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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Message to Sheriff Stanek: Bring Deputies, Equipment Home from Standing Rock Now!

Approximately 400 people showed up for the noon rally near the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to demand the end of county support for intimidating the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Hundreds attended a noon rally Tuesday to protest the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office decision to deploy equipment and personnel against the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

Approximately 400 Native Americans, faith leaders, environmentalists and their allies rallied near Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek’s Office Tuesday to tell him it was unacceptable, even shameful, to send Hennepin County’s special ops personnel and equipment to North Dakota to suppress and intimidate the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

MPR reports that North Dakota law enforcement officials said today “they are poised to remove about 200 protesters trying to halt the completion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota after the demonstrators refused to leave private land owned by the pipeline company.” This appears to more deeply involve our Hennepin County deputies in the conflict — and on the wrong side of the conflict.

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Minneapolis City Council to Declare Oct. 10, 2016 “Coldwater Springs Protection and Preservation Day”, Pipe Ceremony Planned

Coldwater Springs (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Coldwater Springs (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Minneapolis City Council is expected to pass a resolution this Friday that will declare Oct. 10 Coldwater Springs Protection and Preservation Day. Everyone is invited to attend a pipe ceremony and celebration at Coldwater Springs on Indigenous Peoples Day, Monday, Oct. 10, starting at noon.

The resolution was authored by 12th Ward Councilmember Andrew Johnson, whose south Minneapolis district abuts Coldwater Springs, which is in on unincorporated Hennepin County land. The springs are located just east of the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue and the Crosstown Highway.

Coldwater Springs is near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers and is sacred to Dakota people, the original people of the area. (The Dakota name for the spring is Mni Owe Sni, which translated means Coldwater Springs.) Camp Coldwater also was the first European-American settlement in the Minnesota Territory; the spring furnished water to Fort Snelling.

The resolution states in part:

That the City of Minneapolis reminds all government agencies to respect the 1805 treaty and honor both the spirit and the letter of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 and the 2001 state law relating to protection and preservation of Coldwater Springs.

Click here for the full text of the Coldwater Springs Resolution.

Those expected to speak on behalf of the resolution at the Minneapolis City Council meeting Friday include: Sheldon Wolfchild of the Lower Sioux Reservation, Sharon Lennartson, chair of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community, and Clyde Bellecourt, a founder of the American Indian Movement.

Wolfchild will conduct the pipe ceremony at Coldwater Springs on Monday. Lennartson and Bellecourt are expected to speak, too. Coffee and cookies to follow. Bring family and friends!

For more on the First Amendment and treaty issues surrounding Coldwater Springs, read on.

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

Native_American_Historic_District
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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