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Join MCTC Green Dot for a Unity March Nov. 18

Posted on: November 16th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Green DotFrom Diane Scovill, MCTC Physical Education instructor:

I want to invite you all personally to join MCTC Green Dot for a unity march on Wednesday, Nov 18.

March with us to UNITE!

We too often stay in our academic lanes and only pass each other occasionally. The Green Dot Unity March is a chance to break out of our lanes and march together for something bigger than ourselves—for something hard to define and to achieve, but worth coming together anyway. We march as people who are striving for peace and justice. We march to build bridges. We march to be seen. We march to make our interests known. We are marching to bring people together and make every member of our community safe through our connection and our work.

You could march because you have lost someone to violence. You could march because you have tried to find other people who feel like you do and you don’t know how to find them. You can march because you need the exercise. Please march. There is nothing like being part of Green Dot—growing a movement that supports the creation of environments that are safe for every member of our community.

Marching is one action step. Certainly we have many more steps to take to make a lasting change. First, we have to find each other and we have to give each other hope.

A rally will start at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 in the T Skyway. We will be making signs for the march with the Feminists Organizing Change student club. If you want to bring a picture of a loved one to be part of this march please do so. We will hold a brief remembrance at 12:15 p.m. and the march will begin at 12:45 p.m. The route will proceed inside campus buildings, and we will also move outside depending on the weather.

  • Who: Students, staff, neighbors, faculty, businesspeople, police people and everyone else
  • What: Pledge to stand up to violence
  • Where: T Skyway
  • When: Sign making at 11:00 a.m. Remembrance at 12:15 p.m. March at 12:45 p.m.

There is nothing else we do that brings students, faculty, staff and the neighborhood together. Let’s keep the spirit going.

Diane

You can connect with the MCTC Green Dot group on their Facebook page.

MCTC Interim President Calls on Community to Support Muslim Students

Posted on: November 16th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

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The ISIS led terrorist attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and Paris over the same twenty-four hour period last week leave me with deep feelings of sadness for the individuals who lost their lives and worry about those whose lives yet hang in the balance. Here at home, I am concerned that members of our Muslim community may become misguided targets for suspicion and retribution.

While none of us here is directly to blame for the terrible events unfolding in France, Lebanon and Iraq, how we respond to these events as they play out will define us as a community. Each of us needs to be thoughtful about how we choose to respond.

I urge you to keep the many victims of the attacks in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris in your thoughts and spiritual observances while reaching out to one another in support. Engage one another in conversation, console one another, and reach out to our Muslim brothers and sisters. Together, as one community, we will navigate through these difficult times.

In Peace,

Avelino Mills-Novoa
Interim President
Minneapolis Community and Technical College

UNITE’s Night of Music and Poetry

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Scatter Their Own, Scotti Clifford and Juliana Brown Eyes

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, the MCTC Native American student club UNITE is hosting its yearly event, Night of Poetry and Music. Join students in the Whitney Fine Arts Theater from 6–8 p.m. to see and listen to poetry and music from a Native perspective.

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Performing will be Scatter Their Own, an alternative rock duo from the Oglala Lakota nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota who write songs about mother earth, social justice and Native American culture. Also performing is Mitch Walking Elk, singer, songwriter recording artist originally from Oklahoma, Austin Owen, hip hop recording artist from Prairie Island Dakota nation, and Anthony Ceballos, writer, poet, MCTC graduate and graduate of Hamline University.

MCTC Interim President and Vice President “Sleep Out” with YouthLink

Posted on: September 28th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

YouthLink sleep outAs the night sky darkened under a rare “super blood moon,” MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa and Alberto Day, YouthLink ambassador and MCTC student on hiatus, took this photo (right) at YouthLink’s Night of Hope event September 27.

MCTC Interim Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Troup and Avelino talked with Alberto at the event, encouraging him to finish his associate degree. Alberto has a dream of finishing his Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at the University of Minnesota – Morris and continuing on to become a social worker.

Interim President Avelino Mills-novoa would like to thank you to those everyone who generously donated to support YouthLink and its mission – donations totaled $2,500! It is not too late if you want to make a contribution. Please go to http://www.youthlinkmn.org/night-of-hope-participants/ and scroll down to MCTC Team, click on the team, and make a contribution supporting YouthLink’s work on behalf of homeless youth. The webpage will be up through next week. Thank You!

MCTC Alum Recognized for Local American Indian Women’s Fitness Initiative

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Lucie, MCTC Graphic Design alumMCTC Graphic Design alum Lucie Skjefte contacted her former MCTC instructors with excitement recently. Beyond her college involvement, graduation, scholarships and transfer to the highly-esteemed Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Lucie has made even more waves in the local community.

Former president of the MCTC UNITE student club and an active advocate for native communities, Lucie—along with her sister and others—founded KweStrong, a local triathlon comprised of American Indian women.

The canoe-bike-run event celebrated its fourth year this summer.

“Lucie is a wonderful example of the power and determination of the students who have entered and passed through our institution and become leaders in our community,” said Bill Hendricks, MCTC Graphic Design instructor.

The original Star Tribune story is posted below. Read Lucie’s story here.

Fitness, pride is potent combination for indigenous women’s group

KWESTRONG triathlon is a centerpiece event, drawing many from tribes across the Midwest.
By Mackenzie Lobby Havey, special to the Star Tribune

The sight of 166 American Indian women and girls paddling across the calm waters of Lake Calhoun in the early hours of Saturday morning represented an intersection of past, present and future.

Clad in brightly colored life jackets, the women ranged in age from 9 to 70 and came from tribes in Iowa, Nebraska, Canada and elsewhere. They put in their silver aluminum canoes on the south beach and paddled north in the direction of the shops, bars, restaurants and high-rises of Uptown.

They tread on what once was native land — Dakota to be specific. Long before the European settlers arrived, Lake Calhoun was largely surrounded by wetlands and known by its ancestral name: Mde Maka Ska, or “White Earth Lake.” Back then, the native people who lived in the region fished and harvested wild rice from the lake, as well as gardened on nearby lands.

Today, the bustling Calhoun has a different makeup, so the vision of indigenous women making their way together across the lake was striking. Taking part in what is known as the KweStrong Triathlon, women came together for a fourth year to compete in the canoe-bike-run event. “Kwe” is the Ojibwe word for “woman.”

Founded in 2010, KweStrong is the idea of Korina Barry, 28, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and twin sisters Lisa and Lucie Skjefte, both 33 and belonging to the Red Lake Nation. Runners themselves, they found that they were constantly getting questions from other indigenous women about how and where to work out in the city. This inspired them to start the triathlon with a goal of inspiring women to be healthy and physically active.

“When we first started this, there were a lot of races every weekend, but we didn’t see many women of color and native women, so we wanted to create a space for that,” said Barry, who is the director of outreach at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work.

“At the time, we didn’t know anything about permits, and none of us had ever participated in a triathlon or any other race where there was registration and bib numbers,” recalled Lisa Skjefte, who is the Indian community liaison for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “Even still, we ended up with almost 80 women participating, and the beauty of what we witnessed was amazing — 30 canoes with women and their daughters and children.

That single event ended up blossoming into something much larger. KweStrong does weekly canoe instruction each summer on Lake Calhoun, and in the winter the group organizes a snowshoe race. In the process it has gained support from local Indian leaders and others, like Wheels of Fun, which offer equipment, and Allina Hospitals, which provides sponsorship.

The women say that creating a community of active Indian women has been important, not just for those they’ve recruited to participate in KweStrong events but also for themselves.

“There’s something that happens when I’m running and I reach that point of wanting to break down and then all of a sudden I find strength in the people I run with,” Lisa Skjefte said. “Suddenly everything becomes clear — the water sparkles brighter and the trees shine more. Even if my mind wants to give up, my connection to this land and other native women is strong and I know I can do it.”

With canoeing being a fundamental part of the KweStrong event docket, she said women draw a significant sense of ancestral strength from the local lakes and rivers.

“I  tell the women that it’s in our blood. We are expert canoeists; it’s written into our bloodline and is so important to our way of life and who we are as native people,” she added.

Through the triathlon and other events, KweStrong is working to emphasize the importance of creating a legacy of health and community engagement for Indian women. It’s about helping women connect to their heritage, while lighting the way for a brighter future.

Indeed, there were plenty of examples of the KweStrong mission at work last Saturday. After participating in the triathlon last year, Valerie LaFave, 51, of Red Lake Nation challenged her daughter, granddaughter and several cousins to compete, also bringing her mom along for support and encouragement.

“Being among the other Native American women at the triathlon last year was really empowering, and I wanted my daughter and granddaughter to experience that too,” she said. “I wanted to lead by example and show them that anything is possible.”

“We envision a healthy, vibrant community, not just for the ones here and now, but for our future generations,” Lisa Skjefte said.