Thursday, October 16, 2014

Post 56

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River MN 10/16/14

Greetings! Things are moving right along in a couple of areas on our social justice endeavors. First, on the Pipeline Protest. Union Church in Hackensack is working on signage along hwy 371, to show a visible protest to Sandpiper plans by Enbridge through the Minnesota watershed. The latest here, is that the State Department has granted Enbridge (in Canada) access to move their pipeline 67 south from the Cass Lake area to the Sandpiper. Enbridge does not have permission even to begin the Sandpiper as yet, still under route study by the PUC. The Sierra Club is contacting members to build a case against this action, so you may get a call if you are an active or paid member....

Regarding Renaming Columbus Day: we have had several planning meetings and contacts with others on this, finding there is a lot of interest in various areas, and although not a lot of action as yet, still people are beginning to look at this as a viable and desirable change. The Circle of Support in GR held a meeting on the 14th to ask if that city should change the holiday to one honoring the native community; I have not had feedback yet, but even if it was less than hoped for, we should not forget that persistence is the key on these things.....On November 9th, Pat Scott, president of NUUF, will be addressing the Forum at the UCC church in Brainerd, with a talking circle discussing native American heritage, the Columbus Day proposed change, and other issues related to truth and reconciliation....Recently, Melissa Birch and I met with Dr. Anton Treuer to talk about our efforts; he said there will be a Truth and Reconciliation meeting at the College (BSU) on Oct. 20, with the goal of building bridges across racial and cultural divides. We mentioned this at our meeting with the Social Justice group at Hackensack Union Church yesterday, and some of those attending indicated interest in attending also. So there will be an outside contingent at this gathering, including NUUF members.

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Post 55

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship,  Brainerd/Pine River MN Sept.30, 2014

Greetings! We have been working on Renaming Columbus Day rather intensely for the past recent weeks. Starting with a contact with Frank Bibeau, the attorney for White Earth Reservation working on pipeline issues, we asked for contacts we might approach to open dialog with the native community. He suggested talking with Annamarie Hill, executive director for the MN Indian Affairs Council. I had a very informative and delightful telephone conversation with her, and on her suggestion, wrote Jay Badheart Bull, of the Native American Community Development Institute, one of the major initiators of the Mpls City Council change from Columbus Day on their official stationery to Indigenous People's Day. Mr. Bull sent information on the strategy that was set up to accomplish this, at the end of which, on the day of the vote, hundreds of supporters turned up to support the change. His organization is planning to use the same approaches in St Paul, and going statewide in 2015! good news for us!!
   This was a circuitous route, but is building a great base for contacts as we go. In addition, we heard from Pilgrim House (UU), and Unity Unitarian, from the letter campaign, supporting the effort. In addition, and this is really great, people in Grand Rapids are holding an event on October 14, asking if that city should make the change; sponsored by Circles of Support, it will be held at the public library. The panelists include one person on our ad hoc email list, who are in support of our work. Circles is a native group.
   A Brainerd city councilman, Chip Borgenhagen, introduced a motion to change from Columbus Day to a day honoring native people, but he felt that the negative comments published in the Dispatch were too virulent to deal with, and withdrew his motion.
   We at NUUF, are considering the Renaming of Columbus Day as a vehicle to engage the public in the broader effort to educate regarding the Doctrine of Discover, and the need to repudiate its effects in law, culture, societal relations. A great first step in a very visible way, with something everyone knows about.
   On the pipeline protest front, Enbridge is delaying construction, not yet able to meet the need of the Public Utilities Commission to look at other routes outside the northern watershed region. If there had not been so much opposition, they would already be laying pipe!

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Post 54

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River MN 9/16/14

Greetings, UUs and fellow travelers! It is now midSeptember, and the summer flurries and activities are winding down. Pipeline Protests are continuing with much discussion about these environmental issues facing our State. You might want to check the PUC website, to see where all this stands at the moment.

We began our effort to rename Columbus Day to honor our native American population, sending a proposed proclamation to Governor Dayton for his consideration for this fall. Also contacted by letter all the UUs across the state, and results of that are slowly coming in. We were delighted to hear that the city of Brainerd was considering such a change, with Chip Borkenhagen, city councilman leading that discussion. It was tabled, and readdressed yesterday, Monday Sept. 15. Again it has been tabled, and Chip recently asked to have his proposal taken off the table indefinitely. He received a lot of negative feedback through the press, and said in a memo to the Council, "clearly the vocal minority  has moaned loud enough to foul the air to the degree that I don't wish to pursue it....if Columbus were alive today, and it was discovered he had done the 'atrocities that he did in fact do, he would be tried as a terrorist and war criminal." So Brainerd Council has not followed the lead of Mpls or Red Wing or other places across the US in making a change, at least not now....Our email committee is continuing to explore strategies and will be reporting from time to time.

Our first meeting at theTimberjack turned out well, and next Sunday, we will welcome Rev. Suzanne Wasilczuk back for another Sermon,  this time called The Profit of Prophets. 11am.

The first of the fall meetings on food preservation was held Sept. 11, with Barbara Kaufman presenting information on seed saving. More to come on this series.

Stay tuned.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Post 53

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River MN 8/25/14

A quick note today. We sent out letters to all the UU congregations in Minnesota, asking for input on developing a day to honor the native Americans in our state, as an alternative to Columbus Day, on the first Monday in October. It will take legislative action to change the statute governing holidays, so work is cut out already. In addition, our President drafted a proposed proclamation for the Governor, declaring that date a day to honor native populations. We do not expect that action will take place by the legislature for this year, but can start planning strategies to act together on this issue. Governor Dayton could proclaim the day for 2014, as this submission is in time for him to do that. He is in election campaign mode at the moment; we will see what happens. If not this year, we can resubmit until it happens! more on this as things develop.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Post 52

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River MN 8/21/14

Greetings! Last night, Honor the Earth held their Pine River event at the Commons, Pine River-Backus school. After a very successful meeting in Brainerd on Tuesday at the Arboretum, the Horse Ride traveled here to meet with supporters of the Pipeline Protests, share a potluck supper, and talk about the current state of affairs at the PUC, still in process of approving or modifying routes for the pipelines to cross Minnesota. It is clear Enbridge is going full steam ahead "as if" it is all done in their favor. However, according to Winona LaDuke, in her presentation, protests have made significant impacts, in that the whole process has been delayed, giving an opportunity to develop opposition and encourage a moratorium movement. If you go to Honor Earth's webpage, there is a petition you can sign to support this effort.....NUUF's part in all this was to find a location for the speakers and for the horses to pasture overnight. Barb Kaufman was the point person, and worked many hours to bring it about. We also set up the supper table, provided drinks and utensils, etc. Little enough, considering the issues at stake. We were entertained by Annie Humphrey, native singer, and young men performing some native songs. I did not catch their names, but obviously very talented. Many of the riders joined us later in the evening...and we were happy to see formerly active UUs, Union Church people, Grand Rapids UUs, and lots of others in the audience. Preaching to the choir, actually, but that is good and sustaining and heartening.

The September newsletter will be out shortly, looking ahead to a great fall.

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

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Post 51

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River  8/06/14

Greetings! today NUUF members met with Happy Dancing Turtle to plan for the fall Feast, Film & Forum series of events on food preservation. The dates are: Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Oct. 9, and Oct. 23. Starting with an optional potluck at 5:30, the programs will begin at 6pm. The topics are: Seed Saving; Alternative Preservation; Herbs for Health; and AgroForestry. There will be films and panels to provide information and discussion. We are hoping to see all the gardeners from the spring and others interested in safe food growing and preservation. To start off, our Barb Kaufman will share from the recent workshops at Seed Savers, and their enthusiastic work in this field. All the meetings will be held at the HUG campus just off 371 west of Pine River.

In other news, plans are proceeding for the Honor the Earth Horse Ride to be coming through Pine River on Aug. 20. The meeting will be held at the PR-B school Commons from 6-8, potluck, with speeches and music. Thanks, Barb, on all your work on this!  The September newsletter should be out the last week of the month.

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Post 50

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River  7/23/14

Greetings friends and UUs: Even though traditionally UUs are off on vacations over the summer months, a lot is happening. July 7th was the kickoff for the Horse Ride at the corner store near Backus, where Honor the Earth began pipeline protests. This gained a lot of public media attention. Winona LaDuke spoke and began the ride over to Park Rapids. Now another is planned, scheduled to go through Brainerd and other points, including Pine River on August 20th. NUUF is involved with Union Church in helping facilitate this event, and anyone who wishes to help can look at, the site where the best and most current information is to be had. Or call me, and I can direct you.

We began another initiative, this time to rename Columbus Day to a  day to honor the native community. Discussions include writing a draft proclamation to send to Governor Dayton, which would be in time for this year, hopefully. First, the task is to see if the native community would welcome this, and if so, what name should it have. The thought is, not to have this just another panacea for white consciences "do-gooder" paternalistic impulses, but something to forward education in the white community in cultural understanding, reduction of discrimination. Following the lead of South Dakota, the City of Minneapolis, and other places who have already addressed this, it seems high time our State took this action of respect and recognition, long overdue. We have partnered with Union Church, and hope to enlist other churches. The next effort would be to get the Legislature to pass a law adding the holiday to the statute which governs such recognition. It does not have to replace Columbus Day which is a federal holiday, but could be an additional option; that is to be determined.

Comments and ideas are welcome! watch the website,, for more information.

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