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No Felony In Williams Inquest, But Jury To Decide If Cops Should Face Lesser Charge

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A Wisconsin prosecutor conducting an inquest into the controversial 2011 death of Derek Williams while in the custody of Milwaukee police has ruled out the possibility of homicide charges against police. But three officers still face a potential charge of failing to render aid to Williams while he was gasping for breath and begging for help. Continue Reading →

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Inquest into Death of Milwaukee Man in Police Car Resumes After Week of Clashes

Shawnda Shumpert, Derek Williams' aunt, and Grace Kelly, the mother of Williams' girlfriend, recoil as video of Williams' death in the back seat of a Milwaukee police car is shown at the inquest into his death.  (Photo by Rick Wood, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The inquest into the death of Derek Williams while in the custody of Milwaukee police resumes today after a week when seven police officers refused to testify and conflicting testimony was taken from medical professionals, family members and eyewitnesses. The inquest into the 2011 death of the 22-year-old father of three, who collapsed and died in the back of a police car, is expected to conclude after a day or two of additional testimony. But whether the inquest will answer the concerns of his family and community activists who believe Williams was the victim of police misconduct, remains as unclear as ever.  

The inquest was called after a Milwaukee County Medical Examiner changed the classification of Williams’ death from natural causes to homicide, sparking months of protests in Milwaukee against police misconduct that family and community members believe was the cause of Williams’ death. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Gun Fight: Can Minnesota Have a Fair Gun Debate at Gunpoint?

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What if they gave a debate about guns in society and there were no guns in the room?

Minnesota may never know what that would look like.

Last week’s series of hearings in the Minnesota State Capitol on legislation to reduce gun violence had an unintended and unforeseen outcome: Guns in society wasn’t the most pressing issue. Guns in the Capitol was. Continue Reading →

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Half Native, Half Asian: All Service to the People…An UpTake Profile: DANIEL YANG

Click on the Image of Daniel Yang to Hear More About His Story

Daniel Yang is part of a new cohort of young leaders in the Native American community in South Minneapolis, a half-Native, half-Asian grassroots activist with a passion for public service and a special compassion for refugees. The experience of being lost, exiled and afraid is one his family knows well: Yang’s father was a Hmong refugee who, along with his Ojibwe mother, instilled a commitment to social justice and community service in his son. Continue Reading →

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Hundreds Oppose Bill Weakening Wisconsin Mining Regulations

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The fight against a proposed weakening of Wisconsin mining regulations that would facilitate the construction of a giant open-pit mine in Ashland County continued this week with hundreds of Wisconsin residents, including many representing Native American tribes, traveling to Madison to testify against the bill at a legislative hearing.
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Dakota Spoken Here: Mni Sota’s Dakota Indian Heritage

Up for A Minnesota Book Award Saturday: Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota

Editor’s note: “Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota,” was the winner in the Minnesota category of the 2013 Minnesota Book Awards, which were announced Saturday. Congratulations to authors Gwen Westerman and Bruce White. — updated Sunday, April 14 at 8:07 a.m.

One hundred and fifty years after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, the story of the Dakota Indian people is still connected to a troubled history of broken treaties and brutal repression that followed the war. But there is another deeper and older history: That of the Dakota people and their connection to the land of “Mni Sota Makoce,” the place where the water reflects the clouds in the sky. Minnesota is a Dakota place. Continue Reading →

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150 Years After America’s Largest Mass Execution: Minnesota and its Dakota Indians Still Search for Healing

Riders from the Dakota 38 Plus 2 Reconciliation Ride arrive in downtown Mankato on December 26, 2012, for a ceremony at Reconciliation Park to commemorate the execution of thirty-eight Dakota warriors on the day after Christmas in 1862. The ride left Lower Brule, South Dakota on December 10, and made fourteen stops along the 340 mile ride to Mankato.

A two-week journey from South Dakota ends in Mankato, Minnesota to mark the 150th anniversary of the largest execution in the United States where 38 Dakota (Sioux) Indian men were hanged for their involvement in the Dakota-US War of 1862. Continue Reading →

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