State and Local News Briefs


Religious leaders oppose new Enbridge pipeline: On June 4, more than 500 religious leaders delivered a petition against Enbridge's proposed new Line 3 oil pipeline across northern Minnesota to Gov. Mark Dayton and state utility regulators. The letter, signed by Protestant leaders and ministers of several faiths, called the proposed new line a "moral issue" — a threat to the environment and Minnesota's Ojibwe. Source:

New children's book tells story of 'bowwow powwow': Ojibwe University of Minnesota professor Brenda Child has published a new children's book in both English and Ojibwe. "Bowwow Powwow" tells the story of a young Ojibwe girl named Windy Girl, who attends a powwow with her uncle and dog, Itchy Boy. Wendy falls asleep and has a dream of a powwow composed of performing dogs in traditional regalia. The book is illustrated by Jonathan Thunder, a member of the Red Lake Band. "I wanted to teach a little bit about Ojibwe history," Child said. "I also wanted it to be a bilingual children's book to help language educators and families. But some of the purpose of doing a children's book is just to have fun." Source:

Governor vetoes wild rice bill: On May 30 Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a second version of a so-called "wild rice bill" intended to simplify the state's water standards. In a letter to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Dayton said the bill represents some progress but still has shortcomings. Said Dayton, "It appeared that the interests, who advocated for the initial bill, were principally concerned with rehashing disagreements with MPCA (the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) on the scientific research supporting the sulfate standard, and with attempting to replace the MPCA's responsibilities under state and federal laws with the authority of the work group. Giving a work group the power to decide the state's wild rice water quality standard is an unlawful delegation of authority under the federal Clean Water Act, as well as offensive to the Native American Tribes, who place great significance on wild rice." Source: Office of Governor Mark Dayton.

PUC weighs Line 3 pipeline decision: The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission heard arguments for and against Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline in hearings starting June 18. The PUC was scheduled to make a decision on the certificate of need and the route of the pipeline June 28 (after this issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin went to press). The decision could reverberate across the country and the world as oil and transport companies face off with environmentalists and Native American tribes who see oil pipelines as a threat to efforts to curb the burning of fossil fuels linked to climate change. Source:

Grand Mound reopening considered: The Grand Mound, a 25-foot-tall American Indian burial site near the Canadian border, was designated a National Historic Landmark several years ago but has been closed to the public because of state budget cuts in 2002. After a series of meetings with various tribal groups, Minnesota officials said they will decide this fall whether to reopen the sacred site in some way or keep it closed for the foreseeable future. The Bois Forte Band recommends keeping it closed to tourists but open for Indian ceremonies. Source:

National News Briefs

New Mexico may send first Native woman to Congress: New Mexico has moved closer to electing the first Native American woman to the U.S. House of Representatives after Deb Haaland’s victory in a June 5 Democratic primary for an open congressional seat encompassing Albuquerque. Native Americans from Washington state to Oklahoma celebrated the possibility of a landmark in U.S. political history. Haaland, a tribal member of the Laguna Pueblo, defeated a crowded field of mainly Hispanic candidates. “The Native vote has helped a lot of candidates win. The Native vote can sway a statewide election,” she said. “I think if we keep working hard to get out to vote and to stay active, we can have a larger say in our politics.” Source:

Kentucky grave robber headed to prison: Gary Womack, who plundered Native American burial sites, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after another man said Womack mentioned having a vault in his house with skeletons in it. Police didn’t find any skeletons during a raid, but the investigation showed he dealt in artifacts, such as arrowheads, removed from Native American grave sites in caves and rock shelters in south-central Kentucky, and from burial sites in other states, according to a news release and court records. Source:

Wolves to be relocated to Isle Royale: The National Park Service announced last month that it will move ahead with a plan to move 20 to 30 wolves onto Isle Royale over the next three years beginning later this fall, Isle Royale Superintendent Phyllis Green said. The wolf population on Isle Royale, located about 15 miles off Minnesota’s North Shore, has dwindled to two wolves, a father and daughter, due to inbreeding and genetic deformities. In recent years, new wolves have been unable to cross the ice to the island during the winters. Without more wolves on the island, the moose population is expected to increase, causing environmental damage, and the moose will begin to starve to death. Source: Duluth News Tribune.

Remains of Native children returned after 100 years: The remains of four Native American children who died at Carlisle Indian school in Pennsylvania were being disinterred June 14 so they could start the long journey home to their families scattered across the American west. The children included 10-year-old Little Plume, of the Northern Arapaho; George Ell, of the Blackfeet Nation; Herbert Little Hawk, of the Oglala Sioux; and Her Pipe Woman, also known as Dora Brave Bull, of the Standing Rock Sioux. Source:

High voter turnout expected for primaries: Hotly-contested DFL and Republican primary races are expected to drive voter turnout in the August 14 primary to levels not seen in 20 years. In the Governor's race, Republican-endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson faces former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and DFL-endorsed candidate Erin Murphy is being challenged by U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson. A surprisingly contested attorney general's race was triggered by Swanson's decision to run for governor, which led to a scramble for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's 5th District congressional seat, which opened after he decided to run for attorney general. Up north, 8th District Democrats are facing a five-way primary for Rick Nolan's congressional seat. Source: