Viva Mexico! Minneapolis celebrates Mexican Independence Day

With the Grito de Dolores (The Cry of Dolores), the Mexican War of Independence was declared on September 16, in 1810. In the small town of Guanajuato, the fight began to rid Mexico of Spanish Colonial rule. This national holiday is celebrated far beyond the borders of Mexico–including in Minneapolis, which has a large Latino population. The Powderhorn/Phillips neighborhood is full of Mexican and Latino-owned businesses, restaurants and shopping centers all eager to showcase their heritage. Minneapolis held not one, but two fiestas to mark the occasion on Lake street. Continue Reading

A doughnut shop owner looks to the future on (or near) the light rail

[Editor’s note: This is part of a series on businesses along the Green Line, one year after opening. We interviewed SugaRush Donuts and other University Avenue businesses in 2014 as part of a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Fund grant. We’re returning after the opening of the light rail to see what’s changed.]

SugaRush Donuts, the small family doughnut shop on St. Paul’s Green Line, has a lot of fans from the neighborhood. People have been coming in early for a sweet breakfast or an afternoon snack since 2008 when Keoni Nguyen and his wife Susie Path took Rainbow Donuts over from Nguyen’s brother and renamed it SugaRush. Continue Reading

Mendota PowWow

The Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota’s annual celebration of survival

Like many Dakota stories, this one begins in 1862, at the outset of the U.S.-Dakota War: Little Crow’s starving warriors took up arms against white settlers in the Minnesota River Valley in attempt to regain their former empire. The disastrous six-week campaign resulted in defeat for the Dakota, who were rounded up, imprisoned in concentration camps, hung in mass and forced from the state under threat of death.
Oral tradition, documentaries, dramatizations, books and articles have told this story repeatedly—and yet the bulk of Minnesota’s non-Indian population remains happily unaware of the genocide upon which the state was established. Where education systems have failed to convey the truth, events like the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Wacipi provide rich opportunities for Minnesota’s citizenry to learn their history. Continue Reading

South High students begin their day with a smudge and a prayer

South High School has three academic programs…the open program, liberal arts, and the All Nations program, aculturally specific, Native American program that’s existed for more than 25 years. A special ventilation system was installed so students in the All Nations program could smudge each morning to get their day started. Smudging is a cleansing ceremony, in which sage is burned in a shell, the smoke is pulled in by participants head to foot and dissipates into the air. It’s a ritual that helps lift any negative energy. Today the All Nations program invited the entire South student body to the football field  with an invitation to participate in the smudging ceremony together. Continue Reading

Black Lives Matter takes it to the Minnesota State Fair

All photos taken by Mark Peterson

The opening weekend of the Great Minnesota Get Together was met with several hundred protesters from Black Lives Matter. Their goal:  draw attention to the lack of people of color who run businesses in the fair and unfair policing. Black Lives Saint Paul, the organizers of last Saturday’s event, called on everyone to drop their “Minnesota Nice” and recognize the inequalities African Americans face on a day-to-day basis. Last Friday, Governor Mark Dayton said that while he understood the demonstrators message, he felt that protesting the fair was, “inappropriate.” Here’s a recap of the protest in photos:

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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

Character tests were outlawed 50 years ago, but voting rights are still far from universal

Almost three years after Minnesotans voted down a restrictive voter ID amendment and 50 years to the day after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, the United States still has the largest voting gap of any industrialized nation.

This voting gap means that in 2012, 80% of Americans making $150,000 or more voted, compared to only 36% of folks earning less than 50,000, according to Representative Keith Ellison who delivered the opening remarks at the Stay Restless event put on by Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon and his Council to Celebrate the Voting Rights Act in North Minneapolis Thursday evening. Continue Reading

City moves forward with water yard site in Phillips

In a 10- 3 vote, Minneapolis city council members decided to move forward with acquiring the former Roof Depot site for a city owned water treatment facility, despite neighborhood opposition. Council members Johnson, Gordon and Cano voted against it. Members of the Phillips community, where the site would be located, say the proposed facility is yet another industrial site in a neighborhood plagued with pollution and environmental justice concerns. See the story in Monday’s Daily Planet for more background. There was a brief discussion about adopting an amendment put forth by ward nine council member Alondra Cano, which would have required city staff and departments to work with community members when developing the site. Continue Reading