Urban News
Susan Allen Runs For State House District 61B
Friday, December 16 2011
Written by Story by Sheila Regan,
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susan_allen_runs_for_legistalture.jpg Susan Allen is hoping to take newly-elected Sen. Jeff Hayden's seat in the state House District 61B, after he won a special election to replace retiring Sen. Linda Berglin, who is retiring. The DFL and Labor endorsed candidate isn't just a fighter for social and economic justice- she's lived it. As a candidate, she believes in investing in jobs, addressing the achievement gap, reforming the tax system, creating a single-payer health care system, preserving the environment, and saying no to the Marriage Amendment. Her progressive politics, with emphasis on social and economic justice, has strong roots in her upbringing and life experience.
Born on the Ute Reservation in Utah, Allen is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe where her mother, Helen Allen, was born and raised. Allen's father, Philip Allen (Oglala Lakota) was an Episcopal priest who was paid half of what the white priests in the Episcopal Church were paid. This inequality caused them to move quite a bit as he worked to change the way the church carried out its Indian work throughout the country. Her family would get to a town where the housing would be substandard, so sometimes they would move to three different places in a year. She went to 20 different schools in 5 different states in the first 14 years of her life.
Allen beat the achievement gap odds-with her parents' support and through her own negotiation of her education.
Allen says ending the achievement gap for all children is a priority. She believes it needs to start at the community level. "It's going to take extra attention, resources, and dedication. We need strategies to strengthen parent and community support. People in our district are extremely passionate about closing the achievement gap," she said.
Four new Native radio stations to hit the airwaves
Friday, December 16 2011
Written by By Dan Gunderson,
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Minnesota Public Radio News
Minnesota  Public Radio News can be heard on MPR's statewide radio network or online.

4_new_native_radio_stations.jpgFour new radio stations are on the air across northern Minnesota, and each is eager to serve American Indian audiences. In Callaway, Nett Lake, Cloquet and Cass Lake, station employees and volunteers have been scrambling to get the stations up and running so they can provide music and information to tribal members, many of whom live in isolated areas.
The new stations all benefited from a new Federal Communications Commission policy that gives tribal entities priority for radio frequencies that cover tribal lands.
That's made for a whirlwind couple of months for Betsy McDougall, who is coordinating efforts to put a radio station on the air on the White Earth reservation.
As she walked into a small studio space in an old school in Callaway, McDougall recalled with a laugh the day she realized how much local residents care about the new radio station. She said one man showed up with his own can of paint and went to work.
"By the time I could even say, 'hold on here a minute,' he had this thing green in minutes," she said. "At that point we started to think this is going to be the green room."
Report tells stories of Native victims of prostitution sex trafficking
Friday, December 16 2011
Written by by Sheila Regan TC Daily Planet,
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report_tells_stories_of_native_victims.pngOn October 27, the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) and Prostitution Research & Education (PRE) released a new report called Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota. It's the first-of-its-kind, based on interviews and surveys with more than 105 Native women aged 18-60 in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Bemidji. The report was written by Melissa Farley, Nicole Matthews, Sarah Deer, Guadalupe Lopez, Christine Stark, and Eileen Hudon.
The study found that of the 105 women, about half had been victims of sex trafficking, 92 percent had been raped, 84 percent had been physically abused during prostitution, 72 percent had suffered traumatic brain injuries from prostitution, 98 percent were currently or previously homeless, and 39 percent entered prostitution before age 18. The study found that 62 percent of the women saw a connection between prostitution and colonization.
The research for the report was conducted on women involved with both prostitution and sex trafficking in part because of the "multiple legal definitions at the federal, state, and tribal levels and the varying degrees of understanding among those working on social justice issues and the general population" of sex trafficking, according to the report.
Organizations and community members fight for healthier homes
Friday, December 16 2011
Written by By Jacob Croonenberghs,
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organizations_community_fight_for_heither_homes.jpgIn the Twin Cities metropolitan area, a disproportionate number of Native families live in low income housing. In particular, the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis is home to a group of Native mothers, fathers, and concerned individuals who have linked substandard rental and housing situations to health problems within the community. Problems such as mold, lead paint, and even arsenic continue to plague the residents of the neighborhood, even decades after the banning of lead paint for commercial use and the identification of arsenic as a cancer-causing agent.
Healthy Homes Healthy Kids is a program created to fight against housing disparity. Funded by The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota, the program encourages community members to come together to address the issue and find reasonable solutions to the problems they face.
Lynn Braveheart is the Community Organizer and Outreach Coordinator for the program. For the past three years, she has worked closely with community leaders, parents, city officials and even state representatives to make the case for improved housing for Native children.
First masters degree for "Helping One Another" Tribal Spec. Ed.
Thursday, December 15 2011
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Aquila Tapio (Oglala Lakota)   will be the first student to recieve her master's degree from Augsburg College's new Naadamaadiwin, "Helping One Another" Tribal Special Education program.   
Tapio began her studies after moving to the Twin Cities when she was 18. Her initial two-year degree led to a four-year degree from the University of Minnesota, then a paralegal certificate from Hamline University and finally a teaching certificate and a forthcoming master's degree from Augsburg College. Tapio is currently enrolled in her final course. 
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