Youth Art in Capitol Tells Subversive Message: “Clean Drinking Water Starts With Me”

Art by Claudia St. Germaine, New Prague ALC, hangs in the Capitol’s Public Business Center as part of an exhibit of student art on the importance of clean drinking water.
Capitol’s third floor Public Business Center.

Tucked away in room on the Capitol’s third floor hangs a student art exhibit with the unifying theme of “Clean Water Starts with Me.”

The theme just as well could have been: “Water is Life.”

I was particularly struck with by a piece by high school student Claudia St. Germaine (above) with lakes and pines. It creates a typical northern Minnesota scene, perhaps one of the areas where the giant Canadian corporation Enbridge is proposing to dig a large trench to bury a 36-inch pipeline carrying tar sands crude oil, the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world.

This pipeline is the kind of project that threatens our clean drinking water, something too many state officials have chosen to ignore. Continue reading

PUC Could Get Needed Scrutiny from the Legislative Audit Commission

Your voice is needed now to get more accountability at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for its poor public engagement process. It’s particularly important given the flawed process and disrespect shown towards opponents of the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota.

Each year, the Minnesota Legislative Audit Commission chooses a small number of research topics to make sure state agencies and programs are well run, are accountable and have appropriate legislative oversight. The Commission has a list of 10 possible research topics for the coming year and a review of the PUC public engagement process is one of the possible topics. This Friday, the Commission will choose the five to get done.

The window of influence is closing quickly, but here is how you can get engaged and make the PUC review a priority. Continue reading

Events: MN Supreme Court Justice Anne McKeig Speaks on MMIW, Short Films by Indigenous Filmmakers, and More

Upcoming Events:

  • Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne K. McKeig speaks on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, April 5
  • Ikidowin Native Youth Ensemble performs: “We Do it for the Water” April 7
  • Documentary: DAWNLAND, cultural survival and stolen children, April 8 and 13
  • Celebrating Native Voices: Short Films by Indigenous Filmmakers, April 16

Details follow.

Continue reading

Work Proceeds to Create Counter Narratives to Racist Murals in St. Paul

End-of-Year Deadline Set to Complete Work

A community Task Force created by the Ramsey County Historical Society has begun work to change the art — and the racist  narratives it promotes — in the chambers shared by the St. Paul City Council and Ramsey County Courthouse.

The Task Force held its first meeting more than a month ago and but some basic details still are in the works. For instance, the names of Task Force members have not been released as the list is not yet final.

The Task Force expects to complete its work by November or December, according to an update from Chad Roberts, the Historical Society’s executive director. Continue reading

Trump Expected to Sign Executive Order Expediting Pipelines, Report Says, and Other News

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order next week to speed up pipeline development, according to a report in Axios. This could impact plans for Keystone XL, and possibly Enbridge Line 3.

According to the story:

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the executive order could come as soon as next week, while speaking at a closed-door event Wednesday hosted by conservative think tank American Council for Capital Formation, according to two sources with direct knowledge.

[Update: This just in from Bloomberg News this afternoon: Trump Doubles Down on Keystone XL Pipeline, Issuing New Permit:

President Donald Trump issued a new permit for TransCanada Corp.’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline Friday, circumventing a court ruling that blocked a previous authorization by his State Department.

Click on the link for more details.]

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Legislative Update on Proposed MMIW Task Force, Bill to Defund Lawsuit Against Enbridge Line 3

We are more than half-way through the Minnesota legislative session. Here are a few updates on three bills we’re watching. Note: Even if they don’t pass out of committee by deadlines, they could get added to omnibus bills during the last days of the session.

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Mexico Urges Spain, Pope, to Apologize for Abuses of Colonization, and Other News

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wrote Spain’s King Felipe VI and Pope Francis seeking apologies for them for the abuses of colonialism and conquest, news outlets are reporting.

However, there are differing spins. The Guardian headline said “Mexico demands Spain apologize …” The Washington Post headline said “Mexico’s President Wants Spain to Apologize,” but cautions that the request threatens “a diplomatic row.” The Reuters offers the tepid headline: “Mexico president wants no beef with Spain, hints at other apology requests.” Continue reading