U of M is repatriating Indigenous remains, expanding Native American tuition assistance, and more

The University of Minnesota has taken a step forward in efforts to repatriate Mimbres remains and cultural objects dug up by University professors and students as part of an archeological dig from 1928-1931.

It’s one of several actions the University has taken in response to a July, 2020 resolution from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) “to take swift and immediate actions to address institutional racism and improve the school’s relationship with Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized tribal nations.”

MIAC is a liaison to Minnesota state government for those Tribes.

Other University actions include:

  • Expanding tuition assistance to Native American students
  • Investigating claims of abusive medical research on children from the Red Lake Nation
  • Addressing land issues with the Fond du Lac Band
  • Establishing wild rice research protocols
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Events: Updates on reparations work and East Phillips Urban Farm proposal, fundraiser for Dakota Community Center

In this post:

  • MN Council of Churches announces dates for conversations around truth telling, reparations
  • Fundraiser for a Dakota Community Center this Saturday
  • Community meeting set on East Phillips’ efforts to redevelop Roof Depot site into a community amenity rather than a public works yard
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Newly released federal report begins to document extent of Boarding School damage to Indian children

The U.S. Department of Interior this month released its first report documenting the historical and ongoing trauma the boarding school system inflicted on Indian children, their families, and their communities. It’s a first step in national efforts towards truth telling, education, and repair with Indigenous communities.

The Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative Investigative Report:

  • Confirms the United States created the boarding school system to force cultural assimilation and dispossession Indigenous peoples of their lands.
  • Identifies 408 boarding schools across 37 states that the U.S. government operated or supported. Roughly half of them “may have received support or involvement from a religious institution or organization.”
  • Identifies at least 53 burial sites for children who lived in boarding schools — with more discoveries expected. Approximately 19 boarding schools accounted for the deaths of more than 500 American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children. That number is expected to rise.
  • Identifies more than 1,000 other Federal and non-Federal institutions, “including Indian day schools, sanitariums, asylums, orphanages, and stand-alone dormitories that may have involved education of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people, mainly Indian children.”
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Federal legislation moves on Boarding School accountability, Tribal Civics Guide released, and more

In this post:

  • Federal bill pushes for Indian Boarding School accountability; testimony from survivors sought
  • Tribal Civics Guide released
  • Finding language that affirms kinship with the natural world
  • State court in India makes ‘Rights of Nature’ ruling
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Reparations: Royalties for black spirituals, historic $31.5B settlement in Canada, and more

In this post:

  • Boston church to pay royalties for singing black spirituals to support black musicians
  • ELCA ministers establish reparations fund for black leaders, congregations
  • Bush Foundation announces initiative to close the wealth gap in Minnesota, the Dakotas
  • Canada to pay $31.5 billion reparations settlement with First Nations over child welfare abuses
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City of Saint Paul reparations efforts move forward, community meetings set

The City of Saint Paul will hold four community meetings this month to share information on the work of its Reparations Legislative Advisory Committee. The committee is drafting ordinance proposals to present to the City Council on June 15, 2022.

Two of the community meetings will be held virtually. Two will be held in person. Dates and times below.

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White Earth Appeals Court dismisses Right of Manoomin suit; Canada tries to sell Indigenous groups the Trans Mountain Pipeline: Buyer Beware!

In this post:

  • White Earth Court of Appeals dismisses Rights of Manoomin (wild rice) suit against DNR
  • Canadian government’s effort to get First Nations to buy financially troubled Trans Mountain pipeline seems cynical
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Changing racist place names, including the s-word

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland declared the “s-word” (squaw) derogatory and began a process to remove it and other derogatory names from various geographic features around the county.

This is part of a growing effort to remove racist and derogatory place names.

For instance, a federal panel recently approved renaming S-word Mountain in Colorado to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, which honors Owl Woman, an influential translator who mediated between Native people and white colonists. Last fall, the S-word Valley Ski Resort in California renamed itself Palisades Tahoe.

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Moral reckoning: A Presbyterian Church tests model to surrender wealth to Afro American, Indigenous communities

Part I in a series on Restorative Actions

There’s a growing understanding and desire among mainline U.S. Protestant churches to make repairs – acts that go beyond mere words – for their role in the theft of Indigenous lands and the stolen labor of African slaves.

Yet churches struggle to figure out the nuts-and-bolts of how to do it, particularly around financial payments.

Oak Grove Presbyterian, a predominantly white church in Bloomington, is now the testing ground of one such effort, called Restorative Actions. It sits at the intersection of theology, justice, and economics.

“It seeks to answer the question, ‘what can we do?’ by providing one avenue to work toward decolonizing wealth,” the Restorative Actions website says.

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Weekend Reads: Landback lessons, MN/DOT marks 1854 treaty boundaries, Mary Lyons in Glasgow, and Line 3 updates

In this blog:

  • A Tale of Two Landbacks
  • The Guardian: Osage Nation decries sale of sacred cave
  • MPR: MN/DOT erects road signs to mark treaty boundaries
  • Anishinaabe Grandmother Mary Lyons in Glasgow, speaking for the land and water
  • The Progressive: How Superior, Wisc. became a sacrifice zone for the oil industry
  • Line 3 resisters keep bird dogging Sen. Klobuchar on her Line 3 inaction
  • Check out ‘Let the Wave’ Line 3 video
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