The Minnesota Council of Churches has worked for more than 40 years in developing relationships within the Native American communities in Minnesota, advocating for justice. A specific effort was made in 2007, when the Tribal and Religious Leaders Consultation was held at Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe conference center. The Consultation made it clear there were five priority areas to be addressed, not all at once:
- Building Relationships
- Youth Services
- Getting the Story Out
- Sustainable Economic Development
The Consultation proved to be the beginning of building community through deep and meaningful relationships, where true collaborations can be established by providing the tribal and religious communities a reason to gather, coming to know one another in more meaningful ways, and building a new platform informed by our past experiences, whether successful or less than so.
Since then, MCC has continued, and will keep continuing, to invest funds and staff time in developing relationships in Minnesota’s Native American communities. Below are just some of the event and activities we have organized or participated in in pursuit of this goal.
History of Partnerships with American Indian Communities (PDF)
- Co-sponsoring, along with the Tiwahe Foundation and the Bush Foundation, "A Taste of the Art of Hosting" facilitation training for members of a Native American traditional community charity "giving circle."
- Organizing churches and volunteers to support the Dakota legacy event―both the marchers and the riders―marking the 150th anniversary of the Dakota Conflict and the 38 Dakota people mass-executed in Mankato as a result. Events related to the November March and December Ride were publicized in our e-newsletter, News for the Common Good.
- Conveying stated opposition to the Voter ID amendment, protecting American Indian access to the vote.
- Promoting public education opportunities through Healing Minnesota’s Stories (HMS). A program of SPIN (Saint Paul Interfaith Network), HMS was created to bring together Native and non-Natives to share stories, enabling congregations and other groups to learn about the traditions of the people who first and still live on this land and to increase awareness of their language and culture, and of our shared history.
- Taking a strong stand, through the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, against human trafficking in Minnesota, which disproportionately victimizes Native American women.