“Why Treaties Matter” Exhibit opens in Red Lake - P4
Exhibit will be in Red Lake for 4 weeks
The opening celebration for “Why Treaties Matter: Self-Government in the Dakota and Ojibwe Nations,” was held on Monday, December 5, 2011, at the Seven Clans Casino Events Center in Red Lake.
The traveling exhibition that explores the Native nations in Minnesota and their history of treaty making with the United States, will spend two weeks at Seven Clans, then move to the Criminal Justice Complex for two weeks. From there it will move to other parts of Minnesota for most of 2012
In August 2010, a resolution creating a unique partnership of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., was approved unanimously by the tribes residing in Minnesota, and made it possible for the exhibition to be developed as an educational tool for Minnesota audiences. The exhibition includes 20 free standing banners with evocative text, historical and contemporary photographs and maps, and a 10-minute video titled, “A Day in the Life of the Minnesota Tribal Nations.”
Guest speakers included Red Lake Representative Donald “Dude” May, Annamarie Hill-Kleinhans, Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and Mathew Brandt, VP Minnesota Humanities Center.
Annamarie Hill-Kleinhans explained that a few years back the voters in Minnesota passed a constitutional amendment that dedicated a portion of the sales tax—an increase to the sales tax revenue that was in the 2008 elections—that put some money towards preserving parks, clean water and for arts and cultural heritage.
“At that time it was a brand new fund that was developed at the state legislature and something that was entirely new to the State of Minnesota,” Kleinhans stated. “We got involved during the 2009 Legislative Session. A committee was developed that looked at handling these new funds in the state.”
She said they, the Indian Affairs Council, were very focused on current operations at the time, and got involved and partnered in the Legacy Committee to develop new programs.
According to the Minnesota Humanities Center website, in August 2010, a resolution creating a unique partnership of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Humanities Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. was approved by the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and made it possible for this exhibition to be developed as an educational tool for Minnesota audiences.
This partnership led to the creation of an exhibit unique in its community-based approach. From its inception, the knowledge, insight, and perspective of tribal members have been the foundation upon which this exhibit was developed. From this foundation of community involvement has emerged a vehicle for an unfiltered, authentic Dakota voice and Ojibwe voice upon which these communities tell their own stories of sovereignty, adaptability, and preparing tribes to thrive.
The Minnesota Humanities Center's work with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council (MIAC) focuses on an exploration of treaties between Dakota and Ojibwe Indian Nations and the U.S. Government through collaboration with the National Museum of the American Indian. This programming is a real and important missing story or "absent narrative" about our culture's gensis and in whose stories lie the foundation of indigenous issues still alive today.
Kleinhans said that one of the most serious issues in the state of Minnesota is the issue around education of our Indian children—education for everybody in Minnesota pertaining to Indian tribes.
“Very few people are educated about American Indian Tribes, about sovereignty, about our communities, or about treaties, about the truth of exactly how this nation was formed,” she said. “I consider this a tragedy in the state of Minnesota, that we are so far behind, when we have 11 tribal nations in the state of Minnesota, and we have treaties that have paved the way for what the state has come to be today.”
She said legislators and the people she worked with, knew very little about American Indian people, the tribes, the communities, but particularly our history.
“If we could bridge that gap, we could solve a lot of problems for a lot of people,” she said. “We could work together in partnership in communities and we could do many, many things, most importantly for our people, for our children.”
One of the things we learned from the elders, was that it’s been a true collaboration with Indian Affairs to create something that has never existed before, Mathew Brandt stated.
For further information, contact: Gary Fuller, Treaty Committee Chair, 218-679-1831, or Michael Meuers, Treaty Committee Public Relations, (218) 766-6588, email@example.com.