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Contentions remain after alcohol vote on Pine Ridge Rez
Thursday, September 05 2013
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe voted on Aug. 13 to end the reservation’s 124 year-old alcohol prohibition. The vote was in response to the alcohol sales from the Nebraska border town of Whiteclay, where the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission estimates the equivalent of 162,000 cases of beer were sold last year. While the results were not immediately known, the final count showed 1,871 tribal citizens voted in favor of the legalization of alcohol with 1,679 against.

While the majority of Oglala citizens voted to allow alcohol, anti-legalization activists feared the worst. “Our culture was coming back strong and they brought in this colonization,” said Alex White Plume. “We’ll have to wait and see what the council is going to do because it was a non-binding vote. It’s damaging our culture and our traditions will slowly change for the worse.”
 
One of White Plume’s main concerns was the immediacy with which the vote was brought before tribal voters. “I think it was that it came out of the blue, there was no clear cut plan … it wasn’t planned right. It was really fast and no one really knew about it until the day of the vote.”
Native Youth Perspective
Thursday, September 05 2013
 
Written by Brianna Skildum,
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The Circle is committed to presenting a variety of voices, including our youth. Brianna Skildum is currently a sophomore at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis and writes for her school newspaper. She will be contributing to The Circle to broaden the discussion in the Native community.

The Native American artist community in Minneapolis is a vibrant and strong institution that continues to foster its younger generations. Professional artists Natalie M. Ball and Kevin Red Star have influenced youth with their photography, post-modern painting, quilting and gallery shows.

Red Star grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in Lodge Grass, MT and was raised in an environment filled with art and culture. Feeling as though his own culture was ignored, he decided to illustrate his culture in his own terms. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and was one of 150 students encouraged to show their cultural beliefs through art. As graduation neared he received scholarships to the San Francisco Art Institute. He later received an honorary doctorate in Fine Art from the Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT.
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Ball has produced similar work with her own style. She studied Indigenous Visual Arts at Massey University in New Zealand, as well as Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon. Her work has been featured in 18 exhibitions across the world since 2005, seven of which were solo shows. She has received  scholarships,  awards and honors from colleges and organizations for her work, including the Diversity Building Scholarship at the University of Oregon. This award is given to those who have a worldwide understanding for cultural perspectives and who use that to pursue their academic potential and achievement. In addition to her many laurels, she has also been published in six magazines since 2007. 
Culture/History Underlies Freedom to Marry
Friday, August 02 2013
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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cover_story_culture_history_underlies_freedom_to_marry.jpg Members of the Minneapolis Two Spirit Society are celebrating along with other LGBT (Lesbian/ Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) Minnesotans and preparing for the state’s Freedom To Marry law which takes effect August 1st.  
 
Sue GoodStar and her soon-to-be wife, Cherilyn Johns, were overwhelmed when news first broke in May that the legislature had passed the marriage equality bill. “I was crying. We were going to go down to Des Moines to get married but something told me to wait,” GoodStar said. The two have been together for 13 years and have always been out to their families.
 
GoodStar, who is Dakota from Sisseton-Wahpeton, said her tribe and family are generally supportive when she is confronted with any kind of discrimination. “People would try to make comments while I was home, but my cousin Chuck would say, ‘This one’s special, leave her alone.’ I asked him what he meant by that and he said, ‘I say that because you’re winkte, they’re powerful people.’” In Dakota and Lakota, the term “winkte” is a contracted form of the word “Winyanktehca” meaning “to be as a woman” and previously applied – disparagingly – to gay men or transgender women in Dakota and Lakota society. Activists and allies have recently reclaimed it to reflect its traditional roots on the larger LGBT Dakota and Lakota community.

Red Lake encampment battles pipeline on tribal lands
Friday, August 02 2013
 
Written by Andrea Cornelius,
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red_lake_encampment_1.jpgSince 1949, Enbridge Energy has been transporting crude oil through its more than six pipelines from Alberta, Canada through northern Minnesotan reservations and across the US. These pipelines, which transport tar sands oil, pass directly through the Leech Lake Reservation, the Fond du Lac Reservation, and the Red Lake reservation.
 
Through the combined efforts of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), MN350.org, and the Sierra club, Marty Cobenais of IEN began an encampment on the Red Lake reservation to halt the current pipelines running through tribal land, as well as stop the expansion of said pipelines.
 
On June 26th, members of MN350.org, an advocacy group committed to climate change, organized a bus tour to the Red Lake reservation to see, first hand, the pipelines that run through the lakes, marshes and vast stretches of land.
 
Cobenais served as the tour guide as we were lead from pumping stations to the tank farm in Clearbrook. We stopped at the site of the 1979 oil spill, and walked along exposed pipelines –  both on and off the reservation. Our last stop was the encampment.
 
Across from the lake and directly off the highway sits a trailer, the frame of a tipi, and a fire pit. All of which sits in a large clearing on top of the four original pipelines built in 1949. The spot was chosen because it was a spot where maintenance was conducted on the pipelines and it is Red Lake Reservation land.

WHAT'S NEW IN THE COMMUNITY
Friday, August 02 2013
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Flanagan Named Executive Director for Children’s Defense Fund
whats_new_peggy_flanagan_named_executive_director.jpgPeggy Flanagan, an experienced community organizer, advocate, teacher and trainer, has joined the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) as its executive director.
CDF-MN is a nonpartisan, nonprofit child advocacy organization that seeks to ensure a level playing field for all children by championing policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a solid foundation for success.
 
“I am thrilled to join such a well-respected organization like Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota,” said Flanagan. “I am passionate about ensuring that all of our children have what they need to be happy, healthy and successful young people. I can’t wait to get to work on behalf of all kids in Minnesota.”
 
Flanagan joins CDF-MN after eight years with Wellstone Action, first as director and founder of the Native American Leadership Program, and most recently as director of External Affairs. She also serves as adjunct faculty for George Washington University’s Native American Political Leadership Program.
Walker's DNR Pushes Tribe Out for Strip Mine
Friday, August 02 2013
 
Written by by Rebecca Kemble,
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walkers_dnr_pushes_tribe_out.jpgOn July 23rd the Iron County Forest Committee in northern Wisconsin voted unanimously to recommend that the Iron County Board pursue criminal and civil charges against the Lac Courte Oreilles Treaty Harvest and Education camp for violating county ordinances and provisions of state County Forest Law. The vote took place with no discussion after the committee emerged from closed session with their corporate counsel.
 
The decision comes two months after the same committee voted unanimously to approve a request by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa for a waiver to the county’s 14-day camping ordinance to allow the camp to remain established on Moore Park Road for one year.
 
On May 8, 2013 the Iron County Forestry department granted LCO Treaty Harvest and Education Camp host Melvin Gasper a Native American Gathering permit to gather plant materials and tap trees for syrup, and a firewood permit to collect down trees on Iron County forest lands. Both permits are valid through December 31, 2013.
 
According to the official minutes of the May 14 meeting, the committee voted unanimously, “authorizing Joe (Iron County Forester) to work with Corporate Counsel, Michael Pope, to write a land use permit for Lac Courte Oreilles members and their guests for camping, harvesting and educational purposes. The permit will also address sanitation issues and be one year in length.”
 
An official statement by camp organizers says the camp was established, “to make a presence in the Penokee Hills and do research in the region… To host LCO tribal members and other guests who are doing an inventory of resources, trail blazing, archaeology work and harvesting.”
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