Aug 21

Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead Minnesota “Stand With Ferguson & Mike Brown: End Police Brutality”


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Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead Minnesota “Stand With Ferguson & Mike Brown: End Police Brutality”

People gathered for Vigil for Mike Brown

On August 19th, 2014, a week and a half after the protests in Ferguson began, 70 people stood on a bridge connecting Moorhead, MN, to Fargo, ND, at #solidarity rally for Micheal Brown. The held signs some reading: “I stand with Ferguson,MO,” “Justice for Mike Brown,” “Stop Police Brutality.” I walked the line of people and asked them what had brought them out?

End Police Brutality

The first person I spoke to stated “Solidarity.” Something I heard multiple times from the people standing on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota. They wanted people in Ferguson, MO, to know, that even in the North, they’re being heard.

Police Should Not Murder

I asked if they felt what happen to Mike Brown was common and I was met with “Yes. That the issue of police brutality is a deep rooted social issue and needed to change. I was told that the way the police came out in force couldn’t be allowed anywhere in the United States. That if people allowed the police to respond to protests in this way it sets a precedent. That it can’t be allowed.

Justice for Mike Brown

I finally ended up at a group of five people, four young women and a young man. I asked them the same questions, Why they had come? Was it important?

They all said that they were their to stand with Ferguson, MO. Like everyone else I spoke too, but then told me that this can’t be allowed. That it has to change, because it’s going to affect them the most. If the police are allowed to get away with brutality. The young woman I was speaking too stopped, and then mumbled, “I know we’re just teenagers.”

I thanked them, and walked away, but then came back. I asked them if it was okay to know their age, and she said, “Sure, We’re sixteen.” They then told me that they’re the ones who will be the future, and they want to change the world now. They also stated that the rally on this bridge was a just a beginning of what started in Ferguson.

I asked them if they felt like what happened in Ferguson started a movement. They said, “Yeah, this is just the beginning.” I finished by finding out that they felt that their generation knew what was going on in the world. They got all their information from social media, and that they know what’s happening.

Listening to the youth.

I spoke to twelve people and listened to conversations. I don’t know what to think of my short time on that bridge. I just know that the communities in Ferguson who’ve come out in protest of the killing of a unarmed teenager at the hands of the police. Who’ve taken the streets for over a week in protests against the killing and escalating police tactics. They’re being heard. And that two communities one from North Dakota, and one from Minnesota, met on that bridge to stand with the community of Ferguson, MO.


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by @uneditedcamera

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Jun 12

World Cup & the New Brasilian Insurrection – by Atchu

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Contributed piece from the frontlines of Brazil

fingernails brazil

World Cup & the New Brasilian Insurrection – by Atchu
Sao Paulo, 06/11/2014
tonight at midnight we should know if the subway workers union will strike again, effectively cutting off the main form of transportation to the opening game Stadium, the red subway line, which travels East through the city taking people from the epicenter of Sao Paulo near Av. Paulista to where the game will take place, at Corinthians-Itaquera.

The police created a 2 km radius “freeze-zone” around the Stadium to protect against protestors, but the greatest weakness in the security detail might not be from stereotyped black-blocs or cardboard signs, but rather an auspicious conjoining of forces. the radicalized labor movement, students and specially the Passe-Livre anarchyvists ‪#‎together‬ might be an explosive formula to put down the state-capitalist goliath.
During their first strike about a week ago, the metroviarios demanded “padrao FIFA” (FIFA Standard) transportation for the people, as well as better salaries and working conditions. many stations were closed or picketed, causing city-wide chaos in traffic costing people’s medical appointments, schools had to close earlier, a mayhem.

The Judicial branch intervened, siding with the right-wing governor and the financial class that simply can’t afford this Copa do Mundo to fail and dictated that the strike was “abusive” and therefore the union was sentenced to terminate the strike or face a daily fine of R$ 500,000 per day, about US$ 220,000 per day.

Choked financially, the union scheduled an emergency general assembly to decide the future of the movement this Wednesday, specially eager to discuss solidarity measures for reinstatement of the 42 workers fired in the beginning of the strike last week for using the PA system to promote the strike.
This event radicalized the workers. With the solidarity of other important issue-based social movements, like Passe Livre, the transportation-issue movement that sparked the June demonstrations of 2013, they threatened to strike again on the opening day of the World Cup if subway management and the governor did not hire their comrades back by midnight this Wednesday. With no indication that Geraldo Alckmin, the Governor of Sao Paulo, will back down and accept this demand, another strike is imminent. Or at least a huge mess on the making when the anarchist black-blocs do what they do very well: direct action.
Without the red line, the main artery that communicates the downtown area with Corinthians-Itaquera where the game will be, the vicinities of the Stadium might turn out to be a living hell, since other road alternatives aren’t capable to absorb the extra amount of traffic coming and going to the newly founded Stadium if the subway line is somehow compromised.

For the Governor, the only way to avoid the shame of players being parachuted by choppers in the stadium and playing for empty stands is to use the riot police to guarantee safe passage. right-of-way either to the workers crossing the picket line if the strike happens or to clear road blocks made by protestors. He already used this tactic, and nothing suggests he won’t do it again.

The key advantage that labor and radicalized youth have in this scenario is the impossibility for police to kettle an entire railroad track heading east to the Stadium connecting downtown Sao Paulo to the outskirt of the city. 300 or so radicalized workers and/or protestors could burn piles of trash or tires on the tracks and effectively stopping the trains. if shit goes South sa the saying goes, radicals might jump in groups on the tracks to force the trains to a halt.
this might be another David vs Goliath story. the next few hours will tell.

Brazil image

***UPDATE: Union has decided not to strike***





Jun 10

Second Annual Unedited Media Fundraising Rock Show Extravaganza!

Back Stage at the Empire Arts Center
415 Demers Ave, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Live music featuring

Let’s Be FrEnemies



Unedited Media Presentation by Lorenzo Serna


Drinks provided by Rhombus Guys

and food by the Dogmahal Doghaus

Facebook Event Page.

Can’t make it, but would still like to give some funds for the fundraiser!?

Click here!

Cover $5-10


May 15

The History of the Fighting Sioux Nickname

by Aaron Wentz

In light of recent events, this historical retrospective (originally published late in 2011 in an altered form here) remains relevant to our current moment.  All sourcing (except for explicitly cited or hyperlinked material) comes from the archives at UND’s Special Collections.


Recent events suggest that the final termination of the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname/logo is all but a formality.  Given the current state of affairs regarding the status of UND’s Fighting Sioux nickname (the NCAA’s final decision to disallow use of the nickname/logo) and the impending special session of the ND legislature where it is widely expected that the recent legislation writing the continued use of the Fighting Sioux nickname/logo into state law will be repealed in light of the NCAA’s recent decision, it is instructive to look back at the history of the Fighting Sioux nickname/logo.


In the fall of 1930 it was suggested in a letter to the editor to the Dakota Student (UND’s student run newspaper, then and now) that the sports mascot ought to be changed from the Flickertail to the “Sioux” or “something Indian.”  Further editorials (both from staff writers and letters to the editor) argued in favor of this change.  A notable argument concerns retractors from the proposed nickname change, claiming that the tradition built around the use of the Flickertail mascot will be scrapped in favor of the new Sioux nickname.  “Tradition, the desire to do as the fathers before you did, has long ago vanished from active effect.  Why continue them any longer?”  The day after the Sioux nickname was adopted as the school’s official mascot weeks later (Oct. 2, 1930), an editorial ran referring to the Sioux, historically, as “[the] most savage and bravest of Indians of the Northwest…[the] United States government was forced to send strong bodies of troops against them, and it was years before the braves of the Dakota territory were at last subdued.”  Hence, the moniker confers such strength and fighting spirit upon the sports teams, the article suggests.  What this account excludes is that the Indians referenced would not, in 1930, be allowed to attend UND until 1935.


In 1969, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe formally granted UND the right to use the “Fighting Sioux” nickname during a ceremony wherein Sitting Bull’s grandson conferred the name “The Yankton Chief” onto then UND President George Starcher.


In February 1972, an incident involving ice sculptures built by UND fraternity members, which caricatured Indians engaging in cannibalism and sexually explicit behavior prompted Indian students and members of the American Indian Movement to attempt to physically dismantle the sculptures.  A standoff with members of the fraternity ensued, which was eventually broken up by police.  Later the same evening an Indian student attempted to dismantle similar sculptures at another UND fraternity.  When members of the fraternity noticed what was happening, a number of them dragged the Indian student into their frat house, at which point the other Indian students rushed into the frat house to assist their comrade.  In self-defense, the Indian student who was grabbed struck blows at the frat members.  He was arrested and subsequently bailed out by then UND President Tom Clifford.  Charges were later dropped.  This incident prompted Indian group Time Out to recommend that UND drop the use of the Fighting Sioux nickname/logo.

In October 1992 Indian students were harassed at the homecoming parade.  This incident sparked a movement to discontinue the use of nickname.  A petition circulated which eventually collected 1,000 signatures and pushed then UND President Kendall Baker to look into changing the nickname. In response to the initial petition, a new petition began to circulate in support of the nickname.   In 1993 Baker decided against retiring the nickname.


Over the next few years protests began to mount against the continued use of the nickname.  Indian groups on campus began to publicly oppose the use of the nickname, national Indian groups, as well as the NAACP (among others).  During this period UND made attempts to “promote awareness” about minority groups, as well as to offer revenues generated from the licensing of the “Fighting Sioux” nickname/logo to Indian groups on campus.  These offers were declined.


In 1998, former UND goaltender Ralph Engelstad began the process of looking into building a new arena for the UND hockey team.   His initial offer was to donate $50 million for a new arena and $50 million for the university.  Concurrently, over the next two years, pressure was building to look seriously at changing the nickname.  This pressure was spearheaded by the NCAA.  Then UND President Kupchella established a taskforce to look into the viability of the nickname going forward. Concerns are raised about the effect such a decision would have on alumni donations.  As the millennium was nearing, it became increasingly apparent that Kupchella was leaning toward changing the Nickname.  Englestead proceeded to leverage the new arena against this possibility; he changed the terms of his offer, dumping the entire $100 million into construction of the new arena, leaving the University with no new endowment.  Once construction is thoroughly underway, he publicly threatens to halt construction in the middle of winter and let the skeleton of the arena rot if the nickname is changed.

The State Board of Higher Education subsequently voted unanimously to continue using the nickname.

Construction finished on the new arena.  As of 2001, Grand Forks is home to the finest hockey facility on the face of the earth.  The next decade sees the death of Ralph Engelstad, the construction of the Betty Engelstad arena (adjacent to the Ralph), and continuing pressure from the NCAA to change the nickname.  In 2007 UND settles a lawsuit with the NCAA, which precludes further litigation and guarantees the eventual retirement of the Fighting Sioux nickname unless support can be garnered from the state’s Indian tribes within three years.  Coinciding with UND’s entrance into NCAA Division I status, and the tenuous nature of UND’s position, with the threat of losing its chance to join the Summit League and no agreement with the tribes, the ND State Board of Higher Education directs UND to retire the nickname.

In 2011, legislation passed in the ND legislature which essentially writes the continued use of the Fighting Sioux nickname into state law.  After a confrontation with the NCAA in the Summer  of 2011, it became clear that if UND is to continue on its present path in Division I sports, the nickname must go.
Which brings us to today.  It is difficult to effectively eulogize a moniker which represents a tradition to which all sides lay claim.  If nothing else, the history of the Fighting Sioux nickname is a history of public speech, a debate that, from its very outset was riddled with the ideological trappings of its time.  As the decades passed and the pressure mounted, the shift from a break with the Flickertail tradition in the 1930’s to the establishment of a new tradition over the following 40 years, to the ensuing break with the Fighting Sioux tradition and all of the historical weight it bears, from the initial genocide of indigenous Indians, up through the establishment of Indian schools and the reservation system, the Fighting Sioux nickname became the placeholder for all of that history, the debate became the way to talk about that history, as well as the way to ignore it, on both sides.


Imagine taking a drive from the Ralph Engelstad Arena (REA) in Grand Forks, to the Spirit Lake reservation, roughly 100 miles away.  If we were to place these two locations side by side and ask, “how are they related?” the answer we might come up with is that the marble floors of the crown jewel of the hockey world and the destitution (47% unemployment) and corruption of the Indian reservation are two sides of the same historical coin.  We cannot have one without the other.  The hard truth is that without the genocide that cleared the way for a series of reservations which bear a closer resemblance to Haiti than Hillsboro, ND, the ruthless modern productivity of post-war Capitalism which allowed such explosive development (affording such opulent construction) wouldn’t have been possible.  Although his actions are worthy of scorn, Ralph Engelstad is hardly to blame, he just happened to be rich enough to wield political power brazenly.  The way the REA is related to the Spirit Lake reservation is closer to the relationship between the REA and the cemetery it overlooks in Grand Forks.  The reservations are the last vestige of a people decimated by a colonial genocide, bearing witness to the historical foundations of our current moment.

In 1862, an uprising sparked by broken treaties on the part of the US and concomitant famine led to the outbreak of the Dakota Wars, fought throughout Minnesota, including the Red River Valley, south of Fargo.  After the US Army eventually put down the uprising and trials were held (some of which as short as five minutes), President Abraham Lincoln ordered the execution of thirty-eight men in the largest mass execution in US history.  The subsequent internment and imprisonment of the Sioux population and later ordered killings (a bounty of $25 per scalp) of any Dakota (Sioux) found free within the boundaries of Minnesota fill in the missing of the historical image of the brave Sioux, hunted, and executed by US government sponsored gangs and vigilantes, referenced roughly seventy years later by the aforementioned Dakota Student columnist in defense of the Sioux nickname.

This history is incomplete and not intended to be exhaustive.  It leaves out the ongoing struggles of the American Indian Movement, as well as other Indian organizations who fought against wave after wave of repression and violence and continue this fight today.  It also leaves out a full account of Indian groups who supported and continue to support the Fighting Sioux Nickname.  The goal of this account is not to reduce the history of the Nickname to a few moments of conflict and (many times cynical) bureaucratic decisions, but rather to establish that what’s at stake with the Nickname has never been merely a question of what’s embroidered on a jersey.  The history of the Nickname is ultimately the history of how we choose to confront or ignore the history of our society, what the burden of that history effectively is, and what tradition, if any, we choose to maintain.

Aaron Wentz can be contacted at


May 03

I Am Not From Mandaree, North Dakota

I Am Not From Mandaree, North Dakota

By: Cedar Gillette

Local Contributor


My name is Cedar Gillette, my Indian name is “Awahowi Weasha”, or Mountain Woman, given to me by my grandma, Evadne Baker-Gillette’s brother, Ted Baker. I am Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara (enrolled) and Turtle Mountain Chippewa.

Lisa Casarez, Amber Finley and I are asking for people to donate water to Mandaree residents and it will be given away on May 3, 2014; the first of future events. Please contact one of us through Facebook if you would like to donate.

I struggled with writing this because I am not from Mandaree, but I’m from New Town. When talking about today’s quality of life on the Fort Berthold reservation, we can see the effects of the oil boom on that quality of life in that 60-mile distance between Mandaree and New Town. Mandaree is the most heavily impacted by oil production on the Fort Berthold Indian reservation. Sure I live close to Highway 1804 where there is consistent semi-traffic but I don’t live near the flares, the 24-hour truck traffic down BIA 14, or have an oil rig in my backyard like the people in the Mandaree area. But I do worry about the spills, the dumping, the radioactivity, the trade-secret fracking chemicals, the air pollution, and the documented water contamination that happened on April 10, 2014 in Mandaree, North Dakota.

Photos from Lisa Mason and Levi Grinnell.

Bathtub Yellow Yellow Pitcher




On April 16, 2014, tribal members received a reply from the EPA after calling and emailing them these photos. The EPA only addressed the color of the water, not the reported “egg rotting smell” or that it was “oily to the touch”. The EPA Region 8 Drinking Water representative, Sarah Bahrman, responded (I left her partially copied and pasted response as-is),

I was able to have one of my staff members follow up with Maynard Demaray, the Director of Fort Berthold Rural Water, as well as the Bureau of Reclamation to find out more about this     incident.Maynard confirmed that they have been flushing the distribution system starting last week and continuing this week…Maynard did say that they try to go door to door to notify residents when flushing is going to take place in their area…[p]lease pass this recommendation on to anyone in the area that you know who still has yellow water and have them run their taps until the water runs clear….BOR staff were able to check the Mandaree treatment plant today and verify that the plant is producing clear water, and the operators did not note any earlier problems… 

In general, colored water may be indicative of any number of things – yellow-brownish color is sometimes associated with high iron, which could be a result of the flushing.  We are not aware of any link between fracking chemicals or runoff and yellow water.”

I hope that it was the flushing of the pipes as they say. But I struggle with the WHEN. Meaning WHEN the drinking water is without a doubt contaminated from fracking what will happen to the people? How will it be remedied?

The process of hydraulic fracturing was exempted by many federal laws by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 otherwise known as the “Halliburton Loophole”, that included the chemicals used in the fracking fluid would be considered trade secrets by the oil and gas industry and therefore they do not have to disclose their chemicals to the public. And why wouldn’t they want to disclose their cancer-causing chemicals like benzene, toluene, benzyl chloride, formaldehyde and naphthalene? The industry says it only uses about 2% of their secret formula of chemicals in their frack fluid that also includes water and sand. It sounds like a small amount until you realize how much water they are using , but because of the “Halliburton Loophole” it is only an estimation, but for example, 4 million gallons of water with 2% chemicals is 80,000 gallons of chemicals! Per well! Fort Berthold has about 1,000 wells so that’s 80 MILLION chemicals underground! Not to mention all the wells just off the reservation, the entire western part of North Dakota. Also, this frack fluid water they use is taken out of the water cycle permanently. And sure they extract the oil and burn off the natural gas (unlike other fracked parts of the US who are only fracking for natural gas), but they cannot extract all the chemicals that they put underground.

Why am I so confident that fracking will contaminate the water? Because of the communities of Dimock, Pennsylvania and the Wind River Indian reservation, and just this week, on Earth Day, the Parr family in Texas was awarded $3 million for fracking water contamination that destroyed their health. All these people are living in that future now, their water is PERMANENTLY contaminated by fracking chemicals and they are now struggling with importing drinking water. Is that Fort Berthold’s future? Fort Berthold’s six communities surround Lake Sakakawea that goes into the Missouri River but will there be water at their shores but none they can drink? And don’t get me started on the Garrison Dam that created Lake Sakakawea; the historical trauma that all tribal members still carry. We were burdened with water because of 1950’s government development: a dam.

Like I said, I am not from Mandaree, but the oil and gas companies who frack there are not from Mandaree, either. And these are some of the same companies that fracked in the Wind River Indian reservation, Pennsylvania, and Texas. And a much better distinction between someone like me and oil companies is I have integrity and respect for mother earth and I can be accountable for my actions.

This should be a wakeup call for everyone. Let’s be proactive and protect our water and demand routine free water testing, because every tribal member deserves clean water, no matter where they are on the spectrum of being for or against oil or if that stance is further complicated by gaining money from it. Getting money from oil development does not mean it is hush money. Tribal allottees with rig sites, make whoever is fracking your land be accountable to the land and to the water. Put it in your leases that you want baseline water testing.

I will continue to pray for the water and continue to speak out about the horrendous consequences to fracking, hoping Fort Berthold can shift its future from a toxic superfund site, to a place with clean water.



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