Hello, Bemidji friends! I hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday and enjoying this week’s milder weather. We have quite a few updates for you this week, including our schedule of Sustainable Tuesday events in March!
We wrapped up February’s Sustainable Tuesdays with an excellent presentation by Levi Brown of the Leech Lake Division of Resource Management, who spoke to us about the connection between treaty rights and sustainability. Levi stressed the importance of this connection, as well as our responsibility to the environment. He emphasized how critical it is for this coming generation to know and understand their treaty rights. With climate change, the environment around us is changing fast — growing seasons change, animals act differently. Hunting and gathering will not be the same as they have been in the past.
As he went through a presentation on the gathering rights and responsibilities pertaining to Leech Lake, we got to hear much of Levi’s story and learn about his experiences at the DRM and in educating different audiences on treaty rights. A recurring theme that came up throughout the night was the separation that exists between generations when it comes to such knowledge–the most troubling being a young generation unaware that they have treaty rights or where those rights came from.
We also talked about environmental damage on tribal land–damage caused by corporations and industry–and what can be done to prevent it and hold accountable those that do damage. Our discussion went in a number of different directions as Levi fielded questions from the audience, and it was great to see such active participation! Thanks to everyone that attended!
We’d also like to thank Levi for his time and all the knowledge he shared with us. We cannot imagine a better way to wrap up our February events than with such an engaging discussion. Thanks, Levi!
Here’s our Sustainable Tuesdays line-up for March!
This month, our events are themed around one of the most valuable resources we depend on—water. As water continues to be affected by climate change, pollution, our increased consumption of products, and more, it is vital that we continue to protect and conserve it. Join us for these events to learn more about water’s role in our lives and the responsibility we have to protect this resource.
Tuesday, March 5th: Mississippi River Water Walk 2013
Free Will Donation Fundraiser to Support Water Walk
The Mississippi River Water Walk is an action being taken by Sharon Day, an Ojibwe elder, peace activist, and Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force. Starting on March 1, Sharon and others will be walking the entire length of the Mississippi River. Join us as we listen to Sharon and fellow walkers from the area talk about their story and the significance of the Water Walk. Free will donations will be accepted to support the walkers and a meal comprised of local, wild, healthy food will be served. We would appreciate it if those who are able could bring a dish to contribute to the meal.
Tuesday, March 12th: Septic Systems and Water Quality
Properly maintaining septic systems is crucial when it comes to sustainably caring for our water. To learn more about how septic systems work, join us for a presentation by Shirley Nordrum, University of MN Extension Water Resource Educator. Shirley will be addressing septic systems and maintenance, local environmental concerns, and the importance of protecting water quality.
Tuesday, March 19th: Sustainably Managing Water
Have you ever wondered where our water comes from? Come learn from Michele Walker, the NW Regional Groundwater Specialist from the Minnesota DNR, as she guides us in understanding the health of our water system. Learn the basics of groundwater flow, how surface and groundwater interact, and water issues facing our region. Be ready to go home with some great water conservation tips!
Tuesday, March 26th: Celebration of World Water Day
The theme of the UN’s World Water Day 2013 is “International Year of Water Cooperation.” Join us as we explore how this international theme can connect to northern Minnesota, where we are so close to the Canadian border and share water resources. Guest speaker to be announced!
We’re really looking forward to March’s events and hope to see you there!
Next Tuesday, we’re kicking off the month with a very special event – an evening all about 2013’s Mississippi River Water Walk.
As mentioned above, this walk is being done by Sharon Day, an Ojibwe elder, peace activist, and Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force. Sharon and her daughter Dorene, along with several other walkers along the way, will be walking the length of the Mississippi, from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico – every step of which will be a prayer for the water. The Water Walkers are drawing attention to the threats that the Mississippi River faces because of pollution. The Mississippi River—the second most polluted in the US—is affected by toxic chemicals from municipalities, farms, and corporations, which takes a major toll on the health of the river. Part of the goal of the Water Walk is to educate people about what they can do to protect the water.
We are very honored to have Sharon and fellow walkers joining us next Tuesday, and we are looking forward to hearing their stories and learning more about the significance of the water walk. To support their efforts, we are also holding a free will donation fundraiser to provide assistance for those walking.
A meal comprised of local, wild, healthy food will be served. We would appreciate it if those who are able could bring a dish to contribute to the meal.
We hope you will join us for this special event.
When: Tuesday, March 5th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Where: Rail River Folk School (303 Railroad St SW, Bemidji, MN – across the Irvine bridge and to the left)
If you would like more information on the Mississippi River Water Walk or are interested in participating in the walk, you can join their Facebook group Mississippi River Water Walk for more info.
If you are interested in making a donation, but cannot attend our event, you can mail a donation to Indigenous Peoples Task Force: Water Walk, 1335 E. 23rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Don’t forget about this Friday’s Snow Snake Throwing Competition!
If you attended Sustainable Tuesdays’ snow snake carving workshop in January or if you have a snow snake of your own that you’d like to throw, be sure to head over to Bemidji State University this Friday, March 1st (tomorrow!) to participate in an open division!
Bob Shimek, a Red Lake elder from White Earth who helped teach our group how to carve snow snakes, is organizing a snow snake throwing event on BSU’s football field. There will be an open division for community members to participate in. Anyone is welcome to participate or to watch!
The event will begin around 10:00am on Friday, March 1st and go into the afternoon. Those interested can meet at the American Indian Resource Center on Bemidji State’s campus. The snow snake throwing will take place on BSU’s football field.
Even if you can’t make the entire event, I encourage you to stop by and check out the fun!
Also coming up next week is the City of Bemidji’s Sustainability Committee meeting!
The next Bemidji Sustainability Committee meeting is coming up on Wednesday, March 6th at 6:30pm in the north conference room at City Hall. The Sustainability Committee meetings are always on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm. These meetings are open to all community members and are a great opportunity to bring forward ideas and learn about what the Sustainability Committee has been working on.
That’s all for this week! There’s a lot going on around town with the upcoming First Friday Art Walk – be sure to check out the schedule of exhibits and events and take some time to visit these great exhibits!
As always, our program depends on your input and feedback, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions to broaden our community. Sustainable Tuesdays feature a variety of learning opportunities focused on sustainability that connect our beautiful, vibrant community and is a partnership program with the Indigenous Environmental Network, MN GreenCorps, Rail River Folk School and BSU’s Sustainability Office.
For more information, contact Caitlyn Schuchhardt at 755-3765 or Simone Senogles at 751-4967.