Sign DAPL, Keystone XL eviction notices; Chocktaw chief will help redesign Mississippi state flag, and more

In this blog:

  • Sign eviction notice for Dakota Access, Keystone XL pipelines
  • Lakota People’s Law Project: Return Mount Rushmore
  • Choctaw chief chosen to help redesign Mississippi state flag
  • Cherokee Nation adopted racism from Europeans. It’s time to reject it.

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Oklahoma’s new branding campaign hangs onto 19th Century mythology

Oklahoma launched a new branding campaign stunning in its 19th Century worldview and its failure to acknowledge the state’s Indigenous history and continued presence. It drew immediate rebukes. Here’s an eye-popping branding statement from the initial roll out:

This is a place that was built from scratch, made by people who gave up everything to come here from all over the world to create something for themselves and their families. We started this place with a land run in 1889 — and honestly, we’re still running, still making, still pioneering.

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Fly, Space Bird, fly! Duluth City Hall changes up its artwork, bringing in new artists, colors, and stories

Space Bird by Michael, a middle school student in Duluth, is part of the latest rotating art exhibit in the Duluth City Hall, an effort to decolonize the art in this important civic space, and bring in new artists and new ideas.
Left: A bust of Michael Colalillo, a Duluth west sider, son of Italian immigrants, and a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Right: New student artwork from “Our Neighbors” exhibit.

Emily Larson became Duluth’s first female mayor in 2016, and one of the changes she’s brought to City Hall is new art for the walls. It’s a lesson that other civic leaders should follow.

The Duluth Art Institute now helps curate rotating art exhibits in City Hall’s rotunda and the Mayor’s reception room. The first rotunda installation (2018) was a series of Anishinaabe art by Anishinaabe artists, said Christina Woods, the Institute’s executive director. Another installation focused on what it’s like to be homeless in Duluth, including artistic renditions of recipes from the street.

“Lots of people living on the streets have beautiful art to offer and never have a chance to have gallery space,” Woods said. “It goes deep in building awareness among public officials about what life is like when you don’t have a home to go to or a place to keep your things.” Continue reading

A small Wisconsin town took the name of a Seminole Indian Chief, but chooses myth over history to portray him

Osceola, painted by George Catlin. (Image: Wikipedia.)

My wife, I and two friends traveled to Osceola, Wisconsin last weekend to take 90-minute train ride to enjoy the fall colors.

The eye-opener for me was the “Chief Osceola” statue in the center of the town of about 2,500 that still seems stuck in the 1950s.

The statue has the stereotypical Plains Indian look, a half-naked man with an eagle-feather headdress, nothing like what Osceola actually looked like. It’s more town mascot than honoring the town’s namesake.

I’ll admit that there are many more pressing issues for indigenous peoples than one more offensive statue. There’s the loss of traditional indigenous languages, environmental threats to wild rice, homelessness, crude oil pipelines and more.

I still feel compelled to write about the statue and how it’s interpreted.

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Talk and Reception for HMS’ ‘Challenging Public Art’ Exhibit Sunday at Noon

“Challenging Public Art” will run through une 30.

Healing Minnesota Stories is having a talk and reception for its traveling art exhibit “Challenging Public Art” this Sunday, noon – 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society, 900 Mt Curve Ave, Minneapolis.

The exhibit highlights racist art in public spaces and offers alternative student art as one path forward.

Jim Bear Jacobs, Healing Minnesota Stories founder and Director of Racial Justice for the Minnesota Council of Churches, will speak on the exhibit. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments served. Please join us if you can.

The exhibit will stay through June 30. Please contact scottrussell@usfamily.net if you are interested in hosting a showing.

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