Best of Neighborhood News 9/27: Bell Museum exhibit features Ojibwe and Dakota voiceovers

At the newly renovated and reopened Bell Museum, the voices of Ojibwe and Dakota children inform about natural science dioramas, depicting nature scenes from around Minnesota. The inclusion of these voices was intentional, hoping to showcase the persisting existence of these languages in the face of cultural destruction through colonization. “They chose the words for the conversation,” said Cindy Ward-Thompson, Bdote Learning Center founder and current director. “We used a lot of children in the process because we wanted to show others that Dakota and Ojibwe are still vibrant spoken languages and that the language is alive in children as well as elders.”

Read more at The Circle. Creative writing space uplifts Black and POCI voices

Black Lines Matter is a project of Black Table Arts, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for Black and POCI individuals to have their creative expression centered and uplifted. Continue Reading

Indigenous People Take the Lead at Sunday’s Anti-Pipeline Rally [Photo Essay]

Led by Minnesota’s Ojibwe community, thousands of people gathered on a lovely Saturday in downtown Saint Paul to march in opposition to the recently approved Sandpiper pipeline, which threatens the land in Northern Minnesota. For a rally centered around often atmospheric issues like stopping risky oil pipelines, ending destructive tar sands oil mining, and preventing climate change, it was a massive crowd. Continue Reading

Tackling achievement gap for American Indian students

Before the first class bell rings on Monday mornings, students at Nay Ah Shing High School gather to participate in a tradition that was instituted long before they were born. “Pipe and Dish” sets the tone for students and staff at the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe-run school in Onamia. The ceremony allows participants to “offer” tobacco and food to the Creator to ask for help in their studies and work in the days ahead. The morning ritual serves as a symbolic opportunity for students and staff to recognize the cultural roots the school was founded on 40 years ago. But Nay Ah Shing’s emphasis on its American Indian culture is not limited to the “Pipe and Dish” offering, according to Suzanne Wise, education commissioner for the Mille Lacs Band. Continue Reading

Learning in traditional ways from Native children’s literature

n Ojibwe tradition, as well as in all other Native cultures that I know of, womanhood from birth until the return to the spirit world is a sacred state, honored and respected. Countless generations of storytelling, combined with observation and experience, are the foundation of Ojibwe teaching and learning. For girls, this has been intertwined with preparation for the passages of the female life; the words themselves, ikwe for woman and kwesens (“small woman”) for girl, indicate a meaningful seamlessness in the cosmology of tribal womanhood. The position of Ojibwe woman is equal in status and power to that of Ojibwe men; this concept is so basic to our worldview that it is rarely even stated. Many Native women feel that our cultural role, including our gifts and resulting obligations, is beyond the constructs of majority American feminism, that “indigenous feminism” as defined by majority feminists is not empowering and inclusive so much as simply missing the point. We are Native women; our culture honors womanhood. The students in the American Indian Women course that I teach, both Native and non-Native, have sometimes struggled to understand (and to reconcile with some preconceived stereotypes) the manifestations of female power and position in cultures unfamiliar to them. As their teacher – a storyteller and an older Ojibwe woman – I thought that they might find it helpful to apply their own experience and knowledge to their questions by stepping back to their childhood days through an examination of Native children’s literature. Diverse though our experiences may be, we were all children once, and I believe that reading children’s literature helps us to see and learn through the lens of that commonality. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Idle No More- Occupy MN- AIM Protest at Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis. The Untold Story- Till Now

First Nation protestors attacked by Mountied Police in Canada. Armed mercenaries at sacred Native American site in nothern Wisconsin. Idle No More rally and protest in Minneapolis at Canadian Consulate in response. If you have no idea about this you are easily forgiven. You see there is a virtual corporate media blockade on these stories and others like it. Continue Reading

A conversation with Mary Lethert Wingerd – Author, North Country: The Making of Minnesota

Mary Lethert Wingerd, author of North Country: The Making of Minnesota, the untold history of how the land of the Dakota and Ojibwe became the State of Minnesota. This is an all-new a new history of our fair state, but beginning way back there when this was a land stewarded by our indigenous predecessors, the Ojibwe and Dakota (Sioux), centuries before Europeans first arrived and blended in with their brothers, then turned on them to settle those same lands by cheating trade and false treaties. Mary Wingerd and TTT’s Andy Driscoll talk about her book and touch on her oral history project at St. Cloud State University, where she is a professor of history. Wingerd is also author of Claiming the City: Politics, Faith, and the Power of Place in St. Paul . Continue Reading

Responses to Statehood provides venue for Native perspectives

Waziyatawin (Angela Wilson), Ph.D., a Dakota scholar and activist, and the Minnesota Humanities Center in Saint Paul have collaborated to create Responses to Statehood, an online video project that showcases Dakota and Ojibwe perspectives on Minnesota statehood and the sesquicentennial. The project began airing in November when the Humanities Center began launching new videos weekly. New videos will be uploaded through December. See videos on MN Humanities Commission siteWaziyatawin (Wahpetunwan Dakota) hosts each chapter, providing video commentary on such topics as: the forced removal, ethnic cleansing and genocide, boarding schools, allotment, and the seizure of Native lands. All videos and support material can be found under “Special Projects” on the center’s main website. Continue Reading