The Stories that Shape Us


The Worship hour at St. Luke on January 27 represented a chance to get to know three important leaders from our long-time partners, the Division of Indian Work:

  • Louise Matson from the White Earth band of Ojibwe, and Executive Director at DIW

  • Takayla LIghfield from the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, Mnicoujou Lakota, and Health Educator with the Family Spirit Home visiting program at DIW

  • Marissa Carr, from the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, and Live it! Coordinator at DIW

 Minnesota (or cloud reflection on water) is the homeland of the Dakota people, but most Indian people who live in Minnesota are Ojibwe. There are 11 reservations in Minnesota, 7 Ojibwe and 4 Dakota. It was wild rice that brought the Ojibwe people here from Canada. The devastating Dakota War in 1862 drove out the Dakota people after the largest mass execution in US history. Matson pointed out that there is still a law saying it is illegal for Dakota people to be in Minnesota.

How do we, as privileged white people, understand, support and work together with Indian people? How do we overcome (or utilize) our inherited shame and guilt in ways that help us to affirm and respond to our native neighbors? One key for learning, listening, and finding hope is to LISTEN FOR THE TRUTH -

  • There is danger in buying into the story/stories we think we know

  • News stories focus on struggles in the native communities, but Indian people are diverse, thriving, hardworking individuals

  • ERASURE is the greatest issue

    • Exploitative narrative of poverty and tragedy are one-sided and take away “agency,” the Indian people’s ability and right to tell their own stories.

    • Mainstream news does not reflect the reality and diversity of native people.

    • Indigenous people are reclaiming their truth and their stories, embracing the beauty of the communities.

  • Look for QUALITATIVE information (or stories) in or amidst QUANTITATIVE data

  • Suggested sources for truth in reporting include:

    • The Circle News

    • KFAI radio

    • Indian Country News

Remember that you are always on Native Land - anywhere on this continent. Ask what that means, to live on this land. What are our responsibilities to this land? What are our responsibilities to the people this land belongs to?