Tag Archives: American Indians-Minnesota

Minnesotans honor Indigenous People’s Day

Although we are in different boats you in your boat and we in our canoe we share the same river of life. Oren Lyons

The second Monday in October presents a dilemma for some Americans.  In some states and cities  — and with advertises – the day continues to be commemorated as Columbus Day, a federal holiday.  For Minnesotans,  Monday, October 9, 2017, is officially commemorated as  Indigenous People’s Day.   The historic designation resulted from protracted deliberations about the inconsistency of celebrations of Columbus Day.  St Paul and Minneapolis were early adopters of the change; eventually the State of Minnesota declared that the second Monday in October officially honors the heritage of the indigenous people whose lives and wisdom are imbedded in the culture of the state.

To learn more about the evolving day of recognition, Wikipedia offers further clarification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Peoples%27_Day.  MPR offers a recap of the decision here: . http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/04/27/307445328/minneapolis-renames-columbus-day-as-indigenous-peoples-day

Since the first celebration of Indigenous People’s Day communities throughout the state have sponsored a variety of commemorative events that have helped Minnesotans to learn about our heritage and to appreciate the refocus of the feast.   Some sample local initiatives:

For those of us who continue to struggle with our knowledge of the state’s history, the State of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council helps to fill the gap with this informative and readily accessible background piece: “Overview of Indian Tribes in Minnesota.” https://mn.gov/indianaffairs/tribes.html

In recent months, the Minnesota History Center has hosted a major program and exhibit that shares the talents and artistic work of American Indian artists who have been in residence at MHC for several months.  The exhibit is currently open at the History Center. http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/exhibits/renewing-what-they-gave-us

Also from the vast resources of the Minnesota History Center staff members have suggested a few books of particular relevance to Minnesotans’ commemoration of Indigenous People’s Day:

Towns, cities and community throughout the state will join in a host of programs and activities on Indigenous People’s Day 2017.  Some examples of the many planned activities:

You cannot destroy one who has dreamed a dream like mine. (Gaa wiin daa-aangoshkigaazo)   

###

ADDENDUM:  http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/06/christopher-columbus-no-monuments-murderers

August 9 – The United National also sponsors the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People – Learn more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_the_World%27s_Indigenous_Peoples

November 4 – Native American Family Day at the Minnesota History Center – Noon-4:00.  Free admission, featured speakers and artists from local Native American community.  “Renewing What They Gave Us” exhibit of original beadwork, birth bark and textile pieces by American artists from the Upper Midwest.

 

 

Advertisements

MNopedia – An Evolving Encyclopedia of All Things Minnesota

Charles Van Doren once observed that “Because the world is radically new, the ideal encyclopedia should be radical too.”  MNopedia, the digital encyclopedia of all things Minnesota – significant people, places, and events – deserves the “radical” appellation on several scores.

A production of the Minnesota Historical Society and funded by a Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant, MNopedia is a work-in-progress.

The call is out for Minnesota scholars, librarians, teachers, history buffs and people with good memories to critique the Beta version of the resource that is currently available online. The whole production process is interactive.  Readers are actually encouraged to let editors know what else they would like to know about the publication’s content and format.

The technology itself is a matter of public discussion.  For example, editors write that “the Minnesota Historical Society has chosen to put MNopedia content into a flexible, standards-based database that’s query-able via APL. As a result, MNopedia content eventually can be used beyond this browser-readable Web site – in mobile apps, audience- or situation-specific products, as a component in other Web projects, in print publications, and more, whether these products are created by the Minnesota Historical Society or by other individuals or entities.”  Radical, huh.

Discussing their timeline, editors indicate that they are now in an “expanding” phase where they will “continue building on what we’ve learned from users and expand MNopedia.  We’ll add new features and consider new ways to deliver content. We’ll also explore content partnerships with other organizations, find more experts to contribute, and integrate new articles.”

The initiative to find more experts and integrate new articles involves a call for input.  Editors maintain “that’s what ‘beta’ is all about, after all…testing, improving and expanding a small working model.”  The MNopedia team invites ideas on eras and topics to cover next, features to add, contributors and more.

Presently the eras covered in the MNopedia begin before European contact, i.e. pre-1585, and continue through the new global age, 1980-present.  Topics included are African Americans, Agriculture, American Indians, Architecture, The Arts, Business and Industry, Cities and Towns, Education, Environment, Health and Medicine, Immigration, Labor, Politics, Religion and Belief, Sports and Recreation, Technology, Transportation, War and Conflict, and Women.

Predictably, several of my arbitrary searches dead ended.  Others led me to great articles by serious scholars who write for readers who thirst for good information,well written and comprehensible to mere mortals.

A check of recently added articles led me to an article on the early history of the Minneapolis Waterworks, another on the Origins of the School Safety Patrol (first in the nation) and a very helpful piece on the Mennonites of Mountain Lake.  Each was concise, readable and full of stuff about which I had wondered but never known.

Though “radical” may an overstatement – and politically problematic –  MNopedia is definitely not your grandparent’s encyclopedia.