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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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Guest Opinion: White Earth constitutional reform and leadership questionable
Wednesday, December 04 2013
 
Written by Jeff Armstrong,
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Anyone with a fleeting knowledge of the troubled history of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota will understand that questions over the legitimacy of tribal membership and leadership, along with the more recent controversy of absentee voting, are at the core of more than a century of internal conflict. It is, perhaps, a tribute to the public relations skills of White Earth Chair Erma Vizenor that she has been able to push through a constitution in violation of the one, under which she governs entirely by mail-in ballots with provisions to open reservation enrollment to anyone with remote tribal ancestry, to the universal acclaim of reporters, academics and activists who should know better.

It was reported in the Fargo Forum the day before the election that 2,000 ballot requests had been received and sent out over the course of a month, fairly typical of White Earth election turnouts. But when the ballots were being tabulated, the vote count had suddenly nearly doubled in the course of one day, to 3,492. None of the press reports the following day took note of this mysterious spike, though some suggested the higher-than-average turnout was evidence of heightened interest in the historic election. If so, one would be hard pressed to find evidence of it in the sparsely-attended public meetings, at which the vast majority of attendees expressing an opinion spoke out against the draft constitution. Social media sites such as the White Earth's Voice for a Nation reflected broad and deep opposition to the proposed constitution.

Navigating MNSure and Indian Health Services
Wednesday, December 04 2013
 
Written by By Sommer Dey Rosette-Poolaw, Indian Health Board of Minneapolis,
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The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) is a federal law that provides health insurance coverage options that are more accessible and affordable. Minnesota, like all states, was given three options to deliver insurance to its citizens. Minnesota chose a state-based exchange where the state runs its own Healthcare Marketplace, now called MNsure.

Open enrollment for MNsure began on Oct. 1 for most Minnesotans. American Indians of Minnesota, tribally-enrolled or documented lineage, have no closing date to enroll in a healthcare plan; more information will be provided in regards to proof of enrollment and lineage. We are also exempt from the federal mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance that includes tax penalties.

Artifact Traffic Combines Old and New Native Art
Thursday, December 05 2013
 
Written by Jamie Keith, TC Daily Planet,
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artifact traffic combines old and new native art2-color.jpgHeid Erdrich, co-director and curator of the multi-genre art exhibit and performance Artifact Traffic, has always been drawn to seemingly disparate forms and images.

“When I work as a curator, I feel drawn to those things that traffic contemporary images with traditional images,” she said. “I love pushing forms against one another – you're making all those things create a vibration between them.”

Artifact Traffic was born of the desire to create this vibration between different forms of art and brought together Indigenous artists with whom Erdrich had collaborated over her long career as a poet, playwright, and curator.

“It's really helpful for us to be in community, even if we don't do the same kind of art,” Erdrich said.

From the Editor's Desk: White Earth Blood Quantum Reform a Courageous Act
Wednesday, December 04 2013
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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from_the_editors_desk_alfred_walking_bull.jpgThere is a courage to be admired by those who take an action first. The White Earth Band of Ojibwe recently voted in a constitutional reform effort to effectively remove its blood quantum requirements for citizenship. Of the Ojibwe that I have come to know here in Minnesota, there's been mixed reaction ranging from hopeful joy about the future to immediate calls for the dissolution of the tribal government for taking what they regard as an unwarranted action.

Having covered my own tribal council for just over two years, it wasn't a question if – but when – a tribal citizen or fellow council member would allege constitutional violations, followed by long executive sessions where the press and members of the public were required to leave the room for hours at a time.

VIDEO: Change The Name Protest
Friday, November 08 2013
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates Address Native Issues
Monday, November 04 2013
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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mpls mayoral candidates address native issues.jpgThe Native American Community Development Institute sought to engage Native American voters in the city's mayoral race with its inaugural Minneapolis American Indian Mayoral Forum on Oct. 17 hosted at All My Relations Gallery.

Candidates for the city's highest office included Jackie Cherryhomes, Dan Cohen, Bob Fine, Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels, Cam Winton and Stephanie Woodruff. Noticeably absent was Mark Andrew, who sent a representative from his campaign to read a prepared statement. In his place, event organizers allowed Merrill Anderson to take part in the forum, a first according to the candidate.

Opening statements staked out the positions of most of the candidates on issues, from qualifications for office to personal stories and broader visions for the city's future.

Cherryhomes said her goal was, “to build one city that treats us with respect and dignity.” Citing affordable housing and employment disparities in the African American and Native communities, she described her campaign for mayor as a race to leave the city a better place for her daughter and that she would, “look at everything through the eyes of justice and equality.”

Fine characterized his involvement in government as a strong point in his candidacy, serving 16 years on the Minneapolis Parks Commission, two years on the zoning board and as the longest-serving civil rights commissioner. He also said he wanted to see city government streamlined, audits and attracting more business.



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