News: AIM has new leadership; U.S. tries to force Indian schools to reopen during coronavirus, and more

In this blog:

  • American Indian Movement (AIM) has new leadership
  • U.S. Bureau of Indian Education tries to force Indian schools to reopen, despite coronavirus concerns
  • Indian Country’s take on Kamala Harris
  • California Tribe sues Trump administration, saying border wall would desecrate traditional burial site

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Russell Means’ Words Echo Today on Enbridge Line 3

Russell Means, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), gave a controversial speech in 1980. Mother Jones covered it and ran a story headlined: “For the World to Live, Europe Must Die.

Mother Jones republished the article in 2012 when Means died. A friend sent me a link to it last year, and as I was cleaning out my l inbox I came across it again. I re-read it and was struck by the parallels with the Enbridge Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline today. Continue reading

Historic District Along East Franklin Floated to Remember Important Native American Landmarks and Activism

Proposed Historic District Map included in the city’s study of historically significant properties to Native American communities. (Taken from July 7 Power Point presentation.)

Researchers hired by the City of Minneapolis have identified a potential “Historic District” on and around East Franklin Avenue that encompasses buildings significant to the city’s Native American communities.

There is only one problem. A lot of the buildings aren’t old enough yet to be considered historic. This is one of those “down the road” projects.

The window for property to be consider “historic” is typically a minimum of 50 years. The city could consider a shorter frame, 35 years. Still, that limits the properties that can be considered.

There has been a significant amount of demolition and redevelopment along the Avenue. Some of the newer developments along Franklin are Pow Wow Grounds Coffee Shop, Many Rivers East and West and the Bii Di Gain Dash Elder Housing.

The “potential historic district” emerged as part of a city-commissioned report looking at the history of Native American communities and their activism in Minneapolis. City officials and researchers presented the full draft at their final community meeting, held July 7 at All My Relation Gallery. The potential historic district map was in a Power Point presentation.

The city got a small federal grant for the research; the consulting contract came in under $25,000. The research paints a fast, broad sweep of state, national, and local Native American history. At its core, the report is going to identify key properties and places the city should consider preserving because they represent significant historic events for the city’s Native American communities, and the contributions they have made.

Here is a link to the current draft. The final version will be released in August. The final report is expected to name more than two dozen properties as potentially historically significant.

There is a last window of opportunity to send comments on the current draft. Send them soon to: Christine McDonald, Native American Community Specialist,  612-849-2386, or John Smoley  Senior Planner at the Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) 612-673-2830.

Here are a few of the programs/properties that could get suggested for historic designation because of their role in Native American empowerment and history:

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New Report: Native Americans in Minneapolis, Part II — Public Comment Sought

From May 17-21, 1971, about 70 members of American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the abandoned U.S. Naval Air Station in Minneapolis. AIM wanted to claim the surplus government property under the terms of the 1805 Treaty and use it for a school for American Indian children. Federal forces ultimately put an end to the takeover.

The city of Minneapolis just released a report which recounted this incident as one of many significant moments in the history of Native American communities in the city. The report’s key purpose is to identify “places, buildings, structures, people, and events that illustrate Native American life within Minneapolis.” (That is to say, the city wants to identify sites for possible preservation from development.)

A small group met to discuss Part I of the city report.
A small group met in late June to discuss Part I of the city report.

The report recommends the takeover site be evaluated “as a significant property for its association with an action of the locally and nationally significant American Indian Movement.” However, it is one of few sites specifically mentioned in the draft. Lists of other sites to be considered for evaluation are still being developed.

The city released Part I of the study June 22, covering precolonial times to the 1862 Dakota-U.S. War. It just released Part II today, covering the period from the Dakota exile (1863) to the present. Copies of Part I and Part II can be found here.

The City will host a public meeting to discuss Part II of the report and take a last round of public comments on Thursday, July 7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., All My Relations Gallery, 1414 East Franklin Avenue.

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