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Facing Pipelines and Mines
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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Tribal Governments Push Ahead

facing_pipelines_and_mines.jpgIn Anishinaabe Akiing some new mining proposals, and pipelines threaten the water and land of this region. This past month, tribal governments stepped up to issue some big challenges to those plans.

In late February, the White Earth Tribal Council issued a resolution stating, “…it is opposed to the application field by the North Dakota Pipeline company with the Minnesota PUC with respect to a routing permit for the Sandpiper Petroleum pipeline between Tioga ND and Superior Wisconsin.” The White Earth tribe is concerned not only because the pipeline would be in Nora Township (one of the most northeastern townships within the l867 treaty reservation) just upstream from Rice Lake, the mother lode of ricing on White Earth. The tribe is also concerned because this pipeline, like the proposed expansion of the Alberta Clipper line, impacts the l855 treaty area lands, which White Earth tribal citizens need to feed our families and earn a modest living.

In early February, the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe admonished the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, for “ecological ignorance,” wherein the PCA seems to be trying to re-designate some of the waters where wild rice is found, so that those waters can have diminished water quality. In short, Norman Deschampe said in a letter to John Linc Stine, Minnesota PCA commissioner, “ … waters used for the production of wild rice … must remain on the wild rice waters lists for regulatory purposes. They cannot be pulled off and dropped instead onto the proposed watch list, in effect delisting them as class 4 status of the state with the stroke of a pen.”

Tribes Begin Defense Against Keystone XL
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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Spiritual Encampments Planned Along Proposed Route

With the release of a U.S. State Department environmental impact study of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that reported no significant impact, tribes and environmental groups across the Northern Plains rallied against the project's advancement.

Over the next 90 days, during which, the federal government begins its final review process for approval of the pipeline, an alliance of Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes in South Dakota and Nebraska – known as the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires), analogous to the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe – have gone on a defensive campaign against TransCanada, the company responsible for the proposed pipeline.

Of those tribal nations dissenting, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has taken the lead in opposing the pipeline approval process. It launched an initiative called Oyate Wahacanka Woecun (“Shield the People”) through its Tribal Historic Preservation Office, that is calling for action from all corners of the political world beginning with environmental activists all the way up to the White House. One of the project's direct actions in opposing the pipeline will be to set up a series of tipi encampments along the proposed route in South Dakota and Nebraska, beginning at the end of March and going throughout the summer.

According to a video produced by the project, and featuring tribal officials and spiritual leaders, including Leonard Crow Dog, Sr., a set of tipi sites will be erected to, “provide awareness on the need for cultural preservation based on the existing treaties with the United States government and to shine a light on the root cause of the XL Pipeline … greed.”


From the Editor's Desk: Thinking Beyond Our Own Salvation
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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whats_new_-_walfred_walking_bull.jpgWhether by flood, fire or rapture, almost every culture has its own form of eschatology. There seems to be no end in how people predict the end of the human race. The earth will be consumed by fire, it will be re-appropriated by the waters or the faithful of the world will be called upward toward heaven, body and soul.

The focus is that there will be an end to humanity as we know it and that there are very clear markers of when, where and how.

The problem with eschatology is that it is a human-centered system of belief that removes any kind of responsibility when it comes to how we treat our environment, other forms of life and each other. As a millennial Catholic Christian, my generation's religious education was not to focus on the Second Coming as a means to judge others and use up what resources we could in our lifetime; we were taught to respect the inherent dignity of other people, in all forms of life and to be respectful of our surroundings.

As a Lakota, educated in Wolakota – our belief system – I was also told the stories of our people's creation and how we became the dominant species on this planet. Lakota are not dominionists, nor are we salvationists; we believe in merit. The story of how we came to be where we are is a story of merit. We believe that we once lived as equals with our relatives in the animal world but over time, the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) began to think they were superior to others because of their size and strength. A great race was held on the outer rim of the He Sapa (Black Hills) between the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds to decide which group would have primacy over the others.

 


Lacrosse Clinics Teach Culture and Engage Community
Monday, March 10 2014
 
Written by Jamie Keith,
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lacrosse_clinics_teach_culture_and_engage_community_2.jpgIndigenous Lax kicked off its first lacrosse clinic on Feb. 15 with special guest speaker and Edmonton Rush player Jeremy Thompson (Onondaga). He also plays for the Iroquois Nationals, is a Nike N7 Ambassador and the co-star of a documentary titled, “The Medicine Game.” He shared his knowledge and experiences with 30 Native youth representing the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Dakota, Ho-Chunk, Lakota, Ojibwe, Omaha, Potawatomi and Yakama nations.

The goal of these introductory clinics is two-fold: introduce Native youth to the history and significance the game has to many tribal communities; and to teach them the foundational skills they need to compete in lacrosse leagues in the Twin Cities.

“Both Native and non-Native [people] locally seem to think the sport is for and began with White Americans from elite communities and schools,” Clinic Director Shane Thompson (Odawa/Seneca) said. “This is far from the truth.”


Native Business Grows With Values and Guidance
Friday, February 07 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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native_business_grows_with_values_and_guidance-web.jpgBusiness continued to grow in the Minneapolis Native American community with the latest class of graduates from the Fall 2013 Plan It! Entrepreneur Training Program on Jan. 16.

The program is offered by Bii Gii Wiin Community Development Loan Fund, which was established to promote home ownership throughout the Native community in Minnesota, in partnership with Neighborhood Development Center. Eight students in the program spent 11 weeks, meeting at Bii Gii Wiin offices on Franklin Avenue, learning how to start a business and complete their business plans.

The ties between the program and the Native business community run deep. Mike Goze, American Indian Community Development Corporation CEO, has a personal and rewarding relationship with the program. “A number of years ago, my son Tony when through this exact same class and we started a company and this year we did somewhere between 6 and 7 million dollars worth of work. The kind of business you want is a profitable one. That is the key.”

Thousands Pack Final Hearing for Proposed PolyMet Mine
Friday, February 07 2014
 
Written by Elizabeth Dunbar/Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard on MPR's statewide radio network or online at minnesota.publicradio.org .

The public's last chance to speak in front of hundreds about why they like or loathe PolyMet's plan to mine copper and nickel in northeastern Minnesota went out with a bang.

More than 2,100 people packed a Saint Paul RiverCentre ballroom, matching in size but surpassing in feistiness the combined 2,000 or so people who attended two earlier meetings in Duluth and Aurora. There were standing ovations, boos, laughs and even a guy with a guitar and harmonica who sang out his fears for Minnesota if the state embraces PolyMet, which would be the state's first copper-nickel mine.

Moderator Aimee Gourlay asked the crowd on several occasions to avoid interrupting the speakers with applause so they could maximize their three-minute time limit to speak. Those requests mostly went unheeded.


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