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Four Native women running for MN office
Four Native American women are running for Minnesota offices this November.
• Incumbent Susan Allen (Rosebud Sioux) is a Democratic-Farmer-Labor member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 62B. She was elected in a January 10, 2012 special election to the fill the vacancy created by Jeff Hayden.
• Peggy Flanagan (White Earth Ojibwe) is a Democratic-Farmer-Labor member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 46A. She was first elected to the chamber in a special election on November 3, 2015.
• Attorney Jamie Becker-Finn (Leech Lake Ojibwe) is running for Minnesota House District 42B (DFL). She currently work as an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney at the Domestic Abuse Service Center.
• Mary Kunesh-Podein is running for House of Representatives, District 41B. She has been a teacher for 22 years, is chair of the Park, Recreation and Environment Board in New Brighton, and building steward and member of the negotiations team for the Robbinsdale Federation of teachers Union.
Election day is November 8th. To find out where to vote in your area and information on who is running, see: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting.
Mpls IHB Receives MSPI Generation-Indigenous Award
On September 29th, the White House, IHS Principal Deputy Director Mary L. Smith announced Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) funding awards to 42 Tribes, tribal organizations, IHS federal programs, and Urban Indian organizations. The four-year awards are part of the White House’s Generation Indigenous initiative to focus on improving the lives of Native youth.
The Indian Health Board of Minneapolis (IHB) is one of these new awardees.
IHB specializes in healthcare for the urban American Indian community in the Twin Cities, and the $138K of new annual funding will be used in IHB’s Counseling and Support Clinic to integrate traditional and western mental health practices for healing historical and personal trauma, fostering resiliency, and promoting family engagement among Native youth up to age 24.
The grant’s ultimate objective is to reduce suicide in Native youth, which is why drumming is central to the program.
“The drum is our mother’s heart, and we seek its sound for spiritual comfort and optimal safety,” explains Richard Wright (Leech Lake), IHB’s Chemical Health Specialist and resident elder.
Planning work will begin in November; drum-making and drumming groups will start in early 2017. The program is called Dewe’igan, Zhewindindiwin (Drum Teachings for Success).
Jeffers Petroglyphs to change name, community input requested
The Jeffers Petroglyphs are 5,000 sacred carvings made by American Indian ancestors thousands of years ago on a ridge in southwestern Minnesota. This ridge was a destination for many American Indians, including ancestors of the Dakota, Cheyenne, Ojibwe, Ioway, Omaha, Otoe, Ponca, Mandan, Arapaho, Crow and Hidatsa.
The current name of this historical site, “Jeffers Petroglyphs”, reflects the name of the family who once owned the land where the carvings are located.
The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), which is responsible for the site’s preservation, invites the community’s input as it explores renaming this historic site.
If a new name is chosen, it will showcase the importance of this special place to all people, but especially American Indians, and it will better tell the story of the carvings and the people who made them.
American Indian people are especially urged to attend an upcoming meeting; and all people are welcome. The gathering will be moderated by facilitator and consultant Everett Black Thunder (Oneida/Sisseton/Wahpeton Oyate). Snacks and beverages will be provided.
The event will take place on Nov. 19 at the Jeffers Petroglyphs, 27160 County Road 2, Comfrey, MN. Those who are unable to attend in person can provide feedback via email to
or by calling 651-259-3130.
Letters can also be sent to: Minnesota Historical Society, ATTN: Jeffers Name Input, 345 Kellogg Blvd. W, St. Paul, MN 55101. (A previous gathering to discuss this topic was held in late October in Minneapolis.)