Protecting a gift from the creator: Anishinabe harvest wild rice to test their treaty rights

What’s a person supposed to do when they are trying to engage in an act of civil disobedience and the authorities refuse to arrest them, let alone issue a citation? That’s the predicament a group of protesters from the 1855 Treaty Authority found themselves in when the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decided to allow certain members of the group to harvest wild rice without licenses outside of reservation land, on the very day the protest took place. The plan was to harvest wild rice without a permit, outside of reservation land. The arrest and/or citation was hoped to draw a federal court case which would help to force a judge to uphold the tribe’s right to hunt, fish and gather on land they ceded over the course of several treaties in the 1800s. The cornerstone of those treaties, the Treaty of 1837, unequivocally grants the right to hunt, fish and gather in the entire amount of land the Anishinabe gave up. Continue Reading

Phillips neighbors oppose new Water Yard site

People in the Phillips neighborhoods of Minneapolis are incensed about a new proposed water-maintenance site (or, a water yard) they say will add to the pollution of the area. Seeing little promise of new jobs from the new site, neighbors will be packing the Ways and Means committee meeting of the City Council on Monday to urge council members to vote no on allowing city staff to enter into negotiations over purchasing the property. “Phillips has been dumping grounds and forget-me-nots of polluters for several years now,” says Jose Luis Villasenor, the Executive Director of the local nonprofit Tamales y Bicicletas. He’s been a resident of East Phillips for 19-20 years. “We have been working with the community and local stakeholders about how to get rid of the polluters.”

The community group East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC) had two realizations when it came to the site, Villasenor said. Continue Reading

A re-birth for Two Rivers Gallery on Franklin Avenue


After about a 10-year hiatus, Two Rivers Gallery, located in the American Indian Center in South Minneapolis, celebrated its grand opening last weekend with a new exhibition showcasing Native artists. The gallery aims to support emerging Native American artists of all ages. “Our focus is really on local artists who are just starting out and kind of providing them with exhibition opportunities and space to do collaborations,” says Maggie Thompson, the gallery curator. Thompson grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her Bachelor’s in textile design. After graduating, she moved back to Minneapolis, where she soon had a solo exhibit at All My Relations gallery. Continue Reading

Rick Shiomi wins McKnight Distinguished Artist Award


There’s little doubt of playwright and director Rick Shiomi’s contributions to Minnesota’s cultural life, with 20 years of experience as Mu Performing Arts’ Artistic Director under his belt. He’s already won the 2007 Sally Ordway Irvine Award for Vision and The 2012 Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement, among his many honors. Now he’s being honored once again by the McKnight Foundation, which has awarded Shiomi with the Distinguished Artist Award, which comes with $50,000 in cash. Shiomi’s career began long before coming to Minnesota. Born shortly after his parents were forced to live in internment camps during World War II, Shiomi grew up in Toronto, where he earned his degree in history from the University of Toronto in 1970. Early in his career, Shiomi met Bay Area playwright David Henry Hwang, through several other friends and artists. Continue Reading

Judge’s decision protects transgender patients against mistreatment in health care settings

When Jakob Rumble decided to seek legal action against Fairview Southdale Hospital after an experience where he felt he was discriminated against as a trans man, he started out with two goals. First, he wanted to confirm that transgender people are protected under the anti-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and second, he wanted to ensure that what he experienced would happen as little as possible in the future, with health care providers taking on the appropriate training to serve transgender patients.  Grievances listed in Rumble’s complaint include being forced to wear a pink bracelet that said “F” for female, having “Ob/Gyn” written on his whiteboard for every staff member- even non-medical to see, even after repeatedly stating he identifies as male. That’s in addition to the rough treatment and outward hostility Rumble says he experienced. Fairview was contacted for comment about the case, but had no comment due to pending litigation. You can read the complaint here. Though his lawsuit against the hospital is far from over, he’s already achieved the first goal.  That’s because Judge Susan Richard Nelson’s decision over a motion for dismissal of the case clarifies that transgender people are indeed a protected class under the new healthcare law. Continue Reading

Will universal pre-k close the achievement gap?

Editors Note: This is a new and ongoing series. Sheila Regan, a longtime Daily Planet writer and contributor will be asking experts in the field an important question related to education. I’m proud to unveil the first. As state legislators return to session from a break, one of the issues they’ll be hammering out is responding to Governor Dayton’s ambitious proposal to fund a universal pre-kindergarten program. Unlike recent pilot programs that put money towards early education that had a “follow the child” approach aiming at the children most in need, Dayton’s proposal takes an institutional approach, creating all-day preschool across the board for all students, using a $348 million surplus from the budget to pay for it.   There’s little debate that children who have the opportunity to attend high-quality early education programs will benefit down the road, but there are plenty of critics of Dayton’s proposal. Continue Reading

Top 12 Off-Site AWP Events

Twin Cities literati are gearing up for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference on April 8th-11, where we will be descended upon by authors, poets, publishers and editors from all over the country and beyond. Even if you can’t manage the $285 nonmember fee for the conference, never fear, as there are plenty of off-site events happening in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, which are open to the public. These readings, parties and events are great places to soak up some of the energy of AWP and possibly rub elbows with some great writers both from Minnesota and from far away places. There’s a full list of off-site events on AWP’s website, but here’s a list of some of the ones we’re most excited about. Riot Act Reading Series presents AWP Calvalcade of Stars in conjunction with Punk Hostage Press in Conjunction with Hot Lava and the Black Forest InnThursday, April 9th at 7 p.m. at the Black Forest Inn, 1 E. 26th St.Facebook Event There’s no reason that literary events have to be stuffy. Case in point, the Twin Cities’ own Riot Act Reading Series, which revels in debauchery as part of their aesthetic. Continue Reading

Black Lives Matter Calls for a Boycott of The Mall of America following first hearing

On the day of the first court hearing for the 11 defendants who are accused of various charges around the planning of the December Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America, Minnesota’s Black Lives Matter group is calling for a boycott of the Mall, through July 1st. The news comes a day after the group sent out a press release revealing that Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson had exchanged emails with the Mall of America, offering advice.  The 11 defendants are accused of organizing a demonstration at the Mall of America over police violence against the Black community. City Attorney Sandra Johnson is seeking $40,000 in restitution for police overtime and lost revenue.  On March 9th, Black Lives Matter announced that they had obtained emails between the Mall of America and Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson, which “show disturbing levels of coordination between the City of Bloomington attorney’s office and officials with the Mall of America,” according to a press release. The emails were obtained through a public records request by Tony Webster, according to a statement by Johnson, who did not respond to a request for an interview for this article.  The emails reveal that the Mall officials were pushing the city attorney to pursue more serious charges, and Johnson offering advice to the officials. In one email, Kathleen Allen, Corporate Counsel for the Mall of America said, “i’m concerned that if these other charges don’t carry greater penalties than a trespass charge, we’ll be in the same position as last year.”  In another email, Johnson encouraged the Mall to continue surveilling the organizers through social media. Continue Reading

St. Francis School District considers eliminating Columbus Day from calendars and communications

When Ursula Clarin’s  child came home from Kindergarten in the St. Francis school district with a worksheet about how Christopher Columbus “discovered” America, she was frustrated. As has so often in the past, she was put in the position of re-educating her child about what Columbus did to the Caribbean people. “It’s sad because there’s a lot of other students that don’t get that knowledge or education,” she said.  This wasn’t the first time Clarin has dealt with the issue. With her older children, she’s experienced seeing materials they were supposed to read in schools painting indigenous people in a stereotypical light. Clarin feels that especially at the elementary level, schools need to educate the truth about Columbus Day. Continue Reading