Upcoming Events: The Ave Stands with Standing Rock; All the Real Indians Died Off; A Thanksgiving Celebration That Honors Native Americans

Here are three upcoming events to connect with and support the Native American communities in the Twin Cities area:

  • A Standing Rock fundraiser (with food and art) as part of a National Day of Action;
  • A book reading at Birchbark Books of “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths about Native Americans.
  • A Thanksgiving Eve Celebration that raises up Native Americans.

Also below, a blog from a Native American seminary student reflecting on her trip to Standing Rock.

Keep reading for details. Continue reading

Upcoming Events: Thanksgiving from a Native Perspective; Book Reading “All the Real Indians Died Off” and Other Myths; Kevin Locke in Town

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul is planning a special Thanksgiving Eve Service that will celebrate the holiday from a Native American perspective. It will be Wednesday, November 23, starting at 7 p.m. at the church, 285 Dale Street North.

Joann Conroy (Oglala), a church member and ordained Lutheran pastor, is helping organize the event. Joann also is president of the ELCA Native American/American Indian Lutheran Association.

The details are still being worked out. Initial plans call for lifting up the ELCA’s recent vote to Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, the 15th Century justification given to Christian explorers to seize lands from indigenous peoples and convert or enslave them. (More details in this blog.)

Redeemer’s choir will sing, but organizers are looking for others to participate, whether song or drums or speaking on The Doctrine of Discovery. Fellowship and food will follow the service, likely both fry bread and pie. They also may take a donation for the Water Protectors Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota – for winter tents and camping gear.

More details will be printed here when we know them. Interested in participating? Contact Joann at joan.conroy@gmail.com Continue reading

As “Thanksgiving” Nears 400, Unitarians Seek “To Make Peace With Our Past”

Just as the year 1992 was controversial, marking the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage, so we will be coming up on a new series of controversial anniversaries. In 2021, many people will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first “Thanksgiving feast.”

The question is: How do we remember and acknowledge these significant dates? Do we hold onto our cherished myths, or do we look at these as opportunities to embrace our higher selves and acknowledge our painful past?

The Unitarian Universalists already are taking on that question. At their upcoming General Assembly, June 22-26 in Columbus, Ohio, they will consider a resolution to reconsider what “Thanksgiving Day” means, and reflect on the broader issues of colonialism and its brutal impact on indigenous peoples. The resolution reads in part:

WHEREAS the year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the ship “Mayflower” in the region that is now known as New England; and …
WHEREAS several of the New England congregations that were established during the 1600s continue today as Unitarian Universalist congregations; and NOTING the role of Unitarian Universalists in developing the holiday that is known as “the American Thanksgiving Day”; …

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this General Assembly encourages all Unitarian Universalists to enter a time of education, careful reflection, and healing, for the years 2016-2021. We ask that special attention be given to the suffering, indignity, and loss that native peoples have suffered since the early 1600s.

Continue reading

Petition Update and Community Events about Reinventing Thanksgiving, Remembering Medicine Bottle, Renaming Lake Calhoun, and more

Petition Update: We just surpassed 400 signatures. (Yay!) We also have gotten some press. The Southwest Journal just ran an opinion piece State Capitol renovation a rare opportunity to update art. (We previously reported on the article that ran in The Circle newspaper, Art glorifying the conquest of Indians needs to leave state capitol, Please keep circulating the petition among your networks: Make the Minnesota Capitol more welcoming: Remove offensive art, add inspiring art.

Interfaith dialogue: How t0 observe the Thanksgiving holiday in light of colonial and Native American history

The Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul
 is hosting this interfaith dialogue on Thursday, November 12, from 12 – 1:45 p.m., at 1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul (View Map)

A panel of a Native American leader, Jim Bear Jacobs (Mohican, Convener of Healing Minnesota Stories and pastoral associate at Church of All Nations); a rabbi, Amy Eilberg (author, interfaith leader, adjunct professor at United Theological Seminary); an imam Samir Saikali, (Islamic Institute of MN); and a Christian pastor (Joy Caires, St. Clements Episcopal) will explore how Thanksgiving might be observed well in our community. As we approach the national holiday of Thanksgiving once again, interest has been expressed in the possibility of a future community-wide Thanksgiving observance, a time when people of various religious/spiritual traditions and none might come together and give expression to gratitude. Click here for more information.

First Universalist of Minneapolis hosts community conversation on Bde/Mde Maka Ska (aka Lake Calhoun)

The First Universalist Church of Minneapolis will hold a community conversation Thursday, December 3, about the renaming of Lake Calhoun back to its original name: Bde/Mde Maka Ska. It will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Here is the official announcement:

Please join us on December 3 as we welcome the broader community to a practical and generative community conversation about Bde/Mde Maka Ska (currently called Lake Calhoun), with the theme “Water Wisdom: Carrying Us Into a Bold Future of Deep Restoration.” It will be an evening in which to envision bold possibilities that transcend the boundaries of the past, to call a powerful future into the present and to advance a more vital, valuable, and vibrant future. Food provided. All are welcome.

An initial community conversation about Bde/Mde Maka Ska was held at First Universalist on October 7. MNNativeNews did a story about it, which you can listen to at this link.

Reminder: Medicine Bottle Memorial this Wednesday

Many people know about the 38 Dakota men hung at Mankato, Dec. 26, 1862, following the Dakota-U.S. War, the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Less well known are the two Dakota men — Medicine Bottle and Shakopee (aka Little Six) — who were hung at Fort Snelling nearly three years later for their participation in the war. They had fled to Canada but were kidnapped and handed over to U.S. authorities.

Filmmaker Sheldon Wolfchild, Medicine Bottle’s grandson, plans to hold a memorial for Medicine Bottle on the 150th anniversary of the hanging on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be held at Fort Snelling, near the car turnaround (where the hanging took place). (Note: Go to the Fort itself, not the visitor’s center area where the concentration camp remembrances are held.)

In addition, Wolfchild will hold film screenings and lecture at the Fort Snelling Theater Tuesday, Nov. 10), noon – 4 p.m. He will show both his recently released documentary: Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code and a shorter documentary on the Mdewakanton Dakota creation story. Wolfchild will lecture on “Where did the bodies go?” reflections on his efforts to find Medicine Bottles remains. Research shows that the bodies of both Medicine Bottle and Shakopee were quickly unearthed and removed for medical research.

Minneapolis American Indian Center Breakfast Fundraiser

We get a lot of emails about fundraisers and because of time and space don’t print most of them. But I am a complete sucker for breakfast. Just got this “Give to the Max” pitch from the Minneapolis American Indian Center: Pancake, sausage, and coffee breakfast for $6, Thursday, Nov. 12, from 9-11 a.m., 1530 East Franklin Avenue.

Rise in Injured Eagles a Mystery

The “Dakota Experience” event held last month at Grace Lutheran in Apple Valley was a huge success, and one of the big draws was an eagle brought out by the raptor center. It was a great opportunity for several Native speakers present to talk about the importance of eagles in Native spirituality. With that in mind, here is a recent article from Minnesota Public Radio: Influx of injured eagles puzzles, stresses Raptor Center.

The Raptor Center in St. Paul is overloaded with convalescing bald eagles, and more are likely on the way. Officials at the University of Minnesota center say the rising toll on eagles is a troubling and expensive mystery.

Click on the link above for more.