The 1-14-04 Dispatch reported, "Mille Lacs Chief urges tribe to cling to its traditions and cultures." A few years ago a friend and I attended an Indian pow wow held at a small town (Ball Club?) east of Bemidji.
There were many food vendors (for pay) and lots of dancing; all in all a nice atmosphere.
Later, it was announced to all in the bleachers that everyone would be fed at no charge, and large movable carts of food were brought out. The Indian people provided the food at their own expense. No one needed to go hungry, just because they had no money to pay a vendor.
Soon lots of teenagers were going to the carts, and we thought to ourselves, "those hungry teenagers."
But then we overheard the Indian mother in front of us quietly tell her teenage son, "Go take a plate for an elder." We watched as he prepared a plate of food, and went looking for an older person to give it to. It was obvious from their expressions they didn't know each other.
We saw this same thing performed over and over. I still get shivers each time I think about it.
How different our country would be if we adopted even this one tradition from the Ojibwe: to feed and care for everyone, and to help the elders. How different from the life philosophy of our president, and the others who would be our leaders, both government and (especially) business. Their philosophy is, "take as much for yourself as possible, even if you have absolutely no need for it. Let others worry about themselves."
Maybe there are some other valuable traditional Ojibwe values and customs we could learn about. I hope the Ojibwe's cling to their traditions and culture.
Web site available
For 14 years, Center of the American Experiment has sought to play a constructive role in making state government more accountable to the people of Minnesota.
I'm pleased to officially announce our newest project, MinnesotaVotes.org, a user-friendly (and, might I add, free) web site that features concise, plain language, objective and accurate descriptions of every bill, floor amendment, and roll call vote in the Legislature.
MinnesotaVotes.org will put legislative voting records at your fingertips 24 hours a day in a clear and simple format that isn't currently available. Citizens will be able to search by key word, subject area, bill number, or legislator to retrieve up-to-date information on actions taken by the legislature. Regular visitors can customize their MinnesotaVotes.org site to automatically display their legislators' recent votes. Perhaps most distinctive and helpful, visitors who are interested in a particular bill or topic will be able to sign up for e-mail notification when any action (bill introduction, committee report, amendment, or floor vote) takes place on that bill or topic of interest.
Unlike most vote tracking-tools, MinnesotaVotes.org will include every bill proposed, every floor amendment offered, and every roll call vote taken instead of only those that someone else selects or finds interesting. Furthermore, Center of the American Experiment will not take a position on any vote or other legislative activity on MinnesotaVotes.org nor will we editorialize in the descriptions of bills and amendments.
Rather, MinnesotaVotes.org will offer a straightforward, unbiased, and user-friendly site that will provide citizens, organizations, and voters the tools to make important judgments for themselves.
If you would like more information, please feel free to contact the Director of MinnesotaVotes.org, Chris Tiedeman, anytime at (612) 338-3605, or at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.
Mitchell B. Pearlstein
Center of the American Experiment
I encourage all Crow Wing County taxpayers to attend one of the remaining informational meetings concerning the building plan for the law enforcement center, judicial center and jail. The county commissioners need to make a big decision that will cost the taxpayers a lot of money! I, along with a very few others, attended the meeting last Thursday and learned a lot about the whole project. I commend the county commissioners, attorney, auditor, and other department heads for presenting the project in terms we could understand and for asking for public input. The meetings will be Monday, Feb. 9 at the County Service Building (room 1) from 7 to 9 p.m. and at the Hallett Center in Crosby from 6:30 to 8 on Thursday, Feb. 12.
See you at the bottom
I see that Sears has announced that it will cut benefits to its workers in order to be able to compete with Wal-Mart. To all you people who wanted the Wal-Mart super center in town, I guess I'll see you at the bottom, since the race has already begun.
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