Mere visibility or political power? Native women vie for lieutenant governor

This piece is part of Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series covering the 2018 elections season. Every year we’re moving towards a possibility of a more diverse legislature. And with it, we hope comes increased opportunities for communities historically shut out of political processes and power to imagine and enact policies to create a Minnesota that benefits all its constituents. In this year’s Nov. 6 general election, no matter which party prevails, our lieutenant governor will be a woman. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 10/10: Native homeless encampment moved to navigation center

The Minneapolis City Council recently voted to move the Franklin-Hiawatha Native homeless encampment, known as Wall of Forgotten Natives, to a nearby “navigation center” on Cedar Avenue. This facility is to be a temporary shelter to help the homeless Native population have access to warm shelter and healthcare as the temperatures drop. The Red Lake Nation, owner of the new location, is invested in working with Minneapolis city officials to implement a long term solution, and has plans to build a six-story affordable housing complex on the location starting in 2019. “These are our people down here … The reality is, as tribal leaders, we need to step up, and it’s powerful when we do,” said Sam Strong, tribal secretary of the Red Lake Nation. Find the full story at The Circle. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/19: Somali immigrants utilize farmer training program to establish farms in Minnesota

For many immigrants with hopes of making a living off farming, owning and operating a farm can seem like an impossible task between startup costs, attaining Minnesota agricultural knowledge and finding a market for produce. The Minnesota Food Association (MFA) works to alleviate some of these challenges by offering an in-depth, hands-on farm training program for immigrants, refugees and other individuals from historically marginalized communities. As part of this program, many Somali immigrants, including Naima Dhore, have been able to find success in organic farming, sustaining the food system and carving out a niche for immigrant farmers to develop and hone agricultural skills. “The most important piece in the process for me has been letting [members of the East African community] know where their food is coming from and what their responsibilities are in terms of taking care of this planet that we all share,” said Dhore. “That’s the biggest takeaway.”

Read more at The Somali American. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 9/12: ‘Disapproved Books:’ New Weisman exhibit highlights censorship in prison system

A new exhibit at the Weisman art museum, “The Section of Disapproved Books,” allows guests to look at and flip through over 400 books banned by prisons across the country. The library contains several popular covers, highlighting the subjective nature of prison book banning and encouraging visitors to think critically about the use of censorship in the prison system. “The goal would be to affect these regulations,” said creator Daniel McCarthy Clifford. “[Banning these books] is a pretty arbitrary process, and I think bringing awareness to it could affect some policy change.”

Find out more at MN Daily. Franklin/Hiawatha Native homeless encampment faces City-mandated removal by end of September

In the Franklin/Hiawatha corridor, many homeless Native individuals have formed a small community encampment, sleeping in tents and helping each other to survive the harshness of homeless living conditions, as well as receiving regular assistance from volunteers. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/22: Expos celebrate natural black hair and beauty, encourage wellness in beauty industry

Although the Twin Cities has an increasingly diverse population of people from different racial backgrounds, Minnesota has long been considered a “flyover” state for beauty products aimed at black and brown people. However, two new beauty expos, the Twin Cities Natural Hair Expo and the Shades of Beauty Expo, are changing the conversation around POCI beauty and wellness in the Twin Cities. The two expos brought beauty practitioners from around the country to the Twin Cities who are interested in creating a beauty landscape that reflects our communities, as well as discussing the health effects for folks using damaging chemical hair products to mimic European beauty standards. “For so long, we have been left out of the discussion of what beauty looks like,” said Sherryln Thompson, Shades of Beauty Expo founder and producer. “We have been given image after image of blonde hair and blue eyes as a stereotype of beauty. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 8/15: Fostering Native children in Native homes imperative to preserving culture, preventing erasure

Although the Indian Child Welfare Act requires the state to place Native children with family or kin when possible, there is a severe shortage of Native foster homes to accommodate this need. Staff in the Native foster care network stress the importance of giving Native children homes that can address their culture, teach traditions and help them learn to navigate the world as a Native person. Placing children in Native homes will also serve to prevent cultural erasure. “It’s really a difficult task to figure out what they know and how you can support it,” said Victor Walter (Bois Fort Ojibwe), foster parent. “Whether it’s going to powwows, putting out a spirit plate at meals, smudging or sweat lodges…you really have to find out what the kids are used to and at least support that. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhood News 7/19: Corcoran tenants rally for renters’ rights, affordable housing

Recently, tenants of buildings in Corcoran organized a block party and rally to advocate for housing rights and the formation of a tenant-owned co-operative building. Tenants renting with The Apartment Shop, owned by Stephen Frenz, experienced neglected building maintenance, including pests like roaches and mice, mold, and indoor winter temperatures as low as 45 degrees that led to health problems. At the rally, the tenants spoke out in favor of rent control and a tenant bill of rights. “Gentrification is happening all over,” said Bonnie Beckel, a Corcoran resident at the block party who lives just south of the apartments. “There’s no question that they’d do a better job of taking care of their buildings.”

Get full details at MinnPost. Amidst opposition from Native nations, Public Utilities Commission approves Line 3 pipeline route

In a unanimous decision, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted to approve the Certificate of Need for Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, an oil pipeline that would run from Canada through Minnesota. Continue Reading