News and Events: New Study on Impact of Indian Child Removal, Lorenz to Lead Wakan Tipi Center, Native-Themed Video Game, and More

In this blog:

  • First Comprehensive Study on Removal of Native Children from their Families
  • Maggie Lorenz Hired to Lead Wakan Tipi Center in St. Paul
  • “Why Treaties Matter” Community Conversation at East Side Freedom Library April 28
  • New Decision-Based Video Games Set in the Late 1800s Flips the Script, Takes the Indigenous Perspective
  • Why White Women Tried to Ban Native American Dances

First Comprehensive Study on the Impact of Removing Native Children from their Families

The Carlisle School in Pennsylvania was the archtype for boarding schools. (Photo: courtesy Wikipedia)

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), the First Nations Repatriation Institute, and the University of Minnesota are launching a study titled: “Child Removal in Native Communities: An Anonymous Survey,” according to an article in Indian Country Today.

There has been little research that directly studies these histories of child removal and their effects, so health providers and other care practitioners are not informed about how to identify and address this historical and intergenerational trauma.

The study has three goals:

  • To understand the experiences Native people whose family lives have been disrupted by federal or other intervention: United States Indian boarding school survivors and their descendants, and adoptees and formerly fostered individuals.
  • To learn more about the impact of these experiences on child welfare and health in future generations.
  • To hear how boarding school survivors and descendants, adoptees, and formerly fostered individuals have begun healing.

For more on the anonymous survey, go to z.umn.edu/child-removal-study

Maggie Lorenz Hired to Lead Wakan Tipi Center in St. Paul

Maggie Lorenz, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa with maternal ties to the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation, has been named the director of proposed Wakan Tipi Center. It will be located in the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in St Paul.

According to its website:

Wakan Tipi Center will be a visitor and interpretive center as well as a multi-use public facility owned by the City of Saint Paul and operated by the non-profit Lower Phalen Creek Project. The interpretive center will honor and interpret the Dakota sacred site, Wakan Tipi Cave, as well as the many traditions and ethnic groups represented in the rich cultural history of this area.

According to a Facebook post:

Lorenz brings a host of new community connections and has extensive experience working with the Twin Cities American Indian community, most recently as the Founder and Program Manager for Wakinyan Luta Oyanke, a grassroots American Indian community group on Saint Paul’s East Side.

Maggie brings a bold vision for Wakan Tipi Center and Lower Phalen Creek Project, which couldn’t come at a better time as the organization sharpens its focus to truly honor the Dakota historical, cultural and spiritual value that is still very much alive within the parks on Saint Paul’s East Side.

“Why Treaties Matter” Community Conversation at East Side Freedom Library April 28

The East Side Freedom Library has been hosting the Why Treaties Matter exhibit since March, and on Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. it will have a closing community conversation around what it means for us today.

The library is located at 1105 Greenbrier St. in St. Paul.

Questions posed during the conversation will include:

  • What should we do with this knowledge?
  • What stories should the St. Paul City Hall murals tell? (For more background, see: Change is Coming to Racist Murals in St. Paul City Hall and You Can Play a Role.)
  • How should the Dakota sacred space known as “Indian Mounds Park” be treated by the city, by our neighbors?
  • What values are communicated when men like Alexander Ramsey are honored by having our schools and our county named for them?
  • What should we do about this history?

New Decision-Based Video Games Set in the Late 1800s Flips the Script, Takes the Indigenous Perspective

Indigenous writers and artists have designed the indigenous version of the Oregon Trail video game, this time from the Indian perspective. The decision-based role-playing game is called When Rivers Were Trails, according to an article in Indian Country Today.

It was developed by the Minnesota-based Indian Land Tenure Foundation and Michigan State University’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab, with financial support from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

In the game, an Anishinaabeg player in the 1890s is displaced from Fond du Lac in Minnesota due to the impact of land allotments. They make their way to the Northwest and eventually venture into California.

The player, who must first choose a clan with different strengths, must make different choices throughout the game as they come across various indigenous people, animals, plants, and run-ins with Indian agents

Why White Women Tried to Ban Native American Dances

The article Why White Women Tried to Ban Native American Dances, published by the JSTOR Daily, discusses how reformers of the 1920s tried to suppress Pueblo dances because of their sexual nature. It opens with the following:

In the early 1920s, a secret file scandalized white women reformers in the United States. It was known as the Secret Dance File, its contents too shocking (and titillating) to print or even send in the mail. As historian Margaret D. Jacobs writes, the salacious file became the centerpiece of a heated debate about whether or not Pueblo people should perform their traditional dances—a fight that illuminated the goals and tactics of the white women reformers who thought they should control Native Americans’ lives.

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