Trying to Make Sense of Nathan Phillips’ Saga

Trump Fans the Culture Wars Over an Encounter Between a Native Man and a Group of Teenagers, Calling Reports ‘Fake News.’ Whatever Happened to ‘Turn the Other Cheek’?

I’m trying to make sense of the senseless act of disrespect and intimidation that happened during Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C.

By now, you’ve probably seen the video. It involves a group of mostly white teens from the all-male Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky and Nathan Phillips, a Native and a veteran. The youth were in D.C. for the anti-abortion March for Life rally; Phillips was there to take part in the Indigenous Peoples March. Both marches ended near the Lincoln Memorial.

As you see on the video, Phillips is surrounded by youth. He keeps playing his drum and singing. One youth in particular, junior Nick Sandmann, seems to block his path and smirk. The video created a national controversy and criticism of the school and the youth. Continue reading

Change is Coming to Racist Murals in St. Paul City Hall and You Can Play a Role

Task Force Volunteers Sought to Help Select Artists for New Installations in Chambers Used by the City Council and Ramsey County Commission

Four large murals in St. Paul City Hall depict white supremacy and Manifest Destiny, creating an unwelcoming space for many citizens who come there to speak to their elected council members and county commissioners. The Ramsey County Historical Society is creating a task force of community members to select and guide local artists in creating new art that will cover two of the four murals at any one time.

Advocacy still is needed to convince local leaders that all four murals should be moved to a different location, such as a museum. Still, there is a great opportunity for people to help select the new art. The Historical Society is seeking task force applicants, according to a recent posting on the Historical Society website. Chad Roberts, President of the Ramsey County Historical Society, will chair the 11-member group.

Here is the online application process.

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Anishinaabe ‘Rights of Manoomin’ Laws Create Legal Basis to Protect Sacred Wild Rice

‘This would be the first law to recognize the legal rights of a plant species

The White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority are taking action to address the growing threats to native wild rice, such as potential crude oil pipeline spills or the spread of genetically modified wild rice. They are establishing new laws and claiming treaty rights to protect their culture and sacred food.

The 1855 Treaty Alliance was established to protect the treaty rights of Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, White Earth, East Lake and Sandy Lake bands. The Alliance covers those lands the Anishinaabe ceded as part of their 1855 Treaty with the United States. (Among those treaty rights, bands claim the right to hunt, fish and gather — including harvesting wild rice — on ceded lands.)

According to a media statement from the 1855 Treaty Alliance:

Recently the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Alliance adopted Rights of Manoomn for on and off reservation protection of wild rice and the clean, fresh water resources and habitats in which it thrives. The Rights of Manoomin were adopted because “it has become necessary to provide a legal basis to protect wild rice and fresh water resources as part of our primary treaty foods for future generations” …

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Problematic St. Paul City Murals to be Covered, and other News and Events

In this blog:

  • MPR: Problematic St. Paul city murals to be covered … sometimes
  • MPR: Sacred Prairie Island pipe reclaimed
  • New Exhibit at All My Relations Gallery: Responsibilities and Obligations Understanding Mitákuye Oyásʼiŋ
  • MPR: New shelter opens for homeless people at Hiswatha camp
  • Star Tribune: Push to more aggressively fight crime on tribal land
  • Washington Post’s gaffe in its Reds*ins coverage

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Oregon Passes “Tribal History/Shared History” Law

From the “Better-Late-Than-Never Department,” it just came to our attention that the state of Oregon passed the “Tribal History/Shared History” Law in 2017, which “calls upon the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to develop a statewide curriculum relating to the Native American experience in Oregon, including tribal history, tribal sovereignty, culture, treaty rights, government, socioeconomic experiences, and current events,” according to its website. The bill was proposed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

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Reflections on Reconciliation, Sacred Sites, and Broken Treaties

The term “reconciliation” is a deeply problematic word when it comes to indigenous-colonizer relationships. The word refers to restoring friendly relationships when for indigenous peoples, friendly relationships never existed with colonizers.

Canada had a lengthy Truth and Reconciliation Commission, something not attempted yet in the United States. We struggle with the first half of the proposition — simply telling the truth. Continue reading