Help Launch Water Summit in Minneapolis and Support a Lakota Family’s Trip to the UN

Healing Minnesota Stories invites you to support a local Lakota family who is traveling to New York to participate in the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and have its voice heard. Among other things, the family hopes to use the U.N. trip to promote and build support for a Minneapolis-based Mni ki Wakan Decade of Water Summit.

The LaPointe Tiwahe (Lakota for “extended family”) is doing important work in our community. Please consider making a contribution to this trip, even if it is just $10 or $20. There are more details on the family’s GoFundMe page. Continue reading

News and Events: Sacred Site Tours Restart; Book Release: White Birch, Red Hawthorn; First Minnesotans Caucus at the Legislature

With the weather warming, Healing Minnesota Stories is restarting its Sacred Site Tours. The first open tours are Saturday, April 15, 2017  and Saturday, May 13. Both run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tours are led by Jim Bear Jacobs (Mohican) and Bob Klanderud (Dakota). The tours offer an opportunity to learn about Minnesota history from a Native perspective through story-telling and experiencing the sites in silence, meditation, and reflection. To register, to be placed on a waiting list, or for information on a future tour, contact us at

There is no cost for the tour, but a free will offering is appreciated. Contributions for individuals are invited in the range of $20-$40. Donations support Healing Minnesota Stories programs and events. Space is limited to 40 people.

We are happy to arrange custom tours for faith communities, community organizations, or other groups of 12 or more. Continue reading

Stop Enbridge Line 3 — Minnesota’s Version of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Just got an email this morning from Honor the Earth with a link to a new website titled: Stop the Line 3 Pipeline. Enbridge Line 3 is Minnesota’s version of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipeline will pose risks to Minnesota’s waters and wild rice areas and ignore and violate Anishinaabeg treaty rights.

Enbridge, an energy transportation company, has pipelines that carry dirty Canadian tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to various sites in the United States. It is proposing an expansion of Line 3 through Minnesota, 337 miles of pipeline that run from our state’s northwestern border to Superior, Wisc. Its proposal would increase Line 3’s carrying capacity. It would reroute a significant part of the line, taking it through the Mississippi River headwaters region. It would abandon a significant stretch of the old Line 3 and just let it deteriorate in the ground. Those are bad ideas for the state.

In a related matter, Enbridge is suing Minnesota counties to reduce the property taxes it pays for its pipeline right of ways. It could mean a hit of tens of millions of dollars to our state budget.

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Is Water Sacred or a Commodity? How We Answer That Question Will Define Our Future

The widely recognized call-and response chant at oil pipeline protests is “Mni Wiconi … Water is Life.” It reflects the view that water is sacred and essential. Others view water very differently, treating it more like a tennis shoe or a soft drink — something that can be bought and sold.

There does not appear to be common ground. If we say that water is both “life” and a “commodity” subject to the marketplace, we essentially are saying we are OK with life being sold to the highest bidder.

This week, Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis hosted a Water Justice Conference, including a webcast bringing in international speakers. Among them was Archbishop Thabe Makgoba from St. George’s Cathedral in Capetown, South Africa. Clean water is an issue that unites those who are working on environmental issues and those working to help the poor, he said.

“We must stand against industrial policy that threatens water,” Makgoba said. “We must understand the issues and language of clean water. [We must] engage those who are willfully or mindlessly polluting to face [these issues].

There are any number of reasons we all should be concerned about significant threats to clean water, from oil pipeline leaks to water futures markets.

Consider the following. Continue reading

DAPL Operational, Keystone XL Moves Ahead, But Do We Really Need Them?

The 2013 Mayflower oil spill occurred on March 29, 2013 in Arkansas, releasing 134,000 gallons of crude oil. (Wikimedia Foundation)

Dakota Access LLC has reported that oil would start flowing through the pipeline this week, according an article in Slate.

The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribe are challenging the pipeline in court, claiming the federal government violated environmental, historic-preservation, and religious-freedom laws in approving the project. The ruling is likely several weeks away, the article said.

Keystone XL also is moving forward, and will get federal approval today, according to a story in MPR:

The go-ahead for Keystone will mark a clear victory for oil industry advocates, who say the pipeline will create jobs and improve U.S. energy security. Both of those arguments are disputed by the pipeline’s opponents. They say new jobs will be minimal and short-lived, and argue the pipeline won’t help the U.S. with its energy needs because the oil is destined for export.

And Enbridge continues to pursue its Line 3 expansion through northern Minnesota, another pipeline carrying dirty Canadian tar sands oils.

These projects make little sense given the U.S.’s decline in crude oil imports and the fact that we are now a net exporter of refined gas products.

Do We Need All These Projects?

Here are a few oil-related facts you might find surprising.

  • Minnesota’s petroleum fuel consumption has been flat since 2010, and since its 2004 peak it is down 19 percent, according to data provided by the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter. (On a national level, U.S. petroleum fuel consumption also is down since the mid-2000s, but not as much as in Minnesota, about 6 percent.)
  • From its peak in 2006, U.S. crude oil imports had dropped more than 20 percent by 2016. (See: Crude Oil Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.)
  • In early 2011, the United States became a net exporter of noncrude petroleum liquids and refined petroleum products, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

So why are we expanding crude oil pipelines?

Student Art in the Minnesota Capitol? Idea Moving Forward, Thanks to Saint Paul Public Schools and MNHS

Thanks to Saint Paul Public School’s (SPPS), initial conversations are happening with the Minnesota Historical Society to get student art in the Capitol, according to Sherry Kempf, who works in the district’s Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). The MRC staff has been a wonderful partner in promoting the Healing Minnesota Stories Capitol Art project, which teaches students about the historic art in the Minnesota Capitol and challenges them to create their own contemporary Capitol art.

Several SPPS schools have participated in the project. The MRC now displays some 70+ pieces of student art, and more classrooms are in process. (Check out the MRC’s gallery, located in the Washington Technology Magnet School.)

Here is a short video the district created about the project, with footage from an art opening.

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Weekend Reading: From DAPL Documentary to the Native American Slaves Who Built California’s Wine Industry

Weekend Reading:

  • North Dakota Trying to Get U.S. Taxpayers to Pick Up Costs of Excessive DAPL Police Response
  • Documentary: Beyond Standing Rock
  • Federal Budget Cut Plans Could Hurt Native Radio Stations
  • Trump’s Fondness for “Indian Killer” Andrew Jackson: A Wreath and a Portrait
  • California’s Wine Industry has Bloody Roots in Native American Slavery

Continue reading