Makoce Ikikcupi, a reparative justice project aimed at restoring Dakota homelands, is working on getting a bill passed in the state legislature to create a waiver process for Indigenous people to build and inhabit traditional forms of housing, without being in violation of state building and fire codes.
As the laws are now, Indigenous people can be criminalized for practicing this part of their culture.
This is an especially important issue for white people committed to ending white supremacy. It shows a specific and highly impactful effect of ongoing colonization. Not only do Minnesota laws prohibit Indigenous people from building and inhabiting traditional housing, but building inspectors have already threatened Makoce Ikikcupi with fines if they continue their construction projects.
Waziyatawin, the executive director of Makoce Ikikcupi, has asked SURJ-TC for support.
Many white people are constituents of the representatives and senators who are key to moving the bill forward. Read about the bill and this letter from Waziyatawin to supporters for more details about what’s needed and why.
Here are a few important ways you can help:
1) Send this blog post to your networks and family, especially outside the Twin Cities.
2) Here is the list of committee members who will make the initial decision on the bill. They need to hear from us about why this bill is important. Do you know someone who lives in one of these districts? If so, ask them to call or email their representative and senator about the bill as soon as possible (details on what to say below).
- Rep. Ecklund (03A) (International Falls to Grand Marais, most of northern MN)
- Rep. McDonald (29A) (West of the Twin Cities: Waverly, Delano, Montrose, Howard Lake)
- Rep. Bliss (05A) (Bimi'ji, Leech Lake reservation, Hackensack)
- Rep. Frederick (19B) (Mankato)
- Rep. Poston (09A) (West central MN: Cass County, Wadena County, Todd County)
- Rep. Sundin (District 11A) (West of Duluth: Fond du Lac reservation, Kettle River, Moose Lake)
- Sen. Rarick (District 11) (West of Duluth, Fond Du Lac, Kettle River, Moose Lake, Sandstone, Hinckley, Pine City)
- Sen. Dornick (District 27) (Southeastern edge of MN: Albert Lea, Austin, Blooming Prairie)
- Sen. McEwan (District 07) (Duluth)
- Sen. Goggin (District 21) (Cannon Falls, Prairie Island reservation, Red Wing, Lake City, Wanamingo, Zumbrota)
- Rep. Xiang (District 53A) (Maplewood, Oakdale, Woodbury)
- Rep. Dettmer (District 39A) (Franconia, Forest Lake, Scandia, part of Stillwater)
- Rep. Berg (District 56B) (Savage and part of Burnsville)
- Rep. Edleson (District 49A) (Edina)
- Rep. Greenman (District 63B) (South Minneapolis to the airport)
- Rep. Nelson (District 40A) (Brooklyn Park)
- Rep. Raleigh (District 38A) (Blaine, Lino Lakes, Centerville, Lexington, Circle Pines)
- Rep. Moran (District 65A) (Summit-University, Frogtown, and Midway areas of St. Paul)
- Sen. Isaacson (District 42) (Blaine, Shoreview, Mounds View, Arden Hills, Vadnais Heights, part of Roseville, Little Canada)
3) Contact your state representative and senator, encourage them to support this bill, and ask them to let you know if they will. This is helpful even if you do not live in the district of a committee member. We want to make sure every representative and senator knows about the bill. And we want to get a sense of how much support there is and what the obstacles might be. More details about what to say/write and how to report back to us here.
Note: This bill already has bi-partisan support, which you can emphasize if you live in a more conservative district or know someone who does.
4) Attend the SURJ-TC action hour on Tuesday, March 2nd (7pm to 8:15pm) to learn more about the bill and why it's important. Waziyatawin will be join us to give a presentation and answer questions. Register here.
5) Sign up for phone banking, specifically making calls to SURJ folks who live in committee members' districts.