Burt Lake Burnout: A Story of Land Theft and Indigenous Perseverance

In the grand scheme of land thefts from indigenous peoples, what happened to the Cheboiganing Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians in Michigan more than a century ago is small.

But it’s a powerful story for what is says about indigenous perseverance and resilience.

The land theft was egregious, a litany of broken promises and failed efforts to make things right. The Cheboiganing Band descendants still fight for justice today. When settlers stole their land, they lost their federal recognition as a Native nation. They want it back. Continue reading

Events: Film Screenings of ‘The Indian System,’ Winter Storytelling Night, and More

In this blog:

  • American Indian Traditional Storytelling, Thursday, Feb. 21
  • Film screening and discussion of Sheldon Wolfchild’s film “The Indian System,” Friday, March 1 and Thursday March 28
  • Save the Date for Mde Maka Ska Community Conversations Part 2, Saturday March 2

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Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit, Doctrine of Discovery Film, Available On-Line

Part I of the Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit is available online here, including a full screening of Sheldon Wolfchild’s film: “The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code” (starting around the one hour, ten minute mark.)

The event brought together indigenous knowledge keepers, and was hosted in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day. The Shift Network live streamed the event on its Facebook Page and has posted a video. The Shift Network, founded in 2010, has a mission to: “lead the way to an enlightened society — one built on principles of sustainability, peace, health and prosperity.”




What is the ‘Necessity Defense’? Updates on DAPL and Keystone XL

File photo.

News reports about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and Keystone XL have faded into the background locally, but resistance continues from Standing Rock to Louisiana.

Here are a few updates:

  • North Dakota prosecutors dropped felony charges against Chase Iron Eyes for criminal trespass and incitement of a riot. The charges stem from DAPL events in early 2017. Iron Eyes was ready to put on a ‘Necessity Defense.’
  • A federal judge sided with water protectors who challenged the Trump administration’s fast track approval of a reroute of the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska.
  • Louisiana authorities are using harsher trespass laws to prosecute water protectors opposing construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, DAPL’s southern extension. A fund-raising concert is planned in Duluth for Saturday, Oct. 13 to raise money for these water protectors.

Details follow. Continue reading

With Proverbial Gun to its Head, PUC Turns Gun on Fond Du Lac Band Instead

Enbridge wants to offer landowners along the current Line 3’s 282-mile corridor a one-time payment to allow Enbridge to leave the decaying pipeline in the ground for future generations.

In a now infamous statement, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) member Dan Lipschultz complained that the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline proposal put a “gun to the head” of the PUC.

If the PUC didn’t approve the new pipeline, Enbridge would keep running its old, decaying pipeline, risking a major spill in northern Minnesota, something Lipschultz and Commissioner Nancy Lange said they could not live with.

The PUC could have done the responsible thing and pushed federal regulators and Enbridge to decommission and remove the old Line 3. It didn’t.

Instead, the PUC chose to put Fond du Lac Band in a no-win situation, passing along the proverbial gun to the head. The PUC gave Fond du Lac the illusion of choice by forcing it to pick between two awful choices.

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Bde Maka Ska: It’s Official

You can now scratch “Lake Calhoun”.

I have to admit I had lost track of the debate around restoring the name Bde Maka Ska (White Earth Lake) to Lake Calhoun. I thought it was a done deal. It was interesting to read in the morning paper that the name restoration is now official.

It’s just one of many name change debates swirling around the metro area, one tangible sign that our community has a growing willingness to explore our history and ask whether the yesterdays’ heroes still warrant a place of honor here.

Continue reading