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Red Lake Nation hosts candidate fair
Saturday, November 01 2014
 
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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web-red lake nation hosts candidate fair.jpg The Red Lake Political Education Committee, a tribal non-profit and non-partisan organization, hosted a Candidate Fair & Breakfast on Oct. 22 at the Red Lake Seven Clans Casino and Event Center.

All candidates for local and statewide office (Senate District 2 and Beltrami County) who would represent the Red Lake Indian Reservation were invited to the event in addition as well as candidates for Red Lake School Board. The office seekers fielded questions from a crowd of about 100 people.

Taking a position in front of the Red Lake PEC banner, PEC co-chairs Michelle Paquin and Tim Sumner welcomed the attendees. They then introduced the group of Red Lake Canvassers who are working on Get-Out-The-Vote efforts for PEC on the reservation.

The canvassers present included, Larry Sigana, Paula Iceman, Jerricho Redeagle, Francine Kingbird, Doreen Wells, Marlys Smith, Christy Sumner and Carlene Sigana and were offering rides to the polls to any and all at the casino complex.

PEC co-chair Tim Sumner, also a Beltrami County Commissioner, said he was pleased that the event was well attended and said, "the new absentee polls in Red Lake are a great example of collaboration between the county and tribe."

Paquin, noting that Red Lake PEC is making an extra effort to engage the youth of the nation in the importance of voting, introduced the Red Lake Youth Council, which assisted with the day's events as time-keepers and serving breakfast to elders.

In keeping with PEC's youth movement, 20 year-old Alyss Seki acted as emcee. She introduced several of the other PEC members, including Secretary Cheri Goodwin and Treasurer Mary Ringhand. Seki thanked sponsors for the event, the Red Lake Tribal Council, Four Winds and individual donors Lorraine Cecil, State Representative Roger Erickson and Sue Engel, First National Bank of Bemidji spokesperson.

Seki then introduced her grandfather Red Lake Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., who introduced himself in Ojibwemowin. He welcomed the crowd and thanked all the candidates and participants.

"I'm very glad to see the Red Lake Youth Council here, it is very important that youth participate in the process. I'm very supportive of get out the vote efforts and want to remind the candidates present that the Red Lake Band has over 2,900 registered voters," Seki said.

First S.D. Two Spirit Society honors and educates on the reservation
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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first south dakota two spirit society honors and educates on the reservation.jpg

SISSETON, S.D. – Members of the newly-formed Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Two Spirit Society gathered on Sept. 26 to educate members of the tribe on LGBTQ Native issues while honoring one of their own who was killed earlier in the month.

The group – the first Two Spirit society in any of the nine reservations in South Dakota – began its mission in June of this year. A testament to the growing power of social media on the reservation, the event “Gay is OK” was the impetus for forming the society. “We all went out to the corner, stood outside and held signs. And while we were standing there, we talked about forming a society, so we set a meeting date and from then on, it's been going ever since,” Vernon Renville, society co-founder said.

The momentum culminated in the education day at Sisseton Wahpeton College, “Walking in Two Worlds: Understanding Two Spirit and LGBTQ Individuals.” The daylong conference featured personal coming out stories by Sisseton Wahpeton tribal citizens, a screening of the film “Two Spirits” about the late Fred Martinez – who identified as Two Spirit and was killed in 2001 on the Navajo Nation – as well as a presentation on LGBTQ identity from Lenny Hayes, a tribal citizen and member of the Minnesota Two Spirit Society.

While the society is geared toward creating a place for Two Spirit people, it is an inclusive group that began because of the social stigma attached to being LGBTQ on the reservation. “I previously worked at the youth center and kids would come to me, or their parents would come to me, asking how to talk to their kids. Or they think they're having these feeling and we discussed things like that and decided it would be something good for the community,” Dawn Ryan, SWO society member said.

 


Profiles from Lakota Country: Native Americans in Education
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Lynette White Hat,
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profiles from lakota country- native americans in education.jpgWhen the topic of Education and Native Americans is brought up the view of a unsettling and disturbing history plays with a sequence of historical trauma. This isn’t a collaboration that was arranged with open arms and satisfying results.

This approach began with Carlisle Indian School, which was established by Gen. Richard Henry Pratt in 1879. Specifically built for Native American children, the approach to this was to assist the Natives in becoming “civilized” and functional in mainstream western society. However, teaching arithmetic, writing and reading came with horrendous atrocities, abuse and discipline within the Native boarding school systems that would shape and change the classroom and generations forever.

To enhance any teachings the official government policy was to, “Kill the Indian and save the man.” With this motto came severe forms of discipline which included beating, torture, sexual abuse and even death. Though Native people wanted their children to be able to survive in the inevitable change coming, they were not prepared to take on what the boarding school system would bring. This created generational poverty among those who endured, survived and would speak about it.

Since that dark period in tribal history, Native people have a come a long way in developing and tailoring education that meets the needs of their children. Students have become educated, speaking fluent English and are encouraged to learn their tribal history. Those who pursue a career in education are are protected by policies, procedures and laws developed to enshrine education that was once banned in boarding schools.

One such educator is Sage Fast Dog, Sr., an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He has taught in the Todd County School District, a non-Native public school with a majority of Native students who attend, for nine years.

 

Honor the Earth paddles in protest against Sandpiper pipeline
Monday, September 08 2014
 
Written by Margaret Campbell, Honor the Earth,
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honor the earth paddles in protest against sandpiper pipeline.jpgBEMIDJI, Minn. – An environmental group took to the water on July 31 to protest a proposed oil pipeline in northern Minnesota. About 20 members of Honor the Earth, an environmental advocacy group, hosted a "Paddle Against the Sandpiper" canoe and press event on and near Lake Bemidji.

After protesting the pipeline with signs along Bemidji Avenue, the group launched a canoe painted with protest slogans onto Lake Bemidji.

The 616-mile-long pipeline the protesters are opposed to is Enbridge Energy's Sandpiper line, which would carry about 225,000 gallons of crude oil per day from the Bakken oilfield in western North Dakota to refineries in Superior, Wis. From there, the oil would be transported via other pipelines to refineries in the Southern and Eastern United States and eastern Canada.

Enbridge Energy claims the pipeline would reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil imports while creating local job opportunities.

Honor the Earth officials, however, said they are opposed to the pipeline route because it would run along several bodies of water and multiple wild rice fields. They argue that a major environmental catastrophe could ensue if there's an oil spill.

Greg Chester, an Honor the Earth member, said people need to be aware of the dangers a pipeline can pose to the environment. "They're threatening our water," he said. "If we lose our water, then there's no place here for our children, our grandchildren, or future generations."

Chester said he would like to see money that's put toward oil pipelines be reinvested in renewable energy resources. "We have the money and if we fritter away the money on projects such as this, instead of renewable projects, we're missing an opportunity.”


Ojibwe Language and Culture Camp Held at Ponemah
Monday, September 08 2014
 
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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ojibwe language and culture camp held at ponemah 2.jpgFor the second year in a row, the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians hosted an Ojibwe Language and Culture Camp for youth. The camp was held on Aug. 5-7 at the Ponemah Round House.

The three-day Gabeshiwin (camp) hosted by Red Lake Chemical Health, Red Lake Economic Development and Planning, and the Boys and Girls Club featured eating traditional foods, lacrosse, games, plant gathering practices and identification, birch bark crafts, traditional Anishinaabe teachings and more. Gabeshiwin is a part of Red Lake Nation's Ojibwemowin Revitalization efforts.

Concerned that language and tradition will disappear as elders die, natives of Red Lake Nation – and across the country – are focused on language revitalization and related efforts to retain tribal culture. Much of indigenous culture depends on native language, as many concepts just cannot be translated to English.

The camp was held near Ponemah Point, the peninsula home to more than half of the remaining fluent Ojibwemowin speakers in the United States.

Sam Strong, Director of Red Lake Economic Development, and a major sponsor of Gabeshiwin provided some background. “Our language was basically stripped from us a generation or two ago. The children were forbidden to talk their native language.”


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