Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Featured

Sigma Chi and University of North Dakota Indian Association Peacemaking, By Twyla Baker-Demaray

Sigma Chi and University of North Dakota Indian Association Peacemaking, By Twyla Baker-Demaray

It’s hard to know where to start this story. I guess I’ll just start at the beginning. My husband and our family have for years been a part of the Grand Forks, ND community of Natives, and we have, along with our relatives there, built a tight knit circle of support. Anyone who has left the rez and gone to live in an urban setting is probably familiar with the loneliness, isolation, and sense of separation you experience once you leave home. We built up in our social circle, a family; a group of people who we relied upon and who relied upon us for support and candor, honesty and realness, whenever we called upon them no matter the time of day or night. We decided early on in our time there that we didn’t want people to have to feel what we felt when we first arrived in Grand Forks, and so we welcomed more and more into our circle. We laughed, prayed, cried, and celebrated together, and...

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Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Featured, News

Remember the Elders, By Twyla Baker-Demaray

Remember the Elders, By Twyla Baker-Demaray

My family and I have had a rather difficult spring this year.  I am just now catching up on rest and getting back into the routine of life, with work and my kids’ activities; the day-to-day buzz of activity is comforting, considering the hardships of the past few weeks. Coming from a small community as I do, death and loss of loved ones can be devastating; multiple deaths more so.  In the past few weeks, my community has had tragic accidents and a number of elders pass on, all in the span of days.  In my own family, my father has lost a brother and a sister within days of each other.  From a clan with 13 siblings, he is now the last living member of his immediate family.  Prior to these losses, a tragic accident claimed the lives of young community members.  I had initially returned to my home community to support friends and loved ones mourning their loss; I ended up staying to mourn losses of my...

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Featured, News

Pulling Out the Big Puns: “Ottawapiskat” , Hypocrisy, and Native Humor by Twyla Baker-Demaray

Pulling Out the Big Puns: “Ottawapiskat” , Hypocrisy, and Native Humor by Twyla Baker-Demaray

Pulling Out the Big Puns: “Ottawapiskat”, Hypocrisy, and Native Humor The revolution rages on north of the imaginary border, mere hours away from me; in recent weeks the Idle No More movement has raced across Turtle Island like Chase Iron Eyes across the plains in a memorial run; it has gathered strength and support from the far corners of the planet. Indigenous people and their allies from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Japan, Europe, Australia, all across Indian Country in the U.S. and beyond are holding rallies and flash mobs, forming blockades and picket lines, flooding social media with images, statistics, and calls to action, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. I’ll save the explanations of the entire movement for the experts, many of whom have already written excellent pieces, which you can find here,  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/gyasi-/what-is-idle-no-more-_b_2486435.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false and  here, http://lastrealindians.com/idlenomore-sleeping-giants-awaken-by-colby-tootoosis/ to name a few. On a cold dark night on Twitter, I came across what may be the latest in the movement’s arsenal of truth – humor. The hashtag #Ottawapiskat was first mentioned by...

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Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Native Vote

By  :  Twyla B. Baker-Demaray I have two sisters working for the Native Vote campaign in North Dakota right now.  Ms. Prairie Rose Seminole is the director of Native Vote North Dakota, and Rebecca Smith is a Native Vote Field Organizer.  They are two of the hardest working ladies I know.  Watching these women work for a cause they believe in is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  They travel extensively, work seven days a week, attend functions seemingly everywhere and all at once, and are infallibly upbeat and excited about everything they do.  Rebecca does so while going to school and raising her babies.  Prairie Rose represents and speaks at countless events, and I rarely know what part of the state she is calling from when I hear from her.  As a good sibling does, I get swept up in the doings as well, which I am glad and honored to be a part of, and would likely do anyway given my penchant for all things civic.  Through their work, I am...

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Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Could You Back Up? Your Identity Issues Are Getting All Over Me

By:  Twlya B. Baker-Demaray   I have a pretty good command of the English language.  I use ‘five dollar words’, as one of my brothers calls them, all the time.  I don’t do it to be obnoxious; I just like to be able to express myself clearly and succinctly (5 bucks right there).  I assume that this is what a particular person was referring to earlier this year, when I was told point blank that I ‘sound white’ when I speak.  It was an offhand comment, and I really don’t know what she meant by it when she was telling me this.  Should I pepper my speech with ‘ayyyye’ and ‘enit’?  Was I not credible in speaking on Native matters?  I really don’t know.  I’ve pondered it from time to time since then (‘pondering’ being only a $2.50 word, after all).  I really like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I try not to consider that what she really meant, is that when I speak, I...

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