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Historic art exhibit opens

The White Earth Land Recovery Project, with support from the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission is proud to announce Mii Wenji Migaazoyaang -- Why We Fight, a view at the social history of the struggle for land and justice on the White Earth reservation.

The exhibit is showing at the Detroit Lakes Public Library and includes maps, photographs, newspaper clippings and original art and poetry all surrounding this theme.

Longevity of life on this land is one theme referring to an 8,000-year- old ancestor found on the north shore of Floyd Lake, and illustrating the length of time people have lived here.

"... Before the Pharoahs, before Jesus, before any of them, our Indigenous people were here, omaa Akiing. Here on this land..."

Photos illustrate historic land maps of the reservation, early opposition by tribal leaders to division of land and the largely unrecognized "Round Lake uprising of 1902," considered the "last Indian uprising in Minnesota" and largely supported by the farmers and other neighbors of the region.

A second theme is the vitality and ongoing nature of a people's resistance. More current legal, political civil and human rights cases are also depicted in the exhibit. The l977 United Nations Conference on Indigenous peoples and the Land, held in Geneva Switzerland, was attended by four White Earth community members, followed recently by Chairwoman Erma Vizenor, attending the Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations this past year.

As well, legal cases involving hunting and fishing off reservation -- the Lenny Butcher and Gordon Henry cases, are discussed, along with more recent repatriation efforts for ceremonial drums.

In word, interview, photos and paintings, a people's story begins to be told. The project organizers hope that more photos and stories will be forthcoming and to have this exhibit moved to White Earth and other locations after a debut at the Detroit Lakes Public Library.

The exhibit includes an informational program and will be up until the end of May. An opening is scheduled for Friday, April l6, between 3 and 5 p.m., with refreshments served.

For more information contact