Indigenous People Take the Lead at Sunday’s Anti-Pipeline Rally [Photo Essay]

Led by Minnesota’s Ojibwe community, thousands of people gathered on a lovely Saturday in downtown Saint Paul to march in opposition to the recently approved Sandpiper pipeline, which threatens the land in Northern Minnesota. For a rally centered around often atmospheric issues like stopping risky oil pipelines, ending destructive tar sands oil mining, and preventing climate change, it was a massive crowd. Continue Reading

Diverse though our experiences may be, we were all children once, and I believe that reading children's literature helps us to see ... through the lens of that commonality. - Linda LeGarde Grover

Learning in traditional ways from Native children’s literature

n Ojibwe tradition, as well as in all other Native cultures that I know of, womanhood from birth until the return to the spirit world is a sacred state, honored and respected. Countless generations of storytelling, combined with observation and experience, are the foundation of Ojibwe teaching and learning. For girls, this has been intertwined with preparation for the passages of the female life; the words themselves, ikwe for woman and kwesens (“small woman”) for girl, indicate a meaningful seamlessness in the cosmology of tribal womanhood. The position of Ojibwe woman is equal in status and power to that of Ojibwe men; this concept is so basic to our worldview that it is rarely even stated. Many Native women feel that our cultural role, including our gifts and resulting obligations, is beyond the constructs of majority American feminism, that “indigenous feminism” as defined by majority feminists is not empowering and inclusive so much as simply missing the point. We are Native women; our culture honors womanhood. The students in the American Indian Women course that I teach, both Native and non-Native, have sometimes struggled to understand (and to reconcile with some preconceived stereotypes) the manifestations of female power and position in cultures unfamiliar to them. As their teacher – a storyteller and an older Ojibwe woman – I thought that they might find it helpful to apply their own experience and knowledge to their questions by stepping back to their childhood days through an examination of Native children’s literature. Diverse though our experiences may be, we were all children once, and I believe that reading children’s literature helps us to see and learn through the lens of that commonality. Continue Reading

NEWSDAY | Rats, bats and worse: Native American school left behind in Minnesota

Fungus, rodents, bats, exposed wiring and other hazards in a converted, metal-clad pole barn: that’s the high school for Native American students in Minnesota’ Leech Lake Indian Reservation, according to testimony to the House Interior Appropriations Committee by the school’s superintendent, Crystal Redgrave on April 8.Minnesota’s Betty McCollum compared the proposal to build a school for 275 children of U.S. Defense Department employees in Guantanamo — price tag $65.1 million — with the total amount appropriated for all Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) school construction, repairs and improvements in Fiscal Year 2014 — a paltry $55.2 million for 183 elementary and secondary schools in 23 states, serving 48,000 children. McCollum’s press release said some of the BIE schools are in “absolutely deplorable” condition.In Minnesota, according to local Bureau of Indian Education representative Everett Bad Wound, 743 students attend four BIE schools — BugONayGeShig School in Bena, Circle of Life Academy in White Earth, Fond du Lac Ojibwe School in Cloquet, and Nay Ah Shing School in Onamia.McCollum is the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. She represents Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes St. Paul. Her schedule this week was “packed,” so I couldn’t talk to her directly, but her office sent me Redgrave’s testimony. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Idle No More- Occupy MN- AIM Protest at Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis. The Untold Story- Till Now

First Nation protestors attacked by Mountied Police in Canada. Armed mercenaries at sacred Native American site in nothern Wisconsin. Idle No More rally and protest in Minneapolis at Canadian Consulate in response. If you have no idea about this you are easily forgiven. You see there is a virtual corporate media blockade on these stories and others like it. Continue Reading


A conversation with Mary Lethert Wingerd – Author, North Country: The Making of Minnesota

Mary Lethert Wingerd, author of North Country: The Making of Minnesota, the untold history of how the land of the Dakota and Ojibwe became the State of Minnesota. This is an all-new a new history of our fair state, but beginning way back there when this was a land stewarded by our indigenous predecessors, the Ojibwe and Dakota (Sioux), centuries before Europeans first arrived and blended in with their brothers, then turned on them to settle those same lands by cheating trade and false treaties. Mary Wingerd and TTT’s Andy Driscoll talk about her book and touch on her oral history project at St. Cloud State University, where she is a professor of history. Wingerd is also author of Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St. Paul . Continue Reading

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Responses to Statehood provides venue for Native perspectives

Waziyatawin (Angela Wilson), Ph.D., a Dakota scholar and activist, and the Minnesota Humanities Center in Saint Paul have collaborated to create Responses to Statehood, an online video project that showcases Dakota and Ojibwe perspectives on Minnesota statehood and the sesquicentennial. The project began airing in November when the Humanities Center began launching new videos weekly. New videos will be uploaded through December. See videos on MN Humanities Commission siteWaziyatawin (Wahpetunwan Dakota) hosts each chapter, providing video commentary on such topics as: the forced removal, ethnic cleansing and genocide, boarding schools, allotment, and the seizure of Native lands. All videos and support material can be found under “Special Projects” on the center’s main website. Continue Reading