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history of owamni yomni.jpg A History of Owamni Yomni

As the St. Anthony Lock closes by Congressional order, The Circle's Jon Lurie offers a history of this important Dakota cultural site. Read more ...


mark trahant.jpg GUEST COLUMNIST: Trahant Reports

Mark Trahant offers his thoughts on the upcoming Republican presidential candidates and their potential impact on Indian Country.

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The Arts

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A Goldilocks show at Bockley Gallery

A summer show follows the tradition of group shows that adhere to the Goldilocks principle ó not too big, not too small, but just right. Read more ...†

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It ainít easy being indian
Tuesday, March 12 2013
Written by by Ricey Wild,
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Four years ago this past month I chopped my hair off with rusty scissors and the result was horribly hilarious. I wrote that I looked like Kim Jong-Il, a now decomposed dictator whom I thought was haunting my mirror beady eyes and all. Thatís one thing. I did it with full knowledge that I canít even cut coupons evenly but I hacked up my own hair. Eventually it grew out but I was vainly aware that my head is too big and round to pull off short, short hair styles.
Fast forward to now, my last hair trim was cute, angled under my chins and shorter in back. Well, as hair has the tendency to do it grew longer but added some odd little curls I never had before and didnít know what to do with. Yes, this world is on a crazy train going off the tracks, and I get so tired and depressed about it that I have to yell ďSTOP!Ē soís I donít completely lose my mind for good. Thus, I focused on my hair cuz well, no one else will, right?

Off-Rez Enrollees Fight For Salazar Payments
Thursday, January 31 2013
Written by By Jamie Keith,
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cover_story_off_rez_enrollees_standing_rock.jpgA group of Standing Rock Sioux Tribal members known as Active Citizens for Tribal Truth (ACTT) are fighting for the equal dispersal of funds from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. Salazar settlement. The tribe received $48.9 million in funds from the federal government in early 2012. This payout was the result of a group of lawsuits filed against the United States by 41 tribes nationwide, which found that the Department of the Interior had mismanaged tribal funds held in federal trust.
Members of ACTT say that their tribal government has not followed due process in making decisions about how to allocate the settlement funds. They claim that the tribal council has discriminated against off-reservation tribal enrollees by only offering payments to reservation residents.
"This is why we're here - fighting for our people who are living off the reservation," said Doreen Foote, a member of ACTT who lives in the Twin Cities.
According to journalist Deborah LaVallie, who has covered† tribal council meetings since the beginning of the conflict, an estimated 8,600 people enrolled in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe live outside of the reservation. This accounts for about 60% of the tribe's total enrollees.
ACTT members believe that misconceptions about off-reservation tribal members may have led to the tribal council's initial decision to exclude them from payments. They refute the assumption that there are more resources available to Native Americans in urban areas than on reservations. Although many tribes maintain urban offices in Minneapolis and Saint Paul that provide resources to off-reservation enrollees, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe does not. †
"We found out that [the tribal government] was using our enrollment status as consensus for federal funding," said† Velma Little Eagle Balderas, a member of ACTT who lives in Minneapolis. "We're entitled to the same amount as the on-reservation enrollees."
Family of murder victim still looking for justice
Thursday, January 31 2013
Written by By Jamie Keith,
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family_of_murder_victim_richard_brown_sr.jpgThis month marks the third anniversary of the violent assault and murder of Saint Paul resident and Native American community member Richard Vincent Brown Senior. The case is still under investigation by the Saint Paul Police Department, leaving Brown's family with more questions than answers.
"I don't just want to sit here and guess about it," said Emma Geyer, Brown's mother, in regards to the case. "It's driving me crazy."
Brown's family members feel that they have been neglected by the Saint Paul Police Department and are not kept adequately informed as to new developments with the case.
"What are the police doing? Why aren't they at least keeping us informed?" said Chris Paul, Brown's adoptive brother. "I understand it can take years to figure out the who and what, but just let us know what's going on in the meantime. To me that would be a huge courtesy, so that we're not sitting here thinking that you're absolutely not doing anything at all."
Geyer and Paul say that neither they nor other families members they know of have been interviewed by the police in connection with the case. They also say that they have never received a written report of any kind from the police. They speculate that the case is not a priority because Brown was Native American and homeless.
"That's happened to a lot of Indian people, though. They don't investigate anyone. I know how people think - 'oh, we don't care. He's just a nobody,'" said Geyer.
John Wright, the officer investigating Brown's murder, was unable to comment on the case because it is still open. However, Sergeant Paul Paulos, a Public Information Officer with the Saint Paul Police Department, was able to speak generally about the homicide investigation process.
"In certain cases like this, we really need to keep the integrity strong in the process leading up to charges," said Paulos.
Because of his limited ability to share information specific to the case, Paulos could neither confirm nor deny Brown's family's claims. While families do not have access to detailed† police reports, they may request a public narrative which contains very limited information about the crime. According to Paulos, there is no formalized process whereby investigators notify families about an ongoing homicide investigation.
Thursday, January 31 2013
Written by The Circle Staff,
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David W. Anderson inducted into Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame
The Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame has inducted David Anderson (Choctaw/ Ojibwe), of Famous Dave's, into their 2012 Hall of Fame. The event will be held on December 1st at The Estate in Atlanta, GA. Anderson is an author, speaker, civic leader, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the founder and former CEO of Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que family of restaurants.
Before launching Famous Dave's, Anderson enjoyed a successful sales career with Fortune 500 companies and founded a gaming management/investment firm. He helped found three publicly traded companies, and in 1986, he earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University.
In 1994 he opened Famous Dave's BBQ Shack in Hayward, Wisconsin. Soon, the restaurant was serving up to 8,000 customers a week, and was voted the "hottest restaurant concept in America." The company grew quickly, adding locations throughout the Midwest and beyond, and in 1996, Famous Dave's went public (NASDAQ). Two years later, Anderson began franchising Famous Dave's of America. Today, the company has 53 locations and 133 franchises in 33 states and one Canadian province, and continues to grow, with earnings of almost $40 million.
OPINION:Why "Idle No More" matters
Thursday, January 31 2013
Written by By Winona LaDuke,
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Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence enters her third week on a hunger strike outside the Canadian capital building, and thousands of protesters in Los Angeles, London, Minneapolis and New York City, voice their support. Spence and the protesters of the Idle No More Movement, are drawing attention to some deplorable conditions in Native communities, and by the recent passing of the omnibus budget Bill C-45, which was approved by the Senate in a 50-27 vote. Aboriginal leaders charge the Conservative government with pushing the bill through without consulting them. They note the bill infringes on their treaty rights, compromises ownership of their land and takes away protection for Canada's waterways.
"Flash mob" protests with traditional dancing and drumming have erupted in dozens of shopping malls across North America, marches and highway blockades by aboriginal groups across Canada and supporters have emerged from as far away as New Zealand and the Middle East.
On December 29, hundreds of Native people and their supporters held a flash mob round dance, with hand drum singing, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN - as part of the Idle No More protest movement. This quickly emerging wave of Native activism on environmental and human rights issues has spread like a wildfire across the continent.
On December 21 a group of natives from Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia pitched a pick up truck across the tracks of a CN rail spur and blocked train traffic in support of the Idle No More native protest in Ottawa. The blockade began just after Boxing Day and has continued.
The Aamjiwnaang blockade is one of hundreds, drawing attention to recent legal changes in Canadian law, which eliminate many environmental regulations. A center of controversy is the $6 billion tar sands pipeline to the Pacific, which will cross over 40 Native nations, all of whom have expressed opposition. The legislative changes could expedite approval of this and many other projects - all of which are in Aboriginal territories.
U.S. Dept. of Interior to spend $1.9 billion on fractionated lands
Thursday, January 31 2013
Written by By Dan Gunderson Minnesota Public Radio News,
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The U.S. Department of the Interior plans to spend $1.9 billion to clean up decades of mismanagement of Indian land, an effort that likely will allow Minnesota Indian bands to regain control of more of their original reservation land, parcels that now have thousands of owners.
The effort to clear land titles is part of a $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit that started in 1996. It aims to solve a problem the government calls "fractionated heirship."
In 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Act, allowing reservation land to be given to individual Indians. Most were given a parcel of 80 or 160 acres. The federal government held the land in trust. As the years passed, each heir of the original land holder was added to the title.
"The smallest undivided interest I've ever seen was one over 32 million," said Cris Stainbrook, president of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation. "His total share was one divided by 32 million, which is probably less than a postage stamp taking that out of 160 acres."
Based in Minnesota, Stainbrook works on tribal land issues across the nation. He said it's not uncommon for a 160-acre parcel to have 1,000 owners. He said the average is about 15 owners per parcel.
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