First Native American Jurist Appointed to Minnesota Supreme Court and Other News

Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Anne McKeig to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the first Native American appointed to the state’s highest court.

The Star Tribune and other outlets report that McKeig is “a descendant of White Earth Nation.” Huh!? That seems like a bizarre way to say it. Are they trying to give the impression that while McKeig is a descendant of White Earth, she is not claiming it herself? Are they trying to say that White Earth Nation is gone, and all that are left are the descendants?

I don’t know how the “descendant of White Earth” language got rolling, but let’s go with the more straight forward description published on line from St. Catherine University, McKeig’s alma mater. “McKeig is a member of the American Indian Bar Association, and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation.”

McKeig specialized in child protection and Indian welfare issues, according to the Star Tribune. Also, the Minnesota Supreme Court now has a majority of women for the first time since 1991.

Keep reading below for:

  • Native American sue for voting rights in North Dakota
  • A book review of ‘An American Genocide’
  • The Washington Cathedral to remove Confederate Battle Flags from stained glass windows (think Minnesota State Capitol)
  • Ancient Mexican Temple Damaged

Native American sue in North Dakota for voting rights

“On June 20, 2016, seven Native American voters in North Dakota moved the North Dakota federal district court to enjoin North Dakota’s recently enacted strict voter ID law and to reinstate the voter identification procedures that were in place before the new laws,” according to an email from the Native American Rights Fund.

The email described North Dakota’s new voting procedures as the most restrictive in the country. For instance, it has fewer acceptable IDs, passports and military IDs don’t count.

More than 72,000 voting eligible citizens in North Dakota lack a qualifying ID to be able to vote, according to the Plaintiffs. That includes 7,984 Native Americans, or 23.5% of the total voting eligible Native American population (as compared to only 12.0% of the non-Native Americans that lack a qualifying ID). For Native Americans who face high levels of poverty and lower access to transportation, the burden to travel, in some cases, more than 120 miles round trip to obtain a state ID is substantial.

‘An American Genocide:’ A Book Review

The New York Times recently ran a book review of ‘An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873‘ by Benjamin Madley. It says:

Lacking firearms, subdivided into many distinct groups, and greatly outnumbered by 1852, the California natives were more vulnerable to attack than Indians elsewhere. … [B]y 1873, roaming bands of Indian-killers played a major role in reducing native numbers by more than 80 percent. Often the massacres erupted as indiscriminate retribution after some starving Indians killed and ate a few cattle. Vigilante gangs also profited by seizing native women and children for sale as slaves, principally in San Francisco.

The book has an appendix that runs nearly 200 pages long listing known acts of violence against California Indians.

Washington Cathedral To Remove Confederate Battle Flags from Stained Glass Windows

A debate at the Washington National Cathedral, a leading house of worship in the country, is echoing a debate in Minnesota about offensive and racist art important public spaces (such as the Minnesota State Capitol.)

The National Cathedral announced it will remove two images of Confederate Battle Flags from its stained glass windows, according to a June 9 article in the New York Times. It is surprising to note that the stained glass windows honoring Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were installed as recently as 1953, funded in part by the Daughters of the Confederacy. Current church leaders didn’t know the battle flag images were there, until someone pointed them out after the mass shooting Emanuel AME, an historically black church in Charleston.

The Washington National Cathedral is choosing to remove the battle flags but leave the rest of the imagery.

“Instead of simply taking the windows down and going on with business as usual, the cathedral recognizes that, for now, they provide an opportunity for us to begin to write a new narrative on race and racial justice at the cathedral and perhaps for our nation,” the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the cathedral’s canon theologian, said in the statement.

Ancient Mexican Temple Damaged

“Assailants have damaged an ancient Otomi Indian religious site in Mexico, toppling stone structures used as altars, breaking carved stones and scattering offerings of flowers, fruit and paintings at the remote mountain shrine known as Mayonihka or Mexico Chiquito,” according to an Associated Press story.

Some media outlets, such as Telesur, blame the attack on Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the AP story raises some doubts.

A researcher who interviewed some of the attackers said they identified themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses and viewed the altars as blasphemy. However, the spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico said Tuesday that the allegation appeared to be false.

A local official in the state of Hidalgo said Monday that some local residents were angered by what believed to be idolatry and had damaged the remote site.

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