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Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Friday, November 11 2011
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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In October, on the federal Columbus Day holiday, Sasha Houston Brown (Santee Dakota) wrote a letter to the CEO of Urban Outfitters Inc., the apparel chain that has an Uptown store. She visited the shop and noted the "cheap, vulgar and culturally offensive retail collection."
"Indian-look" items seem to come and go in the fashion world; but Brown's letter to Glenn T. Senk decried what she saw as "blatant racism and perverted cultural appropriation" in the store's items branded as "Navajo."
She wrote: "There is nothing honorable or historically appreciative in selling items such as the Navajo Print Fabric Wrapped Flask, Peace Treaty Feather Necklace… or the Navajo Hipster Panty. These and the dozens of other tacky products you are currently selling referencing Native America make a mockery of our identity and unique cultures."
Forcia Honored With Fundraiser Feast
Friday, October 07 2011
 
Written by Story and photos by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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forcia_honored_cover1.jpgforcia_honored_cover2.jpgA benefit and feast was held on September 22nd in the Minneapolis American Indian Center (MAIC) in Minneapolis to honor Mike Forcia for his tireless efforts in helping feed the homeless. The event brought together over 100 members of the Native American community. Young and old alike could be seen sitting together enjoying fried walleye, wild rice, hot-dish and fry-bread, all courtesy of the cooks and community members who wanted to show Forcia their appreciation.
Forcia (Bad River Ojibwe) has always placed an emphasis on public service. Starting with a fatherly interest in his children's educational welfare, Mike has worked with the Minneapolis Public Schools to help raise awareness of Native student's special needs.
This interest in the welfare of those around him translated into an ability to identify some of the special needs of the Native community at large.
Looking out the window of his own cafe on Franklin Avenue, Forcia saw an opportunity to help the homeless using the resources of his very own diner, The Wolves Den.
"Back in 2005, Wade Keezer and I decided we wanted to find a way to help feed the homeless. Along with our friend Kevin Oberdain, we began to feed the homeless using the resources of my Cafe. We called the breakfasts Oyate Oshkabaywis. This is essentially two words from the Dakota and Anishinaabe languages that we put together into one name, meaning 'helper' in both languages," Forcia said.
The Wolves Den is one of the only places in the city to grab a piece of real, Indian-made frybread. Described as the home of lone wolves and pack eaters alike, Forcia has enjoyed running his own business for many years on Franklin Avenue.
The Berenstain Bears speak Lakota in special 20-episode series
Friday, October 07 2011
 
Written by The Circle staff,
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berenstein_bears_cover_1.jpgThe Dakotas and Minnesota are at the front of a new wave in children's education, as beloved furry faces begin to speak in an ancient tribal language.  
For 50 years, the adventures of the Berenstain Bears have been translated into Spanish, French, and other European languages. This year, for the first time they are speaking a Native American language - Lakota - in the hopes that the language will take hold again with Lakota children and families.
A 20-episode Lakota-language series, Mat?? Wa???ila Thiw?he, or "The Compassionate Bear Family," premiered on Sunday morning, September 11, and will broadcast through November 2011 on South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Create channel, and Prairie Public television's Lifelong Learning channel in North Dakota and Minnesota.
The premiere coincided with the United Tribes International Powwow in Bismarck, an annual event that draw thousands of Natives and non-Natives from all over the North American continent.  During the Powwow's events September 7-10, the Bears seemed to be everywhere: live costumed characters were honored as "dignitaries" in the Powwow's spectacular Grand Entry and met a mob of children at Youth Day.  
The voice actors, all fluent Lakota speakers from several reservations, joined the costumed characters on a float during the powwow's parade through downtown Bismarck, and met the children on Youth Day.  A special screening was presented at the Tribal Leaders' Summit meeting, and a big display booth kept the premiere episodes running on a continuous loop.
Running Wolf Fitness Center to reopen at Phillips Community Center
Friday, October 07 2011
 
Written by By Andrea Cornelius,
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running_wolf_fitness_story.jpgThe Native American Community Clinic (NACC) and the Indian Health Board (IHB) have teamed up to reopen the Running Wolf Fitness Center in a new location at the Phillips Community Center, located at 2323 11th Avenue South in Minneapolis. Both organizations received grants from Ucare and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe to re-open the community gym.
There will be a grand re-opening event in October at Running Wolf complete with tours and demonstrations of equipment. The first six months of membership are free after receiving a fitness exam at either NACC or IHB and a monthly charge will begin thereafter.
The fitness exam allows for personal attention because it will determine each individual's level of fitness and thereby allow the staff to give personal attention to each member, which will better yield results for everyone no matter their goals.
There will be a personal trainer available as well as staff from NACC and IHB working at Running Wolf during its hours of operation which are Monday through Thursday from 10am to 7pm, and Friday through Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
Duluth opera has non-Indian cast in 'Pocahontas'
Friday, October 07 2011
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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An attempt to stage an opera intended to celebrate American Indian culture is now facing an accusation of racial insensitivity.
The Duluth Festival Opera's production of "Pocahontas: A Woman of Two Worlds," is a one-act chamber opera about the young American Indian woman who eased relations between American Indians and Europeans in the 1600s.
When the cast was named, no American Indians landed principal roles - not even Pocahontas, a Powhatan Indian.
Duluth Festival Opera director Craig Fields said auditions didn't generate interest from the American Indian opera performers from around the country. But Lyz Jaakola, an operatic mezzo soprano and member of the Fond du Lac Band, said the DFO didn't try hard enough or in the right ways and that there is no excuse for non-natives to "play Indian" in 2011.
Red Lake River fish bypass - walleye can now return home
Friday, October 07 2011
 
Written by Photos and story by Michael Meuers,
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red_lake_river_fish_bypass.jpg"This year Red Lake's long awaited fish bypass will be completed at the Red River outlet on the south shore of Red Lake", said Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr. in his most recent State of the Band Address. "This will enable fish to make their way back into the lake after they go over the outlet dam".  ??
Jourdain pointed out that, prior to the fish by-pass, when the fish went over the falls at the outlet and rock dam, they made their way down the Red River never to return.  
The Red River is the only outflow from Red Lake. The river goes to Red Lake Falls, then to Crookston, Grand Forks and then north to Hudson Bay.
"Now with the projects completion, fish will be able to make their way back to the big lake," Jourdain said.
The problem began in 1951 with damn improvements, which allowed more water over the dam, and apparently increased the number of fish that went over the dam as well.  The fish later would congregate near the dam with no way to return, being unable to renegotiate the dam.  Spring spawning also sends some fish down river...but they want to come back.
Beginning next Spring, Department of Natural Resource (DNR) fisheries staff will go to the fish trap near the bypass and lift the traps each morning.  
"When fish swim up river toward the lake, they will resist the strong flow from the dam, and naturally go toward the lesser flow of water to the west - toward the fish trap," explained William "Pat" Brown, Red Lake DNR Fisheries Program Director. "Then they are trapped." ??
Black crappies, walleye, northern, and sturgeon (in the future) will then be separated from the exotic species and released to go through the fish by-pass and back into Red Lake.
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