Arts

Mapuche Artist Bernardo Oyarzun Unmasks Chile’s Truth

Written by at August 17, 2017

Artist Bernardo Oyarzun tells the story of his indigenous heritage and of Chile through his Mapuche masks, on display this year at the Venice Biennale.

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$100,000 Super Bowl Fund Grant Creates White Earth Reservation Skate Parks

Written by at August 17, 2017

Shredtastic! Thanks to a $100,000 Super Bowl grant, the White Earth Reservation is building three skate parks for its community members

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US Reaps Fear and Hatred GOP Sowed

Written by at August 15, 2017

The puzzle for the Democrats is how to alleviate the fear of white Americans of being replaced or displaced from the seat of power held by the GOP.

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PBS Documentary on Native American Tribal Justice and Families Debuts Monday August 21

Written by at August 15, 2017

A new PBS Documentary on POV titled Tribal Justice spotlights tribal courts that incorporate indigenous customs and beliefs into their justice systems

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‘40 Under 40’ Natives Named! National Center to Honor its Tenth Class of Awardees

Written by at August 15, 2017

Names of the “Native American 40 under 40” award winners have been released. This marks the 10th anniversary of 40 Under 40. Including 2017’s tenth class of honorees, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development will have recognized 400 total emerging American Indians from across Indian country.

The National Center will honor the 2017 class 40 under 40 award recipients during its inaugural Northwest Enterprise Development Conference at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip,

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Alaska Needs More Alaska Native Teachers

Written by at August 13, 2017

In order to train more Alaska Native teachers, the University of Alaska Southeast offers the PITAAS scholarship program.

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10 Indian Country Dog Breeds You Should Know

Written by at August 12, 2017

Since the beginning of time, canines have had a special role in Native American family life, here are 10 dog breeds you should know from Indian country.

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Majority of Arizona’s Native Americans Not Speaking Navajo Language at Home

Written by at August 12, 2017

Majority of Arizona’s Native Americans Not Speaking Navajo Language at Home

The latest American Community Survey shows the majority of Arizona’s Native Americans do not speak the Navajo language at home, they only speak English.

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An Interview with Taylor Sheridan, Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter and Director of ‘Wind River’

Written by at August 10, 2017

An Interview with Taylor Sheridan, Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter and Director of ‘Wind River’

Taylor Sheridan, the Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter and Director of ‘Wind River’ talks to ICMN about spending decades on the rez and his film Wind River

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Canada Marks International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Written by at August 9, 2017

Reflections on the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, during the tenth after U.N. rights declaration.

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Native Caucus = Strength in Numbers

Written by at August 8, 2017

From winning state bonding funds for redesign and improvements for the Minneapolis American Indian Center to preserving funding for Indian education programs, the newly-formed Native Caucus in the Minnesota Legislature is showing again there is strength in numbers.

Voters in the last election added two more Native Americans to the Minnesota House of Representatives, making a small Native Caucus of four women. They, in turn, joined with House and Senate members from Hispanic/Latino, Hmong and other Asian, Somali and Black American heritages to form a 14-member People of Color Indigenous (POCI) Caucus to fight collaboratively for racial and economic equality issues during the 2017 legislative session.

New to the Legislature are Reps. Jamie Becker-Finn, of Roseville (District 42B); and Mary Kunesh-Podein, New Brighton (41B). They joined Reps. Peggy Flanagan, St. Louis Park (46A), who won a special election in 2015 and a full term in November; and three-term veteran Susan Allen, of Minneapolis (62B) 

All Native and POCI members are DFLers. That means they are minority individuals combining talents within the minority party of both houses of the Minnesota Legislature. It also means they needed to work offensively and defensively with Republican lawmakers and committee chairs to seek new programs and funds while preserving programs and funds already serving their constituents and communities.

“It is hard for me to imagine doing this job without the Native Caucus and the POCI caucus,” said new House member Becker-Finn. “I think there is strength in numbers, but it also gave me strength as an individual to look across the House floor and see Representative Flanagan and know that I was not alone in what I was fighting for.”

 Reaching out and banding together worked, at least in the eyes of Mary LaGarde, executive director of the Minneapolis American Indian Center. The caucus coauthored and supported legislative efforts for the Center’s $155,000 renovation pre-design funding that was led by Rep. Karen Clark (62A), who represents that area of south Minneapolis.

LaGarde said design work and mechanical upgrade plans will be prepared by late fall at the earliest. Ever a diplomat, LaGarde said she was pleased that Gov. Mark Dayton, a DFLer, included the Center’s funding in his state bonding bill recommendations, and that Clark and Allen were able to get Republican legislative leaders to study and accept the proposal. Key among them was Rep. Dean Urdahl (18A), R-Grove City and the House Capital Investment chair.

Given that there are now enough Native heritage members of the Legislature to actually work as a caucus, The Circle asked the four lawmakers to assess what was accomplished, what wasn’t, and how working together in Native and POCI (pronounced “posse”) caucuses worked.

Allen provided a long list of bills either passed or incorporated into larger, omnibus legislation from the state’s Revisor of Statutes Office that included:

Tax exemptions for tribal clinics in cities off of tribal lands, and including income earned by tribal members working on reservations for eligibility for Minnesota Working Family Tax Credits.
Tribal contract school aid for 2018 and 2019.
American Indian education aid and American Indian teacher preparation grants for the next two years.
Tribal college grants and an Indian scholarship program administered at Bemidji State University.
Opioid Abuse Prevention Pilot projects across the state that include Native communities.
Funding for the Indian Affairs Council for a variety of programs, including to preserve Dakota and Ojibwe language, support for the Niiganne Ojibwe Immersion School, Wicoie Nandagikendan Urban Immersion Project, Baby’s Space and other Indian Affairs Council partners.
A grant to the American Indian Council to carry out responsibilities for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Grants for the American Indian Opportunities and Industrialization Center, in collaboration with the Northwest Indian Community Development Center, to help reduce educational disparities for American Indian students and adults.
Funds for the state’s Housing Finance Agency for use in encouraging housing projects for American Indians and communities of color, and for a home ownership assistance program for those communities.
And, $1.5 million in funds for the Department of Natural Resources as part of an agreement in which the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will acquire 45 acres of aquatic and wildlife habitat at an historic meeting place between explorer Henry Schoolcraft and Anishinabe people. The land will be open to the public and not put in federal trust through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Of course, nearly everything else that passed the Legislature and was signed into law will have an impact on Minnesota Indian Country along with all other communities within the state.

For Allen, the “dean” of the Native Caucus, there was as much frustration over what wasn’t done as there was satisfaction over what she deemed to be accomplishments.

The Legislature mostly ignored the chaos in Washington and how federal programs in transition might come back and harm state and local governments and their shared programs, she said. As a result, she added, the Legislature “squandered most of the $1.65 billion (state) budget surplus by redistributing it to the wealthy and further widening inequality between the wealthy and people struggling to secure and maintain regular employment that pays a living wage.”

The two caucuses working together did hold off legislative efforts to prohibit local governments, such as the city of Minneapolis, from addressing economic inequality issues such as raising minimum wages. They also were instrumental in preventing legislative efforts aimed at disallowing citizen protests.

The strength in numbers didn’t just come from the members of the Legislature. It was also reflected by citizens who came to support the caucus members. For instance, a House debate on an oil pipeline amendment drew Native people and environmentalist allies, “and was the most powerful day of my legislative career thus far,” said Becker-Finn.

“To hear the drum reverberate in our State Capitol – it was a very powerful and also effective at showing how much people in our communities care about the issue,” she said.

Kunesh-Podein, meanwhile, said being able to tell personal stories from family experiences helped other lawmakers grasp how public policy plays out in human terms. When funds for American Indian students and tribal schools were being excluded from initial budget bills, “being a member of the POCI caucus gave me the courage and voice to raise this ‘oversight’ on the House floor.

“It also compelled me to share my family’s history of trauma related to being removed from the Standing Rock Reservation and being sent to the Carlisle Indian Boarding School in Pennsylvania. At the end of the session, and after our collective perseverance and personal conversations with committee members, I was elated to see that monies were put back into the education omnibus bill.”

Four members of the House help make other legislators aware of tribes and indigenous people, the members said. But even greater strength comes from teaming with POCI members who represent other “marginalized” communities in Minnesota, Kunesh-Podein said.

Immigrants live in constant fear of deportation; and women’s reproductive rights and economic opportunities are under constant attack, she said. With POCI, she said, “we have a powerful, collective voice for these constituents.”

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Fear the New Tribalism

Written by at August 8, 2017

Political figureheads stumped by President Trump are using tribalism as a form of deflection when it comes to criticism of the alleged “civilized.”

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Jennifer Easton, Founder of First Peoples Fund and Sumasil Foundation, Walked On

Written by at August 8, 2017

Jennifer Easton, a naitonal leader in philanthropic support of Native interests and cultures, walked on August 1, from complications after surgery.

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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, August 6, 2017

Written by at August 6, 2017

Native movies make a mark, a lawsuit looms on behalf of the delisted Yellowstone grizzly, and more in Indian country the week preceding August 6.

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Mad Scientist: Ojibwe Doctor Named Physician of the Year

Written by at August 6, 2017

Ojibwe doctor Arne Vainio has been named Physician of the Year by the Association of American Indian Physicians. And now he’s teaching the next generation.

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A Conversation with Tokala Clifford, Pine Ridge Film Star in Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River

Written by at August 5, 2017

Tokala Clifford from Pine Ridge says working on Wind River by Taylor Sheridan ‘was more like a family’ thanks to Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene and more

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Igniting the Fire of Truth on Behalf of Earth-Is-Woman, the Creator and the Nnee

Written by at August 5, 2017

The People—the Nnee (known today as Western Apache)—need to follow the lead of their great ancestors and fight for life.

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HDIMT: A Bald Eagle Nearly Drowns, and the Cherokee Phoenix Shows Off Its Tale Feathers

Written by at August 4, 2017

The Cherokee Phoenix will translate and print 19th Century stories for readers and a bald eagle nearly drowns in the Atlantic Ocean.

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‘People of the Confluence’ Tk’emlups te SecwÉpemc’s 38th Kamloopa Pow Wow

Written by at August 4, 2017

BC bound! The Kaloomps Indian Band celebrates their 38th Annual Kamloopa Pow Wow this weekend! (Weekly list of pow wows included)

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Red Lake Spiritual Leader, Anna C. Gibbs, Walked On July 24

Written by at August 2, 2017

Anna C. Gibbs walked on July 24, she was instrumental in the growing of the Ojibwe language revitalization efforts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Native American Students In Crisis

Written by at August 2, 2017

Native American students face more disciplinary challenges, discrimination and sub par curricula than their non-Native peers; leads to higher dropout rates.

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Movie Review: Taylor Sheridan’s ‘Wind River’ is Gripping, Realistic and Beautifully-Crafted

Written by at August 1, 2017

Movie Review on Taylor Sheridan’s ‘Wind River’ The most realistic and respectful portrayal on film of the relationships between Native people and others

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Amah Mutsun’s Battle to Persevere

Written by at August 1, 2017

The Amah Mutsun of California, though not federally recognized, have persevered since before the time of Junípero Serra, founder of the Spanish mission system.

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Two-Spirit Director, Actor and Author Xemi Manibusan: Healing Through The Arts

Written by at July 30, 2017

Xemi Manibusan is an indigenous Two-Spirit Director, Actor and Author in Washington D.C. fighting for the accurate representation of Native people in art

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Airline Security: Why I Am Considering Not Flying Anymore

Written by at July 27, 2017

A recent trip through airline security turned into a post-modern nightmare as the author confronted unfounded accusations from security personnel.

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