Environmental Ancestry Storytelling; Indian Month Events, and NFL Mascot Dust-Up Over the Duluth Eskimos

You are invited to a special evening of storytelling featuring cultural artists Ifrah Mansour and Louis Alemayehu, together with live music and stories from community members. All are welcome to this free gathering, modeled after live storytelling initiatives such as The Moth.

Sponsored by Minneapolis Interfaith Power and Light, the event is Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Hook at Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis.

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Dakota Gathering at Fort Snelling Friday-Saturday; Coldwater Spring Management Plan Open for Public Comment

This Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, will be the third annual Dakota Gathering at Fort Snelling at Bdote.

The Gathering will be a commemoration and a celebration. May 4th marks the anniversary of the Dakota exile from their homeland following the Dakota-U.S. War of 1863, likely the most tragic day in Dakota history. Women, children and elder Dakota were forced onto steamships, sent down the Mississippi, up the Missouri River, and dropped off at Crow Creek, a desolate reservation in the Dakota Territory.

The title for this year’s Gathering is: Dakhóta Omníčiye: Thokátakiya máni pi (Dakhóta Gathering: Keep Moving Forward). According to the website, the event will “mark our return & assert our continued presence on this sacred land where the rivers meet, we invite all Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Oyáte to return home, unify in peace, and share community knowledge, teachings, and stories with one another.

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Update: Bde Maka Ska Case Goes to Supreme Court

The state’s highest court will make the final call on whether Bde Maka Ska or Lake Calhoun is the official name for the largest lake in the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, according to an MPR story.

Dakota community members worked for years to get the original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska, restored. It replaced Lake Calhoun, named after John C. Calhoun, a pro-slavery politician from South Carolina who never set foot in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) appeared to have given the final OK for Bde Maka Ska. Some city residents who were fond of the name Lake Calhoun sued to keep it and the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in their favor. The DNR didn’t have the authority to change the lake name after it had been in place for 40 years.

The DNR is appealing that ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court. According to MPR:

The DNR had called the entire question moot because the U.S. Board of Geographic Names already changed the name of the lake to Bde Maka Ska, and a Ramsey County district court judge had agreed.



White Fragility at the State Legislature: Full Blown Freak Out Over a Sign

The Minnesota Historical Society changed its “Fort Snelling” sign to read “Fort Snelling at Bdote” and some white legislators became unhinged.

“Bdote” is a Dakota word for confluence, or where the waters meet. There’s nothing controversial in the meaning; what’s controversial, apparently, is the use of a Dakota word on the sign.

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, who chairs the Senate Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee, slipped a $4 million (18 percent) cut to the Historical Society’s state funding as punishment for the sign, according to a WCCO news account.

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Pro Line 3 Group Drops $247,000 on Facebook Ads; MN Senate Proposes New Felonies for Pipeline Opponents

A pro-Enbridge Line 3 pipeline group spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars since November on Facebook ads to sway Minnesotans’ perceptions of this unnecessary and risky project.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate today approved new felony crimes for those who trespass on pipeline property or damage pipeline equipment or property.

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MN Appeals Court Reverses Mde Maka Ska Name Restoration

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today ruled invalid the long-fought citizen process to restore the name Bde Maka Ska to Lake Calhoun. The reason? Some obscure law that said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources couldn’t approve a name change for a lake after the lake had the name for 40 years. After that, it’s apparently up to the state legislature to approve the name changes.

Read the Star Tribune story: Bde Maka Ska is Lake Calhoun again, Court of Appeals rules for the details.

Heartfelt sympathies to all who worked long and hard for the name restoration and hope for a better outcome as the debate continues.

This Day in History, Feb. 28, 1823: U.S. Supreme Court Adopts ‘Discovery Doctrine’

On this day in history, Feb. 28, 1823, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Johnson v. M’Intosh, effectively adopting a secular form of 15th Century Papal edicts as the basis for the relationship between the U.S. government and Native nations.

The Papal edicts provided the legal and religious justification for European explorers to claim indigenous lands on behalf of their monarchs by right of discovery. Collectively, these edicts (or bulls) are known as the Doctrine of Discovery. In Johnson v. M’Intosh, the Court wrote that the United States, as the successor nation to European monarchies, maintains those same land rights.

The United States civilized inhabitants “hold, and assert in themselves, the title by which it was acquired. They maintain, as all others have maintained, that discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchase or by conquest …”

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