Black Lives Matter protestors at the Minnesota State Fair 2015

The Minnesota State Fair and criminal justice system are more related than you think

As fairgoers begin the day with excitement and energy around the Great Minnesota Get-Together, it is critical that we acknowledge how the State Fair has always been a place of oppression for people of color. The Minnesota Territory ran its first territorial fair in 1854. The 1857 census shows fewer than 100 black residents in Minneapolis and St. Paul combined. The fair became the state fair in 1859, one year after Minnesota’s statehood. It has taken place in 151 of the 156 subsequent years, only being canceled for reasons such as war and polio outbreaks. Continue Reading

Photo courtesy of Flickr user SkyLuke8.

On fatness and bullying

Fat people do not need anyone’s body policing, and telling a fat person to lose weight or live healthfully is not helpful. The unsolicited “advice” is passive aggressive and hurtful. The actions and mistreatment is bullying. Continue Reading

Clockwise from top left, a piece from Aza Erdich's "Synthesis" exhibition at All My Relations gallery, Lorna Her Many Horses performing with New Native Theater in 2012, participants in the seventh annual Augsburg College powwow and participants in the 2015 KWE.STRONG triathlon. Daily Planet file photos.

What one Native woman thinks everyone should know about Native people

The hardest part of trying to do intersectional work for me, as an Anishinaabe woman, is that most people–even most people of color and other oppressed peoples–know so little about Native people. I had a lot of difficulty recently when someone (a respected changemaker) tried to tell me her opinion on why Native people don’t have it that bad, when no part of her opinion was based in truth. It is hard to not feel resentment when people bring huge, common misconceptions to the table: of rich Indians, of free college and casino money. Continue Reading

Photo courtesy of  Flickr user Dboybaker.

The invisible side of homelessness

Nine thousand three hundred and twelve: the number of adults, youth and children in Minnesota who were living without a home on Oct. 22, 2015, as part of a one-night statewide Wilder Research study to better understand homelessness. In 2012, it was estimated there are over 40,000 people in Minnesota who experience homelessness over the course of a full year. I’ve been volunteering at St. Stephen’s Emergency Men’s Shelter in Minneapolis every Friday for a few months. Continue Reading