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Ricey Wild reflects on her mortality and her final wishes. When her time comes, she would like to be a tree.

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The Musical redefines masculinity

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Native Parents Demand Change in St. Paul School Program
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet,
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native parents demand change in st paul school program.jpgRecent controversies within the St. Paul American Indian community over programs associated with St. Paul Public Schools have led to the director of the SPPS American Indian Education program requesting a reassignment within the district. Questions about the future of the program continue. Among the controversies: adoption of former director Rosemary White Shield’s proposed New Day model, staff restructuring and criticism of how elections of the two Indian Education Parent Committees were conducted. The recent controversies add to ongoing criticism that Indian Ed fails to serve all Native students adequately and that Native students continue to be affected by the achievement gap.

Indian education programming in SPPS can be confusing and complex. Multiple programs, two separate parent committees, reflect a complicated history, diverse funding streams and tangled administrative paths.

According to the SPPS Web site, the American Indian Education Program provides services for any American Indian students who are enrolled members of a tribe, band or other organized group, including Alaskan Native. The program also may provide services to any student who is a child or grandchild of an enrolled member.

Hennepin Theatre Trust Celebrates Andrew Jackson in Musical
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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web-hennepin theatre trust celebrates andrew jackson in musical 1.jpgArt imitated life after a June 19 performance of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” a production of the Hennepin Theatre Trust that portrays the exploits of the U.S. president responsible for the Trail of Tears.

In the run up to the performance, New Native Theatre's Rhiana Yazzie organized a protest of the musical after she wrote an open letter about the play. In the letter, she decried the organization's choice of subject matter, “I think it was an unfortunate choice for Minneapolis Musical Theatre to produce this play and I have no doubt they played into the same disconnect the authors did, not considering the effect it could have on real people or that Native Americans might actually be audience members.”

In the production, references to Native American culture included the joke, “Tell me what's the difference between a little homosexual Indian boy and George Washington? Besides the fact you'd murder either of them without thinking twice?" In addition, Yazzie objected to the fact that Native characters were portrayed by non-Native actors who were written as stoic and speaking in a halting manner. Additional references to Native culture included the character of Andrew Jackson (played by Philip C. Matthews), disparaging Native art and music with a declarative, “Your music sucks.”

LaDuke: Putting Our Minds Together
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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I like that President Obama traveled to see Sitting Bull’s people at the Standing Rock Reservation [in June]. He is the third sitting president to visit a reservation. After all, our ancestors signed treaties with your ancestors and great nations should reaffirm these relationships for our common good, as should we as people.

There were some strong words said by many. Those words were in Lakota as well as English. Eyapaha Chase Iron Eyes, of Standing Rock, had some very interesting things to say. An attorney, as well as a traditional representative, Iron Eyes talked with depth about many issues which are skirted in the media. Iron Eyes talked about the l868 treaty, a treaty of peace between the Lakota Nation and the U.S., which reserved large parts of the Dakotas for the Lakota nation. The treaty has been violated, and the US Courts have upheld that the land was illegally taken, with a huge payment offered for the Lakota – now amounting to around a billion dollars. It sits in the bank, because the Lakota still believe in the treaty and their land.

“We have a Creator given right to live, die and be buried in our sacred Black Hills,” Iron Eyes told Obama, reflecting the continuing position of the Lakota people, that the Black Hills needs to be returned and suggests, that” a practical solution,” can be found. For instance, co-management, transitioning to Lakota management of the millions of acres of national and state parks in the Black Hills region would be a good step. (Remember that Lakota and Mandans like Gerard Butler, former superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Park and now supervisor at the Badlands National Park, have some experience). And, also remember, that the Lakota have thousands of years of management experience in the area. “The U.S. did not give the Sioux nation any rights,” Iron Eyes said, “We reserved to ourselves specific rights. We never gave up the right to govern ourselves and to exist under our spiritual instructions in our territory.”

From the Editor's Desk: Privilege Isn't What You Think
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull, The Circle Managing Editor,
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whats_new_-_walfred_walking_bull.jpgThe concept of privilege is one that's both acknowledged and dismissed, depending on which side of cultural identity one hangs one's hat.

For many in the Native American community, both on the reservation and in the urban setting, privilege is something that we see as the cause of our oppression. It's a catch-all for the discrimination we face individually and collectively. Growing up in rural South Dakota, my parents and I were followed around in retail stores in Rapid City, Pierre and Sioux Falls. As tribal nations, we are not consulted in a meaningful way on environmental, legal and cultural issues by governmental powers that have made treaties, compacts with us and exercise authority over us.

For non-Natives, the concept of privilege is one that is easily dusted off shoulders with the argument that they – personally – have done nothing to Natives that damage us individually and collectively. And for the most part, they are entirely correct. Most of the time, the privilege that most of us fight are the privileges of class and economics. However, those privileges do tend to follow color lines, arbitrary as they may seem in this modern age.

Pipelines that cross Anishinaabe, Dakota, Lakota, Apsáalooke and Assiniboine territory – if approved, constructed and expanded – will ultimately make a profit for the multinational corporations that build them and for the fossil fuel industry that will transport through them. Unfortunately, for those tribal citizens who live with the reality of those pipelines in their sacred ground, little to no profit will be seen and even if it is, it will be little comfort when water becomes undrinkable and land becomes sterile from the inevitable spills that do and will happen.

Passing On: Cheryl Gresczyk
Monday, July 07 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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cheryl gresczyk.jpgCheryl Elizabeth Joyce Geshick Gresczyk

October 10, 1945- June 24, 2014

Cheryl, whose Ojibwe name is Aabitaagiizhigookwe (Half Way to the Sky Woman), 68, of Eden Prairie, MN, entered into the spirt world around midnight on June 24. She had diabetes, lung cancer and heart issues.

Funeral services were held on June 27 at 7 p.m. at Gichitwaa Kateri Parish at 3045 Park in Minneapolis with a funeral Mass on June 28. Burial was held at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Wright, MN, near the cabin, followed by a gathering and a meal at the cabin. Fr. Jim Notebaart and Fr. Mike Tegeder were two of the celebrants.

Cheryl was born October 10, 1945, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Joseph Geshick and Rose (Marsh) Geshick. Cheryl was a full-blood Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) from Bois Forte Reservation. She married Rick Gresczyk on April 6, 1974. She received her bachelor of science degree in Education from the University of Minnesota and her master's degree from St. Thomas College. She was involved with teaching and youth work all of her working years. She and Rick helped start the Office of Indian Ministry and Gichitwaa Kateri Parish in Minneapolis.

She is survived by three sons, Rick Jr. (Nicole) of Oakdale, MN, Rodger (Annie) of Watertown, MN and Randy (Nichole) of New Brighton, MN.

They have three more children adopted in the Ojibwe way. They are Theresa Morrison (Pragedis Castillo) of Eagan, MN, Melvin Brazil-Geyshick (Suzie) of Thief River Falls, MN, and Yoku Aso (Megumi) of Kumamoto, Japan.

Rick and Cheryl were foster parents for many years for Hennepin County and very active in the American Indian community of the Twin Cities. She enjoyed being a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. She enjoyed cards, crossword puzzles, TV, and pets, most recently Waabooz, their poodle. She has two brothers, Joe and Ernie. She has several adopted sisters, Gaye Hallberg of Bloomington, MN, Pat Northrup of Sawyer, MN, and Shirley Krogmeier of Holyoke, CO. She is preceded in death by her parents and several siblings. Her sister, Virginia, was very close to her.

Casketbearers were Leonard Geshick, Randy and Elias White, William BigBear, Jr, Pragedis Castillo and Yoku Aso.

Two Spirit ICWA Education Day Includes Many Perspectives
Monday, June 09 2014
 
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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two spirit icwa 5.jpgTwo Spirit individuals and families can be left in the fray when it comes to the Indian Child Welfare Act. For Sandy White Hawk, that issue was addressed at the ICWA Education Day, held June 4 at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

While she is uncertain of any overt discrimination against Two Spirit people and families that seek to adopt Native children, White Hawk said she knows there are many prejudices toward Two Spirit people both within the Native community and from outside. “I wanted to make sure that it doesn't happen, we educate people who serve Native children and Two Spirit people.”

The impetus for this year's Education Day came from conversations with members of the Minnesota Two Spirit Society. “Several years ago, Reva D'Nova and I were stuffing folders and having conversations. She was just telling me her story as a transgender person. The more she talked, I thought this could be a topic for Ed Day,” White Hawk said. In the interim, interest in the topic piqued. “We got feedback from an evaluation, would we consider LGBTQ issues. We asked Reva what would she suggest, she said it would be a great idea. That's when we met with the Two Spirit Society. We wanted a historical perspective, prior to [Columbian] contact. What happened to our Two Spirit culture and what do we have today. Most of all, the overall goal was that we would eliminate bias toward our Two Spirit families in terms of placement preferences.”

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