Minnesota Native News: We Are Still Here
Minnesota Native News: We Are Still Here
This is Minnesota Native News, I’m Marie Rock
STORY #1 - LEECH LAKE ED (1:10)
HOST (Marie) : The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is in the final stages of overhauling its tribal education programs. Reporter Kayla Duoos from Leech Lake News tells us more.
REPORTER: Young people often feel they need to leave the reservation to be successful in school and to find good jobs.
Leaders within the Band are working to change that.
HARPER: Aaniin I’m Laurie Harper and I’m the tribal education director for the leech lake band of Ojibwe. We are currently in the process of developing a tribal education code that will allow us to re-establish our sovereignty in education.
REPORTER: Laurie Harper is making changes across the band’s 18 programs including K through12, post secondary, alternative learning and job training.
She wants to keep young Leech Lakers at home with good education options that lead to good jobs.
HARPER: Instead of educating our tribal members to seek work elsewhere I really believe that bringing our tribal members back home will help us to rebuild our tribal nation and tribal structure.
Harper has been working to revamp the education system since 2016.
Band members will have several chances over the next few months to offer their input at public forums on the future direction of the education department.
I’m Kayla Duoos with DeBahJiMon for Minnesota Native News.
STORY #2 - INDIAN MONTH (WAY TOO LONG - PLEASE SUGGEST CUTS)
On May 1st more than two hundred Native folks and others gathered in Little Earth to kick off the 50th annual American Indian month.
Reporter Melissa Townsend was at the kick off event on May 1st and she shares some of the news from that morning.
SPEAKER: Welcome, we love that you’re here, yea! [cheers] (:09)
Before the parade, everybody gathers here, in the park at Little Earth of United Tribes Housing complex.
Nolan Bergland is here with a few friends. He is Northern Cheyanne and Oglala Lakota.
NOLAN BERGLAND: I’m excited to be here today particularly because we don’t have many opportunities to get together as a community and to be able to hug my relatives , visit with people that i recognized, it just feels really good. Chante Washte, makes me feel good in my heart.
I hear this from a number of people — folks are happy to be together to celebrate.
The gathering kicks off with a prayer, a song and a short line-up of speakers.
White Earth tribal citizen and Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan addresses the crowd.
She reads an official statement declaring May as American Indian month across the state.
FLANAGAN: …the land now known as the state of Minnesota is the home of American Indian people that have occupied this land since time immemorial… (:10)
It’s a pretty long proclamation — let’s skip to the end…
FLANAGAN: Therefore I, Tim Walz, I’m not Tim Walz, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim the month of May 2019 as American Indian month in the state of Minnesota. [cheers] (:15)
In her speech Flanagan says she is disturbed by recent news concerning Bde Maka Ska and Bdote.
In case you missed it, a Minnesota Court recently ruled that the state did not have the authority to reclaim the Dakota name Bde Maka Ska for a Minneapolis lake also known as Lake Calhoun.
Since then the Minnesota state Department of Natural Resources says it will appeal that decision.
Also in the last two weeks, the Republican controlled Minnesota state Senate passed a bill cutting the budget of the Minnesota Historical Society. Why? Because it has signs on the property acknowledge Fort Snelling is also known as Bdote — the Dakota sacred site where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet.
I asked some folks in the crowd how they feel about this recent news.
This is Shelly Diaz. She is from Mille Lacs.
SHELLY DIAS FROM MILLE LACS: It’s going to be like the confederate statues that are coming down. It’s contention. We have to teach people the truth and one we reconcile that, we can move forward together. (:16)
Jewell Arcoren agrees. She is Dakota.
ARCOREN: Bde Maka Ska - I think that Minnesota needs to look at their own parallel trauma that they carry, it’s a perpetrators trauma, I’ll say that. (:17)
None of this news seems to dampen anyone’s celebration. Afterall the theme of this year’s Indian month is We are still here!
Here’s Jewel Arcoran again:
ARCORAN: As I was riding in with my granddaugther and dropped her off at Bdote Learning Center today, I was telling her that this was an occasion to celebrate that we are still here. For sure. (:12)?
So on this chilly, rainy morning, — the crowd starts down their parade route with banners, dancers, and drum groups and floats on trucks.
For Minnesota Native News, I’m Melissa Townsend.
It’s American Indian Month in Minnesota! This week on Minnesota Native News we take you to the kick off event in Minneapolis and we hear about the Leech Lake Band’s efforts to overhaul their tribal education system.