The roller coaster that is Minneapolis police reform

Let’s take a look at the ups and downs of proposed Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) reform and where things stand now. Bottom line: The Consent Decree being negotiated by the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights seems the best hope for accountability.

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Bacon’s Rebellion and its role in creating the white race

The little-known Bacon’s Rebellion is an early link between America’s original sins: The theft of Indigenous lands and the brutal system of chattel slavery.

The rebellion took place in the Virginia Colony in 1676-77. It played an important role in the creation of the white race.

At this point in our colonial history, full-blown chattel slavery had not yet begun. Bacon’s Rebellion involved an alliance of poor Europeans and poor Africans (free, indentured servants and slaves) against the ruling class. While the rebellion ultimately failed, it was violent. Rebels burned down Jamestown, the colonial capital.

Between 300 and 500 people participated in the revolt. That got the colonial elites’ attention. They became acutely aware of the risks ahead should all these poor people unite against them again.

Their solution: Create division between poor blacks and poor whites.

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Opportunities to learn about, shape, the Minneapolis Police Department’s consent decree

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (DHR) is working with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to develop a consent decree — a court-enforced, legally binding agreement to ensure compliance with reforms. This follows DHR’s April report finding the city and MPD were engaging in a pattern or practice of race discrimination, in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

There are several upcoming opportunities to learn more about how the process works and to have a say in what you think the consent decree should include.

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Indian Country reacts to U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and other news

In this post:

  • Healing Minnesota Stories Open Sacred Sites Tours July 30, Oct. 2
  • Indian Country reacts to U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing Roe
  • Indian Country reacts to U.S. Supreme Court ruling undermining EPA’s ability to address climate damage
  • National Congress of American Indians Adopts Rights of Nature Resolution
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U.S. Supreme Court overrules itself, diminishes Native Nations’ sovereignty

[The original version has been edited for clarity.]

A mere two years, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, affirming Tribal sovereignty in criminal justice matters involving Native Americans on reservation lands.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court reversed itself in Oklahoma v. Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta, giving states “concurrent jurisdiction” on those cases.

Former U.S. Attorney Generals call it a “radical departure from U.S. law.” One analyst said it could create a “massive” disruption in Indian Country criminal law.

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News and Events: Boarding schools, treaty rights, the importance of Aunties, and more

In this post:

  • Webinar Thursday: Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Resilience: The Legacy and Impacts of Indian Boarding Schools
  • Webinar July 20: Tribal Treaty Rights and Energy Infrastructure, July 20
  • All My Relations Art presents Noojimo (She Heals) celebrating the importance of Aunties in Indigenous spaces, opens July 19
  • Minnesota Chippewa Tribe to vote on blood quantum enrollment rules this summer
  • New quarter will honor Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief
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Native Nations to co-manage Bears Ears National Monument with federal government, and other news

In this post:

  • Native Nations, federal government, to co-manage Bears Ears National Monument
  • Native Alaskans’ priority for subsistence fishing gets a court win
  • Latest Payday lender ‘Rent-a-Tribe’ scheme to avoid state usury laws is failing
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Court fails to grasp that protecting Indigenous peoples’ freedom of religion requires protecting their sacred lands

Indigenous spiritual practices are fundamentally tied to their sacred lands. That has profound implications for protecting their freedom of religion: The right to practice their religion without interference.

Blocking Indigenous peoples access to their sacred sites is the definition of interference. Yet U.S. courts don’t get it, as can be seen in the recent ruling in Apache Stronghold v. The United States of America.

The decision could impact many other religions, too.

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At Historic Fort Snelling, the Minnesota Historical Society axes the ‘B’ word

In 2019, the Minnesota Historical Society put up a temporary sign reading” “Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote” at the historic site. Some people just lost it.

Defenders of 19th Century sensibilities reacted in horror at the “B” word. One elected official threatened to cut the Minnesota Historical Society’s state funding over “at Bdote.”

Fast forward three years. I had forgotten all about this controversy. On Thursday, I learned the Minnesota Historical Society’s governing board voted to stick with the traditional “Historic Fort Snelling” name, offering a fuzzy explanation why.

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Court challenge could weaken Clean Water Act; Native Nations weigh in to keep it strong

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and 16 other Native Nations have filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could weaken the federal Clean Water Act.

The case being contested is small in the grand scheme of things, but the precedent it could set is huge. An adverse ruling would mean “thousands of miles of streams and wetlands—many critical to the Tribes—would lose longstanding Clean Water Act protections,” the Tribes said.

In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, Sackett v. EPA, in its upcoming session.

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