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Minnesota juvenile justice system plagued by racial inequity
Sunday, December 16 2012
 
Written by By Rupa Shenoy Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Christian Bonner was 14 when St. Paul police first arrested him for fighting in school.
"One day I kinda lost it and I went and fought a kid. And the police got called on me," said Bonner, who is black. "And then I flipped out on the police."
Angry, Bonner lost control and fought back. That mistake led to a week-long stint in the Hennepin County juvenile detention center, where the environment shocked him. Guards required him to undress and shower in front of them. He stayed in a cell that Bonner said looked like jail.
Prosecutors charged Bonner with assault with a deadly weapon - a baseball bat. A judge released him on two years probation. But Bonner said he didn't understand what that meant, and within weeks violated the probation terms by going outside the geographic boundaries assigned by an officer.
Another judge sent Bonner to a youth correctional facility in Buhl, Minnesota, where he remained for 12 months.
"I thought I was never going to get out," he said.
WHATS NEW IN THE COMMUNITY:
Sunday, December 16 2012
 
Written by Rhe Circle Staff,
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whats_new_-_u_of_mn_honors_native_women.jpg U of MN?Honors Native Women
The University of Minnesota's American Indian Student Cultural Center and the Native American Heritage Month Committe held a luncheon to honor three Native American women who have impacted the Native community in a postive way. The three women honored at the event held on November 8, were Ida Downwind, Mary Smith-Lyons, and Pamela Standing. According to the event brochure:
Downwind (Leech Lake Ojibwe) "utilizes her gifts as an Indigenous grandmother to improve the educational experience of all American Indian students. She is an advocate for community wellness, cultural teachings, and contemporary usage of ancient knowledge."
Smith-Lyons (Leech Lake Ojibwe)?"has dedicated herself to the welfare of displaced families in areas of foster care, adoption, disabled... and working with women of sobriety."
Standing co-founded "the Minnesota Indian Business Alliance, a statewide all-volunteer organizational collaborative dedicated to the development of American Indian businesses both on and off the eleven tribal communities in Minnesota."
OPINION: Moving On: Election 2012 and Some Lessons
Sunday, December 16 2012
 
Written by By Winona LaDuke,
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We just saw some $6 billion spent on the most expensive election in history. It's a couple of weeks later, and I think I've recovered from the drama and excitement. Here in the North Country, we are rather saturated with Fox News, and lack, frankly, discussion of what is going on outside of our lakes and woods. And we are a conservative bunch, generally, perhaps, except the Native community.
So, I thought that I'd take this time to share some thoughts on this past election. After all, I certainly know what losing a national election is like. Maybe Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan might be interested in my opinion.
Dakota Commemorative March retraces 150 miles of forced march
Sunday, December 16 2012
 
Written by By Lisa Steinmann, TC Daily Planet,
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dakota_commemortative_march_1.jpgOn an unseasonably warm November Saturday, participants in the 2012 Dakota Commemorative Walk traveled from their lunch stop at the Treaty Site History Center, just north of St. Peter, toward Henderson. The grass at the side of Highway 169 was drained of color, dry and crunchy underfoot. A steady hum of traffic shot by the procession of marchers and slow moving cars on one side while the Minnesota River was visible on the other.
The Dakota Commemorative Walk remembers and honors the 1,700 Dakota women, children and elders who were forcibly marched 150 miles by U.S. military troops from the site of the present-day town of Morton to Fort Snelling. Following the battles of the 1862 Dakota-U.S. War, 303 Dakota men were arrested and awaited trial. Meanwhile, an indiscriminate sweep of Dakota communities resulted in another approximately 1,700 Dakota people, who had not participated in the fighting and had surrendered at the end of the war, being removed from their homeland.
The destination for the 1,700 was a concentration camp located at Pike Island, part of Fort Snelling. Along the way, the captive women, children and elders were assaulted by angry townspeople and soldiers; an unknown number of them died. That winter, 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato. Approximately 300 people died from brutal conditions in the concentration camp.
The 2012 walk started November 7 at the Lower Sioux Agency Historical Site on Highway 2 near Morton. Every mile, the walkers come to a stop and gather to plant a prayer flag, a dogwood stake tied with red cloth and a leather ribbons bearing the names of two Dakota families who made this march 150 years ago. One of the group's leaders holding a leather bag of tobacco sang a prayer song while participants filed by, taking a pinch to offer along with prayer. Organizers describe the walk as spiritual, sharing values with the Wokiksuye 38+2 Horse Ride, portrayed in the film Dakota 38, a healing journey that begins in South Dakota and arrives in Mankato on December 26, the anniversary of the execution by hanging of 38 Dakota men.
There is no record of the route the captives marched, but it has been reconstructed by piecing together fragments of historical record, personal memory and guesswork. According to Mary Beth Faimon, who worked with others to devise the first walking route in 2002, railroad tracks were most likely followed because they connected towns. "They made a point to bring the prisoners through the towns so they could have a spectacle," she explained. Today's route has changed somewhat to ensure safe roads for the walkers. "The point is that it's all Dakota land - wherever they walk, it's in the footsteps of their ancestors." said Faimon.
OPINION:
Sunday, December 16 2012
 
Written by By Sasha Houston Brown,
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There is something insidiously ironic about being American Indian during the fall of the 21st century. It all starts with Columbus Day to mark our "discovery," then moves into the "it's totally not racist to dress up as a hypersexualized Indian" awkward Halloween party, and goes out with a bang on Thanksgiving when we celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims and that harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship between colonizers and Indigenous peoples everywhere! However romanticized or factually inaccurate, these holidays are the three days when Natives enter the mass psyche of American culture.
I don't know about you, but I usually spend this time of year parading around in my Navajo Hipster panties, feather headdress (on loan from Karlie Kloss and Gwen Stefani), Manifest Destiny T-Shirt and knee high fringed moccasins made in Taiwan, while watching a Redskins game, smoking a pack of American Spirits and eating genetically modified Butter Ball turkey, because I'm just that traditional.
Fond du Lac Follies
Sunday, December 16 2012
 
Written by by Jim Northrup,
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Mark Charles is the son of a Navajo friend who served in the same grunt outfits as me when we were young Marines. We have stayed in touch over the years.  
Mark Charles is working on a new project, he doesn't think the US apology to Native peoples was sufficient so he is gathering Natives from all over the US to come to Washington DC and in their own languages say what the apology should have said.        When the apology came out I wrote about it in the Follies and it is also in my fourth book Rez Salute, p 117.
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