I write this on 9/11, a date with a place that lives on for me — as it does to many — becauseI lived two miles from the World Trade Center at the time. Sometimes we publicly acknowledge the pain associated with certain spaces and attempt to reconcile the past with healing; sometimes we do not.
This month’s stories are largely about that discomfort. They include Senator Mary Kunesh’s perspective about the ethnic studies curriculum in Minnesota, which many oppose partly because of the desire to forget our histories of racism.
We talk with people who bring remembrance to the space in Duluth where three Black men were lynched in 1920.
Junauda Petrus explains the origin of her poem- turned-storybook about how the world would be different if we gave policing to grandmothers. She points out that the space and time around George Floyd Memorial hold multiple traumas.
We hear the poetry of land that seeks to rebalance, and we learn from those who serenade wounded spaces.
As we were finalizing this issue, co-editor Lydia — who edits our essays related to art, mental health, environment, and more — fittingly embarked on a long-planned trip to walk part of the John Muir Trail. Before her departure, I asked for thoughts on the stories she worked on this month. “I was struck by how our understanding of the place we live is shaped as much by what we do know about its history as what we don’t know,” she said. “Even when a shroud of silence exists around certain atrocities, there are consequences for not dealing with truth.”
Lydia noted that it is “usually not our decision whether we know something or not. Our schools, our families, and the society we live in shape our beliefs and can mold a culture of silence.”
The Minnesota cliche is that we tend to push uncomfortable feelings into the depths of our guts. Lydia and I hope this month’s stories help amplify those who are working to undo a culture of denial, so we are better able to come to terms with how the past impacts today, and how the future can be healed by what we are able to understand.
Table of Contents
“We have to treat each other with true kindness and love, because that is how we are going to find ways to heal the harm that has been inflicted on so many of us, and the land, and the water.” — Chris Stark, at our 2022 “Celebrating Badass Minnesotans” event
Greater Minnesota — It Happened in Duluth
Transforming Justice — Feeding Souls for True Community Safety, by Junauda Petrus
Education — Developing the Ethnic Studies Curriculum, by Sen. Mary Kunesh
Money & Business — Restoring (Some of) Turtle Island, with Misty Blue, An Garagiola, Audrianna Goodwin
Art of Living — Give Get Sistet
Bookshelf — The Magical Root: From Seven Aunts, by Staci Lola Drouillard
Thoughts — LOSS, the art of Richelle Huff
Tapestry (online only) — Where Does the Land Hold Memories for You? (reader submissions)
Hometown Values & Vision (online only) — Peace Building in Northfield