This is a special edition of Minnesota Native News, a radio documentary about young people learning new and ancient respect for water. In this one-hour radio documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at a play performed by Native youth called “We Will Do it for the Water”. The actors are Twin Cities teenagers, and they belong to a theater group called Ikidodwin.
Ikidowin is part of the Indigenous People’s Task Force led by Sharon Day. Sharon Day wrote the play with input from the youth, and Curtis Kirby III directed it. As you’ll hear, it was performed for the first time June first. It has been staged at colleges and theaters in the Upper Midwest, with more performances coming up. MN Native News contributor Laurie Stern, has the story.
Note: Documentary is self-contained with intro and tag included within the audio.
For over a decade, the prescription pain killer and heroin abuse crisis has had a hold on communities across the U-S. Opioid overdoses tripled between 2000 and 2015.
In 2015, Minnesota had more American Indians dying from overdoses than any other state. That same year, well over half of pregnant Native women gave birth to babies with opioids in their systems.
Many American Indians in Minnesota are wrestling with how best to help people heal from the addiction and the historical trauma at the root of this crisis.
Over this hour, reporter Melissa Townsend explores the unique nature of addiction in Native communities, and how it is – or is not – shaping a response to the current crisis.
Nearly 8-thousand American Indians from over 40 different sovereign tribes live in Minneapolis. And since the 1960’s, the section of Franklin Avenue between 11th and Cedar streets has been a gathering place for many. The community was established by Native leaders who brought a sense of tribal sovereignty to their urban community. And that same sense of self-determination continues today.
Reporter Melissa Townsend takes us to Franklin Avenue in South Minneapolis where a new generation’s work is growing this sense of urban Native sovereignty.
The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently released a report officially recording the inhumane practices of the Canadian Indian Boarding School system and the resulting historical trauma on indigenous people. The report calls for 92 different policy changes to address that historical trauma.
In the U.S., truth and reconciliation movements are emerging. Erma Vizenor, Chairwoman of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, is working with the National Congress of American Indians calling for a National Commission on American Indian Boarding School Policy.
This presentation features Erma Vizenor and Michael McNally, Professor of Religion at Carlton College. The two talk about the Episcopal church’s previous support of the Doctrine of Discovery and U.S. Indian Boarding School policy. Vizenor discusses the movement to bring truth and reconciliation to the U.S. The event was held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis on May 30th, 2015.
On June 6th in Bemidji Minnesota a new statue of Chief Bemidji is being dedicated. He is the Native American namesake of the town. He will stand on the shores of Lake Bemidji right next to the 18 foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. These statues represent the two cultures present in this small community in Minnesota’s north woods. Bemidji is a predominantly white town that borders three of the largest and most populous American Indian reservations in Minnesota: the Red Lake Nation, White Earth Nation and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. To the coalition of Native Americans and non-Natives behind the new Chief Bemidji statue — this is more than a bronze monument — it’s an opportunity for truth telling and reconciliation in this Minnesota border town.
This is the second in a two part series about the small city of Bemidji and the work people there are doing to show that Native Lives Matter. Bemidji is a city of about 15-thousand in Minnesota’s north woods. Native Americans – mostly Ojibwe or Anishinabe – make up about 50 percent of the population in the metro region. The town is near the borders of THREE of the largest and most populous Indian reservations in the state — the Red Lake Nation on the north, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to the east and the White Earth Nation to the southwest.
Over the past 50 years, Natives and non-Natives have been finding ways to make American Indians here less romanticized and less demonized. And yet – deep racial disparities persist in hospitals, in schools and in jails.
In this half hour we’re hear about a new movement that’s building now.It’s focused on telling truths about the past to change minds and eventually the structures the maintain these racial inequities. Here’s reporter Melissa Townsend…
Across the U.S. age-old racism and inequities are once again gaining the public’s attention, with movements like Black Lives Matter. In Minnesota, when it comes to disease, school drop-outs, incarceration, Native Americans endure some of the greatest racial disparities in the state. But there is work being done in towns across the state to take on these disparities. Towns like Bemidji — a small city in Minnesota’s north woods. Here, Natives and non-Natives have been working for decades to focus attention on the root causes of these problems and to forge a new vision for the future.
Reporter Melissa Townsend tells the story of their progress.
This is the first in a two part series in the extended edition of Minnesota Naive News.
In this special edition of Minnesota Native News, we hear Marty Case, Director of the Indian Treaty Signers Project. In this lecture “Treaty Signers: Making the American Myth” from The Minnesota Humanities Center, Case shares his research on how treaties transformed people’s relationship to land in what became the United States. Case separates reality from myth in his telling of the political and social context for treaty signing. He exposes the falsehoods in the “Master Narrative” of how the “west was won”. The lecture was held at the Minnesota Humanities Center in St.Paul, Minnesota on May 5th, 2015.
In this special edition of Minnesota Native News, we hear respected Oglala Lakota elder and education authority Dr. Sandra Fox talk about what schools must do to better engage Native students. This is the opening keynote speech from The National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities – a conference at Mystic Lake Casino the week of April 26th. This conference brought together nearly 300 youth and adults working in education in 33 different states.
This is a special 29 minute edition of Minnesota Native News from the Nett Lake Village on the Bois Forte Reservation.
Melissa Townsend and George Strong explore how this small village is taking to the air waves to try and revive their Anishinabe traditions in a changing time.