December 27, 2008

Online videos on Minn. statehood

Responses to Statehood provides venue for Native perspectives

Written by Aimee LoiselleWaziyatawin (Angela Wilson), Ph.D., a Dakota scholar and activist, and the Minnesota Humanities Center in Saint Paul have collaborated to create Responses to Statehood, an online video project that showcases Dakota and Ojibwe perspectives on Minnesota statehood and the sesquicentennial. The project began airing in November when the Humanities Center began launching new videos weekly.And:"This has made for powerful and life-changing experiences for those who attend." After learning of the Sesquicentennial Commission's limited opportunities for Native perspectives, the center hired Mona Smith (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) to film some of the teacher-training workshops. The project eventually expanded to include interviews with Native people from throughout the state. Smith is currently producing the online videos. She is a filmmaker and co-founder of Allies: media/art, an award-winning, Dakota-owned media production company. "The work I do is focused on expanding the listening range of Native, and especially Dakota, voices," she said.And:The collaboration between Waziyatawin and the Humanities Center has its roots in a spring 2007 meeting with the Sesquicentennial Commission. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Commission Director Jane Leonard invited Dr. Waziyatawin and Matthew Brandt to a meeting with other community members. The commission said it wanted to get the Dakota perspective on the sesquicentennial. Waziyatawin presented her ideas, assuming the commission members would change their plans and include Native points of view. However, she says the members ignored her after the meeting.

One man even asked another member about playing golf. "I had just finished giving a presentation about genocide and land theft," she said, "and he was talking about golf." After the meeting, Brandt asked to speak with Waziyatawin and said the Humanities Center wanted to provide opportunities to share Dakota and Ojibwe perspectives. "They are essential if Minnesotans are going to truly understand the history, culture, and living experience of Native people in the state," said Brandt. "The videos highlight many untold aspects of our state history from uncompromising, indigenous points of view. We are hopeful people will leave with a desire to learn more, even if the material might be difficult to listen to."
Comment:  As the article says, to see the videos and blog, go to: For more on the subject, see Natives Protest Minn. Sesquicentennial.


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the Circle Newspaper get a credit and perhaps a link to the Minnesota Humanities site from wihich the video came?

Am happy the info is out there...but credit is good!

Rob said...

The link takes you to the original posting at But I updated the posting to give more credit where credit is due.