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France delegation promotes Native products
Monday, May 04 2015
 
Written by Jon Lurie,
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france delegation promotes native products-web.jpgThe idea of becoming a Native American trade ambassador came to Diane Gorney during one of her recent excursions to France. “Walking down the streets in Paris people kept coming up and offering to buy the jewelry right off of me,” says the Minneapolis resident and White Earth descendant.

Gorney refused to sell the stunning beaded earrings, necklaces and bracelets she had purchased from Ojibwe artists back home. From those interactions, however, she came to understand the appetite French people have for all things Native American. In their hunger Gorney saw an opportunity to help her Ojibwe people. She investigated the availability of American Indian items such as traditional art and jewelry, and hand-harvested Minnesota wild rice.

The “Native American art” Gorney found in Parisian shops was of poor quality and manufactured in China. Gorney’s search for wild rice led her across the French capital. French cookbooks and menus frequently reference an ingredient called “riz sauvage (translation: wild rice),” so Gorney was mystified when she couldn’t find it in stores. Finally, at an obscure kosher market, Gorney ran across riz sauvage, but found the product nothing like the natural cereal grain which flourishes upon Minnesota’s northern waters.

The graphic on the packaging of France’s leading brand of riz sauvage, Tilda Giant Wild Rice, lends the impression the black rice is harvested by Native Americans. Its box cover contains an image of two American Indians poling a birch bark canoe through a wild rice bed. But a closer look reveals the truth: the product marketed in France as Native American wild rice is actually Indonesian, paddy-cultivated, black basmati rice, packaged and distributed by a Britain-based food brand selling in over 50 countries.

Gorney, a former art teacher, soon returned to Paris with a suitcase full of White Earth wild rice. She handed out one-pound bags to chefs and others whom she hoped would spread the word about the nutritious, delicious and sacred grain. “I wanted them to share, but people loved it so much they kept it for themselves. So my efforts were dead on arrival.”


Education and tribal administrator named to multi-state development post
Monday, May 04 2015
 
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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c. kay-web.jpgAn experienced tribal and education administrator from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been named the new executive director of the three-state Common Enterprise Development Corporation based at Mandan, N.D.

Cheryl Ann Kary (Hunkuotawin) succeeds long-time North Dakota public and private economic development leader Bill Patrie, nationally known for helping start several value-added agricultural businesses and services firms in North Dakota that involved several Indian organizations.

Patrie will remain working at the nonprofit consultancy during a transition period.

“I wouldn’t say I want to be a bridge between Indians and non-Indians,” she said in an interview. “I look at my new role as a resource link for people wanting to do things.”

Kary previously worked with adult education, student recruitment, public relations, and as vice president for community development at Sitting Bull College at Fort Yates. She was executive director of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for two years. She also served as curriculum development director and trainer at the Native American Training Institute, and research director of United Tribes Technical College, both in Bismarck

She echoes views of Patrie, the executive director since it’s founding in 2009. Both say persistent poverty and health problems on reservations and in other communities aren’t a “people failure,” but rather a “systems failure.”

Farm poverty has at least been partly overcome by “system change,” Patrie said, whereby farm families now keep more of the value of their production at home and working in their state and local economies. Over the years, he helped create more than 30 such cooperatives including the Fort Berthold Agricultural Cooperative at New Town and the Twin Buttes Land Owners Energy Cooperative at Twin Buttes.

Common Enterprise, or CEDC, is a nonprofit consultancy providing technical assistance to start-up enterprises mutually or cooperatively owned on and off reservations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Tribally-owned enterprises are by definition membership-owned and thus sibling organizations with agricultural and food co-ops, mutual insurance and finance companies, credit unions and other forms of community enterprises owned and operated for the common good by members.

At CEDC, Patrie worked with local groups involving North Dakota reservations, 11 North Dakota counties, and others on developing a cooperative health care system; various community development projects; with North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba agricultural groups in developing value-added processing enterprises; and on rural and reservation housing projects.

Prior to starting CEDC, Patrie served 16 years as rural development director for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. He later was director of cooperative business strategies for the multi-state Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund and Foundation. CEDC is a spin-off development consultancy still linked with Northcountry.


The Sioux Chef opening highly anticipated food truck
Monday, May 04 2015
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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tatanka_truck-web.jpgThe city of Minneapolis is anxiously anticipating the opening of The Sioux Chef’s first venue: Tatanka Truck.

Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) made waves over the last year by introducing his unique approach to Indigenous cuisine. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, he attended college at Black Hills State University. Part of his drive to create an Indigenous cuisine, free of processed sugars, dairy or flour, came from just being a chef in Minneapolis since the early 2000s,

“I had been cooking since I was 13 in the Black Hills, in tourist restaurants. And I thought It was silly that there was no Native restaurants,” Sherman said. “There were fusion recipes like buffalo burgers, wild rice risotto and pumpkin cake,” but nothing truly spoke to traditional Native food.

Sherman’s approach has also been respectful of the regional culture of the Ojibwe and Dakota people and will be reflected in the offerings of Tatanka Truck. “I’ve been surrounding myself with awesome foods and learned how people were preserving things. I learned about the ancestral food cache. For us around here, there’s lots of wild rice, corn products and all the produce that people were growing in the region. The meats are easy. We’re serving bison, turkey, duck, walleye, smoked lake fish and on occasion, rabbit.”


Columbus Statue Celebrates Genocide and Should Be Removed
Monday, May 04 2015
 
Written by Bill Sorem and Michael Mcintee, The Uptake,
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tcdp-columbus statue celebrates genocide and should be removed-web.jpgNative American activist groups in Minnesota would like people to learn the real history of Christopher Columbus and quit putting him up on a pedestal at the State Capitol.

“We all know in 1492 he sailed the ocean blue. And in 1493 he stole all that he could see,” American Indian Movement-Twin Cities Chair Mike Forcia said at a rally held on April 18 outside the Minnesota capitol building, where the statue of Columbus stands.

For more than 83 years a statue of Columbus has gazed from the Capitol toward Minnesota’s Justice Center. For Forcia, real justice would be removing the statue. “We need to deport Columbus,” he said. “We can’t be celebrating genocide anymore.”

Genocide isn’t a word most history books associate with Columbus, but he enslaved Native Americans. As governor of the large island he called Espanola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Columbus’ programs reduced the native population from as many as eight million at the outset of his regime to about three million in 1496.

Minnesota’s legislature is considering a bill that would change the engraving on the statue from “Discoverer of America” to “Christopher Columbus landed in America.” A co-sponsor of the House bill includes Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), who taught high school government classes 35 years.


Sights & Sounds: 2015 American Indian Month Kick-Off
Friday, May 01 2015
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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The Importance of Powwow Dances
Friday, April 03 2015
 
Written by Deanna StandingCloud,
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a history of powwow dances-augsburg powwow-web.jpgWorld champion jingle dress dancer Willow Abramson (Shoshone-Bannock) faced difficult challenges in her life. In 2005, she and her family were involved in a car crash; her baby daughter and husband did not survive. She found healing in dancing.

She believes the energy and life on the powwow circuit helped her find strength to raise her son. She encourages her fellow dancers, “Some of us dance to forget, some of us dance to remember, some of us dance to heal, but whatever the reason, just dance with your heart and your spirit: we see it shine when you dance.”

It’s officially Powwow Season in Indian Country! The anticipation and excitement dancers and singers built up throughout the winter months will be unleashed within many traditional and contest powwows throughout the country this year. Indigenous people have always gathered to celebrate and heal through song and dance. What has evolved is our contemporary powwow, the opportunity to share culture across various tribes.

Taking part in the powwow circuit can create connections for lifelong friendships, as dancers and singers alike. Frankie Graves (Leech Lake Ojibwe) has been involved with powwows since he was a young child. Graves has been a Grass Dancer, singer, Arena Director and even a master of ceremonies at various powwows across the Midwest. He shares his experience with the powwow culture, “So many beautiful Nations come together in the summertime, almost creating one large nation, like a big family.”

There are hundreds of different tribal nations, all with very unique dances including the Hoop Dance from the Southwest region, the Chicken Dance from the western tribes, or the Smoke Dances from the East Coast. Although only the primary dance styles are highlighted here, it is important to keep in mind these dances all originated with teachings and stories.

 


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