Urban News
Strengthening Identity: The Cradleboard Project instills history and tradition
Friday, April 03 2015
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
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strengthening identity- the cradleboard project instills history and tradition 2-web.jpgWhen Gavino Limon was 14 months-old, he began his professional career as a champion Grass Dancer, a mere five months after he began walking. Limon is now six years-old and continues his love for dancing as a member of the world famous Native Pride Dance Troop. His parents, Douglas and Rachel Limon believe that having him in a cradleboard during his infancy had a tremendous influence on his advanced large motor skills

Traditionally, tribal people in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas used cradleboards for hundreds of years to carry their children. Using whatever materials within the environment, cradleboards were assembled with much care. Depending on the community, cradleboards can be constructed with cedar, oak, cattail, buckskin, animal fur and moss. In essence, a flat wooden board is the base, a frame and a headpiece, sometimes to attach toys. The baby is wrapped tightly to the board, allowing them to feel secure and also sit upright to interact with their world.  In this way, babies became accustomed to the daily activities of their tribe. The cradleboard was the first step in traditional Indigenous education.

Cradleboard advocates assert that children who have been in a cradleboard have a developmental advantage. Babies are able to observe their families and socially interact with their relatives. Parents will often claim that a baby’s leg and neck muscles are strengthened earlier than an infant who has not been placed in a cradleboard.

These benefits prompted the Limons to have their baby in a cradleboard. Before their son was born, Doug and Rachel Limon wanted to have their new baby in a cradleboard, but had difficulty finding anyone in the community that could help teach them to make one. After finding an elder in Leech Lake to help them, they had Gavino in the cradleboard.

Out & About: March 2015
Wednesday, March 11 2015
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
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A Conversation with Eve, Winona and Louise

“Until we can trust our own hearts, we cannot have a revolution.”

Eve Ensler’s words permeated throughout the auditorium at the Women’s Club in Minneapolis on Feb. 17 as Honor the Earth, One Billion Rising and Women’s Congress partnered to organize a powerful discussion: Extreme Extraction and Violence Against Native women.

The conversation centered around the disregard for the planet and natural resources by major oil corporations and how it directly correlates to the violence experienced by Indigenous women in North and South America.

The panel conversation not only engaged those who attended but empowered every individual to action, because the issue of violence against Native women belongs to everyone. The evening was filled with revolutionary imagery, music, refreshments and good company.

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Top left: Chasity Brown performs a selection of her songs. (Photo by Deanna StandingCloud)

Top right: Winona LaDuke, Patina Park, Eve Ensler and Louise Erdrich deliver a powerful panel discussion about environmental justice and it's connection to violence against Indigenous women. (Photo by Deanna StandingCloud)


Celebrating local and Indigenous foods: Dinner on the Farm and the Sioux Chef
Friday, February 06 2015
Written by Ann Treacy, TC Daily Planet,
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dinner_2-web.jpgIt’s a good time to be a foodie. There are lots of food happenings around town, you just need to know where to look. Dinner on the Farm is a good place to start.

During the summer, Dinner on the Farm hosts chef-planned and prepared dinners on farms. They are fun family-friendly events that also often include good, local beer or wine. There’s special pricing for kids so please don’t tell the organizers, but I have seen my kid eat her weight in beef then wash is down with a gallon of strawberries and cream as she chases cows in the field at these events. The dinners are summer highlights. It’s a fun way to learn about a local farm (local may mean up to two hours from the Twin Cities), an emerging chef and often local breweries or other specialty food producers are included. The only way to find out about them is sign up. (Pssst – signing up is free!)

During the winter, Dinner on the Farm hosts Underground Dinner Parties – in art galleries, breweries, Tiki rooms, haunted houses and other fun places. These are less family friendly as they often have a higher level of alcohol content; they also involve a lot less driving. It’s a fun way to meet other foodies. (Be warned it’s not a place to pick up foodies since mingling is minimal and most folks come in groups but with a little effort and sometimes wine you get to meet the most interesting people!)

This last weekend the underground dinner turned to brunch at the Dogwood Coffee Roastery. I heard the coffee was amazing. I’m not a coffee drinker but I was introduced to Spruce Soda Ginger Beer drinker. I have been looking for something to replace Diet Coke; this is on the shortlist. It’s sweet but not syrupy or sugary. And it’s all natural.

The brunch included dry salamis from Red Table. I will forego bacon with brunch any and every there’s dry meats from Red Table on the buffet. Rise provided the bagels; they feature only locally grown and organic ingredients. Soft on the inside, a bite on the outside. Holds spreads and jams well!

Native Community Welcomes New Lacrosse Star
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Art Coulson,
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native community welcomes new lacrosse star-web.jpgMiles Giaehgwaeh Thompson, co-winner of college lacrosse’s top honor last year with his younger brother Lyle, arrived in the Twin Cities on Jan. 2 to a hero’s welcome before he had even played in his first National Lacrosse League game.

Twin Cities Native American Lacrosse Club youth players, coaches and families joined other members of the local Native community to greet Thompson with banners and an honor song as he arrived at the Minneapolis airport. He was all smiles as he posed for photos and signed autographs for the fans in the airport’s baggage claim area.

The next night, Thompson scored three goals and one assist in his NLL debut at the Xcel Center before a crowd of almost 9,000 fans. Although the Swarm lost 20-13 to Colorado, the team’s native players – forwards Thompson (Onondaga from New York), veteran Corbyn Tao (Nishga First Nation from British Columbia) and returning Swarm star Dean Hill (Turtle Clan Mohawk from Six Nations) – accounted for more than half the scoring, with Tao and Hill adding two goals each.

When Hill fed Thompson the ball for one of his goals, a group of fans in the corner of the arena held up a large Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) flag and danced.

It was just the sort of welcome and excitement for the Creator’s game that Thompson was expecting.

“When I was talking to different (National Lacrosse League general managers) and trying to decide where I wanted to play, my brother Lyle told me about Minnesota,” Thompson said by phone before he boarded his flight to Minnesota. “He said the Swarm draws a big crowd and they really love lacrosse. That's really how I decided I wanted to come to Minnesota.”

Wicoie Nandagikendan Puts Joy Into Language Learning
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by Laura Waterman Wittstock,
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It is always difficult to get to the reasons why teaching Native languages to very young children in Minneapolis is unusual and rare. Today, the unlikely leadership for doing that and support for languages comes from a U.S. Senator from Montana, a state most known to be conservative.

Montana sits in the middle of the ten poorest states according to Forbes magazine and it moves along with its staple farming, ranching and mining, but contrary to ideas of conservative cowboys, it also sits in the middle politically, having elected both Republicans and Democrats to statewide offices. Jon Tester won office in 2007 and the other Democratic Senator, former Lt. Governor John Walsh, has been serving since February 2014 by appointment of Gov. Steve Bullock. He took office after Democratic incumbent left to become U.S. Ambassador to China.

Tester has wasted little time since he took office to look deeply at the needs of the tribes and nations. He became chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs this year when former chair Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) stepped down.

Tester’s visit to Minneapolis and the Wicoie Nandagikendan program is another illustration of how he sees Indian country: he wants to see communities in action.

Jennifer Bendickson is executive director of the program and she demonstrates its importance to the Indian community by telling a little story. “The Wicoie children went on a field trip to a local apple orchard. It was a warm, sunny day and as the group was leaving, the grower came up to me and said we were his favorite visitors his orchard.”


“It was because he saw the little children thank the trees for their apples.”

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