Resources at Niibi
The Niibi Center aims to protect and preserve Anishinaabe culture
through the collection and sharing of wisdom and knowledge.
- Current Events
- External Press
- Niibi Posts
Language is one of the most precious assets of Indigenous cultures around the world. This is especially true here on Turtle Island, where targeted efforts of genocide including boarding schools and forced assimilation have left many Native languages floundering or outright lost.
White Earth tribal members, along with participants from across the United States and Russia, have gathered twice this Spring for cultural and information sharing around protection of water, particularly in the context of Tribal societies, for which water is a central facet of life and culture.
Almost exactly a year to the day after the history-making Treaty People’s Gathering, a large interfaith group returned to the Mississippi headwaters to pray and remember.
Access to quality local education is a critical issue for many indigenous communities. The
University of Minnesota college system has recently enacted a tuition assistance program that
will allow indigenous students from Minnesota to access higher education for minimal to no
cost, a move that will hopefully empower more young Native students to attend and finish
college. The University would not have made these sweeping changes in their tuition assistance
program without many years of advocacy from Native leaders and allies throughout Minnesota.
Anishinaabe people, along with other indigenous peoples in the United States, are still trying to reckon with and heal from the deep historical traumas caused by colonization. One of the most calculated and long-term expression of the genocide on Native people here has been the forced removal of Native children to Boarding Schools. The Boarding School legacy here on the White Earth reservation is no exception, and organizations like the Niibi Center, in collaboration with partners from St. Benedicts College, are working to collect stories and facilitate historical trauma healing events. Many elders believe the only way to heal the legacy of trauma from these schools is to educate the younger generations through sharing their stories.
Anishinaabe culture and lifeways have been greatly threatened due to settler colonialism. The 1854 and 1855 treaties between Anishinaabe tribes and the US government are supposed to protect the rights of tribal members to access their traditional foods and medicines. For Anishinaabe people, manoomin is the primary sacred food source that not only ensured the tribe’s survival historically, but is also an integral part of the prophecy which pushed the tribes to migrate to the “land where food grows on the water.” For Anishinaabe people, all of existence has it’s own spirit, including manoomin, and so the White Earth tribe decided to bestow manoomin with legal rights as a “person” or legal entity. This, and similar work in protection of our non-human relations, is crucial in the quest to protect the land and water for future generations. The Niibi Center has been a community partner with the White Earth tribe in defining the policies at a Tribal level that can enforce their declaration of the inherent rights of manoomin.
Controversy over Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline has ramped up with the ongoing fallout from the Line 3 construction in Minnesota in 2021, as well as the discovery of a new oil spill near the Bad River reservation in August of 2022. Enbridge has proposed a reroute that goes around Bad River due to the tribe’s unwillingness to grant Ebridge the permits it needs to replace the existing pipeline. These pipelines are in direct opposition of Treaty rights, which ensure the tribes the right to hunt, fish and gather food and medicine. Pipeline spills and the degradation to the environment from the construction process itself, including aquifer breeches and frac-outs during drilling, put manoomin and water at risk, which for Anishinaabe people in the region is tantamount to cultural genocide.
WPR News: Federal judge finds Enbridge trespassed on Bad River lands, but stops short of shutting down Line 5
A court in Wisconsin has ruled in favor of the Bad River Band’s assertion that the Canadian oil giant Enbridge has been illegally operating its territory since at least 2013. This ruling comes shortly after the discovery of an oil spill near the Bad River reservation in August, 2022 and during a controversial summer in which the Tribes, along with Treaty Partners and allies, have demonstrated at numerous events aimed at stopping the Line 5 Pipeline expansion project, which runs through Wisconsin and into Michigan under the Straits of Mackinaw. The ruling does not extend as far as restricting current Enbridge activities on lands owned by the Bad River tribe.
September typically heralds the peak of manoomin (or wild rice) harvest season. Manoomin is known as the “good berry” as well as the “food that grows on the water” and is of utmost cultural importance to Anishinaabe and other indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes region. It is also considered an incredible super food for it’s dense nutritional value. The process of harvesting and processing manoomin is quite intensive, and the knowledge for these skills has been passed down through generations. If you are lucky enough to live in a place where manoomin is being harvested, be sure to check out a demonstration or just go hang out at a rice landing and chat with the people who are continuing to carry on this tradition.
One focus of healing historical trauma is the repatriation of belongings, records and even bodies to their Tribal homelands. Many Colleges, Universities, museums and Historical Societies possess belongings or archives that inherently belong to Tribal people. One way that tribes are tackling the issue of repatriation is through the digital reclamation of information, photographs, wax cylinder recordings, journals and other culturally relevant data that has been kept by non-Tribal organizations. Digital repatriation is one way that Tribes can protect and preserve information for future generations.
The US legal system has once again failed to protect Native land or uphold Indigenous Treaty Rights in regards to Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline project in northern Minnesota. Tribal nations,…
Ms. Magazine: Standing up for water, land and climate: Meet 10 Indigenous women fighting the Line 5 pipeline
In Anishinaabe culture, women are viewed as the inherent protectors of niibi (water). Traditionally, women are seen as being ruled by the moon through cycles of reproduction, as the moon…