Local Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee Ceremony; Canadian TRC Issues Final Report; Power Struggle on White Earth

Healing Minnesota Stories/SPIN encourage you to attend the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Communities’ observance of Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee: Toward Indigenous and Global Healing.

The event is: Tuesday, Dec. 29, 12:00 noon at the Dupuis House, (northwest corner of D Street and Hwy 13, on site of Sibley House), 1357 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota, (map). A pot luck will follow at 2 p.m.

This event responds to the Call for Healing on the occasion of the 125th Memorial Ceremony at the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, and the 25th Reunion of the Chief Big Foot Band Memorial Ride. This will be the Inaugural Global Ceremony to End Massacre. Communities around the globe are joining at noon in their own time zones with prayers and pledges to end massacres around the world.

Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Releases Final Report

On Dec. 15, the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report, including its 94 Calls to Action. Recommendations range from No. 1, detailing how to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in the Canadian child welfare system, to No. 94, changing the Canadian citizenship oath. Here’s the proposed new oath:

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen. [emphasis added]

Recommendation 58 read:

We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.

At a news conference the day after the report’s release, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would seek such a formal apology from the Pope. The CBC report gives more details on Trudeau’s comments.

Power Struggle on the White Earth Reservation

MPR reported Dec. 23 that “A power struggle over constitutional reform on the White Earth Reservation could cost longtime tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor her job.”

A new White Earth constitution drafted by Vizenor and the tribal council would have drastically shifted the government structure and changed requirements for tribal membership. When implementation stalled, Vizenor wrote a federal official in the hopes of moving things along, a move critics said overstepped her authority.

Vizenor said critics were just trying to stop reforms.

“The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe has no separation of powers,” she said. “It’s open to corruption. We need change, but they don’t want to lose power.”