#NO DAPL Syllabus Project and Other DAPL Resources and Updates

The NYC Stands for Standing Rock committee and Public Seminar are developing a syllabus around the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) conflict in an effort to put it in its broader historical and social context.

According to the #NODAPL Syllabus Project website, one of its goals is to “launch a syllabus project to contextualize DAPL within Sioux and settler history so that those who seek a deeper understanding of the territory and the conflict might learn and teach.” Continue reading

Upcoming Events: Thanksgiving from a Native Perspective; Book Reading “All the Real Indians Died Off” and Other Myths; Kevin Locke in Town

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul is planning a special Thanksgiving Eve Service that will celebrate the holiday from a Native American perspective. It will be Wednesday, November 23, starting at 7 p.m. at the church, 285 Dale Street North.

Joann Conroy (Oglala), a church member and ordained Lutheran pastor, is helping organize the event. Joann also is president of the ELCA Native American/American Indian Lutheran Association.

The details are still being worked out. Initial plans call for lifting up the ELCA’s recent vote to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, the 15th Century justification given to Christian explorers to seize lands from indigenous peoples and convert or enslave them. (More details in this blog.)

Redeemer’s choir will sing, but organizers are looking for others to participate, whether song or drums or speaking on The Doctrine of Discovery. Fellowship and food will follow the service, likely both fry bread and pie. They also may take a donation for the Water Protectors Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota – for winter tents and camping gear.

More details will be printed here when we know them. Interested in participating? Contact Joann at joan.conroy@gmail.com Continue reading

Support Standing Rock Youth and Updates on the Dakota Access Pipeline

Efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline have drawn attention across the country. As you will read below, the Quakers in the Baltimore region have been moved to take a stand. The publicity from the pipeline also has highlighted other problems in Indian Country.

For example, a group of Dakota/Lakota youth credit their local Boys & Girls Club for helping them become leaders in efforts to protect land and water near the Standing Rock Reservation. They started a petition against the pipeline as well as a fundraiser on the website Change.org.

These youth also say that their Club is almost out of money and could shut down. In a recent update, they wrote:

On Standing Rock, like many other reservations, there is a severe lack of opportunities and resources for Native youth to grow and learn in a safe environment. Because of this, many young people struggle with addiction, and suicide is an all too common occurrence.

One of the ways our community works to combat this is with youth groups, which provide mentoring, tutoring, and youth leadership programs for kids in Standing Rock. In fact, it’s thanks to our local Boys & Girls club that many of the young people behind this petition felt empowered to take part in the movement against the pipeline.

But if our club can’t raise enough money, it’s about to shut down for good.

Here is a link to the full post and to the fundraiser. Help if you can.

For on the pipeline, fry bread, an art competition and Quakers, keep reading.

Continue reading

Defending Treaty Fishing Rights (Again); Augsburg Native Film Series; Buy Native/Think Local Campaign

Treaties — and their implications for Native American hunting and fishing rights — are always a contentious topic. Many people are unaware of treaty language, or chose to ignore it when they clash with their business interests. The latest flare up centers on Ojibwe fishing rights on Lake Mille Lacs and its dwindling walleye population.

In spite of a U.S. Supreme Court decision which holds the Mille Lacs bands hunting and fishing rights, the state of Minnesota set up a process that guaranteed the band would have a weakened voice in the debate over fishing limits.

Last year, the state created a 17-member panel to advise the state on walleye fishing on Mille Lacs. There was a single tribal representative on that panel: Jamie Edwards, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s director of government affairs. Edwards just resigned by letter, according to a story in Minnesota Public Radio. He sited the committee’s disrespect for tribal sovereignty.

The Edwards resignation letter said that the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee, “had devolved into anti-science, anti-treaty-rights forum subsidized by state resources.” It continued:

To say that I am a minority on this committee is an understatement. Rather than representing a diversity of interests and perspectives, the overwhelming majority of [committee] members are persons who own businesses dependent upon walleye fishing. [The committee] does not include conservationists, owners of businesses dependent on other species of fish, representatives of other types of businesses or any of the other myriad stakeholders of Mille Lacs fisheries.

Continue reading

Sovereignty Matters: Perspectives on the Dakota Access Pipeline Project

thunderbirdwomanA free panel discussion to learn diverse Native perspectives on the Dakota Access Pipeline will be held Monday, October 31, 3 p.m. in the Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop at the University of Minnesota. It is being hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study.

The event is titled: Sovereignty Matters: Perspectives on the Dakota Access Pipeline Project. According to the on-line announcement:

This panel will present the various perspectives at stake in the DAPL case, from historical, legal, environmental, cultural, and personal viewpoints. How does this case speak to the state of American Indian sovereignty today? Does Federal ambivalence indicate an admission that Native/state relations require attention? What is at stake for Standing Rock and all Native nations?

The panelists will be: Continue reading

Massachusetts Statehouse Art Shows “Peaceful” and “Praying” Indians, Ignores the Harm

The first official seal of the Colony of Massachusetts, shown in a stained glass window in the Massachusetts State House.
The first official seal of the Colony of Massachusetts: 1628.

Shown at right is the first official seal of the Massachusetts Colony. It has a Native American dressed in a grass skirt with the words coming from his mouth: “Come Over and Help Us.”


First, the Wampanoag native to the area did not wear grass skirts. Second, does anyone believe that any of them ever said: “Come Over and Help Us”? In fact, the colonists soon cheated the Wampanoag out of their land and banned their language.

A close up of the stained glass window.

And so we continue with our tour of art in the various state capitols and statehouses to see how they depict Native Americans and early U.S. history. (Information on capitol art in Minnesota and other states is collected on 0ur Capitol Art page.)

Today’s tour is the Statehouse of the Massachusetts Commonwealth. This stained glass version of the first Colonial Seal appears prominently atop a large window over a main Statehouse staircase. The window includes all the iterations of the Massachusetts seal.

It might seem historically quaint to some, but this original seal reflects a narrative of the helpless Indian. The words are not legible to passersby even if they stopped and squinted. Still, is this an image that you would show with pride in your most important state building, especially with no counter narrative or sign of regret?

Continue reading

Dakota Access Pipeline: Construction Resumes, More Arrests, Sanders Speaks Out; Two Rivers Gallery Opens New Exhibit

Screen capture of video showing Shailene Woodley's arrest.
Screen capture of video showing the militarized response to those working to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline and protect the land and water near the Standing Rock Reservation.

On Monday, Energy Transfer Partners again started work on the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. It followed a Sunday ruling by a federal court judge that allowed construction to resume. The work began in spite of a federal request for a voluntarily pause in construction, according to a story in Minnesota Pubic Radio.

The renewed work triggered peaceful civil disobedience and 27 arrests of those trying to protect the land and water. Anna Lee, Bobbi Jean and the Oceti Sakowin Youth who are working to stop the pipeline posted an update with a video of the arrest for criminal trespass of Hollywood star Shailene Woodley (it’s long, look around the 1 hour, 59 minute mark). The video has stunning images of the militarized response, with helicopters, armored trucks, and heavily armed men in camouflage.

MRP reported today that Bernie Sanders and four other Democratic U.S. Senators asked President Obama to intervene and stop the project until a complete environmental review can be done. Energy Transfer Partners plans to finish the project by the end of the year. Continue reading