Native Justice Coalition
The Anishinaabe, People of the Three Fires — the Odawa (Ottawa), the Ojibwe (Chippewa) and the Potawatomi — make up the twelve federally-recognized tribes and four historic tribes of Michigan. Modern nation-state boundaries cut through Anishinaabewaki, Anishinaabe Land, which traditionally extends from the Eastern seaboard to the Great Plains region. Today, federally-recognized Anishinaabe tribes are located in Ontario, Manitoba, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, and Indiana.
Each tribal community carries its own history, culture, and language. Indian Country collectively faces ongoing colonization that harms the sovereignty and traditional lifeways of Native Peoples. For example, skipped over in most discussions of racial justice, the forced removal of Native Peoples in the Great Lakes region often is misunderstood and unexamined. For tribal leaders and community members across Anishinaabewaki, protecting lifeways from ongoing injustices remains a top priority.
To do just this, the Native Justice Coalition, along with various community partners, presents the second annual Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference. Tackling discussions of local and national racism, this conference empowers Native Peoples across the Great Lakes region to come together and share experiences of healing, wellness, and sobriety.
Last year, panelists addressed more than 200 conference attendees who registered or dropped-in throughout the three-day event. An amazing fact is that last year the conference had 60 walk-ins from mostly the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and other local bands.
“I was honored to partake in such a significant event,” says Linda R. Cobe (Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), a 2018 conference panelist and participant. “An array of topics was presented addressing issues that Native people face today. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with professionals of various backgrounds and have a sharing of ideas to take back to our communities.” This year, Cobe will return to Baraga as a conference panelist on the Anishinaabe Healing Stories on Racial Justice panel.
Taking collective responsibility to continue the important work, this year’s 38 presenters and panelists cover topics such as Anishinaabe youth and environmental justice, addressing missing and murdered indigenous women, healing to wellness court systems, harm reduction related to decolonization, creative expression as resistance, and working towards building a larger Anishinaabe Racial Justice Coalition.
Native Peoples, all peoples of color, and their allies are welcome to join on May 24-26, 2019 in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Baraga, MI. Registration is free. Visit nativejusticecoalition.org for conference details.
The Native Justice Coalition, directed by Cecelia LaPointe, is dedicated to uplifting the strength and spirit of the Anishinaabe community. If you would like to be involved or make a donation to sustain this important work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.