Straddling personal and political, contemporary Native painter Jim Denomie identifies as both the rabbit and the ‘Renegade’

One of the first things you notice at Jim Denomie’s home and studio in Shafer, Minnesota, are the horses. I’m not talking about live horses. He collects spring horses, like the ones you used to ride outside of the hardware store as a kid. There are about ten of them all in various conditions facing a trail on Denomie’s vast Chisago County property. He says they’re for his grandkids, but really they might be for him to have another playful go at childhood. Continue Reading

‘This felt like a space for me’ Midwest Mixed Conference jumpstarts conversation on complex racial identities

Do interracial couples experience more push-back than same-race couples, and if so, how do they deal with it? How does colorism affect the lives and academic experiences of students? And what are some strategies for processing historical trauma that non-Black and non-white mixed folks can use to acknowledge and move through complex family histories? These are just some of the questions that the first ever Midwest Mixed Conference attempted to tackle, through panels, arts activities, workshops and discussions. Held Aug. Continue Reading

No cops, no racists, no phobias: QTPOCI claim their own Twin Cities nightlife scene

After fights broke out in Chicago during the 2012 Pride Festival, Phillipe Cunningham approached a police officer to ask about a safe route to walk home. At the time, Cunningham had recently transitioned and noticed during this interaction a different type of aggression and animosity directed at him. “The more Black and masculine I began to look at first glance, that’s when the aggression had an uptick,” Cunningham said. “That was my first experience interacting with cops as a Black man. It shook me.”

Cunningham, a queer, transgender Black man running for Minneapolis City Council in Ward Four, said many queer and trans people of color and Indigenous folks (QTPOCI) have stories like this – times when they were trying to have fun, ask for directions or simply occupy public space – and a police officer responded with hostility. Continue Reading