Upcoming Events: An Art Opening, A Film Screening, A Book Launch

Here are upcoming events — come if you can!

  • ReImage Minnesota: An Art Opening: Students offer an alternative vision for art in the Minnesota Capitol, Monday, April 24.
  • Film: First Daughter and the Black Snake, the story of Winona LaDuke’s efforts to stop the Enbridge oil pipeline expansion in northern Minnesota, Saturday, April 22 and Thursday, April 27.
  • Book Launch: White Birch, Red Hawthorne, the memoir of a fifth-generation Irish Minnesotan about the cost of immigration and indigenous genocide, Thursday, April 20.

Details follow. Continue reading

Gov. Dayton Needs to Veto Deeply Flawed Energy Bill that Fast Tracks Enbridge Line 3

People rallied outside the Minnesota House Chamber with signs, drums, chanting and prayers, opposing the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline and the Energy bill that supports it. They left a path for House members to get to the chamber.
Rally outside the Minnesota House of Representatives opposing Line 3.

From a blog by the Sierra Club North Star Chapter:

More than 125 people gathered in front of the Minnesota House of Representative’s chambers Thursday for an emergency rally opposing a deeply flawed jobs and energy bill. The bill weakens public review of proposed crude oil pipelines in Minnesota in general, and it specifically fast tracks the Enbridge Line 3 tars sands oil pipeline proposal.

Enbridge wants to replace its badly deteriorating Line 3 crude oil pipeline with a new and larger pipeline – and reroute it in the process. The new path would take it through the Mississippi headwaters regions, risking great environmental damage if there were a rupture. The proposed route also runs through prime wild rice areas and violates treaty rights which give Ojibwe people hunting, fishing and gathering rights to a large section of northern Minnesota.

For full blog, click here.

DAPL Updates: Senators Press Corps of Engineers for Answers, Divestment Push Tops $5 Billion

Top democratic U.S. Senate leaders are pushing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for detailed information on the steps it took to approve the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), what plans it has to provide clean drinking water in case of a pipeline rupture, and what steps it took to honor the treaty and trust obligations the government has to the Standing Rock Nation.

Thanks to the Lakota People’s Law Project for posting this information.

Senators Tom Carper (D., Delaware), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and Maria Cantwell (D., Washington), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, have sent an oversight letter to the Army Corps of Engineers demanding documentation about its rushed DAPL approval, including all communications and contact with the Trump transition team and administration.

Continue reading

Pipeline Protest at the Minnesota Capitol Tomorrow (Thursday)

A last-minute alert: There is a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol tomorrow (Thursday), 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., to oppose legislation making it easier to large energy companies to get their crude oil pipelines approved by the state. The event is being supported by Native Lives Matter, Honor the Earth, MN350, Take Action Minnesota and the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. Here’s the link to the Facebook page.

The pipeline provisions are contained in the Omnibus Energy Bill that is up for a vote before the House of Representatives on Thursday. This is critical now as Enbridge is proposing an expansion and reroute of its Line 3 tar sands crude oil pipeline through northern Minnesota. The new route crosses the Mississippi headwaters and violates treaty rights. For more, see our earlier blog: Stop Enbridge Line 3 — Minnesota’s Version of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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Indian Country is Divided on Mining Coal, Drilling for Oil; More Clashes Ahead

Many Native nations united to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline because of its impact on Mother Earth and its threat to sacred water. But Indian Country is divided on fossil fuel development. Some tribes are mining coal and extracting gas as a source of jobs, income, and autonomy.

That said, Native rights will continue to clash with energy companies’ expansion plans and Trump administration energy policies.

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Healing Minnesota Stories Ventures into Wisconsin

Poster of Oliver La Mere in Wisconsin Capitol rotunda.

Kind of sounds like an April Fool’s Day headline, doesn’t it?

Just sharing that the Madison-based Wisconsin State Journal published an Op-Ed I wrote: Bring back American Indian tour guides to state Capitol.

As those who follow this blog know, for the last few years I have been researching state capitol art and its images of Native Americans and early state history. Not surprisingly, much of this art has negative and inaccurate images of Native peoples. (Minnesota’s Capitol is right up there with its images of Manifest Destiny. See our blog’s Capitol Art page.)

Last month, I visited friends in Madison and toured its state Capitol with my friend Kathy Mathes. The Capitol is celebrating is centennial and large posters recounting the building’s history filled the rotunda. One such poster honored Oliver La Mer (Ho Chunk) who led special Capitol tours on Native American history and culture in the late 1920s. I blogged on it, encouraging Wisconsin to revive the idea:  Wisconsin Once Had Ho Chunk Capitol Tour Guide Focused on Native Cultures, What Happened?

I lived in Madison for a number of years, writing for The Capital Times. I sent the blog to some Wisconsin journalist friends hoping they might pick up on the idea and write about it. My friend Bill Lueders, managing editor for The Progressive, encouraged me to submit my own Op-Ed, and he helped me whip into shape.

Thank you, Bill!

Weekend Reading: The True Story of Pocahontas; Federal Bill Introduced on Native Children’s Trauma; Tribes Backing Gorsuch; and More

Here is this week’s offerings:

  • The ugly truth about the Pocahontas story.
  • U.S. Sen. Al Franken joins two other Midwest Senators to author a bill to heal the trauma suffered by Native children.
  • Tribes are supporting Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Supreme Court, because he has shown he understands Indian law.
  • Star Tribune oil pipeline story misses key local angle.

Continue reading