students as a primary means to bridge the achievement gap. “The way the formula works is equity and equality: everybody gets the same amounts, no matter what. But that's just not conducive to our kids, especially our Native kids and African American kids, who go to what they call the low-performing schools. These are schools that obviously need more funding, need more resources. And then that's where equity comes into place, to me it's reallocating our resources and putting those resources into schools that need them the most.”

Though any primary campaign can produce candidates who speak in broad generalities, Jourdain links together problems and solutions for the Native community, which has continually under-achieved when compared to others. “A lot of our kids go to low-performing schools that affect their housing, that affect employment. There's a multitude of factors that affect our kids' performances in the schools and it all boils down to plain, old equity,” he said.

Jourdain cites specifics issues and needs that impact student performance such as mental health, behavioral services and social workers. “There's this tremendous need – I've heard this from across the district – for school psychologists to work with our kids on mental and behavioral disorders.”

In addition, Jourdain said that other factors stymying achievement may not always be apparent to school board directors not directly involved with the problems. According to a recent report by the Indian Education Department, Native American students have shown an increase in and remain at the top for homelessness. “We need stronger housing support services. My daughter at Tatanka Academy has had three or four students in her classroom that have moved constantly, throughout the school year, across the district. I was at this recent hearing and the percentage of Native American kids in our district who move constantly is 19 percent who are either homeless or constantly moving residences during the school year.”

PHOTO ESSAY: Ain Dah Yung's Cherish the Children Pow Wow
Friday, April 04 2014
Written by Jaida Gray Eagle,
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SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Ain Dah Yung Center's 16th Annual Cherish the Children Traditional Pow Wow was held March 15-16 at Central High School in Saint Paul and featured singers and dancers from around the region to honor Native American children through cultural celebration.

The event was emceed by Dave Larsen and Justin Huenemann with Hoka Hey as the host drum and head dancers included Caske La Blanc and Jennifer Kappenman.




VISUAL ARTS REVIEW: All My Relations presents provocative images in Maggie Thompson's “Where I Fit”
Friday, April 04 2014
Written by Mary Delorie, TC Daily Planet,
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pocahotness_where_i_fit.jpgWhen you think of your cultural and ethnic identity, is there a piece of cloth – a sown or painted tapestry, a beaded headband, a knitted cable sweater, a special quilt made by the matriarch in your family – that helps you honor and celebrate who you are? Cloth and/or textiles are often overlooked as key cultural touchstones in modern day society, but they are the focus of Maggie Thompson's solo exhibition at All My Relations Gallery. She uses textiles to ask important questions about family, identity and culture. As a Native American woman (Fond du Lac Ojibwe), Thompson uses this show to “dig deeper into the notions of her identity focusing on issues of cultural appropriation and Native authenticity through the rigid ideas of blood quantum and stereotyping.”

Her show is socially powerful with hints of nostalgia, deep-rooted sadness, and an anger that bubbles up along the edges. All the pieces showcase Thompson’s talents when it comes to color, patterns, and fabric types. She also pushes boundaries when it comes to textiles incorporating multimedia elements – screen-printing photographs, gold and silver threads, foam cookie cutters and also cornhusks and bottle caps.

The artist was initially an architectural student at the Rhode Island School of Design, so there are elements of her weaving and knitting that certainly draw from this, like straight lines and geometric patterns intentionally building a whole from smaller parts. Thompson recalls feeling like an artist even when she was very young, long before her textile degree from RISD.

Lacrosse Clinics Teach Culture and Engage Community
Monday, March 10 2014
Written by Jamie Keith,
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lacrosse_clinics_teach_culture_and_engage_community_2.jpgIndigenous Lax kicked off its first lacrosse clinic on Feb. 15 with special guest speaker and Edmonton Rush player Jeremy Thompson (Onondaga). He also plays for the Iroquois Nationals, is a Nike N7 Ambassador and the co-star of a documentary titled, “The Medicine Game.” He shared his knowledge and experiences with 30 Native youth representing the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Dakota, Ho-Chunk, Lakota, Ojibwe, Omaha, Potawatomi and Yakama nations.

The goal of these introductory clinics is two-fold: introduce Native youth to the history and significance the game has to many tribal communities; and to teach them the foundational skills they need to compete in lacrosse leagues in the Twin Cities.

“Both Native and non-Native [people] locally seem to think the sport is for and began with White Americans from elite communities and schools,” Clinic Director Shane Thompson (Odawa/Seneca) said. “This is far from the truth.”

Native American students find success and free college credits too
Friday, February 07 2014
Written by Marisa Gustafson, Center for School Change,
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Minneapolis South High senior Sean Buehlmann is finding ways to both challenge and reward herself. She is among a growing group of students taking advantage of Dual Credit courses – where students earn high school credit and free college credit at the same time.

Buehlmann took college classes for free at Minneapolis Community and Technical College to learn the Dakota language, an interest of hers that she wasn't able to fulfill at her high school. She has now earned free college credit while studying the Dakota language through the state-funded Post Secondary Enrollment Options program.

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