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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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Twin Metals digs in
Friday, April 13 2012
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Since December 2009, I have written a number of columns about copper-nickel mining, a significant environmental threat to the North Country. My focus has been on the Canadian firm PolyMet (; but it seems that another mining outfit, Twin Metals (, which has an interest in large tracts of land south and east of Ely, might be the first sulfide mining project that gets a permit to being operating.
Minnesota has a long history of iron ore and taconite mining; but the extraction of copper-nickel and precious metals (palladium, silver, gold and platinum) would be something new in the state.
In late March a headline in the Duluth News Tribune announced: "Twin Metals Ely mine project takes steps forward." The article notes that the company is "collecting baseline environmental date across 32,000 acres… under which geologists say is a jackpot discovery of copper."
The newspaper reported that Twin Metals "formally announced Thursday [March 22] that it has instructed its engineering contractor, global giant Bechtel, to draw up plans for an 80,000-ton-per-day mine and processing plant, putting Twin Metals on par with the largest mines in the world."
So, one of the "largest mines in the world" is being developed on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - and on land that is within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory, so the Bois Forte and Grand Portage Ojibwe bands have a legally-recognized interest in how this land is developed.
The 1854 Treaty reserves hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the land that was ceded to the U.S. government. And as I have reported previously, the Fond du Lac band is closely monitoring the progress of the sulfide mining schemes, which have the potential to pollute the reservation's surface and ground water, and destroy wild rice beds.
Fond du lac folies
Friday, April 13 2012
Written by Jim Northrup,
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In spite of my well known aversion to flying I did it again. Fond du Lac Follies jetted to Fayetteville, North Carolina.
I passed through the security checkpoint at the Duluth Airport and boarded the airplane for a short hop to Detroit, Michigan. The plane arrived safely and I shuffled off the airplane and did the concourse/gate dance. I checked my ticket and identified my new destination. I began the long hump to my next gate. It was easily a mile away.
The quarter mile tunnel was interesting. The electronic music seemed to match the colors as the ceiling changed. Even with moving sidewalks it is a long way. I was blowing deep breaths by the time I got there. The airplane ride to Atlanta was uneventful, my favoritest kind. Then into a smaller jet for the hop to Fayetteville.
Dr. Jane Haladay met me there. We drove and talked and talked. She gave me a brief overview of the Lumbee people. I felt sad when she told me they didn't have a tribal language. I guess 400-500 years of colonialism will do that.
We ate and talked some more. After all that travel and jaw jacking I was tired so she took me to the Holiday Express where I became a Holiday Inndian.
The next morning I was given a tour of where the Lumbee people lived.  According to the state they are an Indian tribe but they are waiting for Federal recognition. I was taken on a tour by Dr. Linda Oxendine, a retired professor from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. We drove around and around and looked and looked.
At noon we met with the professors of the Indian Studies Department of the University. We gathered at Linda's Caf? right on the main drag. I wasn't very hungry so I just had a slice of banana cr?me pie and coffee.
It Aint easy being indian
Friday, April 13 2012
Written by Ricey Wild,
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Writing this column for nearly 14 years now I have always been careful not to call anyone out in particular lest there be hurt feelings and they want to beat me up. This does not include the public cast of characters that are always in the media; them anyone can talk about.
Well darn it, in a recent column I was writing about my job, and that 'an old misery' had it before me. People said that person only had the job of documenting the Rez cemeteries because they couldn't get along with anybody else. I got a good response for that column. Fans wrote, called, and one even said it was my best one ever…well, not according to some very special and important people in my life.
 I had been out from work because my back, which was injured this past fall, was worsening so I was medical leave. When I finally got back and checked my correspondence. I had the sweetest, nicest, non-harshly worded angry letter from my friend Christine. She wrote she was disappointed that I would call out our mutual friend Leroy, that he didn't deserve what I had written and that I was rotten (my words) for doing so. I wrote her back immediately, first that I was NOT referring to Leroy as the old miz, and I feel awful for having unintentionally hurt his feelings. I told her who I actually meant and Christine said, "Ohhhh!" She knows of the person, the real old miz.
First off Leroy, I apologize. It did occur to me after the column was published that you might take it to mean you; I assure you it is not. You are not a misery at all; I cherish our friendship and the time you have taken to impart your knowledge, wisdom and sharing funny stories with me. To be very clear, you're the last person I would ever accuse of being an Old Misery. Gawd knows Rezberry has way more than its share and you, Leroy Defoe, do not qualify. Mea culpa, or in today's parlance, my bad.
Mpls Superintendent Speaks
Friday, April 13 2012
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Reform Working Here
As leaders of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), we are often surprised but pleased by the number of people who follow the ebbs and flows of teacher contract talks. We need more people paying attention to the critical issues pertaining to public education in our country. We commend the intelligent public discourse on these issues and we feel it is important that the commitment and enthusiasm people have for this work continue.
While reading articles, blog posts and editorials, we sometimes wonder if people truly understand the complexities of our work. Education reform: what does that really mean? It is so much more than making adjustments to the teachers' contract.
In 2007, MPS embarked on a transformational journey with our strategic plan as our roadmap. The plan clearly laid out many of the core strategies needed to raise every student's achievement, close the racial and income achievement gaps and deliver on our vision to make every child ready for college and a career. Our plan was aggressive and we knew it would have broad implications for our community, from policymakers at the state to our own staff members to our community at large.
We are very proud of our efforts as a school district to push hard for increasing academic achievement for all our students. This year we approved a new comprehensive academic improvement plan and are working with urgency to close the achievement gap with proven strategies. We have an eight-year trend of improving graduation rates and we have increased post-secondary enrollment rates. Most significantly, for the first time in six years, MPS has made progress in narrowing the achievement gap between students of color and white students. There is no question that we need to get results at a faster pace, but we remain confident that the right plans are in place to achieve our goals.
An Interview with State Rep. Susan Allen
Friday, March 09 2012
Written by Interview by Jamie Keith,
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interview_with_rep_susan_allen.jpgState Rep. Susan Allen became the first Native American (Rose Bud Sioux)?woman to serve in the Minnesota State Legislature. Allen is an attorney and a partner with Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan LLP.  A member of the state's Democratic Farmer Labor [DFL] party, Allen, who represents District 61B, discusses her role and goals for her term in office.

Jamie: My first question is - why did you decide to run for state legislature?

Rep. Allen: I saw it as an opportunity. I work on behalf of tribes and non-profit organizations in the community, so it's a continuation of the work I've been doing and a lifelong commitment to working for social and economic justice. I always tell people that my whole life has prepared me for this.

Jamie: What does the Native American community look like in your district? How many Native people live here? How were people from the Native community involved in your campaign?

Rep. Allen: On the [61]B side, there are a little over 800, and on the [61]A side it's approaching 4,000. There are problems with the census, though, in the options to check. There was "American Indian" and "American Indian and Other." Some American Indian people were confused, so they checked both boxes, or checked "Indian and Other." If you checked "Indian and Other," you weren't counted as American Indian. So the numbers drastically dropped in the last  census. That had a huge impact on federal funding for non-profits in the district. We had a number of individuals from the American Indian community who worked throughout the campaign, whether it was door-knocking, putting up signs, [or] going to events.
Native film series "Where Condor Meets Eagle" a collaborative project
Friday, March 09 2012
Written by Jennifer Fairbanks,
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Every year, the Augsburg Native American Film Series (ANAFS) holds various film events that serve as a venue for Native American filmmakers and films. Past series have focused on topics such as urban homelessness, Native identity, and the lasting effects of cultural genocide.
This year the ANAFS presents a collaborative project with the Phillips Indian Educators called Where Condor Meets Eagle: Indigenous Bolivian and Native American Film Festival and Cultural Exchange.  According to the event's website, the three-night film festival will be celebrating indigenous film, collaborations across national boundaries, and visual storytelling.  
The theme for the festival stems from the Augsburg College Center for Global Education's 2010 Bolivian travel seminar "When Indigenous Peoples Lead".  The trip brought several local educators, artists, and community members to Bolivia's indigenous communities.  The seminar focused on what having its first ever indigenous President, Evo Morales, means for Bolivia and the changes in their government. Jim Rock helped to plan this year's film festival and had lived in Bolivia for a year prior to participating in the seminar.
"It was very powerful for me to see our brothers and sisters in the South and to see how their lives were like ours in the North and the effects of colonization," Rock said. 
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