Category Archives: Minnesota

Blog 1: Blogger as intelligent filter – Minnesota Indigenous people’s Blood Quantum

Good evening fellow students this is Madison here. I’m sitting at my dining room table typing this out on Labor Day. I wanted to begin my journey on blogging by sharing news local to our state of Minnesota. I have been following this story throughout the summer and the topic is on Native American blood quantum. In this context what this means is that in order to be a part of a Native American tribe the person needs to have at least 25% Native blood. As we know there are 11 federally recognized tribes in the state of Minnesota. Northern tribes are the Anishinaabe reservations are Grand Portage, Bois Forte, Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs. In Southern Minnesota the four Dakota reservations are Shakopee Mdewakanton, Prairie Island, Lower Sioux and Upper Sioux.

As a student who is white I want to make an extremely important note that this something I am sharing for educational purposes and bridging awareness from the articles to the blog. That is all. I see this as an opportunity to learn and further educate myself about the history of Minnesota’s Indigenous people.

On August 2nd nearly 7,800 Chippewa tribe members voted on a ballad as to whether or not they want to lift the rule that at least 25% Native blood is required to be a part of the tribe. About 70% of tribes around the U.S still have the blood quantum rule. However tribe members all over the Untied States- not just Minnesota, are sharing that they want their legacy to live on in their children and their grandchildren. Some member’s children of the Chippewa tribe at 1/4 blood which disqualifies them from joining. (Kraker, 2022) This is a widespread issue across the U.S that many member’s children and grandchildren are encountering. Voices from the Chippewa tribe are sharing that what blood quantum is doing is placing a restriction on family legacy. The vote is a non-binding referendum which means it is to weigh the opinions of the Chippewa tribe member’s and is not to necessarily execute the popular vote into action. In the end the popular vote was to remove the blood quantum restriction. This is allows people apart of Native American bloodlines to be a member of the tribe and partake in the culture and practices.

The history of the blood quantum comes from colonialist beliefs. In the 1930’s the federal government coerced tribes into a blood quantum agreement which ultimately decides if a person qualifies as a member. (Kraker, 2022) A woman said in article Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Votes to Remove Blood Quantum from Enrollment Requirements, “I am in support of changing blood quantum requirements that ensures enrollment protects our rights, citizenship, and resources,”. (Thompson, 2022) What is being talked about here is the undoing of colonial invasion. Power is being taken back by Minnesotan tribes and other Native American tribes across the United States. Since George Floyd’s murder in May of 2020 there has been an earnest wave of change sweeping across organizations, racial groups, and communities that are demanding justice and reformation not only for Black lives, but as well for Indigenous, Asian and Latinx lives. By dismantling laws and regulations made by colonizers to oppress, control, and silence the BIPOC community and other minority groups they can begin to have a voice not only for their own lives and communities but as well as on the world stage.

To end this blog if you have the time I highly recommend reading this article by Nancy Kelsey who is Anishinaabe. https://www.npr.org/2022/08/02/1115113643/chippewa-tribe-members-in-minnesota-consider-whether-to-continue-blood-quantum

Bibliography:

Kraker, D. (2022, August 2). Chippewa tribe members in Minnesota consider whether to continue blood quantum. NPR. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2022/08/02/1115113643/chippewa-tribe-members-in-minnesota-consider-whether-to-continue-blood-quantum 

Thompson, D. (2022, July 21). Minnesota chippewa tribe votes to remove blood quantum from enrollment requirements. Native News Online. https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/minnesota-chippewa-tribe-votes-to-remove-blood-quantum-from-enrollment-requirements 

A Proud Minnesotan

I’m a fifth generation Minnesotan. My dad’s family immigrated to Minnesota from Northern and Eastern Europe in the 1800s. My great great grandparents established an urban homestead. They grew their own food and lived within walking distance of downtown St. Paul the state’s capital. My grandparents and parents continued the family tradition of growing and preserving our food, despite living in the post-war era nor living in St. Paul anymore. I have been lucky often to continue to be taught this valuable skills from my family.

My sister’s and I with the Easter bunny in St. Paul circa 1996.

I grow up in during my youngest years in St. Paul off Rice Street. Being able to participate in Rice Rec events and the Rice Street Parade were some of my fondest memories.

I was able to see the Mall of America be built. We were lucky enough to spend time at Camp Snoopy. And I grew up watching my favorite movie franchise filmed here as well… The Mighty Ducks.

Duluth, MN

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes so growing up I spent lots of time at our family cabin or at friend’s cabins. We would go fishing a lot. I would go jet skiing and wakeboarding. In the winter would go to neighborhood ponds to ice skate. Or go ice fishing on the lake.

I have developed a great connection to this state I call home for all these reasons. However, as I’ve gotten older I realize all the amazing benefits of living in Minnesota. Like the incredible access to healthcare and choice we have here. The expanded medicaid services that are offered within our state to support those with chronic medical condition. I have experienced the benefits of these programs after having my oldest daughter who is medically complex.

This past year has been another testament to the fondest I have for this state. Though not always favorable our state has shown great leadership throughout this pandemic. And with that it was announced today that the state will be expanding its vaccination qualification to all adults over the age of sixteen on Tuesday March 30, 2021. This is far ahead of schedule because at the beginning of the vaccination campaign it was estimated that having all adults of 16 in Minnesota be able to qualify for vaccination it would take until at least the end of the summer 2021. This is big deal and an important step for our state.

This is all to say I am a Proud Minnesotan born and raised!

I’m Not The First To Say This But “It’s Been A Year”

March 16, 2020 was the last day I worked at the restaurant I was serving at. I didn’t know if I would be able to go back to working in this environment since I am the parent of an immunosuppressed child. Like most people I was unsure of what was to come. Unlike most people I knew that things were going to be different for a while.

How did I know everything was going to change?

As I stated previously I am the parent of an immunosuppressed child; I am also a health science major. So I had some inside perspective into medical phenomenon, knowing there was rather contagious novel virus that has made its way around the world… let’s say I had a feeling we were in for a new normal.

Our distance learning set-up

We rearranged our lives and adapted to being at home for almost everything.

After a year of this we our now having to relearn how to interact and have the opportunity to emerge from our daily comforts of home. Some now able to be around in groups maskless if vaccinated. This will be a slow re-entry for many after so much restriction and caution from this invisible enemy.

Hopefully, some of what we learned in this time will stick with us and hopefully we remember the impacts we make on each other after this year on unknowns and emerging science.

Drinking from the Wrong Lemonade Stand

Let me cut right to the chase. I’m sure you have heard that Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith proclaimed May 23, 2016 to be “Beyoncé Day” in Minnesota.

 

Proclaiming “days” isn’t anything new for Governor Dayton. He actually proclaimed 20+ different ones in May. Heck the Queen Bey shares her day with the Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale, MN. So really May 232016 isn’t “Beyoncé Day”, it’s “Beyoncé and Historic Terrace Theatre Day”.

Let’s push “Historic Terrace Theatre Day” aside (sorry Robbinsdale!) and talk about “Beyoncé Day”.

Continue reading Drinking from the Wrong Lemonade Stand

Minnesotans United

I’m honestly shocked that I picked “exercising your public voice” as my first blog post topic.  My friends can tell you that I’m usually the last one to comment on high-profile topics.  I don’t like debate, and I don’t like the possibility of offending people with my opinion.  However, when it comes to the hot topic of same-sex marriage, I am willing to open up a bit.  I understand that everyone is completely entitled to their views, but I truly have a hard time understanding why there are Minnesotans who don’t support same-sex marriage.  This issue is especially relevant today, when the Minnesota Senate is voting on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.  This afternoon’s debate can be viewed on a live stream here.

So why do I support same-sex marriage?  Because I believe that all human beings should be granted the same freedom to marry.  The personal and religious views of random publics should not dictate whether two men or two women get married.  I, along with many supporters of this movement, believe that the decision to get married belongs to the two people in a relationship.  It should not be dictated by a church or any other group.

A lot of my updates on the Minnesota fight for same-sex marriage come from Facebook pages like Minnesotans United for All Families.  During the past few days leading up to the Senate vote, the organization has urged its followers to email their state senators with encouragement to vote “yes” on the bill.  By following their directions, people like me were able to find their senator and send them a message.  MN4AllFamilies even composed an email that could be sent as-is or personalized.  Here is the text they suggested:

This is a truly historic time for our state, and as your constituent I urge you to support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the Senate on Monday.

I was thrilled to see the bipartisan vote in the Minnesota House on Thursday! Now, you have the chance to help make Minnesota the next state to allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry. The future of thousands of families in our state lies in your hands.  

Same-sex couples and their families have waited too long to be treated equally by their government. You have an incredible opportunity to make a state a more free and fair place today, and I hope you’ll take advantage of it. 

Please, vote YES and support the basic freedom to marry for same-sex couples. 

For me, the third paragraph says it all.  “Treated equally” and “more free and fair place” are key phrases that define what we should be striving for.  I want my gay and lesbian friends to have the same rights to marriage as I do.  Their relationships are no less important than heterosexual relationships and deserve to be celebrated and acknowledged by the government.  Meanwhile, I am glued to my computer, awaiting news of today’s vote. Make me proud, Minnesota!  #timeformarriage 
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In case there is any doubt about my stance on this topic, here is a picture of the pumpkin I carved last Halloween–I was encouraging friends to vote NO on the constitutional amendment of Minnesota’s definition of marriage:


Colorado Drive Part II: Ugh.

Coming into Omaha, and then Lincoln, there’s actually some life to this state… or so it seems… Get out of Lincoln, and you finally find yourself in a proverbial Hell. If you’ve never driven through Nebraska, just don’t. Do what you can to avoid it. Please. There’s all kinds of flat and road and nothing and more nothing. For a full five hours. Hopefully you can find a gas station to fill up – just don’t get the regular unleaded, because it might just mess up your engine due to the lower-than-normal octane rating.

Then comes a bridge… and a sign… Colorado! Seriously, when you cross the state line, the road seems to brighten, the landscape becomes a little less flat, and the native plants turn from complete randomness to a beautiful bouquet of sage and wildflowers. The skies open up, and before long, the mountains start to appear.

It’s worth the drive, methinks. Just bring someone else with you to drive through Nebraska so you can sleep through it.

Colorado Drive Part I: Pre Nebraska

Last week I moved my wife out to Colorado since she had accepted a new job out there. I’m following her once we sell the house – but unfortunately we need to get our things out there. This entails 13 hours or so of driving.

Waking up at 4am, we get on the road. The drive is actually kind of nice through southern Minnesota – everything is green from the recent rain we’ve had, and there’s actually a little bit of topography. I feel like I’ve driven this so many times before, but it’s still worth it.

Then you hit Iowa. I always hated Iowa. Farms and cows, followed by more cows, a farm or two, a city, then more cow farms. At least this time, there are quite a few more wind generators dotting the landscape. More of those, says this observer.

Ugh. Then comes Nebraska.