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.

The idea for the Water Summit grew out of community conversations around the restoration of the name Mde Maka Ska, a.k.a. Lake Calhoun. (The LaPointe family has led these conversations, hosted at First Universalist Church.) In addition to promoting the Water Summit, the family will be active in other ways at the United Nations, according to an email from Wakinyan LaPointe.

As a delegation with approved observer status, our father [LeMoine LaPointe] will represent the hereditary obligation of our Tiwahe to protect the validity of the Lakota Nations’ 1868 Treaty, a “supreme law of the land” document to which our Sicangu Lakota great-grandfather was a signer and designated enforcer; our sister, a 2016 Sundance Film Institute invitee and 2016 Knight Foundation Fellowship recipient, will capture the concerns and efforts of indigenous delegates through film; our mother, who has dedicated over 20 years of her life to eliminating all forms of discrimination against indigenous women, will participate in forums of the Indigenous Women’s Caucus alongside her daughter; and us (Thorne and Wakinyan LaPointe), who are college students aspiring toward degrees in indigenous law, will engage in the international indigenous diplomacy network, workshops, and lead on-the-floor presentations at the forum.

Stay tuned for updates.

Here are more details from Wakinyan’s email:

A Tiwahe Journey

Today, 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide continue to be the living repositories, in humble and profound ways, of stories and practices that possess the potential to save a world in peril. Collectively, the enduring wisdom that emanates from these enduring ways of life provides the guidance necessary for recovery. We live in a time when indigenous peoples and communities continue to face their most daunting and dangerous challenges. Despite the genocide and ecological self-destruction, the living spirit of our indigenous ancestors speaks through us. Their balanced relationship with all things penetrate, with rays of hope, a contemporary world increasingly overcast with trouble and adversity. We are still here.

Today, the Tiwahe (extended family) represents the foundational unit of the oldest and eldest Nations on Earth, those of indigenous peoples. It is in tribute and commemoration to this understanding that our Lakota Tiwahe (extended family), once again, looks toward participation in the 16th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. The theme of the 2017 forum, “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to implement the Declaration”, aligns well with our mission to protect and preserve the sanctity of water. Whether it be in the arctic, in the forests, in the desert, in the plains, or in the mountains, water is life.  

Since the dawn of time, indigenous peoples continue to instruct mankind as to its relationship with Mother Earth, guiding them to the understanding that ‘we do not separate the creator from creation,’ and in this light, our Tiwahe continues to respond to the calls of this great spirit with the gifts and strengths of our forefathers and mothers for future generations to come. We respect your consideration of our request for support. Contributing to our tiwahe return journey to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 16th Session in New York will enable us to directly invite Indigenous Peoples to the Mni Ki Wakan: Decade of Water summit, August 2017, in MN. Engage interested indigenous peoples and stake holders in face-to-face engagement in the side event. In addition, it will help us to enrich our collective contributions to Unci Maka, the Indigenous World, all global communities, and the protection of waters.”

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