Journey to Wellness in Indian Country

MN Historical Society

When the bodies of 215 children - some as young as three - were discovered in an unmarked, mass grave at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School it brought to light a part of history that many white people are unfamiliar with.

In the US as well as Canada, residential boarding schools for Native kids were instituted as a way to "kill the Indian and save the child" by preparing them to assimilate into white culture.  In reality, they were a thinly veiled effort to wipe out Native language, culture, family bonds, and "get the Indians out of the way."

Award winning writer Linda Hogan is a Chickasaw poet, novelist, and essayist. She has written extensively on the natural world, and indigenous perspectives on nature and knowing.

Blink O'fanaye/Flickr

What is democracy?  Are its underpinnings being eroded?  Is it being threatened?  What, if anything can we do about it?

Augsburg/Gustavus Adolphus

As discussions unfolded in the Department of Education's Structural Racism Working Group, it became apparent that, despite the murder of George Floyd last summer, many Minnesotans think that was a one-time thing, are unaware the systemic racism that surrounds them in many instances.

And that, says Roxanne Gould, racism "keeps us from being in good relations with each other" and has limited the lives and opportunities of all students, including White ones.

Lorie Shaull/Flickr

It turns out that the hardest part of talking about sexual violence is not broaching an uncomfortable topic: it's realizing it's so universal among the women you know it almost doesn't register anymore.

Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition

Two years ago, the Minnesota Student Survey added a question for 9th and 11th graders. Answering the questions is optional, but even so, when asked if they have ever traded sex for something of value,  five thousand young people across Minnesota said yes, they have.
 

Jernej Furman [via Flickr]

Dr. Mary Owen talks with KUMD's Lisa Johnson about the first rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. With a death rate in the native American population that is higher than the white population in the U.S., the challenges faced by the Indian Health Service (IHS) include how to distribute the vaccine efficiently, but also how to foster the community's trust in its effectiveness and safety.  

Giniw Collective/Facebook

Earlier this month, twelve of the 17-members of the  MPCA's Environmental Justice Advisory Group resigned after the agency approved a key water quality permit for the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project.

House of Representatives Media

Minnesota Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein is about to step into her new job as the first Native woman to be elected to the state Senate.

Rock the Native Vote 2020/Facebook

Louisa Posada knows voter suppression efforts are going on right here in Minnesota.

Moving ballot boxes and polling places.  She knows of an instance where flares were put into a box to incinerate all the votes inside.

But despite a long history of disenfranchisement, (Native Americans didn't become legal citizens until 1924 and weren't eligible to vote in every state until 1962), there is a growing pushback: to get organized, to move as one group, and to learn about political processes and elections. "It's like reading the owner's manual," says Posada.

Here's a much-needed silver lining in our new and challenging times: Dr. Linda LeGarde Grover says 112 people joined her for the Department of American Indian Studies' first Zoom presentation; many more, she says, than would ever have been able to attend in person.

The Osage shield on the Oklahoma state flag shows a Plains-style ceremonial pipe representing Native Americans, and an olive branch representing European Americans. The symbols are meant to demonstrate "a love of peace by a united people."

Steve Premo/MNHS Press

This program was originally aired March 9, 2020.

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