Mississippi River Basin

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What we Learned from the River

What happens when you leave the confines of the classroom, step away from the whiteboards, data projectors, and PowerPoints, and move into the richness of the world itself? In August 2015, a group 17 students, staff, and faculty from Augsburg College loaded four 24-foot voyageur canoes with their gear and started paddling down the Mississippi River as part of the first River Semester.

Treaties & Territory: Resource Struggles and the Legal Foundations of the U.S./American Indian Relationship

…A movement has grown at Standing Rock, inspiring the largest gathering of American Indian tribes in over a century. In attempting to understand this historical contestation over water resources and tribal sovereignty, the question of treaty rights has been on the lips of Standing Rock water protectors, as well as scholars, community leaders, politicians, and commentators.

Gods of the Mississippi

Nearly twenty years ago Thomas Tweed and a host of collaborators, responding to the cultural and historiographic shifts of the era, called for narratives of the United States’ religious past that “draw on new motifs and plots and include a wider range of settings and characters” than those available at the time.

Sarah Jo Schmitz of the Sauk River Watershed District used a meter to track the river’s flow south of St. Joseph, Minn. Photograph Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

In Minnesota’s Farm Country, Clean Water is Costly

Debate has been growing in Minnesota about the role agricultural practices play in the overall quality of the state’s surface waters (i.e. rivers, streams, and lakes) and, if farming is found to have a harmful impact, what can be done about that. Much of these debates are beginning to resemble debates about climate change: argued more from bases in deeply held beliefs rather than appeal to arguments grounded in “facts.” Sometimes even what is a “fact” can be debated. The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote recently about the costs incurred by state agencies to try to clean water of pollutants most likely associated with agriculture, about the system of agricultural subsidies that contributes to existing farming practices, and how the logjam connecting rewards, incentives, practices, and unanticipated harmful side effects might be broken.