November 2006 Letters to the Editor

Smart Cookie

It’s great to know that to change my life—to look, feel, and love better—I need to dress up like a ’50s housewife and bake cookies (“Change Your Life,” October).  You forgot to show your cover model is also barefoot, and I presume the baking sheet is hiding her pregnancy.  Seriously?  I’m appalled.

St. Louis Park

Backyard Dealings

We were delighted to read the story about Bois Forte chairman Kevin Leecy (“The Man from Fortune Bay,” October 2006). Congratulations on presenting  a fair and balanced portrait of the complex challenges facing today’s tribal leadership. As Chairman Leecy indicated in the story, it is often difficult to get non-Indians to recognize sovereignty and understand what it really means. Yet it is sovereignty—and the protection of sovereignty—that is at the heart of most of the actions taken by tribes in Minnesota and across the nation.  

People often ask, “How can it be that we have sovereign nations within a sovereign nation?” The U.S. Constitution recognizes the tribes in the same way it recognizes states and foreign nations. That is why it takes special action by Congress to give states any significant control over Indian tribes and their affairs.

Chairman Leecy is also expressing the view of most tribal leaders in Minnesota when he says he believes that Indian gaming will continue to be under attack in the coming years.  Just a few days after this article appeared, news came from the Iron Range that the IRRR [Iron Range Resources & Rehab] Board is considering putting government funds into a racetrack/card-club facility in Hibbing. Since Canterbury Park is involved in the project, it is likely that the developers will seek to establish a full-fledged casino there, as Canterbury itself has tried to do. That would literally be in Bois Forte’s backyard.  

One of the sad lessons Kevin Leecy and other Indian people have learned over the years is that they will never be able to rest as long as they have something that non-Indians want. History does repeat itself.

Executive Director, Minnesota
Indian Gaming Association

Got It Done

At last, a Twin Cities publication runs a great story about Indian determination and success made possible by gaming revenues (“The Man From Fortune Bay,” October). Instead of dwelling on poverty, drug abuse, and violence—the normal fare for stories about reservations here—writer Tim Gihring captures the resilience of the Bois Forte Ojibwe and a new breed of get-it-done Indian leadership in chairman Kevin Leecy. What they have accomplished for their people and their non-Indian neighbors in northeastern Minnesota since Fortune Bay was opened 20 years ago is truly miraculous. Every politician in this state, starting front and center with Governor Pawlenty, should read this story carefully and think twice before stripping away yet another resource from Minnesota’s Indian tribes.


Blue in the Face

The myth of Minnesota as a political-battleground state has to be put to rest. I’m disappointed that you perpetuate the misinformation in your recent article on Mitch Pearlstein (“Will the Center Hold?”, September), calling Minnesota “a decidedly-in-play purple.” It wasn’t, and still isn’t, despite the Republican Party’s best efforts to convince us our 10 electoral votes were up for grabs. The Republican Party made unprecedented campaign efforts in the last presidential election, yet Kerry beat Bush in Minnesota by 10 percent. That is decidedly not an up-for-grabs margin. In 2004, Minnesota gave a solid victory for the Democratic Party, ousting 11 Republicans from the state House of Representatives and shrinking their majority from a reputable 28 seats to a tenuous 2. The Republican Party and organizations like the Center for the American Experiment have a vested interest in keeping us convinced of the propagandistic claim that ours is a battleground state, but the results of the last election make clear that claim is absurd. Objective news organizations like yours should recognize this and stop propagating their myth.


Wonderful Awareness

I can’t tell you how much being selected as one of the Seven Wonders of Minnesota (“Abating Autism,” September) has meant to Fraser. Though we’ve been around since 1935, Fraser is still somewhat of a best-kept secret to those who aren’t personally involved in the special-needs community. Thanks to Minnesota Monthly, this is changing and more people are becoming aware of the important work done at Fraser. It’s critical for families to know about the important resources for children with autism and their families.                       

President & CEO


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