American Indian community organizations and their leadership have sent a strongly worded message to state leaders to stop the empty “civic engagement” forums and commit to long-term relationships, authentic collaborations, and investments with Native American communities. The March 3 letter from American Indian leaders was sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and numerous state commissioners. It said:
We, the undersigned of this letter, are deeply troubled at the continued lack of attention given to our people by you, the leadership of this state. In recent months there has been much discussion regarding economic and educational disparities that persist within many communities of color. However, consistent with historical precedent, there remains an exclusion of our people in these discussions …
The only form of engagement, if any, always comes after the fact — once the plan has been created and publicly disseminated. It is only then that our community is finally allowed to participate in the process within generic open forums typically referred to as public comment sessions.
The letter listed several specific requests about how the state could improve its connections and partnerships with American Indian peoples and the organizations that work on their behalf. It was signed by: Ain Dah Yung Center; the American Indian Community Development Corporation; the American Indian Movement Interpretive Center; the American Indian OIC; Bii Gii Wiin Community Development Loan Fund; the Division of Indian Work; the Little Earth of United Tribes; the Minneapolis American Indian Center; the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center; and the Northwest Indian Community Development Center.
Click on the link above for the full letter.
Get Involved: History of Native Americans in Minneapolis
The City of Minneapolis is preparing a History of Native Americans in Minneapolis. You are invited to learn about the project and comment at a meeting on Tuesday, March 8, 6-7 p.m. at All My Relations Gallery, 1414 East Franklin Ave. The city is asking for feedback on the people, places and themes that should be included in such a history.
It is late notice for this particular meeting. If you can’t make it and are interested in learning more, contact Christine McDonald, the American Indian Community Specialist for the city of Minneapolis, at 612-849-2386 or Christine.McDonald@MINNEAPOLISMN.GOV