American Indian population increases in Minnesota and nationally, climate crisis in Indian Country, and more

In this blog:

  • U.S. Census: American Indian/Alaska Native population increased in the past decade
  • Indian Country Today: Climate crisis in Indian Country
  • MPR: St. Benedict nuns apologize for Native boarding school
  • The Conversation: Indigenous land defenders get much more police scrutiny than right-wing protesters
  • Registration open for 2021 Overcoming Racism Conference
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Momentum is building for truth telling and healing around the cultural genocide that took place in Indian Boarding Schools and the trauma that continues today

First in a two-part series.

The Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) is moving into a decade-long commitment to truth telling, education, and repair with Native American and African communities. Those communities suffered deeply from America’s original sins: Slavery and Native American genocide. Those sins have never been fully acknowledged or addressed, let alone healed or repaired.

Christine Diindissi McCleave, CEO of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, gave one of two keynote addresses at MCC’s inaugural event, “Minnesota’s Racial Legacy: Finally Telling the Truth,” Sept. 24-25 at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis.

McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) put the work ahead in stark terms: “Why don’t we tell the truth about genocide in this country?” she asked. “Because people have things they will lose. It’s tied to Empire and control and money and land.”

At the same time, there’s a tremendous amount of healing that can happen and actions that could put this nation and its religious institutions on a more solid moral foundation.

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Haaland, Dept. of Interior, launch review of ‘troubled legacy’ of U.S. Indian boarding schools

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced this week she has ordered a comprehensive review of the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding schools, which operated for much of the 19th and 20th centuries with the primary goal of assimilating Indian children into European culture.

Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and the first Native American person to hold a cabinet level position. She has directed her staff to research historical boarding school records, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites, and publish a report, according to a Department media release.

The Twin Cities-based Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) applauded the news.

“NABS believes this investigation will provide critical resources to address the ongoing historical trauma of Indian boarding schools,” the organization said in a media release. “Our organization has been pursuing truth, justice, and healing for boarding school survivors, descendants, and tribal communities.”

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A webinar, a rally, a play, and Canada’s double standard on treaty rights

In this blog:

  • Webinar: Indian Boarding School Cemeteries and Missing Children, May 26
  • Rally: Grandmothers to meet at Governor’s mansion to oppose Enbridge Line 3, May 26
  • Play: The Missouri River Water Walk, May 21-23 at Hidden Falls
  • Canada’s double standard on treaty rights
  • Carbon sequestration helps Yurok Tribe in California grow its land base
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How the U.S. stole the sacred Pipestone quarry from the Ihanktonwan

In researching the history of Indian Boarding Schools in Minnesota, I came across the story of how the U.S. government stole the sacred Pipestone quarry from the Ihanktonwan people. (The federal government calls them the Yankton Sioux Tribe.)

In Dakota, Ihanktonwan means “People of the End Village People,” according to the Ihanktonwan Community College. “The Ihanktonwan are also known as the ‘Land of the Friendly People of the Seven Council Fires,'” known in Dakota as the Oceti Sakowin.

Historically, the Ihanktonwan’s role included protecting the sacred Pipestone Quarry, Wikipedia says,

The U.S. government took away that sacred duty.

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Indigenous organization seeks church partners for truth telling, healing, around Indian boarding school trauma

Part of an ongoing series on healing and reparations

Can you remember when you were 8 years old, somewhere around third grade? Put yourself in that frame of mind.

Imagine adults you don’t know come to your door. They grab you and take you away from your family. Your parents are distraught, weeping and seem powerless. You don’t know what’s going on.

You are taken to a place you have never been before. Nothing is familiar. You are immediately scrubbed with lye soap as some aggressive adult snaps about “filthy savages” to no one in particular.

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Catholic boarding schools, U.S. policies, swindled Indigenous families into paying for their children’s assimilation

Much has been written about how Indian children suffered tremendous physical, emotional and sexual abuse in Indian boarding schools during the 19th and 20th centuries. Some even died. Their cultures were beat out of them. They were punished for speaking their Native languages. Taken from their parents, they didn’t learn parenting skills. They were forced to take colonial names, wear colonial clothes, and worship the colonial God — “a deliberate policy of ethnocide and cultural genocide,”according to the Native American Rights Fund.

A less well known and disturbing fact is that Native American families were taken advantage of, and ended up paying tuition to Catholic boarding schools for their children’s traumatic assimilation, according to an article published Tuesday by Type Investigations, in collaboration with In These Times. Continue reading