Friday, March 27, 2015

Post 65

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship  March 27, 2015  Brainerd/Pine River

Greetings! a quick note today. After some more research, we find that the Senate passed the bill to establish "American Indian and Indigenous Peoples Day" as an addition to the current laws on holidays. It would not replace Columbus Day, but would be celebrated on the second Monday of October. If you go to the MN Senate and look up Bill 1703, there is an audio clip of the hearing on March 20. Testifying were: Dr. Ellen Kennedy, executive director of WorldWithoutGenocide and on the staff at William Mitchell College of Law; Anna Marie Hill, director of MN Indian Affairs Council; Mr. Means, a citizen of Lakota/Dakota descent;
Jay Bad Heart Bull, director of the Native American Community Development Institute. The hearing is 1:57:34; go ahead to 1:45:50 for the start of the testimony on the holiday.

Now on to the House, which is predominantly Republican, and may not be as easy sailing.

Our website is being worked on continuously, and should be available mid-April. Will keep you posted on progress.

Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung, news director NUUF 218-587-2543

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Post 64

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship  March 25, 2015

Breaking news! today we received a response to an email to Representative John Persell (D-Bemidji) to inquire about progress on Goodbye Columbus, which he had offered to bring to the attention of the Tribal Governments. What has happened is that on March 16, a bill was introduced in the House to recognize American Indian and Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October. If you go to bills in the House, you will find the wording and the names of the sponsoring Representatives. They are not familiar to me, but of course are well known in their districts. This is real progress. We are planning to open our online campaign mid-April, with a website devoted to the change, nonpartisan, non-denominational. That is still going forward, and now we will be tracking this bill as it goes through the procedures in the House, then Senate. This is a happy day!

Last Sunday we had a wonderful presentation at NUUF by Gary Dietrich, live coach from Bemidji. He shared some of the practices and traditions of native people that he works with, not surprisingly strongly affiniated with our UU principles. His is director of More on this in the April NUUF newsletter....

Next up will be a celebration of Earth Day, April 12, and the Flower Service April 26.

Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung news director, 218-587-2543

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Post 63

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River 3/11/15

 A quick note today....Melissa and I have been working on a webpage for google facebook and twitter, re: Goodbye Columbus Minnesota, over the past few weeks, and hope to be up and running in April. This is an outreach effort to gain support for a change in October from CD to Indigenous Peoples Day, in accordance with UUAs repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery  and our own stated goals of combating racism here in MN. The webpage will be non-denominational and non-partisan, open to all who share the idea of showing respect for native culture, values, and contributions to society. We will let everyone know when up, and will welcome suggestions and ideas, leads, contacts, and any other ways to help.

Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung, News Director NUUF

Friday, February 20, 2015

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Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River MN 2/20/15

Greetings UU friends: this is a short update on items going on. We have not yet received notes from the last Truth and Reconciliation meeting at BSU, but will post as soon as received. That was held Jan. 28. We were advised that the director of the American Indian Center, Dr. Anton Treuer is resigning, to return to teaching, but he will still be invovled in T&R.

We were advised that the Grand Rapids city council adopted a resolution on renaming Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day, December 15th, 2014.
Good work, and congratulations! one more notch in the belt for MN.

Speaking of which, there are several things to mention in this respect. Our request to MUUSJA (Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance) in Minneapolis for assistance with Goodbye Columbus resulted in several offers to use their platforms to disseminate information to UUs across the state, including a webinar and access to newsletters, etc. If the webinar is set up, it would be for mid to late summer, and invitations will be sent to Dr. Treuer, Jay Bad Heart Bull, and other native persons to participate on a panel at that event. Becky LaPlant, Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission, has already agreed to be a panelist, one of the authors of the above resolution.

To sort out strategy and actions, and do some more planning, Melissa and I met today to start setting up a FaceBook page just for Goodbye Columbus information, to be open to general supporters in the community, not just UUs. We are going to call it "Goodbye Columbus MN" (no surprise there!), write a mission statement, and add events and information as it comes up. For instance, we sent exploratory letters to the DFL delegation at the Legislature, asking if they or colleagues would introduce a bill to make the holiday change. Too early for responses at this writing. The page will contain updates as they occur.

Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung, News Director NUUF 218-587-2543

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Post 61

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship  February 8, 2015

Greetings UU friends: Your editor has returned from a monthlong vacation and therefore was offline during January. I promised to follow up with information on the Truth and Reconciliation meeting held on January 28, and will do so as soon as the official notes come out. As mentioned in the Newsletter for this month, one of our members did attend, and made comments on the number of participants, exceeding that of the original meeting, and the establishments of groups to study various aspects of problems between the native and white cultures in the local area. Barbara said she was intending to attend the group on education. I am guessing there will be others on relations with law enforcement, health, economics.

Today our service was conducted by Melissa Birch, and, from the UUA Tapestry of Faith, talked about the Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth, in which the practices are personal, communal, spiritual, mind, body, soul, life, and justice. We were invited to write out our thoughts on each of these realms, and combine them to make a coherent guide. Melissa will be publishing results on the website. One of the songs played today is called "Mango Thoughts in a Meatloaf Town," on a CD by Meg Barnhouse, member of the Underwood UU Church, whom we have met, and a very talented musician.

Best wishes go out to David Edgerton, just home from a bout with septic pneumonia, with hope for a steady recovery.

Our next meeting will center on the book, "The New Jim Crow".  And I am getting "Brain Pickings" online, a site promoting books in philosophy, history and more, that would be of interest to most UUs if I am not mistaken. At least, go and have a look!

Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung, news director NUUF 218-587-2543

Saturday, December 20, 2014

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Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River MN 12/20/14

Greetings! and happy holidays...
     The planning meeting took place yesterday, to formulate the schedule for the next few months. This is all tentative at this writing, subject to change. We will still be meeting at the Timberjack on 371, unless there is a special reason to meet at another location, which would be announced.

Jan 11 - Dave Jurgenson on o"Questioning Our Paradigms", discussion of how media spin information and how we can respond.
Jan 25 - What are you reading? open discussion.
Feb 8 - A UU Sermon
Feb 22 - The New Jim Crow, a UUA common read on race and social justice
Mar 8 - Spring Break; no service
Mar 22 - Women's History Month
Apr 12 - Speaker, Gary Dietrich tentatively, life coach in Bemidji
Apr 26 - Book Discussion, possibly Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer
May 10 - Flower Service
May 24 - Annual meeting, place and time TBA

As you can see, this is fluid and these are the basic outlines.

The rest of the planning meeting was devoted to

Post 60

To continue where I got cut off...

The rest of the planning meeting was devoted to  the Strategic Plan Review, following up from the initial meeting on February 7. We found we have made progress in nearly all areas, and that our move to a Sunday service was probably a good one. The addition of a musical dimension was very welcome, and the fact that we are able to order lunch onsite, if we pleased or not, was also helpful. New Songbooks were a product of a lot of work; website work ably handled by our webmaster, Melissa (also the music provider). We are thinking of once again partnering with Happy Dancing Turtle on food programs; also of holding an open house during the summer to enhance our presence in the community. In addition we have requested an Intern from Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance to help gear up on the Renaming of Columbus Day efforts. More on this as plans develop.

Questions? contact us on the website,!

Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung, news director 218-587-2543