This Day in History, March 19, 1867: U.S. treaty with Chippewa Indians gives white business leaders access to valuable timber lands

I’ve wondered how many “This Day in History” entries could be written just about broken treaties. Wikipedia says: “From 1778 to 1871, the United States government entered into more than 500 treaties with the Native American tribes; all of these treaties have since been violated in some way or outright broken by the US government.” I guess that means you could fill an entire calendar and have plenty left over.

Today’s entry concerns a treaty between the Chippewa of the Mississippi and the U.S. government on March 19, 1867 that effectively stole valuable timber lands from Chippewa people in northern Minnesota.  This was the last treaty the U.S. government negotiated with Native nations in Minnesota.

It’s part of state history that most of us who live here never learned. We need to. It’s an important correction to our history books. The wealth of early business leaders had its roots not in sweat and toil, but in deceit and outright theft of Indigenous lands and resources.

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Echo Hawk: ‘Invisibility is the modern form of racism against Native Americans’

We Are Still Here MN Conference in St. Paul

Ask the general public about Native Americans, and many aren’t sure they even still exist, said Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee), founder and CEO of IllumiNative. This information void is filled with myths and toxic stereotypes.

“Invisibility is the modern form of racism against Native Americans,” Echo Hawk told those attending today’s “We Are Still Here MN” Conference in St. Paul. “When someone doesn’t exist for you, how can you empathize?” Continue reading

Upcoming Events: Urban Indian Advocacy Day at the Capitol, film screenings, MMIW fundraiser and more

In this blog:

  • “We Are Still Here” Advocacy Day, Thursday, March 12, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Film screening and Q&A on The Condor and the Eagle, Thursday, March 19, 7-10 p.m., Riverview Theater
  • INDIgenesis: Gen 3, Opening Night, Thursday, March 19, 7:30 p.m., Walker Art Center (free)
  • No More Stolen Relatives: A Fundraiser for Gitchigumi Scouts, a frontline search group for MMIWR, Friday, March 20, 6-9 p.m. at Walker Church
  • Augsburg Native American Film Series: Protecting Indigenous and Sacred Land through Media: Bears Ears and Other Current Struggles, April 1, 6:15 – 9 p.m. (free)

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Make your voice heard against Enbridge Line 3, oppose the MPCA’s proposed permit

Current Line 3 route (organge) and proposed route (green).

The proposed Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline route through northern Minnesota would cross more than 200 streams and other water bodies and 79 miles of wetlands. These are some of Minnesota’s cleanest waters.

You now have the several opportunities to speak out against Line 3’s risks to Minnesota’s waters, environment, and Ojibwe peoples.

For the project to move forward, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) needs to approve a water crossing permit, technically called a Section 401 Permit, a requirement of the federal Clean Water Act.

The MPCA issued a draft permit. which is now open for public comment through April 3. For more information, check out the MPCA’s page on the Section 401 Permit. Click here to go directly to the public comment page.

If you want to be heard in person, there will be two public hearings, one Tuesday March 17 in Bemidji and another Wednesday, March 18 in Grand Rapids. MN350 has organized buses from the Twin Cities for both events. Both will return to the Twin Cities on the same day. The cost is $40 if you can afford it, otherwise it’s pay what you can. Click on the link for details. Continue reading

Reads: Bois Forte faces casino boycott over anti-mining stance; Trump gets one vote from Red Lake Nation presidential primary; and more

In this blog:

  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa faces casino boycott over its anti-mining stance
  • Trump got only one vote in Red Lake Nation’s presidential primary
  • Bad River Band in Wisconsin demands Enbridge pay millions in damages for its crude oil pipeline’s trespass
  • Los Angeles clean energy priorities are making changes in Navajo economy
  • Application withdrawn for $20 billion Alberta tar sands mining project

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Healing Minnesota Stories’ Evening of Celebration and Support set for Saturday, April 18

Jim Bear at the Governor’s Reception Room speaking against Enbridge Line 3 as part of an Interfaith gathering.

Healing Minnesota Stories, a ministry of the Minnesota Council of Churches, is excited to announce an evening of celebration and support which will be held Saturday, April 18 from 5- 8 p.m. at First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

The evening will include a buffet dinner by Native Food Perspectives, drum and dance, testimonies and updates, and a presentation by Elona Street Stewart on “Confronting White Supremacy Through the Transformative Power of Stories.” Elona is a member of the Delaware Nanticoke and the first Native person to serve as a Synod Executive in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (Click here to read Elona’s charge to the Minnesota Council of Churches to “Acclaim the rights of Indigenous Peoples.”)

Copy and share the flyer!

Tickets are $30/person, plus an invitation to donate to the work of HMS.  You may register through the HMS Eventbrite Page. You can provide additional support by sharing the event’s Facebook Page.

Through sacred sites tours and transformative storytelling, Healing Minnesota Stories has been changing lives and expanding consciousness around Indigenous rights and issues of our time. Join us as we look back with gratitude, celebrate that transformation, and courageously face the future. Your presence and support are a critical piece of our mission to “create understanding and healing between Native American and non-Native people in Minnesota, including reparations, with a particular focus on communities of faith.”

We hope to see you April 18!



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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