CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dec 22nd's guest: LARRY B. LEVENTHAL - Attorney to Tribes and Political Dissidents

We talk with  Larry B. Leventhal, attorney to Tribes and Indian organizations for forty years. He discusses the recent Cobell Settlement approved by Congress, the Spirit Lake voting issue, and the Wolfchild suit to recognize that a trust exists for lineal descendants of the Loyal Mdewakanton.

Larry Leventhal is engaged in the private practice of law in the Twin Cities.  He has represented Tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma and other states in issues ranging from tribal government operations, gaming, business development, environmental issues, and litigation.  He currently serves as legal counsel to several American Indian Tribes.  Leventhal served a leading role during negotiations of Tribal/State Class III Gaming Compacts in North Dakota and Wisconsin. 

Several years ago, Larry secured a verdict against the City of Minneapolis in favor of two American Indians who were thrown into the trunk of a police squad car and transported by city police. Among his more notable criminal cases, Leventhal was part of the defense team representing Dennis  Banks and Russell Means on numerous charges arising out of the 1973 siege at Wounded Knee. After nine months of trial, the matter was dismissed because of government misconduct.

He served as project director in a federally-funded program of Indian Law seminars at colleges nationwide directed to educators of American Indian Students. He frequently speaks on Indian Law issues at legal education programs for attorneys.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What most of us see of homelessness in the Twin Cities are men and women and some children layered in their remaining clothes, perhaps gathering in the courtyard at Dorothy Day Center or waiting for a slot at a St. Stephens shelter or something like it. Some may be drunk, many may be wandering, perhaps talking to themselves, dual disabilities not uncommon. Many are dressed in military garb, riddled with war-induced PTSD, unable to keep it together to hold a job or their family intact. But, thousands are none of these. Most are neighbors, friends and colleagues made homeless by job loss and foreclosure in an economy made rotten by corporate bankers and the politicians who enabled their thievery – still do…Before and after the so-called "Great Recession."

What almost all of them are looking for, of course, besides a meal or place to stay – is a job and permanent housing. But they have no telephone, and certainly no way of leaving a number for a potential employer or landlord to call.

Almost invisible in this morass is a small nonprofit serving as a communications clearing house and message center for homeless men and women. Now called Open Access Connections, the former Twin Cities Community Voice Mail changed its name and expanded its reach beyond the Cities and is making technology work to connect those experiencing homelessness with people and opportunities to cut all of that short and to find housing and jobs a lot sooner than they could otherwise. It all sounds fairly simple; it’s anything but. Many have no idea such services are available so it requires a gargantuan effort to find those who can use voicemail, email and other communications tools and training to score a job or an apartment.

This week, TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with organizers, agencies and participants in this extraordinary effort to make homelessness go away and allow self-sufficiency to take over through technology.


MARCY SHAPIRO– Co-Founder and Executive Director, Open Access Connections (OAC)

ED PETSCHE – OAC Community Organizer and Outreach Specialist

TED DENNISOpen Access Board member; community organizer and advocate for people living in poverty and having experienced homelessness; Chair, Voices for Change; and has experienced homelessness

BRIAN SULLIVANOpen Access Board member; recently homeless and former user of voice mail; member of Homeless Against Homelessness

LIZ KUOPPALA – Executive Director, Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

We talk with Walter Echo-Hawk about his illustrious career on behalf of American Indian people. And we discuss his newest book: In the Courts of the Conqueror: The Ten Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided

Walter Echo-Hawk wears 4 hats:

(1) Justice, Supreme Court of the Pawnee Nation;

(2) Chairman, Board of Directors, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, a brand new national and permanently endowed foundation to support Native art and culture;

(3) Of Counsel, Crowe & Dunlevy, Oklahoma’s oldest and largest law firm; and

(4) Adjunct Professor, Tulsa University School of Law (2010). From 1973-2008, he was a staff attorney of the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), where he represented Indian Tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians on significant legal issues during the modern era of federal Indian law. Among his many awards are:

Governor’s Commendation (2010), Governor Brad Henry, for professional contributions on behalf of indigenous cultures throughout the nation, Judge Sarah Hughes Civil Liberties AwardFederal Bar Association (2009); Distinguished Native American Alumni, Oklahoma State University (2009); Martin Luther King Peace Award, Metropolitan College, Denver (1998); Spirit of Excellence Award, American Bar Association (1995); Civil Liberties Award, ACLU of Oregon (1991). 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“If you are here, the land invited you,” participants were told by the General Director of Ceremonies for the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Fernando Huanacuni during a meeting at the presidential palace in La Paz. He went on to talk about the process of change in Bolivia under Indigenous leadership.

Señor Huanacuni was speaking to a delegation of Indians and non-Indians from Minnesota as well as the Bolivian Foreign Relations Ministry group. The Minnesotans present were leaders, Minneapolis-based Phillips Indian Educators representatives, Joe Rice and Roxanne Gould. (Ms. Gould has also been Director of the American Indian Learning Resource Center at the University of Minnesota, now renamed the Circle of Indigenous Nations), Others were Elise Marubbio, Annika Gunderson, Jim Rock (Dakota), Ann O’Keefe (Dakota), Erika Linder (Aymara), Nakia Jenson, Harry Covertson, Gavin Eagan, Leslie Davidson, Magdeline Aagard and Deanna Standing Cloud-Green (Ojibwe).

From The Circle, the Indian affairs newspaper based in Minneapolis:

Under the leadership of Fidel Xinico (Cakchiquel Maya) and Sonia Davila (Bolivianos), Gould and 13 participants representing 6 different tribal nations and various communities from around the nation, traveled to Bolivia to meet with Indigenous rural, urban and government leaders to learn more about Morale’s impact on the country.

“This is a rebirthing of a country, rebirthing of life. Up to now, this way of leading will lead us to destruction. The process of change is not just for Bolivia but for the world. We are not just talking about a country but a culture of life. We are the children of Mother Earth and Father Cosmos. This is Pacha Mama. We are Pacha Mama,” Huanacuni said.

The group also met with Felix Cárdenas, the Minister of Decolonization, and Vice Minister Esperanza Huanca, a Quechua woman who told the group “there is no decolonization without depatriarchalization.” It was during this meeting that the Bolivian government and the US participants decided to make an agreement to work together over the next three years. The intent of the agreement is to establish and strengthen cooperation in order to achieve “living well” through projects such as: education, culture, cosmovision, community health and wellbeing.


ROXANNE GOULD - Director, Circle of Indigenous Nations

ELISE MARRUBIO - American Indian Studies faculty and Director of the American Indian Film Festival, Augsburg College

DEANNA STANDING CLOUD-GREEN (Ojibway) - Parent Engagement Coordinator, Minneapolis Schools

Monday, December 6, 2010

It’s come to this: it has become illegal to disagree with this nation’s government, its policies, its cavalier entries into war and to say anything publicly that would thus appear threatening to those policies, no matter how unconstitutional they may be.

(Check out the links among the details for a virtual library of articles and books and sites addressing these critical issues)

This week, we dive into that morass commonly called national or homeland security, but we try to get down to cases about why the FBI raided the homes of several local activists in the antiwar movement (JESS SUNDIN, a Minnesota Leader in The AntiWar Committee and COMMITTEE TO STOP FBI REPRESSION was one - and couldn't be with us after all.), and why US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago has insisted that three antiwar women activists – Tracy Molm, Sarah Martin and Anh Pham – are being called back before the Grand Jury in Chicago from the Twin Cities must appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago ver

TTT'S ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with one of the activists raided, one of the subpoenaed women and a defense counselor, along with two former FBI agents. Why are our law enforcement agencies at all levels being used to kill peaceful dissent from public policies that started and keep us at continuous war inside and outside the United States?


BILL OF RIGHTS DEFENSE COMMITTEE  defending the rule of law and rights and liberties challenged by overbroad national security and counter-terrorism policies.

PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN FOR THE CONSTITUTION (focusing on ways to prevent local law enforcement from serving as agents for Homeland Security)



SARAH MARTIN – Minnesota anti-war activist subpoenaed, Member of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)

BRUCE NESTOR - Attorney for arrested activists; Past President, National Lawyers Guild of MN


COLEEN ROWLEY - Former FBI Agent and Whistleblower, Attorney, now a Minnesota anti-war activist

MIKE GERMAN -Attorney, ACLU, Washington DC's Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy; Former FBI Agent; author of Thinking Like a Terrorist

RICHARD NEUMEISTER - Advocate and blogger for openness in and access to state and local government; opponent of state and local police intelligence-gathering

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Join Richard LaFortune and Laura Waterman Wittstock, with Andy Driscoll tomorrow, Wednesday, December 1, 2010 for a special program with guest Clyde H. Bellecourt. He has just returned from the American Indian Movement conference in San Francisco which included a Thanksgiving ceremony on Alcatraz Island, in commemoration of 41 years since the original occupation in 1969.

First Person Radio's KFAI PAGE
local: 90.3 FM in Minneapolis; 106.7 FM in St. Paul
and later HERE in CivicMedia's Archives and click on any Wednesday on the calendar for your preferred show.

Clyde H. Bellecourt (shown above in yellow) lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He continues to direct national and international AIM activities, is a coordinator of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, and leads Heart of the Earth, Inc. an Interpretive Center located near AIM's 40-year school site in Dinkeytown, Minneapolis, MN.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Listen (below) to a Minneculture documentary profile of St. Paul's unique nonprofit providing and maintaining the buildings, open spaces and art works influenced and designed with artistic sensibilities. Produced and hosted by Andy Driscoll.

Integrating artistic influence into what might otherwise be labeled mundane projects has been the business of Public Art Saint Paul for over 20 years, founded and led by its indefatigable President, Christine Podas Larson, whose core belief blending art, infrastructure, community, utility and environmental commitment to making places of spaces, indoors and out, and endowing existing and new projects with artistic flourish and plenty of chutzpah. Meet Christine, a few of the artists in this outfit's creative corral and hear how city fathers wrapped their heads around all of this.

The story is told in 30 minutes with comments interspersed with the music of saxophonist/composer Stan Getz, his works, his collaborators and his breathy horn.

Legacy Coordinator for KFAI is Nancy Sartor.


Public Art Saint Paul President CHRISTINE PODAS-LARSON

Saint Paul Artist-in-Residence MARCUS YOUNG

UofM Studio Arts Professor and Watershed Artist-in-Residence CHRISTINE BAEUMLER

Saint Paul Artist/Sculptor/Designer (and Minneapolis Artist-in-Residence) SEITU JONES

Photographer WING YOUNG HUIE

Saint Paul Councilmember (Ward Two) DAVE THUNE

Saint Paul Public Works Director RICH LALLIER

Monday, November 29, 2010

Talk about a target on your back: The November 2nd Election was almost as much about the federal health care reform package as it was the Wall Street bailouts. And most progressive thinker believe that that health care package is anything but, with some notable exceptions – like no more preexisting conditions haunting future coverage, no more limits on catastrophic coverages and coverages of parented children extended up to age 26.

And yet, advocates for at least a state-based single-payer system, especially the one they call the Minnesota Health Care Plan, introduced by Sen. John Marty at least a couple of years ago, are undeterred, and the very large Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHCC) is in the lead, along with the Minnesota Chapter of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP). The MHCP essentially removes third-party payers (insurance companies) from the reimbursement equation in Minnesota, replacing that with a plan which covers absolutely everything medically necessary for everyone in the state (universal coverage), regardless of employer or employment status, for the rest of their lives, and which is paid for out of a pool of public revenues and from which payments are determined by a system similar to the beloved Medicare system with similar cost controls (Medicare administrative costs are limited to 2.5% of premiums collected and the system watches doctors’ and hospital costs very carefully).

But, what can they possibly expect in this political atmosphere? We’ll find out when TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with three of the more prominent activists in this movement. JOIN US AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION: 612-341-0980.

SEN JOHN MARTY - Current Chair, Minnesota Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee

AMY LANGE - Executive Director, Minnesota Universal Heath Care Coalition

DAVID MAIR, MD - Physicians for a National Health Program-MN

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Robert J Miller is the author of NATIVE AMERICA, DISCOVERED AND CONQUERED: THOMAS JEFFERSON, LEWIS AND CLARK, AND MANIFEST DESTINY, (Praeger Publishers, September 2006), in paperback, (University of Nebraska Press, April 2008).

Professor Miller worked with the Stoel Rives law firm 1992-1995 and practiced Indian law with Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker in 1995-1999. Immediately upon graduating, Professor Miller clerked for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Miller is the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Grand Ronde Tribe and sits as a judge for other tribes. His published articles include pieces on civil procedure and a wide array of federal Indian law issues. He is a board member of the Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network and the Tribal Leadership Forum. He helped found and was on the executive committee of, the Oregon State Bar Indian Law Section, and was on the board of the National Indian Child Welfare Association in 1995-2004.

Miller speaks regularly on Indian law issues across the U.S. and in other countries. He was involved in the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial because his tribe appointed him to the Circle of Tribal Advisors (COTA) and to the National Committee of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial. His book Native America, Discovered and Conquered: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, and Manifest Destiny grew out of that work. He is an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back on September 22nd, yet another attack in the Catholic Church’s war against gay marriage was launched, spending $1 million for the Knights of Columbus to produce and send 400,000 DVDs to Catholics throughout the realm of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The DVD admonishes all Catholics – and sympathizers – to lobby the coming Legislature for a state Constitutional Amendment to essentially ban gay marriage by defining marriage as a union only of one man and one woman. That these weren’t out less than six weeks before the General Election couldn’t have been an accident, but their effect on the election remains to be tabulated, if ever. We know what happened to the DFL majorities in the House and Senate.

One response was the formation of a group calling itself ReturnTheDVDs, urging all DVD recipients to either refuse delivery or send back the DVD in protest. Another saw the Basilica of St. Mary’s artist-in-residence, Lucinda Naylor, deciding to gather up as many of the DVDs from volunteer donors to create a sculpture out of them. She painted the hundreds she received blue and turned them into a piece of interlocking discs called “The Wave.” Yet another was a scathing essay written by Father Mike Tegeder, pastor of St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Bloomington and another by the Rev. Clifford Robinson, St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Minneapolis. (Remember, elevation of the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopalian Church, V. Gene Robinson, sparked a schism among Anglicans everywhere, and Robinson is resigning or retiring in 2013 in part because persistent death threats have rocked his marriage.)

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with our guests for a lively conversation about the role religion plays in uniting or dividing us, with an emphasis on religion’s, especially the Catholic and Episcopalian faiths’ responses to the reality of same-sex relationships, no longer as closeted and demanding a place not only in society but in the congregations of their choice. We’ll also discuss the roles churches should or should not play in mixing their spiritual missions with the more corporal business of secular politics. Join us and join in the discussion: Call 612-341-0980 and be a part of TruthToTell – always.

REV. LEEANNE WATKINS - Rector, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Saint Paul

REV. MICHAEL TEGEDER - Pastor, St. Edward's Catholic Church, Bloomington, MN

LUCINDA NAYLOR – Former Artist-in-Residence at Basilica of St. Mary, Creator of "The Wave" DVD Sculpture

The Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis (Dennis McGrath) stated that they do not participate in such discussions, unless there's a theological conference or something of similar gravity involved.