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Tribes Begin Defense Against Keystone XL
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Spiritual Encampments Planned Along Proposed Route

With the release of a U.S. State Department environmental impact study of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that reported no significant impact, tribes and environmental groups across the Northern Plains rallied against the project's advancement.

Over the next 90 days, during which, the federal government begins its final review process for approval of the pipeline, an alliance of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes in South Dakota and Nebraska – known as the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires), analogous to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – have gone on a defensive campaign against TransCanada, the company responsible for the proposed pipeline.

Of those tribal nations dissenting, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has taken the lead in opposing the pipeline approval process. It launched an initiative called Oyate Wahacanka Woecun (“Shield the People”) through its Tribal Historic Preservation Office, that is calling for action from all corners of the political world beginning with environmental activists all the way up to the White House. One of the project's direct actions in opposing the pipeline will be to set up a series of tipi encampments along the proposed route in South Dakota and Nebraska, beginning at the end of March and going throughout the summer.

According to a video produced by the project, and featuring tribal officials and spiritual leaders, including Leonard Crow Dog, Sr., a set of tipi sites will be erected to, “provide awareness on the need for cultural preservation based on the existing treaties with the United States government and to shine a light on the root cause of the XL Pipeline … greed.”


Serving Those In Need
Thursday, January 09 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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serving those in need.jpgCelebrating the holidays with family on the reservation is a tradition that's familiar to most Native Americans living in the Twin Cities. For Lorna Her Many Horses, known to most as Emmy, it's an opportunity to give back to the children and elders of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

It started as a personal summer cleaning project that quickly progressed into a relief mission for her home reservation. For the second-poorest reservation in the country with an unemployment rate as high as 85 percent, every day items like clothing can be a struggle for some to provide for children and elders, particularly in the more remote communities.

“Any time I have gone back, I've taken things that were mine that I didn't want anymore to the the Spotted Tail Family Center. This summer, I had a lot of friends who were just getting rid of stuff. In August, I just put something on Facebook, asking if people had items to go to the children's home. At first I thought, no one's going to give me anything and I was going to be embarrassed. But the more people who saw it, the more people contacted me about donating, I was overwhelmed.”

Fates of wild rice, mines intertwined in northern Minnesota
Thursday, January 09 2014
 
Written by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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fates of wild rice mines intertwined in northern mn 1.jpgWild rice, the iconic grain that grows across much of the northern half of the state, is at the center of a contentious debate over mining and the environment.

A 40-year-old state law limits how much of a mining byproduct called "sulfate" can be discharged into wild rice producing waters. Prompted by mining industry concerns that the standard is too stringent, the state has been giving it another look and will release results of its two-year study on Jan. 6.

For members of the state's Indian tribes, wild rice is sacred.

Jim Northrup, who has harvested wild rice on Perch Lake on the Fond du Lac reservation for over half a century, said the grain called "manomin" in Ojibwe is a gift from the Creator that led his people to first settle here.

"The old stories said we'd move west until we came to a spot where food grew on the water," Northrup said. "And that perfectly describes manomin. It's become our identity now. It's who we are."

Lacrosse Resurges As a Cultural Tradition
Monday, November 04 2013
 
Written by Art Coulson,
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Baaga’adowewag dagwaaging. They are playing lacrosse in the fall. lacrosse resurges as a cultural tradition.jpg

Clutching sticks and bouncing hard rubber balls off of walls, youth from reservation communities across Minnesota and Wisconsin gathered at Bemidji State University and at Bug-O-Nay Ge-Shig School at Leech Lake in early October for two days of lacrosse skills training. While there, the 50 or so young people and family members of all ages heard stories from a number of players and coaches about the deep and enduring connections of native people to the Creator’s Game.

The Minnesota Ojibwe Lacrosse league, founded by Bemidji High School basketball coach Dan Ninham, Oneida, is working with tribal communities to return the game of lacrosse to Native homelands. Lacrosse, played by Native peoples for thousands of years, is both one of the oldest games in America and the fastest growing.

The Youth Lacrosse Skills Camps are free and open to all K-12 students, thanks to sponsors such as the National Indian Gaming Association, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, BSU American Indian Resource Center, Minnesota Ojibwe Lacrosse and Paul Bunyan Broadcasting.

Schimmel Sisters Visit Red Lake
Monday, October 07 2013
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Beaming with excitement waiting for the Schimmel sisters to come to Red Lake High School gym sits Amber McNeal and her sister Diane. With a big smile on her face Amber says, “Guess What? Last season I told my mom I would be so excited if they ever came to Red Lake to show me some basketball moves and I could get their autograph, and it came true!” Amber McNeal is ten years old and in the 5th grade at Red Lake Elementary where she plays on the basketball team. Amber had her wish come true that Jude and Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla Tribe) would visit Red Lake.
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