Weekend Reads: Prairie Island Community prepares a move; New Doctrine of Discovery video, and more

In this blog:

  • Worries over nuclear waste, flooding, have Prairie Island Indian Community preparing to move
  • Presbyterian Stony Point Church in New York becomes Sweetwater Cultural Center to preserve indigenous culture and lifeways
  • New Doctrine of Discovery video: Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts
  • Enbridge security firm stokes fears of water protectors

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News and Events: Prairie Island’s Net-Zero Carbon Plan, Good Friday Justice Walk, Pine Ridge Needs Flood Aid, and More

Current news and events coming into our Inbox:

  • Prairie Island Makes Strong Case for State Aid to Get to Net Zero Carbon Emissions
  • Good Friday: Justice Walk of the Stations of the Cross, April 19 — From the Site of the Dakota Concentration Camp of 1862-63 to Immigration Court
  • Water Music Concert, April 23, at Augsburg University, connecting water and spirituality across religious traditions
  • Pine Ridge Needs Flood Relief Help
  • Flooding Threatens Pipelines

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Problematic St. Paul City Murals to be Covered, and other News and Events

In this blog:

  • MPR: Problematic St. Paul city murals to be covered … sometimes
  • MPR: Sacred Prairie Island pipe reclaimed
  • New Exhibit at All My Relations Gallery: Responsibilities and Obligations Understanding Mitákuye Oyásʼiŋ
  • MPR: New shelter opens for homeless people at Hiswatha camp
  • Star Tribune: Push to more aggressively fight crime on tribal land
  • Washington Post’s gaffe in its Reds*ins coverage

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Public Hearing Thursday: Feds Seeking “Consensus” Process to Site Nuclear Waste

We had a strong response to our July 15 blog: Media Disappoints in Covering Prairie Island’s Nuclear Waste Challenge. One reader pointed out that the Department of Energy is hosting a public hearing tomorrow, Thursday, July 21, to improve the way the government makes nuclear waste siting decisions.

Here, with minor edits, are the details from John Kotek, Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy:

On Thursday, July 21st, the Department of Energy will host a public meeting in Minneapolis on designing a consent-based process to site facilities needed to manage our nation’s nuclear waste. The Department is seeking diverse viewpoints to strengthen the design of its consent-based siting process.

The meeting will be held at the Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave. S., from 5:00  – 9:30 p.m. Registration is encouraged in order to assist planning. To register, please visit this registration page. Those unable to attend in person can view the meeting online through a live webcast.

The Department of Energy wants to hear from people about:

  • fairness
  • models and experience to draw from
  • the roles of communities, states, Tribal Nations, and others in consent-based siting
  • information and resources needed to achieve informed consent
  • other perspectives and values the Department should consider

Ultimately, based on your input, the Department will design a proposed process for developing a site, which will in turn serve as a framework for collaborating with potential host communities in the future.

For more information, here is a Siting Process Meeting Flyer and the Agenda. For more, visit energy.gov/consentbasedsiting.


Media Disappoints in Covering Prairie Island’s Nuclear Waste Challenge

Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant (Wikimedia Commons)
Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant (Wikimedia Commons)

Recent news coverage on the Prairie Island Indian Community offers a great example of how mainstream thinking rushes to equate Native Americans with casinos while downplaying the history of injustice towards Native Americans and their ongoing plight.

Prairie Island recently announced it bought 112 acres of land near St. Paul, in West Lakeland Township. News coverage highlighted speculation that Prairie Island might build a casino there. It’s only lower down in the stories that readers learn that Prairie Island has a tiny and threatened land base. The community is buying new land because it might need to move to safer ground.

People have strong opinions about gambling. The casino rumors provide an emotional trigger for many readers. Getting less priority in the stories (again) is the Native American perspective. Prairie Island residents are worried about flooding and the stockpile of nuclear waste stored right next door. Those issues would be scary issues for anybody.

If the nuclear waste were stored in prominent neighborhoods of St. Cloud, Duluth, or Minneapolis, and people were increasingly nervous and angry about the lack of a long-term solution, that would be the headline. Because a small number of Native people are affected, and because they have no political power, their plight appears to be less newsworthy than a hypothetical casino.

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Tribes Tell State to Remove Racist Capitol Art; Native Art Galleries to Offer Alternative Vision

Shelly Buck, president of the Prairie Island Indian Community, has come out with a strongly worded statement about what should happen with the racist art in the state Capitol. In a March 16 opinion piece in the Star Tribune, the headline says it all: Minnesotans, it’s time to move offensive art out of the people’s house.

The article was written with support from the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Upper Sioux Community and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Buck’s letter came in response to the anemic initial recommendations put forward by the Art Subcommittee of the Minnesota State Capitol Preservation Commission. Continue reading