My son’s high school U.S. history teacher has given the students four textbooks to choose from. As the class discusses different stages of our country’s past, the four books offer students distinct perspectives. One of those books is Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.”
I am excited that at least one positive step for my kids’ generation is that, compared to past eras, our connected global community gives everyone who chooses to the opportunity to engage with more viewpoints. Despite growing up a few miles from the Shakopee MdeWakanton Sioux Community, I was taught very little about this state’s Native peoples’ history.
I was well into adulthood, for example, before I learned that Native children had been forcibly removed from their families. Since then I have had conversations with Native women to learn more about generational trauma, and reclaiming lost language, culture, and spirituality. I was profoundly impacted by meeting author Robin Kimmerer (“Braiding Sweetgrass”), who suggests that if we use the pronoun “kin” for everything, we might begin to have a greater respect for everything in the ecosystem.
Gender, borders, and religious beliefs are constructs of the human brain that are designed to create structure. The problem is, humans tend to turn those structures into a hierarchy from “superior” to “inferior” that become built into our culture as if they were real. The universe has no such distinctions or categories.
For this issue, we asked Native writers to share any story they wanted to tell, without prescribing a particular lens. The end result is a multi-dimensional perspective of the losses, the healing, and the strength of multiple cultures that are impacted by systemic challenges in our state.
In combination, the storytellers in this magazine give us a wide-angle view that reminds us of the work we need to do together to build a more powerful future.
December is our annual issue recognizing Minnesota’s Changemakers. Our Tapestry section asks readers to respond to this question by November 4: What is the change you will make in 2020?
We will celebrate 35 years of the longest continuously run feminist print publication in the country. We also will talk about the intentions of Minnesota Women’s Press to offer even greater storytelling platforms. How will we use our Year of 20/20 Vision to build the world in new ways?
Even if you cannot attend our important fundraiser, please donate to our Storyteller Fund. Details: tinyurl.com/MWPGala2019