This week on Minnesota Native News, it’s spring and the end of the Covid lockdown. Laurie Stern has the story of two very different new productions.
The first production is a podcast called Understand Native Minnesota with Rebecca Crooks Stratton. Rebecca Crooks-Stratton is Secretary-Treasurer of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, or SMSC.
“I have to say, I never thought I would host a podcast, but and I think I speak for you know, most tribal leaders and probably all native people, when I say we spend a lot of time educating people about, you know, who we are, and why things are the way they are. And so I think this is just another way for Native people to express you know, themselves and be able to hear from modern native people,” she said.
On the podcast’s first episode, that “Modern Native Person” is Wayne Ducheneux, executive director of the Native Governance Center in St. Paul. The Native Governance Center supports tribal governments by helping them become more and more responsive to needs in their community.
“And, you know, one of the things I fundamentally believe, is, as we as indigenous people return and understand our values, and our wisdom, and we heal, we’re going to build the systems that heal the country as all and eventually the world,” said Crooks-Stratton.
The podcast isn’t always about healing the world. But it is about bringing native stories to light. It’s an outgrowth of SMSC’s ambitious Understand Native Minnesota campaign to include native stories in K12 curriculum statewide. Crooks-Stratton says the campaign will resume in-person convenings now that the pandemic lockdown is lifted. You can follow it on social media and listen to the monthly podcast at NativeMNFacts
Another recent production is called The Missouri River Water Walk. It was directed by Dipankar Mukherjee of Pangea World Theater and written by Sharon Day.
It documents the 53-day walk from Montana to Missouri; obstacles overcome and relationships built among the five women who walked the whole way.
“I do it really, you know, to speak to the spirit of the water. You know, that’s who we’re addressing. We believe that the water is a living entity. And that, you know, we need to let the water know that they’re still human beings who love and care for the water,” said Day.
The play was performed outdoors at Hidden Falls regional park by professional actors and musicians, activists and members of the Ikidowin youth ensemble.
Laurie Stern reporting for MN Native News