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Minnesota Native News

181 EpisodesProduced by Minnesota Native NewsWebsite

Minnesota Native News is a weekly radio segment covering ideas and events relevant to Minnesota’s Native American communities. Made possible by the Minnesota Art's and Cultural Heritage fund


Lower Sioux Indian Community Reclaims Land and More

HEADLINES: This week on Minnesota Native News:  Lower Sioux Indian Community reclaims 114 acres, a Sumer opportunity for Native college students and a timely review for TV watchers. 

STORY #1 - Canca’yapi Returns to Lower Sioux Indian Community (2:30)
The Lower Sioux Indian Community in  Canca’yapi [Chosh-shay-ah-pee] recently reclaimed 114 acres of land from the state of Minnesota. Reporter Melissa Townsend has those details and more.

This 114 acres is part of the homelands of the Dakota people. This spot, called the Lower Sioux Agency,  is where the war of 1862 began. That war ended with the forced removal of many Dakota people from Minnesota. 

Cheyanne St John is the Tribal Historic Preservation officer and Director of Lower Sioux Cultural Department.  

ST JOHN: Our indigenous people have always had such a strong connection to land so when we had these forced removals and all these different traumatic events happen, one of the ways in which we were able to find little bits of healing and reconnection to identity was through land and returning to our homeland. (:24)

In 2004 conversations began between the tribe and the state about the tribe reclaiming this land. It’s taken nearly 2 decades for the process to unfold. It involved the state legislature, the DNR, the Historical Society, the federal government and 31 other tribes.

ST. JOHN: Any tribes that have direct affiliation with Canca’yapi or this part of Minnesota are notified of what is being proposed so without the support of those 31 tribes it could have been a much longer process.  (:17)

St John says she doesn’t feel it’s appropriate to say the tribe now “owns” the land. 

ST JOHN: From an indigenous perspective, land is not owned - our connection to our history is far stronger than any piece of paper that could be signed. (:12)

Now that the tribe is the steward of the land St John says it will retain the site as- is.

ST. JOHN: Maybe down the road there would be some planning and conversations in the community about how to make that space a bit more contemporary in telling our Dakota history. (:13)

St John says she feels grateful to all the people who have worked over the past two decades to return this land to the Dakota people. She feels lucky to be here when the final documents were actually signed.

In other news — 

STORY #2  - MNHS Internship (1:05)
The Minnesota Historical Society is planning to host 5 Native college students for a 10 week paid internship this summer.  

The Native American Museum Undergraduate Fellowship engages Native students in exploring the world of tribal historic preservation and museum exhibits. 

Ambar Annis, Mnicoujou Lakota, is Program and Outreach Manager at the Minnesota Historical Society.

She says the program is part of the museum’s efforts to indigenize story telling about Native communities and culture. 

ANNIS: We’re trying to  working to make sure it’s native people who are telling the stories, that it’s Native Nations and Native communities members who are coming to us who are saying these are the stories that need to be told and we need to be in control of those. (:12)

Because of Covid-19 the 10 week summer program will start online. 

Annis says they hope to gather all the interns in St Paul for the final few weeks of the program to visit sites and work safely in-person together. 

Interns receive money for travel, food and their time. Housing is also arranged.

For those interested, search for Native American Fellowship at the website  

For Minnesota native News, I’m Melissa Townsend.

STORY #3 - WandaVision Review
Finally, as we are still spending a lot of time indoors at home, Gerry Zink recommends a new show from Marvel Studios - the studio behind Endgame, the highest grossing movie of all time.  Zink is a 17 year old Lakota comics aficionado.  Here is his review of Wandavision.

Wandavision is the first TV show made by Marvel Studios post Endgame, and it’s the first in a long line of shows made exclusively for Disney Plus. It stars Scarlet Witch and Vision,  from the most recent Avengers movies. 

It is the first time marvel has veered into sitcom territory, with a little mix of alternate reality fiction and 1950s surrealism. The characters fit very well within the sitcom landscape, with many hilarious sketches and jokes. While the show is very funny, it also uses the audience's broader knowledge of the Marvel universe to generate a decent amount of tension within the audience. It is impossible to say any more without spoiling, but Wandavision is a great watch for Friday nights on Disney Plus.

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