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County Board says no to Indigenous Peoples' Day

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 4:59pm
Grand Portage youths

Respectful, well-mannered, quiet but determined, 10 Ojibwe students from Cook County High School appeared before the Cook County Board of Commissioners on September 29 to make a case to have the county recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day.

As the Local Indian Education Committee (LIEC) student representative, Jaden Aubid read a statement on behalf of his classmates, which said in part, that by celebrating Columbus Day, the county was “reinforcing the negative stereotypes of us.”

He called on the board to declare October 12 Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day.

Commissioner Frank Moe, who represents Grand Portage, said when he was asked to read a resolution to support Indigenous Peoples’ Day, he felt it was his finest honor serving as a county commissioner. He then read the resolution (which is published in full in the News-Herald) and asked for a vote.

The resolution failed 3-2 with Moe and Commissioner Jan Sivertson voting for and Commissioners Garry Gamble, Ginny Storlie and Doo-Kirk voting against.

Commissioner Jan Sivertson asked that Moe’s resolution be modified to recognize both Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day.

But after the reading of the amended version, it too failed 3-2, Storlie, Gamble and Doo-Kirk voting against and Moe and Sivertson voting for.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

Crossing Borders Tour offers a peek in artists' studios

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 4:54pm

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a professional artist? Are you curious to discover how art is made? Are you looking for an excuse to visit the North Shore of Lake Superior during the fall color season? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will be interested in taking the Crossing Borders Studio Tour Friday, September 25 through Sunday, October 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

The Crossing Borders Tour is in its 19th year. This tour of professional artists in their studios allows the public to visit studios and learn how art is made. The tour follows Minnesota’s North Shore from Two Harbors to Grand Portage with six stops along the way. The host studios also invite colleagues to bring additional art to show and sell.

Host studios this year are Blue Skies Glassworks and Cooter Pottery and Hand Weaving in Two Harbors; Last Chance Fabricating in Lutsen; Betsy Bowen Studio in Grand Marais; Lee and Dan Ross in Hovland; and Ningii-Ozhitoomin Ojibwe Art Gallery in Grand Portage. Expect to see glass, pottery, weaving, jewelry, beadwork, leather, prints and sculpture in and outside the host studios.

Education is a large part of the tour’s goals. Artists tell the story of how their work is made and visitors are encouraged to linger in the studios to understand the working part of artwork. Artwork is for sale, making this a great opportunity to purchase directly from the artists.

The Crossing Borders Studio Tour artists encourage you to come out, visit the studios, enjoy the fall colors and linger a while at each of the stops. They will have coffee and goodies out for you to enjoy while you decide which piece of art you like the most. Who knows? This may become a fall ritual for you to look forward to every year.

For more information visit or find us on Facebook at Crossing Borders Studio Tour.


Strategies for "helping your child with extreme picky eating" on October 5&6

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 12:22pm

If you’ve ever wondered why some kids are picky eaters – and how to get them to eat better – there’s a presentation being offered at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic norththat can help. WTIP volunteer Julie Carlson spoke with Dr. Katja Rowell on North Shore Morning.
‘Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating’
Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Classroom
October 5 - 6:30 to 8 p.m., and again on October 6 - 9 to 10:30 a.m.


County Board rejects designation of Indigenous People’s Day

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 11:12am

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Cook County Board, Commissioner Frank Moe offered for consideration a resolution declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day in Cook County.

Jaden Aubid, speaking on behalf of the Grand Portage students at Cook County District 166, requested that the commissioners support the resolution. In his statement, Aubid expressed the belief that “by continuing to acknowledge the validity of Columbus Day in Cook County, it reinforces the negative images and stereotypes about … the indigenous peoples of North America.”

The commissioners acknowledged that Columbus Day is not currently recognized as a holiday for county employees, so changing the day’s designation to Indigenous People’s Day would have no practical impact.

Commissioner Gamble expressed the opinion that the change would deny Italian-Americans an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and suggested instead that more be done to recognize August 9, a date declared in 1994 as International Day of the World’s Indigenous People by the United Nations.

John Morrin of Grand Portage offered clarification that August 9 is a global designation supporting indigenous people of the world. He noted the resolution before the board was specific to Cook County and its Native American population which makes up 7.6% of the county. The 2010 census saw no one in the county claiming immediate Italian ancestry.
Moe concluded with a statement directed at his fellow commissioners.

“When students come here from school, to hopefully look at a historic day where we as a county board honor them and their heritage, and disavow a fictitious heritage that we recognize on the second Monday of October, I think there’s no greater way that the county board and Cook County can recognize and respect our citizens who live in Grand Portage (than to approve this resolution).”

Two votes followed, one recognizing only Indigenous People’s Day and one recognizing both it and Columbus Day. Both were defeated, with Commissioners Gamble, Doo-Kirk and Storley opposing.

At least four states do not celebrate Columbus Day (Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota) and numerous cities including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Grand Rapids, MN and Seattle, WA have already established Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day.

Columbus Day as a national holiday did not exist until April 1934. It was then, as a result of lobbying by the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus and New York City Italian leader Generoso Pope, and in a move to gain more of the Italian vote, that Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 a federal holiday.

Some contemporary historians now question whether Columbus was actually Italian.


Warm September slips into a nice October weekend

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 10:37am

This weekend’s fine fall weather will continue on into the week without real cold or wetness. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Birch Grove Community School--new year, new director

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 11:08pm

Birch Grove Community School Director Diane Blanchette reports that the 2015-2016 school year is off to a great start. Student enrollment increased from 18 at the end of last year to 23 this year this year for kindergarten through 5th grade and enrollment for the Saplings program, ages 3-5, has also increased. Blanchette said, “I hope that this is an 09-30-15 indicator that the school can anticipate higher enrollment numbers in the future. This is good news.”

Blanchette also shared some interesting news. She has resigned as director of the school, a position she has held since 2004.

Caroline Wood, formerly the director of the Birch Grove Foundation, which manages the building that houses the school and the community center, has accepted the position of director for Birch Grove Community School.

Blanchette told the News-Herald, “I have been ready to start a new chapter in my life that includes resigning my position to one that I have the utmost confidence in. Leaving the school is much easier knowing that Caroline Wood will become the new school director.

“I know that the school and community will be very welcoming as she adjusts to her new position,” said Blanchette.

Blanchette will work with Wood until the end of October to help with the transition.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at