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<v Speaker>The following is a production of <v Speaker>KTCA. A Minnesota original. <v Speaker>Major funding for Diary: Native American Minnesotans is provided by the McKnight <v Speaker>Foundation, responding to the needs of individuals and communities, the Pillsbury <v Speaker>Foundation focusing on programs serving children and youth at risk, and the Northwest <v Speaker>Area Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the James R. <v Speaker>Thorpe Foundation. The Grotto Foundation. <v Speaker>And by the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation. <v Speaker>[music]
<v Host>Long before European immigrants settled in America and eventually made their way <v Host>to the Midwest, there were scores of Native people living on the area of land <v Host>that we now call Minnesota.
<v Host>Today, there are 50,000 Native Americans in Minnesota with 85 <v Host>percent representing the Ojibway tribe, 10 percent the Lakota, <v Host>and the remaining 5 percent belonging to over 200 other tribes. <v Host>An increasing number of these people have concluded that American society has done <v Host>little to meet their moral and cultural needs, and they've chosen to go <v Host>back to the traditions and values of their ancestors, like Joe Geshick, <v Host>an artist whose studio is in the heart of downtown St. Paul. <v Host>Joe's road to success as a painter was riddled with obstacles that he found difficult <v Host>to overcome. Seventeen of his adolescent and adult years were spent in <v Host>jails and prisons throughout the state. <v Host>And it wasn't until much later in life that he finally realized the true source <v Host>of his troubles. <v Joe Geshick>When I think back when I was living up on- on the, uh, <v Joe Geshick>Indian reservation, I remember
<v Joe Geshick>us kids going out into the woods playing cowboys and Indians, <v Joe Geshick>and nobody really wanted to be the Indian. <v Joe Geshick>Everybody wanted to be the cowboy, <v Joe Geshick>uh, the soldier, calvary, and <v Joe Geshick>one of the games we used to play quite a bit was the Lone Ranger. <v Joe Geshick>And I remember we used to almost fight <v Joe Geshick>over who would be the Lone Ranger. <v Joe Geshick>It was that kind of a thing I found myself trying to be somebody <v Joe Geshick>else. <v Host>And that's somebody else in Joe's mind was more a reflection of white America <v Host>than his Ojibway roots as an American Indian. <v Host>But it was much later in life after years of self-abuse and abusive treatment <v Host>toward others, that he came to that realization. <v Host>During his final prison term, with the help of an Indian man <v Host>named Martin High Bear, Joe's life began to change.
<v Joe Geshick>Martin was a Sioux medicine man from South Dakota- <v Joe Geshick>Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and, uh, he's been working with <v Joe Geshick>people in the prison system for quite a while. <v Joe Geshick>I told him that I was very concerned about what was going on in my <v Joe Geshick>life. I was getting fed up with the idea that I was hurting people, was hurting <v Joe Geshick>my family. <v Joe Geshick>People who are close to me. <v Joe Geshick>So I was very concerned about that. And I sat down and talked to him, and what <v Joe Geshick>he said at that time was I needed to go back home. <v Joe Geshick>I told myself I can't go back home, you see, I took it for granted that he meant going <v Joe Geshick>back to the reservation. <v Joe Geshick>And I didn't want to go back to the reservation because over there there was a lot of <v Joe Geshick>drinking, a lot of violence, and I didn't want that. <v Joe Geshick>So what he meant was that I needed to go back <v Joe Geshick>to the old ceremonies.
<v Joe Geshick>And start over. <v Joe Geshick>And now that I look back at that conversation we had, what <v Joe Geshick>he was saying was that I needed to get back to the roots of my life, <v Joe Geshick>the roots of the ceremonies. In other words, I needed to go back and reconnect <v Joe Geshick>myself spiritually. <v Joe Geshick>Using ceremonies, people like himself <v Joe Geshick>for guidance or direction. <v Host>Martin was able to provide Joe with the guidance that he desperately needed by pointing <v Host>him back in time to the ancient ceremonial customs of his people. <v Host>And it was through this discovery that Joe's life took on new meaning and his artistic <v Host>talents began to flourish. <v Host>[music]
<v Joe Geshick>It is my responsibility as a human being to <v Joe Geshick>be a part in bettering our environment on a spiritual level <v Joe Geshick>and on a physical level, and also to protect young people, to <v Joe Geshick>help young people as much as possible. <v Joe Geshick>So the message that comes through a lot of my paintings <v Joe Geshick>are spiritual. It's very important for us to respect the old procedures <v Joe Geshick>of the ceremonies we have. <v Joe Geshick>Because to me, that's all we have left. <v Joe Geshick>[music] <v Host> Jim Northrop is an Anishinaabe writer and poet living on the Fond <v Host>du Lac reservation in Cloquet. <v Host>And like Geshick, he's returned to the cultural values and traditions
<v Host>of his elders. <v Jim Northrup>It seems that the Indian people had their customs and <v Jim Northrup>traditions before the white man came. <v Jim Northrup>Then the went through a long period where they tried to adapt to the white way of life. <v Jim Northrup>The materialistic way of doing things. <v Jim Northrup>The 'use it and throw it away' mentality. <v Jim Northrup>But through it all, there have been elders around to teach us that <v Jim Northrup>that is not the right way to live. <v Jim Northrup>The right way to live is the way the old people live, the ones that lived here for <v Jim Northrup>thousands of years. We're able to live on this continent without turning <v Jim Northrup>it into a big garbage dump. <v Jim Northrup>And so a lot of people my age and younger are returning to the old <v Jim Northrup>ways, the old beliefs, and I- I think that's a good thing. <v Jim Northrup>I realize that we can't be just dark skinned Americans. <v Jim Northrup>We have to be who we are. <v Interviewer>You mentioned earlier that for a while Native American people
<v Interviewer>attempted to live in the white world and embraced the white <v Interviewer>way of life. <v Interviewer>Why do you think that, first of all, they did that <v Interviewer>and why do you think that it failed? <v Jim Northrup>I think they did it for the same reason you turn your back to the wind when the rain and <v Jim Northrup>the snow are coming down really hard. <v Jim Northrup>You just bow before the wind. <v Jim Northrup>Then you realize that it's easier to get away from the wind <v Jim Northrup>by going into a shelter of some kind rather than standing there like a dumb cow and <v Jim Northrup>bowing before the wind, [music] so we realized <v Jim Northrup>that the American values in the American tradition sound good on paper and may sound good <v Jim Northrup>when the politicians are talking about them. <v Jim Northrup>But when you see the way they're practiced in real life there's a world of difference. <v Jim Northrup>So I think a lot of Native people have said no to the hypocrisy <v Jim Northrup>that's so common in America today.
<v Jim Northrup>We've tried the American dream, and it turned out to be a nightmare. <v Jim Northrup>America. The American dream isn't working for us, but <v Jim Northrup>yet we're exposed to it every day on the television and the newspaper and the magazines <v Jim Northrup>we read. We don't see the real life. <v Jim Northrup>We don't see the way it really is. <v Jim Northrup>Just once, I'd like to see a television program that photographed <v Jim Northrup>the people sitting in a restaurant when I walk in with my wife. <v Jim Northrup>That almost physical feeling you get from seeing a group of <v Jim Northrup>white people staring at you. <v Jim Northrup>Sometimes I put my finger on top of my head and give them a 360, <v Jim Northrup>give an overall view of who I am. <v Jim Northrup>You can almost hear him saying, 'Oh my God, Marge, there's two of them.' <v Jim Northrup>I see this, uh, more around the reservation than I do the farther <v Jim Northrup>away I get from it. <v Jim Northrup>We are strong because we have our identity.
<v Jim Northrup>I feel sorry for the people that don't have identities and that would include most <v Jim Northrup>of white America. <v Jim Northrup>That's why we see so many of them coming to our ceremonies, coming to our gatherings <v Jim Northrup>to try to be a culture vulture and take a little bit of what <v Jim Northrup>we have. <v Jim Northrup>And I think it's sad that they can't be happy with pushing a <v Jim Northrup>lawn mower or looking at their watch or whatever the icons of <v Jim Northrup>their culture are, but yet <v Jim Northrup>we don't turn them away. We hope that maybe they will learn a little something <v Jim Northrup>from us, a little something that'll help them survive on this continent also. <v Interviewer>What about your notion, the native notion of sharing <v Interviewer>as in sharing land? <v Interviewer>Would it be your objective, for example, to see all <v Interviewer>non-Native Americans get out of this country
<v Interviewer>and give it back to Native Americans? <v Jim Northrup>Ideally, if they returned it to the condition it was in, that wouldn't <v Jim Northrup>be a bad idea. But realistically, I think it wouldn't happen. <v Jim Northrup>I think I would like them to instead adopt the idea that the <v Jim Northrup>land is ours to use, not to own. <v Jim Northrup>And these artificial barriers of state lines, county lines, <v Jim Northrup>private property lines, no trespassing signs. <v Jim Northrup>If they could get rid of all of that, I think we'd all be happier. <v Interviewer>So then you'd be willing to share? <v Jim Northrup>Yes. Yes. That's the way I was raised to share. <v Jim Northrup>If I shoot a deer and I know that my neighbor doesn't have much to <v Jim Northrup>eat, it's a cultural duty for me to give that neighbor <v Jim Northrup>part of my dear meat or my rice or whatever I have extra of. <v Jim Northrup>And that's the way I was raised. And that's the way I'm hoping to raise my children,
<v Jim Northrup>not only by telling them, but by showing them by example. <v Interviewer>To what extent do you discuss cultural traditions with your son? <v Jim Northrup>It happens on a daily basis, if not an hourly basis. <v Jim Northrup>Sometimes I show him the lake and let him know that that's a gift to us <v Jim Northrup>from the creator. <v Jim Northrup>If we use it wisely, if we don't pollute it or degrade it, <v Jim Northrup>it'll be ours for his children to use. <v Jim Northrup>So sharing our cultures, our beliefs with our children <v Jim Northrup>is a daily, if not hourly happening. <v Interviewer>What about storytelling? <v Jim Northrup>Storytelling is important because it teaches the values and traditions of the people, <v Jim Northrup>sharing respect for others, respect for <v Jim Northrup>what the creator gave us. <v Jim Northrup>Those are the things that I want him to learn, what all my children to learn.
<v Jim Northrup>And anyone else who needs learning. <v Host>Jim learned the customs, which he now passes on to his son from elders <v Host>who took great care in teaching him the cultural values of the Anishinaabe <v Host>people. <v Jim Northrup>My elder doesn't come up and say, don't do this, don't do that. <v Jim Northrup>He tells me you're not supposed to do that. <v Jim Northrup>So that leaves me the choice on whether I want to live according to the old ways or not. <v Jim Northrup>It isn't an autocratic kind of teaching. <v Jim Northrup>You're given the choice on whether you want to <v Jim Northrup>live the way you're supposed to live or not. <v Jim Northrup>To me that spells freedom. <v Jim Northrup>I think we are freer than any other group of people. <v Interviewer>How have these teachings from others shaped you, Jim Northrup, <v Interviewer>the individual? Your way of thinking. <v Interviewer>The morality by which you govern your life, <v Interviewer>the principles that you pass on to your children. <v Jim Northrup>It's hard to define because it's the same as breathing.
<v Jim Northrup>I don't think about my breathing. I just do it. <v Jim Northrup>So it's it's so deeply ingrained in me that it's it's hard to define. <v Jim Northrup>And I can only hope to teach my children and my grandchildren by <v Jim Northrup>example. <v Interviewer>Tell me how you personally feel about tolerance, <v Interviewer>tolerance of others, tolerance of those who are different. <v Interviewer>Tolerance of different beliefs, different religions. <v Interviewer>Let's touch on that. <v Jim Northrup>I was raised to be tolerant of others, to respect other <v Jim Northrup>people, even if what they were doing was completely opposed to what I <v Jim Northrup>was doing or the way I was brought up to believe. <v Jim Northrup>And that's the only way that I can get people to respect me <v Jim Northrup>is to respect them. <v Jim Northrup>I can't convert anyone to my way of thinking. <v Jim Northrup>I don't think it's my place to do that. <v Jim Northrup>But if I can treat others with respect, then I will get respect
<v Jim Northrup>in return. The Creator made us all. <v Jim Northrup>The Creator made everything around us. <v Jim Northrup>So I worship the creator by the <v Jim Northrup>ceremonies and rituals that I use, <v Jim Northrup>the things that give me meaning in my life. <v Jim Northrup>Other people believe differently than I do. <v Jim Northrup>Even other tribes believe differently than I do. <v Jim Northrup>And that's fine. Whatever. <v Jim Northrup>Whatever people believe. <v Jim Northrup>If it gives them strength, if it's not used in a destructive way, <v Jim Northrup>that's fine with me. <v Jim Northrup>I've been taught to respect other people, other people's beliefs, their <v Jim Northrup>religions, their- their values. <v Jim Northrup>It doesn't mean I have to accept them. <v Jim Northrup>It doesn't mean I have to believe that way, just that I have to respect <v Jim Northrup>them.
<v Host>For a long period in Jim's life this nearly unconditional respect for others, <v Host>even applied to the United States government. <v Host>But in 1965, his feelings for the government began to change for that <v Host>was the year that he went to Vietnam. <v Host>[explosion] <v Jim Northrup>Up until the Vietnam War, even though the US government did terrible things <v Jim Northrup>to Indians, I still believed in the <v Jim Northrup>democratic ideals. <v Jim Northrup>And I believed in the U.S. government. <v Jim Northrup>But after seeing it in action in Vietnam, I lost my virginity. <v Jim Northrup>I no longer believed in the U.S. government. <v Jim Northrup>Mom's apple pie, the American flag. <v Jim Northrup>All of those became meaningless symbols. <v Jim Northrup>I went to Vietnam in September of 1965.
<v Jim Northrup>At the time, I had spent four years in the Marine Corps as an infantryman training <v Jim Northrup>for war. It seemed like the natural thing to do. <v Jim Northrup>Coming from a long line of warriors, going back to when <v Jim Northrup>our people were fighting the Sioux and the other Indian tribes, I <v Jim Northrup>knew I was just another one of the long line of warriors in the family. <v Jim Northrup>For me, it was more of a personal mission. <v Jim Northrup>After being told all my life by the surrounding white people that I was no good because <v Jim Northrup>I was an Indian. <v Jim Northrup>I found it gratifying to know <v Jim Northrup>that I was doing something that took a lot of courage. <v Jim Northrup>I found out that I wasn't a coward. <v Jim Northrup>When people shoot at me, I shoot back. <v Jim Northrup>So it gave me a chance to prove myself to myself, not <v Jim Northrup>to the other people around me, but to myself. <v Jim Northrup>After 20 some years of a negative message about
<v Jim Northrup>my role in society as an Indian, going to Vietnam gave me a chance to <v Jim Northrup>prove that I was just as good as anyone else. <v Interviewer>Once you were there, how did you feel? <v Jim Northrup>First of all, I was struck by the similarity <v Jim Northrup>between the Vietnamese people and our people. <v Jim Northrup>Almost the same color, skin, hair. <v Jim Northrup>The long hair, especially on the women, uh, brought back a lot of memories from my <v Jim Northrup>youth. Looking at my parents, my grandparents, and all my relatives <v Jim Northrup>had long hair, long black hair. <v Jim Northrup>I was struck by that similarity and actually the spirit <v Jim Northrup>of the Vietnamese people compared to the Western standards. <v Jim Northrup>They lived a low standard of living, but yet they seemed to survive. <v Host>So you developed a kinship with the Vietnamese people? <v Jim Northrup>Yes, I did. <v Jim Northrup>Not with all of them, but with some of them I could talk to.
<v Jim Northrup>I always found it interesting that at different points in Vietnam, <v Jim Northrup>the Vietnamese people would come up and speak their language to me and expect me to <v Jim Northrup>answer in Vietnamese as if they took me for one of their own. <v Interviewer>So after having developed that kinship. <v Interviewer>How did you feel about fighting in the war and fighting the Vietnamese? <v Jim Northrup>I don't think I thought about it as much as I thought about the guy <v Jim Northrup>in the next foxhole who was wearing a green uniform like I was wearing. <v Jim Northrup>I think that was more important to me than any political kinds of thoughts or any <v Jim Northrup>kinship feeling with the Vietnamese. <v Jim Northrup>The guy in the next hole, whether he was a black man, a Chicano, a white man, <v Jim Northrup>made no difference. He was wearing the same green that I was wearing, and he was exposed <v Jim Northrup>to the same conditions that I was. <v Jim Northrup>So I felt closer to him than anyone else. <v Jim Northrup>The war had a way of, uh, leveling everyone off.
<v Jim Northrup>An artillery shell is pretty indiscriminate when it comes in. <v Jim Northrup>It doesn't matter when it goes off whether it's tearing apart <v Jim Northrup>white Americans, black Americans, Mexican-Americans or, as <v Jim Northrup>I call us, American Americans. <v Interviewer>Did you form any good friendships while you were there? <v Jim Northrup>Some real brief, intense friendships yes. <v Jim Northrup>Because it was such a chaotic experience. <v Jim Northrup>You didn't know from one day to the next or even one hour to the next <v Jim Northrup>if the person that you're calling your friend would be there or not. <v Jim Northrup>So they were brief friendships, real intense though. <v Jim Northrup>People that you could, uh, trust your life with. <v Host>Jim's tour of duty in Vietnam left such an indelible mark on his life <v Host>that he wrote a book of poetry about the pain and anguish of his experience with war.
<v Speaker>[poem] Were you in the war? <v Speaker>Yes. <v Speaker>What was it like? <v Speaker>Like nothing you can imagine. <v Speaker>Did you kill anyone? <v Speaker>Yes. <v Speaker>How did you feel? <v Speaker>I felt like a murderer, a savior, a cog in the machine. <v Speaker>Did any of your friends get killed? <v Speaker>Yes. <v Speaker>How did that feel? <v Speaker>Get the hell out of my face. <v Interviewer>In hindsight, how do you feel about that war and how do you feel about fighting for the <v Interviewer>United States? <v Jim Northrup>I learned a lot about myself. <v Jim Northrup>I learned that I'm not a coward. <v Jim Northrup>I'm not- I'm not going to cut and run when my life is in danger. <v Jim Northrup>And I learned that I can put up with just about anything.
<v Jim Northrup>In hindsight, I realized that I was meat <v Jim Northrup>for the grinder. <v Jim Northrup>I was a member of a recognizable ethnic group <v Jim Northrup>that is noted for their willingness to fight. <v Jim Northrup>I realized that I was just new meat for them. <v Jim Northrup>And the United States is continuing to go on and consume <v Jim Northrup>people who are usually poor or from minority groups to fight their wars. <v Jim Northrup>I try to keep as far away from the United States and its institutions as possible. <v Jim Northrup>The American people individually, I can get along with any one of them. <v Jim Northrup>We have the same basic human needs and desires. <v Jim Northrup>But when you get a- an American in the position of power <v Jim Northrup>or in a group, there's just no dealing with them. <v Jim Northrup>They begin to think like like a mob or a herd rather than
<v Jim Northrup>as an individual. And it's just difficult for me as an individual to deal <v Jim Northrup>with them. <v Interviewer>What does that mean in terms of your future? <v Interviewer>The future of your children? <v Interviewer>The future of this land? <v Interviewer>The future of the Native American people. <v Jim Northrup>I think it's my cultural duty to teach my children how to <v Jim Northrup>live in the white world, how to get along in the white world and yet retain their <v Jim Northrup>identity as Anishinaabe. <v Jim Northrup>It would be nice if there were only Anishinaabe in America, but realistically <v Jim Northrup>we know that's not going to happen. So I have to teach him how to get along. <v Jim Northrup>I have to teach him of the white value system, the power structure <v Jim Northrup>and how things work in the real world. <v Interviewer>What does life mean to you, Jim? <v Jim Northrup>[laughter] A chance to do something good. As men we're
<v Jim Northrup>here just a short period of time. You Look at this, uh- <v Jim Northrup>this rock here. It's been here for millions of years. <v Jim Northrup>And what is the life span of a human compared to the life of that rock? <v Jim Northrup>Being alive, living your life the good way <v Jim Northrup>gives you a chance to do good things in your life. <v Jim Northrup>[car sounds] <v Host>In the city of Minneapolis, Brenda St. Germain has also set out to do good things <v Host>with her life as the executive director of the American Indian Development Corporation. <v Host>She and a dedicated group of board members and volunteers have provided the <v Host>impetus for change from the eastern end of Franklin Avenue.
<v Brenda St. Germain>Initially when we came together as just a group of a few people in 1974, we <v Brenda St. Germain>were concerned about the deterioration on Franklin Avenue, lack of jobs, <v Brenda St. Germain>or just the lack of attention from anyone. <v Brenda St. Germain>We came together with the main focus of job creation for that neighborhood and to bring <v Brenda St. Germain>new businesses into that area. <v Brenda St. Germain>Initially we thought we were going to do a factory in 1974. <v Brenda St. Germain>It turned out that we did not. <v Interviewer>What was it about Franklin that inspired you to change <v Interviewer>the look of that avenue? <v Brenda St. Germain>Previously, I worked there a couple of years in a chemical dependency program. <v Brenda St. Germain>A friend of mine worked in the state economic development office under Mark Dayton, and <v Brenda St. Germain>she was charged with Indian business development. <v Brenda St. Germain>We became friendly, and we would hang out on Franklin. <v Brenda St. Germain>I worked right there, and I think we just got tired of it. <v Brenda St. Germain>It was boarded up buildings. It was unemployment. <v Brenda St. Germain>There were no jobs, no businesses. We had bars, X-rated theater. <v Brenda St. Germain>Um, there was nothing there for people. <v Brenda St. Germain>I remember driving down with her one day and just saying, 'God, I'm sick of looking at this.'
<v Brenda St. Germain>There was just never anything new, never any change. <v Brenda St. Germain>And the city wasn't doing anything. <v Brenda St. Germain>We referred to Franklin Avenue back then as the dumping ground for the city. <v Brenda St. Germain>If you had a second hand shop or had a social service handout something or the <v Brenda St. Germain>x-rated theater, if you had something you wanted to get rid of, you put it on Franklin <v Brenda St. Germain>Avenue. We felt that that was the altitude of the city back then and so did the <v Brenda St. Germain>community. <v Host>So in 1974, Brenda and a small group of other volunteers rallied <v Host>together to change the look Franklin Avenue, which was no easy task, <v Host>especially considering that they had no money to work with. <v Host>But in 1977, things began to change. <v Host>They received their first grant from the Minneapolis Foundation for $10,000 <v Interviewer>So you were still basically a volunteer organization with a little seed money. <v Brenda St. Germain>It was. I was unpaid staff for probably 9 <v Brenda St. Germain>months, a year at that period, uh, doing proposals, trying to get something going, <v Brenda St. Germain>because I believed in what we wanted to do and we were making progress. <v Brenda St. Germain>We had contacts with the federal government. We started doing our research.
<v Brenda St. Germain>We started doing things that needed to be done in order to fulfill the grant requirements <v Brenda St. Germain>so we could apply for a large grant for construction. <v Brenda St. Germain>But it was a slow, very slow process. <v Host>But it was a process that paid off. <v Host>In 1979, the American Indian Development Corporation received a million <v Host>dollar grant and a million dollar loan from the federal government. <v Host>It was well on its way to building the Franklin Circle Shopping Center, a 2 block complex <v Host>offering essential goods and services and 90 new jobs to people in the <v Host>area. Brenda and her board members were not content to stop there. <v Host>In 1989, they teamed with the city of Minneapolis to open yet another new complex, <v Host>The Franklin Business Center. <v Brenda St. Germain>The business center is is called a small business incubator, <v Brenda St. Germain>and it's a building designed to grow businesses. <v Brenda St. Germain>It's not just a building where people have an office and pay rent. <v Brenda St. Germain>It's an incubator to grow businesses so they in turn can create jobs in the community. <v Brenda St. Germain>And our job as staff is to nurture these these tenants that we have.
<v Brenda St. Germain>We have 20 companies operating now. <v Brenda St. Germain>Everything we do is for the tenant. <v Brenda St. Germain>One of my tenants that we're coming up to is an Indian owned company called GNB2. <v Brenda St. Germain>They started with two people in a 1,200 square foot space <v Brenda St. Germain>and they have now expanded up to about 15 employees. <v Brenda St. Germain>They've taken over 5 different spots in the building. <v Brenda St. Germain>And this is exactly the kind of company that we're trying to promote in this <v Brenda St. Germain>neighborhood. We need companies that create jobs for unskilled people. <v Brenda St. Germain>This company does a lot of assembly. They do a lot of inspections, parts inspections, <v Brenda St. Germain>shrink wrapping. And they're hiring exclusively from this neighborhood. <v Brenda St. Germain>And they're just a great example of we would like to do here. <v Interviewer>What did you personally get out of this? <v Interviewer>What motivated you? <v Brenda St. Germain>Well, I've been asked this a lot, and I think about it, and <v Brenda St. Germain>I think initially I thought that I would be involved here in it for a couple of years, <v Brenda St. Germain>try to do some good in the world. You know, I went through the 60s.
<v Brenda St. Germain>We all wanted to change the world and do all kinds of things. <v Brenda St. Germain>And we thought we could, and some of us can. <v Brenda St. Germain>I want a better life for people. I have that kind of personality right. <v Brenda St. Germain>I'm a helper. I want things better for the world if I can make a little mark. <v Brenda St. Germain>Terrific. And now it's been 16 years that I've been out doing this. <v Brenda St. Germain>I'm the type of person who also finishes, you know, I couldn't ever just leave in the <v Brenda St. Germain>middle. There were times when we were so frustrated. <v Brenda St. Germain>We lost grants, we lost tenants, we lost city support. <v Brenda St. Germain>We lost everything. This thing drug on for years. <v Brenda St. Germain>But you can't just quit. You're almost there. <v Brenda St. Germain>It's that kind of feeling. So I'm like, what I do, I like people. <v Brenda St. Germain>I like making things better. <v Brenda St. Germain>I like helping people. <v Brenda St. Germain>I don't know that that kind of motivation to try to make things better for my little part <v Brenda St. Germain>of the world. <v Interviewer>What are your dreams for the future for Franklin Avenue and for that <v Interviewer>entire community? <v Brenda St. Germain>I'd like to see Franklin Avenue become a part of town that's a real- I don't know if I <v Brenda St. Germain>want to say a tourist attraction, but different kind of
<v Brenda St. Germain>a neighborhood that has the image of let's go down there and let's, you know, go to some <v Brenda St. Germain>of those restaurants and let's go to the Indian pottery shop and the Indian museum and <v Brenda St. Germain>the art gallery and the Indian center. And just a place that invites people from <v Brenda St. Germain>outside of the neighbor to come in and visit what's going on there. <v Brenda St. Germain>Just one of those cultural centers. I think that would be just neat. <v Brenda St. Germain>And I can see Franklin Avenue doing that for the diversity of people we have. <v Brenda St. Germain>I could just see it becoming a real, real melting pot of activity. <v Brenda St. Germain>I'd like to see that happen. <v Host>After 16 years of struggling to be taken seriously, Brenda has a proven <v Host>track record of making her dreams come true. <v Host>She and her board of directors have already drawn up plans for another <v Host>8,000 square foot office building to be located across the street from the Franklin <v Host>Business Center. With this sort of tenacity, it's only a matter of time <v Host>before Franklin Avenue is transformed into the cultural renaissance that Brenda <v Host>St. Germain has envisioned. [music] In
<v Host>Minnesota, as well as the rest of the nation, today's Native Americans are warriors <v Host>of a different sort. Many view themselves as fighting a more subtle battle <v Host>of words and politics, all in an effort to be acknowledged as respectable <v Host>human beings. And although they believe that their struggle is not yet won, <v Host>they hope to avoid passing it on to their children. <v Jim Northrup>So I don't want you to go to war. <v Jim Northrup>You don't have to. I did it already. [music]
Native American Minnesotans
Producing Organization
KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
Twin Cities Public Television (St. Paul, Minnesota)
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Episode Description
This program features interviews with Native American Minnesotans. Ojibwe artist Joe Geshick shares his experiences in prison and his ultimate return to his culture's traditions and ceremonies. Jim Northrup, an Anishinaabe poet and writer, shares his experiences fighting in the Vietnam War and the traditions he tries to pass on to his children. Lastly, Brenda St. Germaine shares her involvement as the executive director of the American Indian Development Corporation and her efforts to create business and opportunities for Native Minnesotans.
Series Description
"DIARY is a series of shows profiling different communities of color in Minnesota, focusing on the extraordinary aspects of the lives of ordinary people. Each show presents a personal perspective about growing up and living in Minnesota from people representing a broad diversity of backgrounds and opinions. "Unlike documentaries which take a more purist approach, DIARY is very much people-oriented, and lets the viewer get to know the people in each story ? the challenges they face, the unique aspects and feelings each has about growing up and living in a place where they are often perceived as 'different.' Because they are presented as unique individuals and not as a generalized conglomerate, the viewer is given a more meaningful representation of the issues, concerns and stories each person has to share. "With the escalating intergroup conflicts and racial tensions witnessed not only in Minnesota but throughout the U.S., the DIARY series hopes to foster a deeper, more respectful understanding between the races by presenting some very personal stories in a very accessible way. "Each DIARY was followed by a live town meeting where a studio audience made up of citizens from different regions of Minnesota joined community leaders and other connected with the issues in a discussion on the experiences of being a minority living in Minnesota. In addition, viewer call-in response to each of the shows was extremely high, indicative of the kind of interest these programs aroused within the community."-- 1992 Peabody Awards entry form
Dakota, Winebago, Anishinabe, Lakota, Oneida, Mdewakanton, Native American, Indian
See what it is like to be caught between the struggle to preserve cultural and spiritual roots and the demands of mainstream society to conform and change.
Broadcast Date
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Producing Organization: KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-3c90c115efd (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Twin Cities Public Television (KTCA-TV)
Identifier: cpb-aacip-18bef5ec26c (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape
Generation: Dub
Duration: 00:30:00
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Chicago: “Diary; Native American Minnesotans,” 1992-12-27, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, Twin Cities Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Diary; Native American Minnesotans.” 1992-12-27. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, Twin Cities Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Diary; Native American Minnesotans. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, Twin Cities Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from