G.A. Minutes 10-8-13

G.A. Minutes 10-8-13

It was raining steadily all day last Saturday so we went to an Occupiers home and worked on our wolf puppet. This Tuesday evening the sky is clear and the air is unseasonably warm. It’s supposed to be in the high 60s and low 70s all this week. The sun goes down much earlier these days. It will be down in about an hour. We won’t need much warmth from our fire but the light will help a lot.

A few of the regular street people are around. They greet us warmly; some help us carry our things. An older man who we don’t know greets us. When an Occupier asks, “What’s up”? The man answers, “Same as always, everybody’s just trying to get a buzz”.

One of our Occupiers has been absent for a week or more. We need to fill him in on what’s been going on. There’s been so much that we can’t remember it all. We tell him about 2 meetings that are happening tomorrow.

The first is a meeting of the Duluth Human Rights Commission in City Hall. The issue of the placement of the Indigenous Cultural Staff has still not been decided. Apparently, a well-known politician has a solution he is going to propose to the commission. The problem is, none of the Native people connected to the staff issue were notified of his plan. They found out about the meeting by word of mouth so they’re understandably suspicious. We shake our heads in disbelief. What is wrong with these white people? They seem to think only the rich and those of their inner circle are worthy of respect. They seem to think everyone else will just obey their orders. We will attend this meeting and support our Native allies.

The second meeting will be with the campaign committee of one of our friend running for City office. While on the subject of this friend, an Occupier reports something she was told at the Idle No More meeting she attended yesterday. When our friend gave a press conference a couple of weeks ago he spoke out against the Polymet mine. He took a public stand about a very important issue; something very few politicians are willing to do. All the television stations were there and they took a lot of footage. Many supporters of our friends were also present. When the actual news reports were shown, our friend was not mentioned. Neither his face nor his words were in any part of the television presentations. Our other friend running for City office was at the INM meeting and stated, “There are many powerful people in this city who are determined that no person of color will ever hold a government office”.

The sun has set. We notice all the street lights that usually shine on the Memorial and on the corner intersection are out. We have also noticed there have been 4, maybe 5, slow drive byes from squad cars since we’ve been here. An Occupier jokes, “Maybe we’ll set a record tonight”. Is this an ominous sign of something about to happen or merely a coincidence? The fire gives us enough light to see each other. We’ll just have to wait and see.

We inform the previously absent Occupier Native Alliance will hold an introduction to the community potluck feast on Friday at the Central Hillside Community Center. We will attend just as soon as we are done with our regular Friday rush hour protest with the Northland Anti-War Coalition. On Saturday we will participate in the Wolf Walk being sponsored by the Northwoods Wolf Alliance. We’ve been doing a lot of work with NWA for this event. It too will end with a big feast and potluck at CHCC.

An Occupier notices a man walking down the street and coming up on the Memorial. It’s too dark to see his face but she thinks she recognizes his walk. She calls his name and he answers. Everybody cracks up. This is a man who had lived in our camp for several months. We haven’t seen him in quite a while and had heard he was incarcerated. He tells us he’s been in treatment for the last 7 months. When he sits down to chat we notice he hasn’t changed much. Still extremely anxiety ridden and talking about violent things. Several regular street folks come to sit. It seems they all know him so it’s a bit like old home week, sitting around the fire at our old camp. The middle aged Native woman walks her circle around us and sits down.

The former camper tells us of his plans to go to college up north and become a forest ranger or a DNR agent. He gives his usual speech about the problem with the people on the street is that they’re lazy and they should just get off their asses, get a job and take care of their lives. We notice that in spite of his attitude, he is still on the street and doesn’t have a job. Of course, we don’t say that but try to explain that things are more complicated than the solution he proposes. He will have none of it.

The older man who we spoke with when we arrived is back. He’s definitely got a buzz. He can barely walk and his friends on the back ledge are affectionately laughing at him.

The fire is dying. Should we throw on another log? If we do we know we’ll be stuck listening to Mr. Anxiety’s lectures. We decide to leave. We won’t be back on Saturday, as that is the day of the Wolf Walk, so we won’t see this place again until next Tuesday. As we are packing up an Occupier says, “We did break a record. 8 slow drivebys from the DPD”.
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