Andrea Jenkins

Jenkins, Andrea

Native American Dance and Regalia

Aziz Osman – Painter

Shapiro & Smith – Dance

Laura Zabel

Hend Al-Mansour

Kurt Seaberg: Sami Drawings

MN Original is seeing green: A St. Patrick’s Day-inspired virutal episode of MNO

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Twin Cities arts fans! Irish heritage runs deep here in Saint Paul, and that tradition is reflected through the local arts community. We’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of artists who incorporate their Irish heritage into their art and creative endeavors. So with the Twin Cities’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade routed just a block from MNO headquarters at Twin Cities Public Television, we’re seeing green and celebrating with a Celtic-themed virtual episode of MNO. Enjoy!

Brian Miller and Randy Gosa, “Roll You Drivers Roll”

Folk musicians Brian Miller and Randy Gosa collaborate to bring us “Minnesota Lumberjack Songs: Irish Music from the Lumber Camps.”

O’Shea Irish Dancers

Young performers Taylor and Meghan of O’Shea Irish Dancers are headed to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to compete in the Irish Dancing Championships. They share their love of Irish dancing, the details of their intense training, and the inside story on those wigs!

Machinery Hill, “Dirt Road”

Machinery Hill performs “Dirt Road” in tpt‘s Studio A.

Farewell Milwaukee, “When It Sinks In”

Farewell Milwaukee perform the title track off their album “When It Sinks In.”

All Is Calm

How Tilly Laskey’s Study of American Indian Objects Brought Her To Italy

A little over a year ago, we profiled the Science Museum of Minnesota‘s Ethnology Collection, which includes a collection of 10,000+ Native American objects that its curator, Tilly Laskey, calls “one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest.” With over 1,500 of the objects coming from the Dakota and Anishinabe tribes, the collection provides an amazing account of Minnesota’s history. With Tilly Laskey’s profile re-airing on MN Original this past Sunday, we took the opportunity to get in touch and find out the latest and greatest in the world of ethnological studies of American Indians. And as it turns out, that world is far more global than one might expect.

As a 2011 recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship Award, Tilly Laskey took a year-long break as Curator from Ethnology at SMM to study the ethnographic collection of Italian explorer Giacomo Costantino Beltrami. In 1823, Beltrami set out to explore the “Northwest” (currently the state of Minnesota), and to search for the source of the Mississippi River. During his explorations, Laskey writes that Beltrami “amassed over 100 American Indian objects through diplomacy, exchanges, barter, and purchases,” a collection which “has the potential to expand our understanding of the cultural exchanges and personal interactions that occurred between Beltrami and Minnesota’s Indigenous people in 1823.” Laskey’s studies of Beltrami have taken her from Northern Minnesota to consult with descendent Ojibwe and Dakota people, to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., to the Beltrami Collections in Bergamo, Italy, where she lived in the Museo di Scienze Naturali‘s research apartment which is located in a 15th century bell tower.

Along the way, Laskey has collected a wealth of information about Minnesota’s Indigenous people through her studies of Beltrami. But she also learned about how Beltrami’s life could’ve well been saved during his Minnesotan exploration by his red umbrella (“[it] would be so exotic he would not be mistaken as a tribal member to the disputing Dakota and Ojibwe Nations”), and why Beltrami’s narrative, in which he mentions coming across “white bears” in Minnesota, may actually prove that the town of White Bear Lake would be more historically accurate to switch their town logo from a polar bear to a grizzly bear. Laskey has also found time to fit in a comprehensive study and comparative analysis of American Indian lead pipes, as well as some unconventional cave art in Grotte de Frasassi, Italy. Needless to say, traveling the world only opens more doors and raises more questions for an inquisitive ethnologist.

Laskey also informs us that the Science Museum is currently working on a prototype exhibition (opening in January, 2013) of their American Indian art and culture collections that will (“hopefully!”) become a nationally traveling exhibition about regional American Indian art and culture in the next few years.

Images and text courtesy of Tilly Laskey, Curator of Ethnology at the Science Museum of Minnesota and a 2011/12 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow.

Telling Stories with the Documentary Team

Part of our pre-production research included going to Dakota Tipi Nation Reserve just north of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

Stephanie Mosher is a Producer/Associate Producer on tpt‘s Legacy funded documentaries and has previously worked on First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe LanguageGracious Spaces: Clarence H. Johnston, Minnesota Architect, and Lost Twin Cities III. The documentary team is currently working on two historical documentaries and Stephanie shares a little bit about where they are in the process of production – and asks for some feedback from you!

Over in tpt documentary land, we’re in pre-production on our next history project, trying to wrap our brains around how we’re going to tell the complex stories of Minnesota in the Dakota and Civil wars in two hours. Our production team has been assembled and we’re out and about meeting with and listening to as many people as possible.

At this point, we have more questions than answers. Who will be our storytellers and subjects? What is the truth – told by whom, and how? How do we reconcile conflicting accounts? What are the lasting legacies of these wars? What we know for sure is that we want to tell a character-driven story that explores what the events of 150 years ago mean to Minnesotans today– one that is a vital present-day account more than a distant history lesson. We want to create a documentary that will appeal to young people and be useful to teachers in schools across the state and beyond. We are also hoping to implement new, non-traditional storytelling methods that enhance the look and feel of the film.

The documentary team includes:

Producer/Director/Editor — Emily Goldberg
Director of Photography/Online Editor — Robert Hutchings
Production Assistant — Leya Hale
Production Managers — Norbert Een, David Roth
Executive Producer — Shari Lamke
Senior Director Arts & Cultural Media — Dianne Steinbach

The field audio and post production audio, graphic designer, music composer(s) and web team members are yet to be determined. I’m the Producer/Associate Producer, Stephanie Mosher. Minus the titles, we’re a team that realizes the complexities, challenges, and vital importance of the topic before us.

To get our conversation started with the public, here are some questions for you: What do you want to know about the Dakota War? Do you have any written or oral accounts of the war in your family? Who do you think we should talk with in forming our direction? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Send them to me at smosher (at) or comment below.

This project is funded in part by the citizens of Minnesota through the MN Legacy Arts and Cultural Fund.