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NASA Sends Old Tobacco Seeds Into Space
Saturday, August 13 2011
 
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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cover story nasa seeds.jpgNASA, on one of it's final return flights, has brought back experiments aboard the International Space Station that used Native heirloom seeds. The landing on June 22nd marked the completion of the nearly year-long Indigenous Star Seeds experiment involving indigenous tobacco. Scientists have wondered what effects microgravity plays on the growth of plants in space, and for years has researched the viability of crop growth for long term voyages.
"The seeds that were to germinate in zero gravity were 800 year old tobacco seeds," said Roxanne Gould (Odawan Ojibwe), a Science Museum of MN-American Indian Advisory Committee member. The Science Museum of MN donated the seeds for the project.
"The experiment came about because my husband [Jim Rock] works with the Minnesota Planetary Society. They had done a presentation at a climate change conference in Shakopee and a representative of NASA was interested in the experiment Jim was proposing."
Native American garden planted at the U of?MN-Morris
Saturday, August 13 2011
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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A new Native American garden is growing this summer at the University of Minnesota, Morris Crocus Valley Gardens. The gardens are adjacent to the campus. Part of a multi-garden plot, the tradition "three sisters garden"- corn, beans, and squash - shares space with community gardens maintained by the UMM Student Organic Gardening Club and the Regional Fitness Center (RFC). The native garden project was coordinated through the Morris Healthy Eating Initiative and the Office of Community Engagement in partnership with the West Central Research and Outreach Center.
Donna Chollett, associate professor of anthropology and Latin American area studies coordinator, said former student Daniel Hart initiated the idea in 2008 as a service-learning project in her Culture, Food, and Agriculture course.
The Community Food Assessment conducted in 2009-10 by Morris Healthy Eating considered the barriers to gardening. Under the guidance of Mary Jo Forbord, Morris Healthy Eating coordinator and organic farmer, the project's vision is "to make fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods the easy choice for every meal every day for UMM students, as well as for the residents of Morris and Stevens County no matter their income or age."
 Results of the assessment indicated that 50 percent of students would eat more fruits and vegetables on campus if they had access to a garden to grow their own, and American Indian students were among those showing the highest interest in gardening access. They also believed their diets would be healthier if the food was produced in their traditional ancestral ways.
NACC Weight Loss Challenge participants lose 610 lbs.
Saturday, August 13 2011
 
Written by Andrea Cornelius,
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nacc weight loss winner.jpgThis past April over 200 participants of all ages entered a 12 week weight loss challenge at the Native American Community Clinic (NACC) in Minneapolis. The person who lost the most weight would win a grand prize of $500.00, provided by Ucare. Enrollment only cost $1.00 (all of which went towards the second place prize) and anyone was able to participate whether you were a patient at NACC or not. Participants kept food journals, counted calories, exercised regularly and weighed in weekly.
Shannon Fahey, a registered dietician at NACC, worked one on one each week with participants on goal-setting, exercise routines, and nutrition information - after evaluating their food journals at the weigh-ins.
Although the weigh-ins were held weekly, Fahey and staff were available anytime participants needed, thereby creating a highly individualized program.
A collective total of 610 pounds were lost at the end of the program, which ended in June 29. Kasa Hohenstein was the first place winner, having lost 16% of her body weight. James Seals came in second place, having lost 13% of his body weight. Participants lost between 8-15 pounds, making an average loss of 5.7% of body weight in total.
Gibbs House Teaches Dakota Language
Friday, July 08 2011
 
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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gibbs_house_teachers_dakota.jpghe Gibbs Museum hosted a their first Dakota Language camp for youth grades 1st through 4th this summer from June 27th to July 1st. During the week-long camp students enjoyed seasonal themes as they learned about the life of the Dakota people who walked the trails of the museum's grounds, and were introduced to a language that is not usually taught at elementary school levels.
The Gibbs Museum was opened in 1954 under the Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS). Listed in 1974 under the National Register of Historic Places, the museum has worked closely with the University of Minnesota's Dakota language program.
Located next to the University's soccer fields, The Gibbs Museum is a picture of 19th century life. There are traditional Dakota bark lodges and tipis at the site, as well as the excavated sod house, or 'soddy' that Jane and Heman Gibbs lived in. The area is covered by prairie grasses, and native crops such as corn, squash, and beans dot the fields.
"This museum focuses on place history," said Terry Swanson, a historian who has worked with the Gibbs Museum for five years. "When Priscilla Farnham (RCHS Executive Director) came to this site, we weren't really telling the story of Jane Gibbs. After studying the history of this place, she thought we needed to focus on how important the people and the history of this land they lived on really were. I think that's at the heart of what we do here."
The story of the Gibbs museum began in 1835, when Jane DeBow (eventually Jane Gibbs) moved west with a missionary and his wife. They settled near Lake Calhoun, where there was a band of Dakota living on the shores of the lake. The settlement she grew up in was Cloud Man's village.
Ethnic Cultural Tourism Conference to be held in July
Friday, July 08 2011
 
Written by Art CoulsonSeveral organizations focused on promoting tourism in the American Indian community and i,
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Several organizations focused on promoting tourism in the American Indian community and in other communities of color will gather with their colleagues from around the state at Black Bear Crossings on the Lake for the inaugural Ethnic Cultural Tourism Destinations (ECTD) Conference.
The conference, which will be held  on July 13 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Black Bear Crossings, 1360 North Lexington Parkway, St. Paul, will feature a mix of local and nationally known speakers on topics that are applicable to any community.
Among the planners of this conference were David Glass, of Black Bear Crossings and the American Indian Economic Development Fund, and Janice LaFloe of the American Indian Family Center.
"We had great participation from the local American Indian community," said Lisa Tabor, organizer of the conference and executive director of CultureBrokers Foundation. 
The conference is being planned by the ECTD Collaborative, a group of community developers, tourism professionals, businesses, residents, agencies and elected officials working together to capitalize and leverage St. Paul's ethnic cultural assets for the economic benefit of ethnic populations. Through promotion of cultural tourism as an economic development tool, the conference will help people capitalize on local assets while expanding their economies through new visitors to their neighborhoods.
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