Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
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.’”
The book depicts the story of the last three years of his mother’s life from the perspective of his child self. With an innocent and sometimes brutal child’s view, Rolo recounts stories of a woman who battles poverty, depression, her abusive husband, and isolation through the long northern Minnesota winters, and of himself, her son, who struggles at school, wrestles with his Ojibwe identity, and copes with violence. But he also shows, with eloquence and compassion, his adult understanding of his mother’s fight to live with dignity, not despair.
Rolo will be speaking tonight at Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota, as part of the Visiting Writers Series at SWSU. The event is at 7:00 p.m. in Charter Hall 201 and is free and open to the public.
Both the City of Minneapolis and the City of St. Paul have declared 2013 as the Year of the Dakota. The text from the resolutions is below.
The Minnesota Historical Society Press is honored to publish a few new books by Dakota authors, and in the spirit of fostering dialogue in response to making sure that “every effort . . . is made to ensure that the Dakota perspective is presented” we hope that these books help contribute to the conversation in the coming year.
Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White
The Dakota Prisoner of War Letters Translated by Clifford Canku and Mike Simon (March 2013)
Recognizing the 150th Anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and Declaring 2012-2013 the Year of the Dakota in Minneapolis.
St. Paul Resolution
Recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862 and declaring 2013 the Year of the Dakota.
Tickets are still available for the afternoon History Forum program this Saturday January 19th with David Nichols, author of Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics.
He will also speak in Mankato Tuesday January 22nd at Minnesota State University
In early 1862 a federal investigator cautioned President Lincoln that mass corruption within Minnesota’s system of Indian Agencies would lead to disaster if left unchecked. The president, consumed by the battle to preserve the Union, ignored the warning. When the U.S.-Dakota War broke out eight months later, Lincoln told Minnesota’s governor Alexander Ramsey, “Attend to the Indians… Necessity has no law.” The war and its aftermath—U.S. victory, Dakota internment, the largest mass hanging in American history, and the forced removal of the Dakota from their homelands—solidified Minnesota’s place in the Union, even as it set the stage for the Indian Wars to come, and tragically altered the lives of thousands of Dakota people for generations to come.
David Nichols is the former academic dean at Southwestern College in Winfield, his alma mater. A native of Kansas, he has a Ph.D. in history from the College of William and Mary. His dissertation, Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics, was published by the University of Missouri Press in 1978. That book, still the definitive study of Lincoln’s Indian policies during the Civil War, was reissued as a paperback by the University of Illinois Press in 2000 and was published in a third edition by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in June 2012. Dr. Nichols has spoken across the nation at venues including the Clinton Presidential Library, the Eisenhower Library, Atlanta History Center, John F. Kennedy Library, the Air Force Academy and the National Archives.
To learn more about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, please visit www.usdakotawar.org