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white earth constitutional reform stalled by infighting-council-web.jpg White Earth constitutional reform stalled

A gag order on White Earth's Chairwoman on talking about reform efforts leads her to tell her side of the story.

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jpeg_pic.jpg Nick Metcalf on Native Pride

For Minnesota's American Indian Month, columnist and recent TEDx presenter Nick Metcalf writes about the realities of being Native in today's society.

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The Art of Resistance

Twin Cities Native community members come together for an evening of defining the Native experience through art.

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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."

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Looks Forward
Thursday, January 09 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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mpls mayor hodges looks forward.jpgAfter a sound victory in the Nov. 5 election, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is looking forward to working on her goals for education, building relationships with the Native American community in Minneapolis and across the state.

In an interview, Hodges said she intends on keeping pre-Kindergarten development a priority as a means to make sure education is ingrained in children from an early age. “My Cradle to K Initiative, I'm really excited about. We already do good work here at the city, working with pregnant mothers and those children in the first couple years of life to make sure they're growing in a healthy way and have good, healthy brain development and seeing what we can do to bring people together to forward the agenda to expand that program,” she said. “So I'm excited about that because that's the first disparity that a kid faces, are they getting a healthy start, do they have the brain development that they need?”

New Year's Round Dance Provokes Arrest and Dissent
Thursday, January 09 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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What was initially planned as a New Year's Eve celebration round dance on the one-year anniversary of an Idle No More solidarity demonstration turned into confrontation between Native American activists and Mall of America management.

Security was on high alert on New Year's Eve, asking patrons to open their coats and checking bags at every entrance. At the west parking entrance, security also asked patrons for identification before entering the shopping complex. The increased presence was used to identify any individuals carrying a hand drum for the aborted round dance.

Organizers Patricia Shepard, Idle No More-Minnesota, and Reyna Crow, Idle No More Duluth, were arrested and charged with criminal trespassing after refusing to leave, directly after a press conference held outside of the Mall of America. They were released later that evening but their arrest sparked outrage from Native activists from across the region.


Police brutality cause for ballot issue
Thursday, January 09 2014
 
Written by Jamie Keith,
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The Committee For Professional Policing is working to pass an amendment to the Minneapolis City Charter, which would be voted on as a ballot issue in the November 2014 election. This amendment would require police officers to carry personal liability insurance, much like the malpractice insurance doctors are required to carry.
Riding the Pipelines
Friday, December 06 2013
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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winona laduke riding pipelines.pngThere’s a beauty in the breath of horses, fall mornings a bit of breath seen in the air and the smell and sound of horses. One hoof at a time. Bebezhigogonzhiig … one at a time, a one hoofed being. On Nov. 14, Michael Dahl and I, both Mississippi Band members rode horses from the headwaters of the Mississippi along a proposed route of a new oil pipeline, which would cross the reservation.

We were joined by local people on horseback, in the third of a series of rides on oil pipelines sponsored by a national organization, Honor the Earth. Those rides took us on the Alberta Clipper proposed expansion route and to the proposed Keystone XL route in the Dakotas, where riders from White Earth joined with the Lakota to ride between Wanblee and Takini or Bridger on the Cheyenne River Reservation. “We are not protesters, we’re protectors,” Michael Dahl told me. That is true.


We called this the triple crown of pipeline rides. What’s at stake is a lot of water and a lot of risk. In the Dakotas it is a land without a single pipeline across it and one large aquifer, the Ogalalla. “We can buy bottled water and drink it,” Percy White Plume told me, “The buffalo and horses cannot.” This is a good point. So it was that l5 riders braved some harrowing terrain, a land littered with l00,000 dead cattle from a freak September blizzard, (lying dead on the sides of roads, gullies and the like) and rode a proposed pipeline route.


White Earth Band votes to end blood quantum for tribal membership
Friday, December 06 2013
 
Written by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio,
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MOORHEAD, Minn. – White Earth Band of Ojibwe tribal members have approved a new constitution that dramatically changes tribal government and expands membership in Minnesota's largest Chippewa tribe.

The new constitution eliminates the blood quantum which requires a person to prove they have 25 percent Indian blood and changes to a system based on family lineage. But choosing a new constitution is only the first step in what will likely be a long and challenging process.

White Earth Nation Chairwoman Erma Vizenor has advocated for constitutional reform for 16 years, and said Tuesday that when 79 percent of voters approve a new constitution, as they just did with 3,492 votes cast, it's a transformational moment.

"It feels great. It is gratifying to know that the people of White Earth have spoken and spoken strongly," Vizenor said.

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