Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
We’re delighted to note that My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation by Brenda J. Child has won the the seventh annual Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.
Child uses her family’s own powerful stories to tell a different kind of history–one that puts her reader’s feet on the reservation. She shows how Ojibwe men and women on reservations around the Great Lakes sustained both their families and their cultural identity in the face of extreme prejudice and hardship.
Winners of the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award cross multiple disciplines or fields of study, are relevant to contemporary North American Indian communities, and focus on American Indian Studies, modern tribal studies, modern biographies, tribal governments or federal Indian policy.
Dedicated in 1993, the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in the Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries is one of the only repositories within a public university library devoted to American Indian collections. The Labriola Center holds both primary and secondary sources on American Indians across North America. The Center’s primary purpose is to promote a better understanding of American Indian language, culture, social, political and economic issues. The Labriola National American Indian Data Center has been endowed by Frank and Mary Labriola whose wish has been that “the Labriola Center be a source of education and pride for all Native Americans.”
My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks is also a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.
The Hognander Minnesota History Award recognizes the most outstanding scholarly work related to Minnesota history published during the preceding two years. The award, funded by the Hognander Family Foundation, is presented every two years.
This award stems from the Hognander family’s belief in the importance of studying and preserving history. As Joe Hognander notes, “We established this award because of our relationship with the Minnesota Historical Society. Its commitment to excellence is noteworthy in promoting scholarly research and writing. We hope this award will inspire more activity by recognizing and rewarding the finest work in the field.”
Much of the focus on the Dakota people in Minnesota rests on the tragic events of the 1862 U.S.–Dakota War and the resulting exile that sent the majority of the Dakota to prisons and reservations beyond the state’s boundaries. But the true depth of the devastation of removal cannot be understood without a closer examination of the history of the Dakota people and their deep cultural connection to the land that is Minnesota. Drawing on oral history interviews, archival work, and painstaking comparisons of Dakota, French, and English sources, Mni Sota Makoce tells the detailed history of the Dakota people in their traditional homelands for at least hundreds of years prior to exile.
Published by Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2012, the book went on to win the 2013 Minnesota Book Award in the Minnesota category last year.
Westerman and White will be honored for their latest achievement at the upcoming Book Awards Gala on April 5 at the Saint Paul Union Depot. Gwen Westerman is professor of English and Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Bruce White is author of We Are at Home: Pictures of the Ojibwe People.
Minnesota Historical Society Press Spring 2014 Titles
Augie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip (Paperback, February 2014)
The Brides of Midsummer (First English Translation, February 2014)
When I Was a Child: An Autobiographical Novel (February 2014)
Her Honor: Rosalie Wahl and the Minnesota Women’s Movement (March 2014)
Keystones of the Stone Arch Bridge (April 2014)
Curiosity’s Cats: Writers on Research (April 2014)
Edited by Bruce Joshua Miller
Conflicted Mission: Faith, Disputes, and Deception on the Dakota Frontier (April 2014)
Linda M. Clemmons
Hungry Johnny (May 2014)
Cheryl Minnema, Illustrations by Wesley Ballinger
Toys of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s (May 2014)
Kate Roberts and Adam Scher
Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop (May 2014)
Smitten with Squash (July 2014)
Local foods have garnered much attention in recent years, but the concept is hardly new: indigenous peoples have always made the most of nature’s gifts. Their menus were truly the “original local,” celebrated here in 135 home-tested recipes paired with stories from tribal activists, food researchers, families, and chefs.
Heid E. Erdrich shares family and community recipes in her new cookbook, Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest.
Join us tomorrow, Friday, November 22, at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (1917 Logan Avenue South) in Minneapolis at the book launch hosted by Birchbark Books to sample recipes from the book prepared by Chef Jason Champagne.
Click here for more info, recipes, and interviews with Heid!
In light of today’s protest to eliminate the use of Native mascots in Minneapolis before the Minnesota vs. Washington football game, here is an excerpt from Anton Treuer’s book, Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask.
Listen to Treuer talk about the issue last year on NPR’s Tell Me More.
Why is there so much concern about mascots?
Not all Indians find the use of Indians or Indian imagery by sports teams offensive, but many do. They view nonnative people dressed as Indians, doing a “tomahawk chop,” or singing fake Indian songs as a mockery of their culture and history. Those opposed to the use of Indians as mascots usually point out that most people would not tolerate white sports fans dressed up in fake Afros singing mock African songs for a sports team using a stereotype of black people as a mascot. The protest against using nonnative racial groups as mascots has been so overwhelming that the practice was universally abandoned. In Red Wing (Minnesota), in 2008 and 2009, sixty to seventy white students dressed in low-slung pants and sports jerseys and flashed gang signs in a caricature of black culture the students called “Wigger Day.” A lawsuit was filed that resulted in school officials actively discouraging and suppressing the custom, with some resistance from students. But similar caricatures of Indians in other places have often been widely defended by school officials and community members, even officially celebrated as part of the sports culture at the schools.
The two biggest defenses of Indian mascots are pretty weak. The first is the claim that “we are honoring Native Americans.” If all Native Americans felt honored, then that argument would bear some weight, but most do not feel honored. And even if a home team truly believes it is honoring Indians through its mascot, opposing teams caricature and abuse each other’s mascots in the name of team spirit. Thus, other teams in the same conference with a team that has a native mascot will most definitely not be honoring them.
Nonnative people also justify the practice by pointing to Indians who use Indian mascots for teams, such as the Red Lake Warriors. The difference is that the Indians at Red Lake are the descendants of warriors, so their use of that image or name is not a mockery. However, I never miss a chance to encourage Red Lake and other native schools to change their mascots to something more benign so that it does not confuse others about appropriate mascots. The bottom line is that if any mascot is truly offensive to a large percentage of the population, then that mascot should go. Stick to lions, tigers, and bears. Human beings will never feel dishonored by that.
Visit Mille Lacs Indian Museum for a day of fun and games tomorrow! Try and shoot goals with lacrosse sticks, a game that’s growing in popularity today but which has roots in American Indian history. Author Art Coulson and Robert DesJarlait will talk about and sign copies of thier book The Creator’s Game, a children’s story about lacrosse. Marcie Rendon will talk about and sign her book Powwow Summer, which follows a family as they travel along the powwow trail. And join artist Cheryl Minnema (Ojibwe Shoulder Bag Kit) as she helps young visitors decorate Ojibwe shoulder bags to take home. Visit with the authors from 1 to 2 p.m., then join a drum and dance demonstration at 2:30 p.m. This event is free and does not include museum admission.
Enjoy free admission on Saturday September 28 from 12 noon to 4:00 pm at the Minnesota History Center during Circles of Tradition Dakota/Ojibwe Family Day featuring speakers and artists from the Dakota and Ojibwe communities who will share traditions of their rich and vibrant history. Visitors can enjoy music, dancing, demonstrations, displays, language exchange, games and art activities.
Powwow Summer authors Marcie Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Bellville will share their book, see details, below.
This program is offered in conjunction with the Smithsonian Museums Day Live! -an annual free admission event.
Schedule of Events:
Levels 1 & 4
Ojibwe and Dakota artifacts from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collections
Play “Splat” and learn Dakota words and place names with Dakota Wicohan (Noon, 1:00, 2:00 pm)
Decorate a fabric shoulder bag inspired by the designs and symbols of traditional Ojibwe bandolier bags
Traditional Dakota songs, dancing, and drumming with Cansa’yapi Oyate (Redwood People) featuring the Lucio Family Dance Troupe (12:30 & 3:00 pm)
Birchbark demo with artist Pat Kruse, a member of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe
In Focus: Photography display created by the History Center’s American Indian Teen Portrait Project
Beadwork demo with Walter LaBatte, an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Play “Name that Otunwe” (city or place) with Jewell Arcoren (Sisseton/Sicangu) an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe
Ask the Curator!
Learn about the Society’s collection of Dakota and Ojibwe artifacts with independent curator, Marcia Anderson. (1:00-3:00 pm)
Powwow Summer authors Marcie Rendon and Cheryl Walsh Bellville share photos and stories from their book (1:30 &2:30 pm on the Paul Bunyan stage)
We Are Still Here: A Photographic History of the American Indian Movement is a new book with photos by Dick Bancroft and text by Laura Waterman Wittstock.
An exhibit based on the book opens this Thursday at Mill City Museum. Dick and Laura will talk about their book at the opening at 6:00 pm, and they’ll also present at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul next Tuesday, May 21, at 7:00 pm for this month’s History Lounge.
In recognition of Minnesota American Indian Month, we are pleased to offer 10 Native American history and culture e-books for the special price of $3.99 each during the month of May. Load up your e-readers!
Also, for a list of related events in the Twin Cities, check out the City of Minneapolis’s American Indian Month Community Calendar.
We are honored to publish The Dakota Prisoner of War Letters/Dakota Kaskapi Okicize Wowapi, translated by Dakota elders and scholars Dr. Clifford Canku and Mr. Michael Simon.
Dr. Canku and Mr. Simon will talk about the book and project at two special events on April 11th at Zandbroz Bookstore in Fargo, ND, and April 19th with Birchbark Bookstore in Minneapolis, MN. (Please click on the book title, above, for details.)
The following is an excerpt from the foreword to the book by Dr. John Peacock (Spirit Lake Dakota).
“For participating in the Dakota–U.S. War of 1862, thirty-eight Dakota men were hanged at Mankato on December 26 of that year. The following April, approximately 265 more Dakota men, also condemned to death, but not executed, were marched in shackles into Camp McClellan, a military prison at Davenport, Iowa. There they wrote letters in the Dakota language. Fifty of these, written by more than three dozen of the condemned men, have now been translated into English by two of the letter writers’ Christian Dakota descendants, Dr. Clifford Canku and Mr. Michael Simon, themselves members of the last generation in the United States of mother-tongue, fluent Dakota speakers.
Both translators were born on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Nation’s reservation in South Dakota and grew up speaking Dakota as their first language. Now in their seventies, they are traditional Sun Dancers and retired Dakota Presbyterian ministers (Mr. Simon formerly headed the Dakota Presbytery). Both men have told me that their training at seminary in translating Biblical languages helped them translate the Dakota letters. They think of the letters not merely as historic documents but as sacred texts—as revelation of a Dakota apocalypse and as prophesy of the Dakota expulsion and exodus from their Minnesota homelands, the male letter writers to Davenport; their wives, children, and dependent elders first to a prison camp at Fort Snelling and then into the desert at Crow Creek.
These letters were written from a place of sadness and loss. As Mr. Simon says in his preface, the prisoners were held at Camp Kearney, a portion marked off from Camp McClellan in December 1863. The overcrowded barracks, built of green wood, offered little protection from the Iowa winter, and the prisoners were not provided adequate fuel. They were kept shackled for months. Sixteen Dakota women, brought along to cook and launder for the prisoners, also lived in the camp with their children. By 1864, men were taken out of the camp under guard to cut wood and work in nearby farm fields. That summer, a group of Dakota families—ninety men, women, and children who had been picked up at Pembina—were imprisoned with them. At least 120 people died of smallpox and other ailments at Camp Kearney. In the spring of 1866, President Andrew Johnson finally pardoned the men, who were then sent west to meet their families.
The letter writers first learned to write in the Dakota language in prison at Davenport, earlier in another prison at Mankato, or earlier still in mission schools. In all these places, missionaries worked to convert Dakota people to Christianity, in part by teaching them to read and write their once entirely oral language, for which missionaries had created a writing system and into which they had translated the Bible and various Christian hymns and liturgies.
With the exception of a letter addressed to General Henry Hastings Sibley, most of the Davenport letters are addressed to Tamakoce (His Country), the name the Dakota had given to missionary Stephen Riggs, whom the writers also frequently address in the body of their letters as mitakuye, Dakota for ‘my relative.’”