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Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills talks life lessons to Native students
Sunday, February 19 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staf,
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billy_mills_1.jpgOlympic gold medalist Billy Mills spoke on Jan. 13 to  Native American youth in grades 6-12 during Native American Youth Day at Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center at Augsburg College.
Billy Mills, also known as Makata Taka Hela, is the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal. He won in the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He is still the only American to ever win an Olympic gold medal in this event. His 1964 victory is considered one of the greatest Olympic upsets. A former United States Marine, Mills is a member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe.
billy_mills_2.jpgAbout 250 students from a number of metropolitan school districts attended the event, including students from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Robbinsdale, Anoka, Centennial, Osseo and others.
During his presentation Mills shared lessons he has learned throughout his life. He interwove those lessons with stories from his personal life, including about growing up an orphan by age 12, going to Haskell Indian Boarding School, being in the U.S. Marines, training for and competing in the 1964 Olympics, and from his extensive world travels.
Four key lessons Mills shared with the students included:
o It is the journey, not the destination, that shapes our lives.
o Life is choreographed by the daily decisions we make.
o billy_mills_3.jpgOne of the greatest challenges we face is overcoming perceptions we hold of others, and overcoming perceptions others hold of us.
o A true sense of unity with others can emerge from connecting to diverse peoples from throughout the globe.
oPracticing the values of traditional Lakota ways - bravery, fortitude, wisdom and generosity - can help you achieve your dreams, and can heal a broken spirit.

Dr. Annette Named CEO Of Blandin Foundation
Monday, January 09 2012
 
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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dr_annette_named_ceo_of_blandin_foundation.jpgThis last December the Blandin Foundation held a banquet in honor of their new President and CEO Dr. Kathleen Annette. The arrival of Dr. Annette, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, as the executive head of the organization marks an important turning point in the organization's history.
Founded by Charles K. Blandin, the foundation has offered communities in Minnesota over 5,600 grants totalling $336 million in value in the nearly seventy years of its existence. Focused in the Grand Rapids area, the foundation seeks to build strong economies in rural Minnesota, and emphasizes the even distribution of benefits and burdens within the tight-knit communities which it serves.
Succeeding Jim Hoolihan, who left the position of CEO this last October, Dr. Annette  served on the Foundation's board from 1991 to 2003, and headed the Foundation's American Indian Advisory Committee since 2004.
Dr. Annette was the first woman from the Minnesota Ojibwe Nation to become a physician. She was also the first woman in the Bemidji Indian Health Service to serve as an area director. To her, responsibility and leadership are second nature.
"I started my practice years ago on the Leech Lake Reservation, and lived my entire life in northern rural Minnesota. What is different about people who live on the reservation? We have extra responsibility, is what I've always thought," Annette said.
Important to Dr. Annette is the leadership programs the foundation provides. Teaching and developing community leader's skill sets, and helping community leaders to work together towards a common goal are some of the values the foundation emphasizes through its leadership training.
Metro State students protest lack of Native classes offered in 2012
Monday, January 09 2012
 
Written by By Jacob Croonenberghs,
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metro-students-protest-native-classes-cut.jpgThis last December students of Metro State University held a protest rally to decry the lack of Native American Studies classes on their campus. Specifically, the students came together to protest the fact that two classes; 'American Indian Spirituality' and the class 'Genocide, Survival, and Recovery' were not being offered in the spring of 2012, the 150th anniversary of the War of 1862.
December 7th students gathered around the New Main building to hold a peaceful rally that included student speakers, professors, community leaders and representatives from the American Indian Movement (AIM).
One of the professors involved with the protest, Dr. Chris Nunpa, took the time to explain the grievances of the student body. "I had talked to the ethnic chair department, and told them these classes should be taught in the year 2012, in that it represents important years in the history of the Minnesota Dakota peoples as well as the state of Minnesota itself," Nunpa said.
Dr. Nunpa is a Professor of Native Studies, and would have been scheduled to teach the two classes at Metro State. When students learned that they would not be attending classes with Dr. Nunpa this semester, they sprung into action.
Students who helped to organize the event included Shannon Geshick, Zack Anderson, Matthew Sanchez, Keith Van Beek, and Di Roberge, among others. Word about the rally was spread through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and the event attracted nearly a hundred protesters.
"Stop marginalizing Indigenous students, Indigenous professors, and Indigenous viewpoints! Create a Department of Indigenous Studies at Metro State!" one Facebook organization proclaimed.
Native woman to become first American Indian saint
Monday, January 09 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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native-woman-to-become-first-saint.jpgPope Benedict XVI, issued a decree in December 2011 saying that the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha will be among seven new saints to be canonised by the Vatican, with the ceremony expected to take place in 2012.
Benedict decreed that the curing of Jake Finkbonner (Lummi Tribe), a six-year-old boy in Washington, of a flesh-eating virus in 2006 was a miracle directly attributable to Tekakwitha, more than 330 years after her death. This makes possible the canonization of the first American Indian saint in the Catholic Church.
The Vatican decided Jake's recovery was a miracle that is beyond the explanation of medicine and that could be attributed to the intercession on his behalf by Blessed Kateri.
Doctors who treated Finkbooner agreed that it was a miracle, saying they thought the boy would going to die. According the an artice in the Tuscaloosa News,  Monsignor Paul A. Lenz, the vice postulator for the cause of Blessed Kateri, said, "They didn't think any of their medical expertise was the cure," he explained. "They thought every night he was going to die."
Mpls Public Schools and MUID to renew MOA
Monday, January 09 2012
 
Written by By Alleen Brown,
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For decades, American Indians have not trusted schools, and why would they? American Indian kids went to boarding school to unlearn language and culture. Indian schools were established to make sure the Indian community wouldn't get to teach. As Minneapolis Indian Education director Danielle Grant put it, "Education was something that was happening to us."
In January the Minneapolis school district will sign a revised Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), renewing a 2006 commitment by the Metro Urban Indian Directors and Minneapolis Public Schools to work together at changing those old dynamics. The agreement is likely the only one like it in the nation.
The MOA designates Anishinabe Academy, South High School's All Nations program and Nawayee Center School, a contracted alternative school, as best practice sites focusing on American Indian language and culture. It establishes programs for community engagement and professional development and sets achievement goals for Native students. The agreement's plan to establish an interview and select process and protections against seniority-based "bumping" for teachers at best practice schools will depend on Minneapolis teacher contract negotiations.
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