The Capitol Art Subcommittee established to review controversial capitol art will meet Monday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Minnesota Judicial Center in Room G-6. The public is welcome to attend.
Some quick background: The Minnesota State Capitol is in the early stages of a $300 million renovation. Much of the capitol art dates from the time of the building’s construction in the early 1900s, and it offers scant if any representation of our state’s increasingly diverse population. Further, some of the pieces misrepresent our history and put Native Americans in an offensive light, such as the Governor’s Reception Room painting of Father Hennepin “discovering” St. Anthony Falls. We now face a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reassess the art, and the story it tells about who we are as a people.
The Capitol Preservation Commission created the Art Subcommittee, and it is in the early stages of getting organized. The committee process and timeline for making recommendations has yet to be defined publicly. Topics for the Aug. 3 meeting include the role of art in the Capitol and a discussion of new space that will be available for new art.
Healing Minnesota Stories has a separate “Capitol Art” page on this blog to follow the Subcommittee’s work and to look at how other states have dealt with their capitol art. We also have a project called Indians in Public Art: Myths and Misconceptions, with more details on our work in this area.
This Day in History: First Major Land Cession Treaty in Minnesota
On July 29, 1837, the Ojibwe signed the first major land cession treaty in Minnesota, at what is now Mendota. According to the Indian Land Tenure Foundation:
The first major land cessions by Dakota and Ojibwe people in what is now Minnesota coincided with the collapse of the fur trade. New owners of the American Fur Company – Ramsay Crooks, Henry Sibley and Hercules Dousman, with the Chouteau family of St. Louis – and other traders changed their business strategy from trading for furs to making treaties. They used powerful connections in the U.S. political system to ensure that when Dakota and Ojibwe people received compensation for ceded land, much of the cash would be used to pay fur trade debts. …
The Ojibwe received $24,000 in cash, goods and services, retaining rights to use the land for hunting, fishing and other purposes. Their mixed-blood relatives (including men who signed treaties on behalf of the U.S.) received $100,000; and fur traders received $70,000. Traders William Aitkin, Lyman Warren, and Hercules Dousman are mentioned by name as intended recipients of debt payments.
Click on the link above for more background.
Bring the Children Home: Native-produced Play at the Fringe Festival
Raving Native Productions returns to the Minneapolis Fringe after a few years hiatus, according to an announcement by the playwright Marcie Rendon. “We have always promised you Native theater without beads, feathers, flutes or drums. Bring the Children Home is no different. … It is about a young person’s search for his/her identity and name – elders and spirit guide the young person’s journey home… Bring the Children Home… is for all ages. It speaks to elders and parents about their role in our communities. It speaks to youth about their need for community and family.”
- Mon Aug. 3, 5:30 & 7 p.m.
- Tue Aug. 4, 5:30 & 8:30 p.m.
- Wed Aug. 5 – 7 p.m.