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Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay, Minnesota. Image courtesy of Josh Hild.

On Teaching The Relentless Business of Treaties

In spring 2020, two faculty members from the University of Minnesota Morris each incorporated a book called The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property by Martin Case into their course curricula. The book focuses on demystifying the stories and interconnectedness of the white, male treaty-signers responsible for dispossessing Indigenous peoples of their land. The following article shares their perspectives and reflections on teaching this text.

Darling River at Toorale National Park, New South Wales. Wikimedia: B 897 CC BY-SA 4.0.

Australia’s Legacy of Denying Water Rights to Aboriginal People

Water management in the Murray-Darling Basin has radically changed over the past 30 years. But none of the changes have addressed a glaring injustice: Aboriginal people’s share of water rights is minute, and in New South Wales it is diminishing.

Braided sweetgrass, its three strands representing the three interwoven components of the book: scientific knowledge, Indigenous story, and personal narrative. Image courtesy of Jamieson Lawrence.

Woven Ways of Knowing

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2013) is a nonfiction compilation of essays written by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a celebrated botanist, poet, and Indigenous member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Reprint.

Detail from original. Between the east and west banks of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, as taken from the Washington Avenue Bridge. Image courtesy of Vicente M. Diaz.

Navigating Indigenous Futures Gallery

… the River is also a place upon and a relationship with whom we might also build relations of kinship and reciprocity with Dakota and Ojibwe communities in the shared hopes of together building new / old ways of knowing and being for a more just future, one that flows from renewing proper relations in decidedly Indigenous terms.

President Gabel and project members and community representatives take “a spin” aboard the waa herak NOAA’s Arc. From front to back: Mat Pendleton, Lower Sioux Community, Indigenous Futures Project; Eric Chapman, Lac du Flambeau Tribal Council member, Manoomin Project; President Gabel; Dockry, Manoomin Project; and Diaz, Indigenous Futures Project.

Navigating Indigenous Futures with the Mississippi River

Relationalities, or the web of interconnected relations of kinship and ethical regard among Indigenous people, land, water, and sky scapes, include the agential or personhood status of otherwise non-human “natural” elements, their interconnectivity that occurs at multiple and simultaneous temporal scales and logics, and the need for intellectual and social agility and nimbleness to keep apace with, in our case, “water” and Indigenous knowledge about water and interconnected relationships.

Lake Itasca. Image courtesy of Sara Černe.

Indigenizing Environmental Thinking

we asked people to respond to the following prompt: As we face environmental challenges, such as climate change, extraction economies, (over)development, loss of habitats and ecosystems, pollution, and other harms, what might Indigenous ways of knowing offer to address these global concerns? How might Indigenizing and/or decolonizing our methodologies transform higher education teaching and research?

Rattlesnake. Image courtesy of Duncan Sanchez.

Rattlesnake Effigy Mound Ancestors Still Teaching

[The Rattlesnake Effigy Mound’s] designers and builders required loving toil to speak clearly without words. REMA’s symbolic, serpentine voice (ῥῆμα) still continues to speak to us today, though she is greatly damaged and disturbed beneath a fifty-year-old city dike.