Friday, February 20, 2015

Post 62

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

Post 59

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

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River, MN 12/13/14

Greetings! it has been a month or so since the last report. Waiting out the elections, postponements of meetings, and other delays have slowed things down.
  • Renaming Columbus Day. Elections have changed some members of the MN legislature around the state. We are thinking of revamping the schedule of activities to forward the goal of changing the October 12 date to one including Indigenous People's Day, probably starting in March 2015. Our request to Governor Dayton for a proclamation for this year went unanswered; so this will be tried again. We are asking help from MUUSJA's intern to work on the Minneapolis connections at NACDI who intend to go statewide with this effort. (Native American Community Development Institute)...The request to supporters is to get the names of their legislators, contact them for their thoughts on this subject, and depending on responses, ask for support and action in bringing this to the legislative bodies for action.
  • Planning meetings have been delayed again and again, so definitive schedules need to be developed at this late date, for future programming. On December 19, a planning meeting to discuss progress toward meeting the goals set at the Strategy Meeting last spring. will be held at Mary's house at 12:30.
  • The November Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success, with many attending to celebrate the season and fellowship. Next time we have have to find a hall! 
  • Truth and Reconciliation: On December 3, NUUF members traveled to Bemidji to participate in the initial gathering on T&R held at the American Indian Resource Center on the BSU campus. About 70 people came, including many native people, to discuss ways to improve conditions between the local cultures, Native and White. The next meeting will be on February 11.
Additions and corrections, please contact me. Respectfully submitted, Mary DeYoung, news director NUUF  218-587-2543

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Post 56

Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Brainerd/Pine River 11-01-2014

Greetings, Friends and Fellowtravelers: After a busy October, where we saw the completion of the fall series on Feast, Film, and Forum at Happy Dancing Turtle, continuing work on Renaming Columbus Day, and two services at Timberjack, we are looking ahead to November activities. On Nov 9, we will be discussing  "Behind the Kitchen Door", a UUA recommended book. Barbara Kaufman wrote up the following notes on this subject:
     "On Nov. 9 we will be discussing the book Behind the Kitchen Door
       by Saru Jayaraman (Cornell University Press 2013). This book reveals the 
       challengesof being employed in the restaurant industry. These range
       from low wages and lack of sick leave to disrespect and lack of
       opportunity to advance at the hands of management. Does it have to be
       this way? Are there things we as consumers, can do to improve the

Also on November 9th, Pat Scott, NUUF President, will present a talking circle at the United Methodist Church, Brainerd, on the topic of  addressing native issues, as a part of Native American Heritage Month (November). This will be at the weekly forum at the Church.

In addition, there are several events taking place through Central Lakes Community College regarding native topics; Anton Truer is scheduled to speak on Nov. 12 at the Chalberg Theater 12 to 12:50. On Nov. 18, Mary Sam will speak on healing the impact of American Indian Boarding Schools, from 9 to 9:50 at room E354. On Nov. 19, Dr. Donna Brown will speak on American Indian Mascots, at the Chalberg Theatre 12 to 12:50.

On Nov. 22, the annual NUUF Thanksgiving dinner will be held at Mary's house in Pine River at noon. RSVPs are requested, if not already taken care of.

The newsletter has just been posted; if there are questions or corrections, or other matters, please feel free to contact us.

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

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