G.A. Minutes 4-7-15

G.A. Minutes 4-7-15

We have decided to meet at Amazing Grace this evening. The weather is slightly rainy with very strong gusts of wind. If we’d tried to have a fire at the Memorial the wind would have been strong enough to knock the fire pit over. It’s not a good night to be outside, for those of us who have a choice at least.

No one thought to call ahead to see if there was going to be live music. When we arrive we find….guess what…..live music. A 3- piece band of older well-known local musicians are playing acoustic old time folk or bluegrass. We’re not sure what it is but we know each song will sound to us just like the last song. Oh well…. It sounds like the musicians are really enjoying themselves.

Our usual table is in use so we find another as far from the stage as possible. We need to be able to talk but don’t want to disturb the performance. As we take our seats we notice the table is incredibly tippy. We just laugh; apparently it’s going to be that type of evening.

A few of us drove up to Bemidji last Saturday for a rally at a Pow Wow which Governor Dayton was expected to attend. Everyone else wants to know how things went so an Occupier reports, “Things didn’t go at all like we expected them to go but I think the event was still successful.”

“Dayton was already inside the building when we arrived. The 3 of us were the only protesters so we decided to wait a little while to see what happened. 2 Native women friends of ours arrived and another friend who was dancing in the Pow Wow came out to tell us we could expect a couple more of our Native friends to arrive sooner or later.

“We all decided to start by holding up our signs in the front of the building where the folks attending the Pow Wow were entering. One of the women went to scout out the entire scene. She came back saying all doors except the main entrance were locked. She found 1 small entrance in the back of the building where there were some big black cars and a bunch of slick looking guys in suits hanging around. She figured that was the place Dayton was coming and going out of
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“We discussed what we should do and decided, seeing as we were so few; it wasn’t worth the trouble to go back and try to confront Dayton. We had absolutely no media attention. If we got roughed up or arrested no one would see it or know about so it would serve no purpose. We agreed to stay at the front entrance and display our ‘Protect Our Water and Lands’ message for the Pow Wow goers.

“We received a lot of very positive response. People were coming over all afternoon and thanking us for what we were doing. Some didn’t say anything at all; they just smiled and shook our hands. After we’d been holding our signs for about 3 hours, the head of the building security came out and told us we couldn’t be at the front entrance but had to go stand in the free speech zone. He pointed to a place off in a corner behind some bike racks. We couldn’t help but laugh.

“The security dude said, ‘If you don’t do what I tell you, you’re going to be given trespassing tickets’. Then he left.

“We had only planned to hold signs for another 15 minutes or so. We knew we could probably fight the tickets but it would entail we Occupiers having to make several round trips from Duluth to Bemidji. It just wasn’t worth it. As we know, one has to pick one’s battles.

“We hugged our friends, said goodbye with plans to meet again soon, and drove back to Duluth”.

Someone asks for a report about last Friday’s Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NdN Taco Sale. Someone else explains it was very successful but we need to figure out a better way to use the available electricity. A brief discussion about electrical wiring and such ensues.

An Occupier says, “There’s a lot going on this month. Do you want a rundown?”

We say yes and she continues, “This Friday there will be a Native Lives Matter event at Bayfront Park, starting at 1pm.

“Friday night the IWW is showing the documentary ‘The Wobblies” at the Jefferson People’s House at 8pm.

“On Sunday there will be a benefit for those folks who were living in the East Hillside Applewood Knoll Apartments. There were 19 apartments in the building and it burned down a couple of days ago. The benefit will be at the Red Herring from noon til 6pm.

“Some people are planning an Earth Day (4/22) event but I haven’t heard the details.

“On Friday April 24th the Tar Sands Resistance Tour is making a stop in Duluth. They’ll be at the UMD Kirby Ballroom at 6pm.

“There’s an event being planned for May Day but I don’t have those details yet.

“Also, there’s going to be another Respect Your Mother Earth Festival again this summer”.

Another Occupier comments, “Oh good. I just love the Respect Your Mother Earth Festival. You know what else though? I’m sure we should go to our IWW friend’s movie but I hear the weather’s going to be really good on Saturday and I would really like to have a fire at CJM. The weather is still real ‘iffy’ so we should take advantage of the good evenings and we haven’t made a fire in 2 weeks.”

Everyone agrees. We’ll go to the Memorial on Saturday, weather permitting. If not, we’ll go to the IWW movie.

The business has been taken care of so we try to sit and listen to the music. Somebody remarks, “I don’t know how they can be content to play the same music, over and over again, for years on end.”

Someone else answers, “Well our whole culture is like that. Many things that happened a long time ago are revered. The problem is, most of those revered events didn’t actually happen or at least not in the way they’re remembered.”

Another person says, “You mean George Washington never actually chopped down the cherry tree?”

The staff is cleaning up and shutting off the lights. The musicians are still playing.
We take the hint and say goodnight. They’ll probably have to throw water on the musicians.