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Ricey Wild: Not a Teddy Bear Indian

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Bluedog makes it to final rounds of the Battle of the Blues Bands
Wednesday, April 24 2013
Written by by Jamie Keith,
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bluedog.jpgThis month, Bluedog will be one of four bands competing in the final round of Battle of the Blues Bands on April 7th (4:30-7:30 pm) at Famous Dave’s BBQ and Blues Uptown in Minneapolis. Bluedog was one of sixteen bands originally competing to open for national act Tommy Castro and the Painkillers at their June 8 concert at Famous Dave’s in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis-based band has also been nominated for Group of the Year and Best Rock Recording of the Year for their most recent album, Just Living The Blues, in this year’s Native American Music Awards (NAMAs). This marks the seventh NAMA nomination the group has received since 2005 when they recorded their debut album, From All Directions. Bluedog was voted Group of the Year in the 2010 NAMAs.
Eric (Ponca), Chair and Associate Professor of American Indian Studies at Augsburg College, and Joni Buffalohead (Dakota), Director of Operations at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, co-founded Bluedog in 2001. They wanted an artistic outlet so Joni could sing and Eric could write his own music on the guitar.
“I was playing in another band and wanted to go in a different direction other than just playing other people’s music,” said Eric. “And I wanted to work with Joni singing, so those were some of the motivating factors.”
Along with Eric on lead guitar and Joni performing lead vocals, the band is comprised of the couple’s daughter, Alexandra Buffalohead (Dakota), on backing vocals, keyboard, and organ; Tom Suess, a childhood friend of Eric’s, on bass and backing vocals; Bob Simons (Dakota/Assiniboine) on drums; and Chuck Davis (Lakota), who sits in occasionally as part of the group on percussion. All but two members of the group are relatives, giving the band a close-knit stage presence.
“We’re a family band, and there’s not that many Indian bands playing blues rock music originals,” said Joni. “I like to educate people – they might not know anything about Indian people behind the music, so it’s a way to record history.”
Many of Bluedog’s songs are inspired by the historical and present-day struggles of Native American people.
Wednesday, April 24 2013
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Maria Bird collaborates with AICF to raise funds for Cancer
American Indian Cancer Foundation ( is partnering with artist Maria Bird (Navajo/Hopi/Santa Clara Pueblo), of Mea B’flly Designs, to create the first limited edition Powwow For Hope benefit earring. The benefit earring, entitled Braver, launched for viewing at the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas, NV  in March, and is now available for purchase online at the Mea B’fly Designs Etsy shop ( Profit from the limited edition earring supports American Indian Cancer Foundation efforts to increase cancer education, outreach, and supportive services for American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Expanded Violence Against Women Act to cover some Indian women
Wednesday, April 24 2013
Written by By Conrad Wilson Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Advocates for Indian women in Minnesota are hailing a decision by Congress to reauthorize and expand the Violence Against Women Act.
For years, the law has supported domestic violence prevention programs aimed at curbing abuse and sexual assault. It also has funded shelters and training for law enforcement. But until now, the law didn’t cover many cases involving American Indian women.
The law signed by President Obama in March will make it possible for tribes to prosecute certain, common domestic abuse cases, said Sarah Deer, a former Justice Department Attorney turned William Mitchell law professor invited by the White House for the signing ceremony in Washington.

Wounded Knee Fortieth Anniversary Honored
Wednesday, April 24 2013
Written by Story by Bill Means Photos by Larry Long,
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wounded_knee_aim_flag.jpgPeople came from the Four Directions to gather at the historic village of Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, on the forty year anniversary of Wounded Knee 1973. Wounded Knee veterans and many non Indian supporters arrived for three days of activities to honor those who participated in Wounded Knee in 1973, and to honor the 250 Indian people who were massacred in 1890 by the US Calvary and are buried in a mass grave at Wounded Knee.

River Water Walkers draw attention to pollution in Mississippi River
Wednesday, April 24 2013
Written by The Circle Staff,
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river_water_walkers_2.jpgA group of walkers led by Native women are carrying a copper pail of water from the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota to where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The walkers and supporters left Lake Itasca State Park on March 1 and are walking every day until they reach the Gulf near New Orleans around April 29.

Political Matters: Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Wednesday, April 24 2013
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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Meeting the activists
In late March I motored over to the Minneapolis American Indian Center (MAIC), from the far east of the Powderhorn neighborhood, for a reception and press conference with visiting guests at a symposium on environmental issues. I was told to show up around 7 p.m. for the event, which featured some Canadian activists with the Idle No More movement; however, the visitors had left about a half hour earlier. No problem, I can be flexible.

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