Driving back from the reservation, I cross a small bridge into Saint Paul. I feel the troubled waters. I think of my grandfather’s people,the Dakota. I think of how they lived by the water, how they made fire by the water.
"Back at the turn of the last century there were folks who traveled around this country documenting Native people's demise. They took photos, painted pictures and recorded our songs. This evening is about Us singing our songs/reading our poems at the beginning of this new millennium to be recorded by Us for future generations. We continue to live. We continue to create." The "Anishinaabe Song/Poems for the New Millennium" Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. This presentation of the popular and eclectic series is hosted by Marcie Rendon.
The "Nuevo Mestizos" Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. This presentation of the popular and eclectic series, curated by Louis Alemayehu, features performances by Emmanuel Ortiz, Leo Lara and Louis Alemayehu. "We will explore through song, story and spoken word some of the ideas of Gloria Anzuldua as to what it means to live in the border lands of culture, race, sex, class and nationality. There is a visionary identity that connects us to the world, ecologically, spiritually, politically, culturally in a new way... Nuevo Mestizos."
In the fall after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, hundreds of Dakota women and children were force-marched for seven days to Fort Snelling from their reservation in western Minnesota. That winter, over fifteen hundred Dakota were detained on Pike Island below the fort. Under military patrol and with only thin blankets, the prisoners watched this wooded island fill with snow.
The Selby-Dale Freedom Brigade, which emerged out of this melange of ideologies, objected to using Kittson’s name for the park on the grounds that this nineteenth-and early twentieth-century entrepreneur was not a fit man to memorialize. Not only had he had at least two and as many as four Native American “wives” before marrying European Mary Kittson, he sold liquor to the Indians and bought their fur pelts for a pittance and sold them for exorbitant amounts. One brigade member said Kittson “personifies the destructive, imperialistic aspect of American history,” and he urged that parks and public buildings be named “for people who have contributed to the struggles faced by those exploited.”