Who are heroes and to whom? An Indigenous perspective on Columbus

Last month, October 13, 2014, it was my pleasure to participate in a celebration at the Minneapolis American Indian Center. The occasion was the resolution passed by the Minneapolis City Council to have as a co-name, “Indigenous Peoples Day,” for what white U.S. society has celebrated as Columbus Day.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Why do I rejoice at this name change? Columbus may have been a hero to U.S. Euro-Americans, particularly to Italian-Americans, however, Columbus is not a hero to not only the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S., but also to the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Columbus used dogs trained to disembowel Native peoples when they fled. Continue Reading

‘Year of the Dakota’: Minneapolis resolution uses unprecedented honesty, St. Paul to follow suit

While the Resolution was being read in the Minneapolis City Council chambers, there were tears in the eyes of some of the Native People present. For me, it was significant that the Resolution contained such words as “Genocide,” “Bounties,” “Concentration Camps,” “Forced Marches,” etc. I have, and had, never seen any white governmental entity, at any level – national, state, local, etc. – use such terms in one of their official documents. I never thought I would ever see such a document in my lifetime. Now, I have, and I am so pleased. Continue Reading

Presidents’ Day and indigenous peoples

Yesterday, after I took my mile-and-a-half daily walk, I was talking to my older brother.  He said there was going to be no Elders Lunch delivered today.  Then, he explained to me that our community staff had taken the day off in honor of Presidents’ Day.  I thought to myself, “Why are our Dakota People celebrating Presidents’ Day?  There is nothing to celebrate!”

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The Tom Emmer Controversy at Hamline University

 I was intrigued by a recent article(s) in the Minneapolis Star Tribune (12/18) on the Tom Emmer flap at Hamline University.  It appeared that Tom Emmer was to be hired as an adjunct “Executive in Residence” Professor, according to emails written by the Director of the business program and by the Dean of the business school.  Another email Continue Reading

Genocide in Minnesota: The Dakota Death March

On November 07-13, 2010, I was able to participate for several days in what my mother, Elsie Two Bear Cavender, an oral historian, called the “Dakota Death March.”  This historical event happened On November 07-13, 1862 when 1,700 Dakota People, primarily women, children, and elders were forced marched 150 miles from the Lower Sioux Agency (Morton, Redwood Falls area) to the concentration Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Emergency appeal from South Dakota reservations

You may have heard the Dakotas had terrible ice storms this past weekend. The ice has brought down over 2,000-3,000 utility poles down on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota.   Electricity has been out for five days (since Friday). Crews are working feverishly, but it may be out for up to 30 days in some areas. With no electricity, no heat, no running water, and a wind chill below zero the situation is growing more difficult.The Tribal government is setting up shelters and working hard to provide for the community’s needs. Continue Reading

OPINION | Open letter to Katherine Kersten

Dear Katherine Kersten,I read with a great deal of interest your column on “At U, future teachers may be reeducated,” Minneapolis Sunday Star Tribune, November 22, 2009. To read the report that Kersten denounces, click here. As a 69-year-old Indigenous person (a Dakota man, our colonizer, and inaccurate, name is “Sioux”), I was amazed at the difference in our reactions to what the U of M is doing. I think it is great that they, the U and prospective teachers, pay some attention to what really happened in this country.  Because of what happened to my people, the Dakota Oyate (“People” Or “Nation”), I certainly don’t share what I call “the White American Dream.”  As a result, I don’t really agree, either, with your statement “that in this country, hard-working people of every race, color and creed can get ahead on their own merits.”  In addition, topics like massive land theft, broken treaties, genocide, suppression of Indigenous sprituality and ceremonies, suppression of Native languages, residential boarding schools, etc. etc, do not lend themselves well to creating what U.S. Euro-Americans call the “American Dream,” at least, certainly, not for the Dakota People! Continue Reading