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Minneapolis Fed launches its Center for Indian Country Development
Thursday, September 03 2015
 
Written by Lee egrestrom,
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The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis formally launched its Center for Indian Country Development (CIDC) in August, bringing together resources and stakeholders from tribal, federal and state governments with private sector efforts to promote economic development in Indian Country.

The Federal Reserve System is uniquely structured to work with all interests and government programs to promote economic growth, said Chris Stainbrook, president of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation headquartered in Little Canada and a member of the center’s leadership council.

“I cringe when I hear someone refer to ‘Indian policy.’ There is only a policy for some government agency or program. The rest of us all deal with multiple and diverse policies, programs, treaties and laws,” Stainbrook said.
As a case in point, individual entrepreneurs face different challenges with capital formation, starting and expanding businesses than do tribes, added Al Paulson, president and founder of Marketplace Productions LLC, a St. Paul-based business services and consulting firm.

An enrolled citizen of the White Earth Nation, Paulson was a founder of the National Indian Business Association and the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce. The Fed, he said, is “ideally structured” to work with tribal leaders and with individual entrepreneurs of Native American descent. “I know how important that is because I’ve always walked in two worlds,” he said.

In announcing the launch of the center, Minneapolis Fed bank president Narayana Kocherlakota noted that the regional bank has been working in Indian Country for the past 25 years.

The new center will build on that experience, he said, while focusing on legal infrastructure development, improved access to capital for Native Americans, entrepreneurship and small business development, effective coordination and design of economic development programs, and related education and research.
“The center provides energy and coordination to Indian Country development initiatives across the Federal Reserve System and takes a lead role in forging Federal Reserve partnerships with other national and regional organizations,” he said in a statement.

Launching the center is something of a swan song for Kocherlakota. He is leaving the bank at the end of the year to return to academia at the University of Rochester.

The University of Chicago and Princeton University educated economist, however, has ties that anchor him to the region serviced by the bank. He spent much of his childhood in Winnipeg when his parents were on the faculty of the University of Manitoba, and he previously taught economics at the University of Minnesota and University of Iowa.

The bank earlier announced that was creating the center and that co-directors of CICD are Patrice Kunesch and veteran Minneapolis Fed executive Susan Woodrow.

Kunesch, of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe descent, is a former law professor at the University of South Dakota who in recent years served as undersecretary of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She previously served as deputy solicitor for Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior and as counsel for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut.

Woodrow, meanwhile, is the executive officer for the Minneapolis Fed’s branch office in Helena, Mont. The bank is one of 12 regional Federal Reserve banks. Its Ninth Federal Reserve District includes Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana, northwestern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

This region covers a huge portion of Indian Country. The center will work nationally for the Fed system from this base. Members of the newly named CIDC Leadership Council reflect that national scope.

Joining Stainbrook on the council were Dante Desiderio, executive director of the Native American Finance Officers Association, Washington, D.C.; Sarah DeWess, senior director of the First Nations Development Institute, Longmont, Colo.; Miriam Jorgensen, research director, Native Nations Institute for Leadership, University of Arizona; Elsie Meeks, board member for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines and chairperson, Lakota Funds, Kyle, S.D.; Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director, National Congress of American Indians, Washington, D.C.; John Phillips, executive director, First Americans Land-Grant Consortium, Alexandria, Va.; Jaime Pinkham, vice president of Native Nations Programs, Bush Foundation, St. Paul; Gerald Sherman, vice president, Bar K Management, Roscoe, Mont.; and Sarah Vogel, a Bismarck attorney and former North Dakota commissioner of agriculture.               

Confronting Calhoun: a bike ride meets the living legacy of white supremacy
Tuesday, August 04 2015
 
Written by Junauda Petrus, TC Daily Planet,
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confronting calhoun 1.jpgIndependence Day 2015. We were Indigenous, Eritrian, Nigerian, Korean, Sudanese, Black-American, White, Puerto-Rican, Columbian, parents, dancers, teachers, artists, queer, avid cyclists, borrowing bicycles for the day, babies riding in the bicycle chariot of a parent.

And we were Minnesotans. We believed that the beautiful waters previously known by the Dakota of this land as Mde Maka Ska should no longer honor John C. Calhoun. This charmer enslaved Black people and fought to protect enslavement in the south. We were riding to change the name and we were beautiful, unexpected, and powerful.

Jeremy Little is the director of the Minnesota Black Riders Association. He is a dynamic young man in love with bicycling and the community. Little reached out to me and other activists and artists to help him organize a “Freedom Ride” on the 4th of July to Lake Calhoun in order to bring attention to this issue. We also had a culminating community BBQ.

We didn’t have much time to plan but once we got the ball rolling, the support and interest was amazing! We had beautiful bicycle caravans hailing from north and south Minneapolis as well as St. Paul. Volunteers were ready with food at Lake Calhoun for hungry riders and games for children. We wanted it to not only be revolutionary, but celebratory and joyful.

After we sang a protest song together, an older white man who approached the crowd and told us to “get over it,” that “George Washington owned slaves,” “those were the times” and all sorts of other white supremacist brainwashing that is used to justify naming public places for celebrated murderers, rapists, and enslavers.

“It shouldn’t surprise us that white supremacy has arrived to rear its ugly head,” said with elegance and earned wisdom by Nekima Levy-Pounds, Minneapolis NAACP president, activist and lawyer to the diverse group of peaceful and joyful bicyclists enjoying the day as we were interrupted by the irate and hateful bystander.


Powwow for Hope a Success
Friday, July 17 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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powwow for hope a success-ivy vaino.jpgOver 3,000 people attended the 4th Annual Powwow for Hope: Dancing for Life, Love & Hope on May 2 in Minneapolis.

The Native American community event raised over $70,000 to help prevent and fight cancer. The American Indian Cancer Foundation is honored by all the contributions that made the 2015 Powwow for Hope a huge success.
Powwow for Hope activities included: an outdoor lacrosse clinic for the youth, rock climbing, tours of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community mobile mammography unit, survivor and caregiver specials, a presentation by Make a Wish Foundation and a jingle dress healing song.
Powwow for Hope teams played a dynamic role in fundraising for this event. A total of 34 teams raised $35,182.50. The American Indian Cancer Foundation acknowledges and appreciates each and every one of the Powwow for Hope teams.

Special recognition to the top fundraising teams:

  • Top Overall and Top Family: Team Rivera, $4,908.00

  • Top Organization: DIW (Division of Indian Work) - Two Steppers, $3,390.00

  • Top School: American Indian Magnet School, $1,872.98

  • Top Individual: Ivy Vainio, $1,810.00

Minneapolis Native Youth invited to White House
Monday, June 08 2015
 
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
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A group of four Twin Cities Native American youth were invited to the White House for the first Tribal Youth Gathering, marking an achievement for students and an organization that is dedicated to preserving and promoting research and understanding among Native youth.

The Native Youth Alliance of Minnesota is a non-profit established in 2014. Following the 2008 Minnesota Summit on Afterschool Learning Opportunities, the Native American community took note of the disparity that research and data does not reflect Native youth.

This realization began groundbreaking work that began with a conversation to develop an Indigenous Youth Research and Development Center in 2009. Native leaders throughout the state of Minnesota really came forth with the idea that this work has never been done before.

LeMoine LaPointe, NYAM board member investigated the issue, “I was told that Native American people are statistically insignificant.” He felt that proved there was much to be done in Indian Country.

NYAM convened community conversations with various tribal communities throughout the state to collect stories directly from Native people about how they envision the Indigenous Youth Research and Development Center transforming their communities. Native leaders and youth came together on May 29 in Saint Paul, Minn. to delve deep into what research means traditionally for Native communities.

Many ideas emerged from the conversation and it is just the beginning of the work. Sierra Villebrun (White Earth), Abel Martinez (Ho-Chunk) and Lupe Thornhill (Red Lake) participated in the discussion. Villebrun is a junior at South High All Nations and has been involved with Native Youth Alliance of Minnesota as a part of the Art of Indigenous Resistance community mural project along with Martinez, a sophomore also at South High All Nations; Thornhill is from St. Paul and facilitated the conversation.


Analysis finds minorities arrested at a higher rate than whites in Mpls.
Monday, June 08 2015
 
Written by Brandt Williams, MPR News,
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analysis_finds_minorities_arrested_at_higher_rate_than_whites_in_mpls-web.jpgAn analysis released May 28 by the American Civil Liberties Union gives the most detailed picture yet of racial disparities in the treatment of low-level offenders by Minneapolis police.

Those arrested for non-felony offenses in Minneapolis are far more likely to be people of color than to be white.

The ACLU analyzed arrest data collected over nearly three years. Most of the arrests for low-level offenses occurred during traffic stops. Following FBI practice, the ACLU counts as an arrest encounters where people are merely stopped, ticketed and released.

Minneapolis police officers made nearly 100,000 non-felony arrests between Jan. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2014. African-Americans and Native Americans were arrested at rates nearly nine times higher than the rate for whites.

African-Americans make up less than 19 percent of the city's population, and Native Americans just 2 percent. The arrest numbers don't include separate categories for Asians and Hispanics.

The disparity didn't come as a surprise to Henry Jackson, 55, as he stood across the street from Target Field with a handful of tickets.

Buying and selling tickets is legal, but Jackson, who's African-American, has been arrested for trespassing in the neighborhood three times since 2012.

The latest arrest happened outside nearby Target Center in January, as he was selling tickets for a Timberwolves game. He had stepped inside Target Center to warm his hands, he said, when two police officers cited and released him.

Jackson said white ticket sellers could do the same thing "all day long" without being stopped, "but it seems like they got us singled out."

Jackson was convicted, ordered to pay a $50 fine and given a stayed sentence of 90 days in the workhouse on the condition that he stay out of Target Center for a year. Now he can't enter the venue, even as a paying customer.


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