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Native View: Come, feast for water, solstice, North Country

On Oct. 23, the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting and dinner at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, noting this year Enbridge’s contributions to growth in Northeastern Minnesota. The keynote speaker was Al Monaco, Enbridge’s CEO and president.

Minnesota is slated to be the next superhighway for oil in North America, and the Twin Ports are a critical piece for this development. Enbridge has big plans for three new pipeline projects across northern Minnesota: the Alberta Clipper expansion, the new Sandpiper corridor and the Line No. 3 rebuild. The well-attended event assured Enbridge a good audience for its hopes and dreams for the North Country. Approximately l,300 chamber members and others attended.

I was a bit concerned when I heard about this. After all, at the same time, I was busy helping to prepare a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department for seeking to permit Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper switch plan, which would allow oil to cross into our territories. That lawsuit, Honor the Earth v. Kerry, is part of the work of many organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, asking that the U.S. State Department uphold federal law.

So I missed the chance to go to the chamber dinner.

But I have a better plan. I would like to invite all members of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and guests who spent $60 a plate to listen to Monaco and Enbridge talk about bringing more oil to the Great Lakes and across Anishinaabe Akiing (the land to which our people belong) to a different dinner.  

They and others can come join at Clyde Iron Works on Sunday, Dec. 21 for Manidoo Giizisoons Feast, or Moon of the Little Spirit Feast. This event will be a traditional indigenous feast in honor of the solstice and the sacred waters in our region. Joining Honor the Earth in hosting this benefit dinner is leadership from WaterLegacy, a Duluth-based nonprofit that’s working to protect Minnesota’s waters and communities that rely on those waters from sulfide-mining pollution.

This dinner will feature Chef Sean Sherman (aka “the Sioux Chef,” whose new restaurant and learning center are opening this winter in the Twin Cities), Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and a meal of “pre-contact”-inspired Native American cuisine. Sherman spent the past 25 years harvesting wisdom from his ancestors by studying the indigenous knowledge of wild foods prior to colonization. With that knowledge, Sherman prepares modern dishes utilizing the wild and cultivated food of the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes to revive healthful ways to all people.

Honor the Earth, WaterLegacy, and the Sioux Chef welcome any and all people to this day-long celebration of our ancestral past and future.

Winona LaDuke lives on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. She has written six books on environmental and Native American issues and directs Honor the Earth, a national Native American environmental foundation. She also is a two-time vice-presidential candidate, sharing the Green Party ticket in 1996 and 2000 with Ralph Nader.

To learn more

For more information about the Moon of the Little Spirit Feast on Dec. 21 in Duluth at Clyde Iron Works, or to purchase tickets, go to