G.A. Minutes 12-31-13

G.A. Minutes 12-31-13

It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re having a G.A. at the Amazing Grace. A bit unconventional but seeing as we haven’t been able to meet for over 2 weeks, we thought meeting tonight was a good idea.

Some of our people will leave early as they are volunteering to help out at a CASDA fundraiser. CASDA is the main sexual assault/domestic violence protection agency across the bridge in Superior, WI. Those of us who remain generally shun the New Year’s Eve party and bar scene referring to it as “amateur night”.

Temperatures plunged a few days ago and haven’t risen above zero since. There is no end to this frigid weather in sight. Homeless advocates and concerned others are on high alert. The CHUM center isn’t picking and choosing its residents this week, all are admitted. A few homeless folks are in the hospital and in danger of having their frostbitten limbs amputated. The remaining Occupiers won’t be hanging around under the stars this evening. When the café closes we’ll drop those without vehicles off and all will scurry home to dive under blankets and maybe stay awake long enough to welcome the New Year. It appears this new year will be promising.

Some of our allies went down to the Mall of America this morning. They planned on attending the 2nd annual Idle No More Round Dance Celebration. A few days before the scheduled event some of the people believed to be leaders received unsigned letters telling them they would be arrested if they attempted to hold the Round Dance. Idle No More and their allies were rightfully quite offended upon receiving these letters.

Mall of America’s practice of regularly allowing Christian groups use of the space for celebration of Christian and dominant culture rituals, while terming Native celebration political protest, smacked of racism and ethnocentricity. INM decided to go ahead with the planned Round Dance. As the Occupier couple was leaving to attend the G.A. they were notified that 2 women classified by the MOA as leaders had been arrested. One of these women is a very close ally of the Occupiers.

The couple was informed MOA security had been stationed at every entrance and were stopping and searching people at random, turning away whomever they chose. They decided to bring their laptop to the G.A. so as to keep tabs on the situation.
During the meeting it was determined to be a “courtesy arrest”. The 2 INM women were released within the hour. This will surely become a legal matter. As we discuss the issue we wonder what criteria was used for searching and turning away those entering the mall. We also wonder about the fact that MOA was built with a lot of public funds and that it sits on ceded territory. We are disappointed that what could have been a joyous, inclusive and healing occasion was turned into one of racism, mistrust and hatred by MOA.

An Occupier reminds us the next INM meeting is Friday, January 3rd at Randy’s.

The discussion evolves into one about another issue we have partnered with local Native people to address. The wolf and the wolf hunt. We participated in 2 more Ogichiidag Overpass Light Brigade actions during the past 2 weeks. One was at Bentleyville in Duluth and the other in Bemidjii. Both were successful and received good media attention. 2 more actions are planned; one will be in Ely and the other in Grand Rapids. The dates haven’t been decided upon but they will probably be sometime in January. The MN and WI hunts are now officially finished. They finished early as the hunters had reached their government approved killing quota.

We wonder what Northwoods Wolf Alliance strategy moving forward will be. Seeing as we are allies of NWA, our ideas and opinions are always heard however, strategy will be decided by our Anishenaabe partners. We will wait until our next INM/NWA meeting to find out what will happen.

We know there will be another Wolf Rally on Saturday January 4th at Lake Ave and Superior St. It has been suggested there be a ceremony for the honoring of all the wolves who were killed. The local spiritual leader will be consulted as to what is appropriate.

An Occupier has recently earned a Bachelor’s degree in science but has been forced to take a part time job at Target in order to meet basic survival needs. He tells us of his disapproval of the management’s blatant anti-union propaganda. This leads us into a discussion about the short sightedness of many unions and then into a discussion of our racist and classist judicial and prison systems.

The Amazing Grace Café is closing a little early tonight. Hopefully this is so the workers can have some time to celebrate their New Year. They are all young and eager to party. The Occupiers are older and like to party also but their parties are of a different nature. We exchange good New Year’s wishes all around and if we’re not needed elsewhere, we’ll be back on Saturday.

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