My name is Yessica Berumen Martinez, I am a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. In the fall of 2021, I was hired by the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Library as a Graduate Assistant Guide Creator. This position was funded through the Minnesota Transform initiative, which has funded many projects and collaborations to help understand historical injustice in Minnesota.
My main goal for this guide was to inform communities of past injustices and future directions. For this reason, I wanted to create a guide where I could guide new researchers in new ways of thinking to collaborate with American Indians. I also wanted to create a guide where most of the book sources are indigenous authors.
Before Minnesota was Minnesota, American Indians called this land their home. Long before, white settlers came along and stole the land and exiled indigenous communities. For the longest time, the voice of indigenous communities has been silenced. Today historical sites and locations still struggle to interpret native narratives, creating a loop of generational trauma. American Indians culture, traditions, languages, and religious practices are constantly being threatened by mainstream society. It is important to understand that historical events are still currently affecting American Indians community's way of life. They have higher disease rates, lower life expectancy rates, higher dropout rates, and higher poverty rates than any other racial or ethnic group in the country. We acknowledge that despite the numerous reparation and reconciliation efforts will not fix or heal all the damage caused to these communities. We can learn to support and advocate for the indigenous community's rights.
In this guide, you will learn more about the history of this land from the Indigenous communities. This guide is designed for anyone interested in learning and supporting American Indians in Minnesota. With the support from Kat Nelsen, I was able to create this guide, that covers a wide range of current and historical topics. Such as tribal governments, land and natural resources, historical events, research, local native businesses, and current projects. By the time this guide is public, my assistantship will have ended, but this does not mean that this guide will stop here. Kat Nelson will continue to add and take care of this guide. I hope that you find this guide helpful and informative.
Yessica Berumen Martinez