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Native American Somali Friendship Committee works toward dialogue and understanding
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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somali indian committeeNative American and Somali communities in Minneapolis have lived close to each other ever since the first refugees of war-torn Somalia began to arrive in the early '90's. The attraction of jobs and services in the cities has been offset by the conflicts that have arisen between Native and Somali youth. Assault and sexual abuse have been reported in the past, and members of both communities have voiced concern about the safety of their neighborhoods.
A high profile crime in January of last year brought the issue to the wider public. Violence, human trafficking, and housing placement are just some of the issues facing both Natives and Somalis in Minneapolis.
To stop the violence, and begin a dialogue between the two communities, the Native American Somali Friendship Committee (NASFC) was formed.
"It was really a series of linkages," says Terri Yellowhammer, an Indian Child Welfare Consultant and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. "There was an email sent out expressing anger over a Native woman who was attacked. I forwarded it on to other community workers and the idea to get together started."
Kristin Berg Thompson, a Minneapolis Public Schools Liaison, responded to the email. "I read this letter, and thought, 'Ok, what do I do with this?' I talked to Terri and asked if I could help. I wanted to bring members from both communities together and so I sent the email on to members of the Somali community."
One of those contacted from the Somali community was Yusuf Ahmed, a worker for the City of Minneapolis, and community organizer. He saw an opportunity for dialogue. "Basically what happened was we had all received this mail about what was happening in the city, and we wanted to change this for the better. There are a lot of similarities between Native American and Somali culture, so when we came together I asked, 'how can we live better together as Americans?'"
Tribes Going Green and the Buy Indian Act
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Ryan Dreveskracht,
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The Obama Administration has made its commitment to Native American economic development well known, and has likewise followed through with many of those promises. The President has included the Indian Health Service in the Affordable Health Care Act, devoted $3.2 billion in stimulus funds, and endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In all, tribal leaders agree that Obama has brought progress to Indian Country.
On January 19, 2011, the U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced unyielding support for the tribes in their efforts to use alternative energies to "improv[e] the environment and support long-term clean energy jobs." Part of Secretary Chu's plan includes making up to $10 million available for renewable energy projects on tribal lands.
It ain't easy being indian
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Ricey Wild,
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Late last month it was my Mum'z birthday. Money has been an issue lately so I had to scheme to get the most bang for my buck. I cashed in my players card points at the Risky Raccoon Kasino for $10, then I took her out to eat at McDees $1 menu; we shared a small fries, a large soda, two $1 burgers and she got to eat a sundae all by herself. Semi-full and in the mood to shop I gave Omi a budget of $5 at the Dollar Store. My Mumz was giddy with joy., I just made that story up. I was able to purchase roses, chocolate cheesecake, a boombox with a cassette player and cards from The Mitz and me that included "4 U-2 Bux!" which is our family tradition begun by my son Steve.
Fond du Lac Follies
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Jim Northrup,
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While driving home from the Sawyer Community Center I pulled off the road to watch a bald eagle make circles in the sky. I watched that magnificent bird for a couple of minutes, his white head and tail, black body, stood out from the blue sky above him. He was just coasting along with the wind doing eagle stuff. I drove home, quietly thrilled by the encounter. Migizi.
**** The 2nd Annual Storytelling /Silent Auction/ Feast went well. We did it all at the Sawyer Community Center. Later it was said the parking lot was full and cars were parked up and down Moorhead Road.
Actually this would be about the 5th time we had storytelling in Sawyer during the winter. This one was different in that we had the auction to raise money for our summer time Ojibwemowin Language Camp. The camp will be held here in Sawyer on June 23, 24, 25, and 26 at Kiwenz Campground on the north end of Gichi-zaaga'igan (Big Lake).
Polymet lawsuit
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Circle NEws Staff,
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I wrote last August about the environmental dangers associated with sulfide mining, which is being proposed for several areas in northeastern Minnesota. Although further environmental analysis has been ordered for the PolyMet Mining project near Hoyt Lakes - within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory - the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), the State of Minnesota economic development agency located in Eveleth, has given PolyMet a $4 million loan.
In January, five conservation groups, including the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), filed a lawsuit challenging the IRRRB loan to help PolyMet develop its open-pit sulfide mine.
Tribal stimulus
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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Most people likely don't think of Indian tribes when the discussion turns to economic recovery; but, as a recent article in the Duluth News Tribune reports, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is holding its own in the recession.
Karen Diver, chairwoman of the band's Reservation Business Committee, told the newspaper that none of the 2,000 FDL employees have been laid off. The band "kept a large part of Northeastern Minnesota working at a time when that wasn't the norm for the area. Even a small change in our activities would have a large impact," said Diver.
The newspaper reported that the Fond du Lac Band "moved forward on projects, completing a natural resources building, several housing complexes and a drug treatment center expansion." The band increased spending from 2009 to 2010, from about $160 million to $182 million, which includes payroll and membership payments. More than half the tribal employees work in non-casino jobs, according to Diver. In addition to government services, the band runs sand and gravel, lumber and construction businesses.

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