Indigenous People See Themselves In 'Avatar' - SMSC Gets Minnesota 'Eagle Award'
by Monica Davis
Many indigenous people, after looking at the new blockbuster, Avatar, see themselves in the story. They see the storyline of land and human exploitation as being their story, their history, their pain. The rape and pillage of land and resources has been the bane of native peoples since Columbus got lost and ‘discovered’ America.
For millions, 500 years after Columbus and subsequent European "explorers"washed up on these shores, the cycle of resource exploitation, native annihilation and land piracy continues to playout. Precious metals, timber, energy resource exploitation, along with environmental degradation, poisoning of water supplies and air remain major problems for Native People in North and South America, and around the world.
They say Avatar is truth.The Huffington Post noted that the people in Avatar share a great deal with aboriginal people in South and Central America, as well as Africa. Just makes me wonder what the writer thinks about the uranium mines of the Southwest, the dumping of radioactive wastes on supposedly independent lands, AKA reservations.
Nevertheless, Avatar presents a fictional rendition of an ongoing atrocity.
Avatar is real: Pandora exists in our planet and it's located in Southand Central America, and Africa. The Na'vi peoples, the Indigenous peoples in those regions are being displaced and killed right now, in order to extract the natural resources laying underground. The names of places and peoples may be different in the movie, but the facts of reality are almost the same. (Huffington Post)
All of the superficial apologies will not change the fact that tens of millions of native people died horrible deaths in the 400 years of exploitation, and hundreds of thousands today continue to live in substandard housing, and face terrorism on their own lands. One state government is mandating that all state high schools with native names as mascots, change their mascot names. And the US Mint is manufacturing another coin to commemorate Native Americans.
Now, that is all well and good, but what about real money? What about compensation for stolen resources—and we don’t have to go all the wayback to ground zero. Tribes are not receiving their legally prescribed payments for rents and leases. Invaders continue to trespass on native lands, without compensating the tribes, and NativeAmericans continue to die from radiation poisoning, polluted water and poisoned land.
Generations still suffer the effects of educide, where Native children were divested of their native culture in residential torture schools and returned to their homelands confused, angry, and often mentally ill. Walk the lands of the Rez, look at the result of homegrown terrorism, see a people whose heritage was emasculated, whose children were the victim of a multi-generational eradication/mind controlatrocity, practiced by religious and government run "residential schools".
Children were murdered, saw their classmates tortured, beaten, killed and driven to madness. The religious institutions and churches who perpetrated this atrocity continue to deny, obfuscate and hide their evil deeds, as the victims of their evil turn to drugs and alcohol to drive the monsters at bay. Even as they run toothless "reconciliationcommissions", discredit activists and set up stalking horses as diversions, the truth continues to come out.
Avatar, using cartoon media and a suspension of reality tells the story of millions of real indigenous victims, but the question is: Will we ignore the message? Will mainstream media and their sleepwalking audiences fail to connect the reality of today with a movie plot? Will we feel sorry for people for a tiny moment, then go back to acceptance and exploitation as usual?
Monica Davis is an Indiana-based author, activist, columnist and public speaker. She specialises in economics, history and public policy issues and has written articles on land loss, Native American residential schools, bank failure, environmental justice and alternative energy. She is published in Great Britain, the US and India and home schoolers in New Zealand have used her articles as teaching tools.
Ms. Davis has given presentations on land lynching and the farm catastrophe at churches, museums and universities. Her articles been read into the Congressional Record and used as the basis for interviews by other reporters. She is available for speaking engagements. Her author web site is:
Dakotah! Ice Center Honored With Prestigious Award
by Tessa Lehto
Prior Lake, MN – Dakotah! Ice Center was honored with a Minnesota Eagle Award by the Associated Builders and Contractors' Excellence in Construction Awards program on January 14, 2010. The Award was presented at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dakotah! Ice Center is owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian tribe.
HTG Architects (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) designed the facility which was built by general contractor Shingobee (Loretto, Minnesota). Accepting the award on behalf of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community were members of the design team Jim Schuweiler, Senior Project Manager and Bob Mueller, Project Superintendent, both of Shingobee and Tom Moorse, Partner/Project Architect, and Rob Brandwick, Project Manager, both of HTG Architects.
“With a long standing philosophy of being good stewards of the natural landscape, we also sought to create a facility that would set the bar high for sustainable, energy-efficient construction,” said SMSC Chairman Stanley R. Crooks.
The new facility, which went into service in November 2008, is one in which SMSC and the entire community takes great pride. Serving as a model for Green construction, and serving the needs of the larger community, the Dakotah! Ice center exemplifies what a state-of-the-art ice arena should be, according to the design team.
The new Dakotah! Ice Center is a 63,223 square foot addition to the existing Dakotah! Sport and Fitness. The SMSC chose to construct the new ice arena in order to meet the increasing demands for ice time in the area.
The new arena, with an NHL-sized sheet of ice and seating capacity for up to 1,200, contains numerous energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and state-of-the-art components. Amenities include two mezzanine levels, an elevator, seven locker rooms, a new concession area, conference rooms, and a concourse viewing and seating area. The rink features a supportless curved glass dasher board system that provides clear viewing and faster play.
The building’s Green Initiatives include a 32,648 square foot vegetated or “green” roof that treats storm water and improves energy efficiency; skylights coupled with daylight harvesting sensors; and sixteen solar panels that heat water for use in the ice resurfacing equipment.
A compressor system and heat exchanger take the waste heat from the ice resurfacing equipment and redirect it through the bleachers to heat the concrete floor of the seating area. Landscaping included recycled, permeable pavers and a rain garden. Many recycled and energy-efficient materials were utilized throughout the building, including arena seating made from recycled materials.
At the event ABC’s finest contractors, subcontractors, and specialty contractors were honored for the merits of their projects with the most unique and challenging designs. The Minnesota Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors is part of a national association representing more than 23,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms in 81 chapters across the United States.
ABC's awards program is designed to recognize publicly the quality and innovation of merit shop construction and to honor all the members of the construction team, including the contractor, the owner, and the design team responsible for the project. The winning projects were selected from entries submitted from across the state and were judged on complexity, attractiveness, unusual challenges, completion time, workmanship, innovation, safety, and budget.
To download photos of the Dakotah! Ice Center, go to www.shakopeedakota.org/newsroom and click on Photo Gallery.
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