News and Events: Ways of Knowing Water Seminar; ‘Tribal Justice’ film screening; Braves’ ‘Tomahawk Chop’ could get chopped, and more

In this blog:

  • Film screening of ‘Tribal Justice’ at downtown Central Library, Thursday, 7-9:30 p.m. (free)
  • Ways of Knowing Water, Weisman Art Museum, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 7-9 p.m. (free)
  • Braves baseball team to discuss “Tomahawk Chop” with American Indians
  • California tribe reclaims island it calls center of the universe
  • Eleven states and 129 cities now recognize Indigenous Peoples Day; Trump, not so much

Film Screening of Tribal Justice at Central Library, Thursday, 7-9:30 p.m.

Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, announced the following film screening, which is free and open to the public.

In “Tribal Justice,” two Native American judges apply indigenous concepts of justice in order to reduce incarceration rates, foster greater safety for their communities, and create a more positive future for their youth. By addressing the root causes of crime, they are providing models of restorative justice that are working. Mainstream courts across the country are taking notice.

Screening followed by a discussion with filmmaker Anne Makepeace and judges Abby Abinanti and Claudette White. This event is a collaboration with the award-winning documentary series “POV” (

Ways of Knowing Water, Weisman Art Museum, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 7-9 p.m.

The Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Road, Minneapolis, has created a year-long project called Ways of Knowing Water. The goal is to create “a community of artists, scientists, scholars, thinkers and craftspeople who are collectively learning how to feel, think, know, read, and taste water, in an attempt to devise a holistic model of knowledge that addresses water as a “discipline” of its own.

“We hope that what the community learns will lay the foundation for new paradigms for research, teaching, art, and public engagement. In this event, we will share what we have learned over the past years, and think together what work lies ahead.”

An Oct. 30 Ways of Knowing Water seminar is free and open to the public (though registration is required). It will be facilitated by culture activist Jewell Arcoren (Dakota) and artist Aaron Dysart—the Ways of Knowing Water fellows—who will lead the collaborative effort.

Click on the links above for more details.

Braves baseball team to discuss “Tomahawk Chop” with American Indians

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Oct. 13 that the “Atlanta Braves’ front office says it will hold talks with Native Americans during the offseason in deciding whether to keep or axe the … tomahawk chop tradition.”

When you think of racist Indian stereotypes — cigar store Indians or 1950s Western movies — the Braves’ fans use of the Tomahawk Chop is a relatively recent phenomenon, starting in 1991.

The controversy around the Tomahawk Chop is not new. It resurfaced when the Atlanta Braves played the St. Louis Cardinals in a National League Division Playoff series this month. One of the Cardinals’ relief pitchers, Ryan Helsley, is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Helsley called out the Braves’ fans, saying the tomahawk chop was “disrespectful” and fans were engaging in “kind of caveman-type” behavior.

The Oct. 13 article quoted a written statement from Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.:

The Cherokee Nation is proud of tribal citizen and Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley for speaking out against stereotypes and standing up for the dignity of Native Americans in this country.

Post Script: The Braves “did not distribute their traditional red foam tomahawks to fans before Game 5 of their National League Division Series, Indian Country Today reported. The Cardinals trounced the Braves, leading 10-0 after the first inning. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that several of Georgia’s Republican leaders “blamed the tomahawk chop’s hiatus for the team’s humiliating 13-1 loss, characterizing it as acquiescence to political correctness.”

Comment: The Georgia Republican leaders need to take more personal responsibility. They must have forgotten to wear their lucky socks.

Click on the links above for more details.

California tribe regains island it calls the Center of the Universe

From Indian Country Today, Oct. 21:

Indian Island off the coast of Northern California was the site of a massacre, a place that was contaminated by a shipyard and flush with invasive species.

It’s also the spiritual and physical center of the universe for the small Wiyot Tribe, and it now belongs to them almost entirely after a city deeded all the land it owns on the island to the tribe during a packed signing ceremony Monday.

Click on the link above for the full story.

Eleven states and 129 cities now recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in 2019; Trump, not so much

Indian Country Today ran a story Oct. 11, Making Indigenous People’s Day official across the country, which includes a map of the 11 states and 129 cities that now recognize it.  It includes Grand Rapids, Minn. (2014), Minneapolis (2014), St. Paul (2015), the state of Minnesota (2016), Bemidji (2018), Mankato (2018), and Red Wing (2018).

The article also notes that President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation this year “to celebrate Columbus Day rather than Indigenous Peoples Day.” The Proclamation read in part:

Today, we commemorate this great explorer, whose courage, skill, and drive for discovery are at the core of the American spirit.

Click on the links above for more details.

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