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Racial issues exhibit visits Rochester

By: Erin Jones and Andrew Schouweiler

A smaller version of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s RACE exhibit is on display at the Rochester Public Library until April 30, 2019.

Before the library, Rochester’s Apache Mall hosted the RACE exhibit.

The mini versions of the RACE exhibit, according to the Science Museum of Minnesota, are 500 square-feet and include easy-to-set-up displays for smaller venues like the library and the mall.

The content of each display is created to be easily understood, so people of all ages can participate in the walk-through exhibit.

Kim Edson, head of readers’ services at Rochester Public Library, explained the goal of the RACE exhibit.

“It takes it from both a scientific point of view – looking at race from a biological level, by the way, there’s no such thing – and it also explores the sociological concept of race and how it has had many impacts in our culture,” Edson said.

Rochester was home to the RACE exhibit for eight months in 2010. The exhibit was brought back this year through grants from the federal government.

Dee Sabol, executive director of Rochester’s Diversity Council, explained how the grants allowed the Science Museum to work with the Rochester Public Library to bring the RACE exhibit back to Rochester.

“They were able to create the smaller, traveling versions of the RACE exhibit and bring them out to the community through those grant funds,” Sabol said.

According to Winona State University’s Associate Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Jonathan Locust, funds toward the exhibit’s return were also donated by the Inclusion and Diversity office.

“There were donations from my office in particular for the amount of $500, as well as a donation from WSU-Rochester in the amount of $500,” Locust said.

Locust said donating to the exhibit was beneficial to Winona State and to people in communities surrounding the exhibit who may not know the history of race and racism.

He said much of the history people have learned over time is not inclusive of people who are of different races, genders, ethnicities and abilities.

“Our history has been completely whitewashed,” Locust said. “Having people go out and doing some digging on their own [then being able to say], ‘What information has been left out of the history that I’ve learned?’ And then maybe ask those deeper questions, ‘Why has it been left out?’”

Edson and Sabol both said getting people to ask those hard questions and generating conversation about race and racism is another part of the RACE exhibit’s purpose.

“We believe this exhibit gives people an opportunity to think a little bit deeper about the topic,” Edson said. “Our goal is to engage community conversations about this issue and hopefully impact change.”

Sabol said so far, the exhibit has been successful in generating community discussion.

She said when the RACE exhibit was in Rochester in 2010, people left angry and disagreed with the information presented in the displays.

“They would come back more than once and it would at least get them involved in a discussion and I think that’s really the point is to look at something a little bit differently,” Sabol said.

Traffic to the exhibit this year has been high as well, according to Locust.

With the exhibit in the mall during the holidays, the flow of visitors was heavy, which carried over into the following months.

“We know we got some heavy traffic right around MLK Day, we know we got some in February for Black History Month because there are some people who did some programs in there,” Locust said.

Edson and Sabol said with conversation about race being generated within the community, they are working on trying to find a permanent home in Rochester for the RACE exhibit.

Grant funds have given Edson and Sabol the opportunity to put on additional programming, so members of the community can take advantage of other resources to learn about race.

“We’ll have speakers and presenters now who will talk about different aspects of race and racism,” Sabol explained. “There are other learning opportunities, some workshops and things like that [and] we hope to have a couple film screenings as well.”

Experts talk about eagle significance

Colombia, one of the Eagle Center’s five birds, sits on her perch to look out the window.

Written by: Erin Jones and Andrew Schouweiler

For years, eagles have had symbolic importance for many people and cultures.

In both American and Native American cultures, the eagle is culturally and historically significant for different reasons.

For the United States, the eagle is its national emblem, a symbol for independence and freedom. For Native Americans, the eagle has profound religious and cultural meaning, and its feathers are a crucial part of many Native American ceremonies.

It’s not just Native Americans and the United States who recognize the importance of eagles. The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota is home to four eagles, who help volunteers educate visitors more about the symbolic bird.

Ed Hahn, the Eagle Center’s marketing manager, talked about the variety of visitors who come to the eagle center.

“Some people come here and a whole new world opens up to them. They’re going to learn a lot about [eagle] behavior, their life cycle, their habitat, things like that,” Hahn said. “Another group that has a very strong personal connection with eagles are both Native Americans and U.S Military veterans. Both of those groups come here, just about every day I would say, and you can just tell when they first meet the eagle ambassadors here at the eagle center that there is a connection they share with the ambassadors.”

James Reidy, associate professor of recreation tourism and therapeutic recreation at Winona State University and former zookeeper, explained why the Eagle Center is allowed to keep their birds.

“The National Eagle Center has educational permits and salvage permits to house the birds and the non-eagles are all those displays of taxonomy birds,” Reidy said. “So the federal government has several different permits depending on what you’re doing, so for the Eagle Center it’s those two.”


Was’aka, who was named after the Dakota word for strength, splashes around in his bath.

Travis Erickson is a quarter Dakota Native American and a fourth-generation pipe maker in his family. He explained the significance of eagles in Native American culture.

Erickson said Native Americans use eagle feathers because the eagle flies closer to Creator, which is the basis for the use of eagle feathers in tribes.

“That’s why they use the eagle feathers because he does fly that high, closer to Creator, but in our ceremonies it’s always good to have an eagle feather along with attached to your pipe when you smoke the pipe,” Erickson said. “The spirit of that eagle will take your prayers to Creator.”

Erickson said eagle feathers are associated with an individual’s status and feathers are typically earned or are a representation of a certain characteristic, like courage or wisdom, that a person has or wants to have.

“You always see the chief, he has the long headdress made with all kinds of eagle feathers,” Erickson said. “That’s his status in the tribe and I suppose even a medicine man or a spiritual man might have one, but it wouldn’t be as long as the chief’s would be.”

Native American people don’t just come across eagle feathers randomly. Just as there is a process for places like National Eagle Center to keep live eagles, there is a process for physically getting eagle feathers, as well as their carcasses, which are also important in Native American culture.

Reidy explained the process of distributing eagle carcasses and feathers to Native American tribes across the country.

“It’s a process and what happens is any bird that is injured or dies goes to the repository and there, the repository takes inventory,” Reidy said.

Eagle carcasses and feathers are then assessed for quality and shipped to Native Americans who have requested them through an online application. Sometimes it takes months or even years before a request is filled and a bird is sent out.

Reidy said the process for getting eagle parts has a long history. Governmental protection of bald eagles began in 1918, when the Migratory Bird Treaty Act passed.

“Historically, eagles were hunted for their feathers and things of that sort, not just the native populations, but others would want them and mount them,” Reidy said. “In Alaska, [eagles] were eating the salmon that were already dead, but the fishermen thought they were eating their fish, so they wanted to shoot them.”

Reidy said with the increase of animal habitat destruction and use of pesticides, the United States created the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, which included golden eagles in 1962, as people could not differentiate between first-year bald eagles and adult goldens.

Protection of eagles went further when they were listed as an endangered species under both the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, making it illegal to hunt eagles or possess them.

According to Erickson, this presented a problem for Native Americans who needed eagle parts for their ceremonies.

“When they made the eagles illegal to hunt, then the tribal people got kind of upset a little bit and so [the government] said, ‘Well, it is a part of your culture, it is open to you guys, but you can’t hunt them.’,” Erickson said.

It was then, in the early 1970s, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed the National Eagle Repository to allow Native Americans, as well as the National Eagle Center, to possess eagles and their feathers.

Erickson said despite the tedious process, eagle carcasses and feathers are a crucial part of Native American culture and are a sign of honor and respect, particularly for the animal.

“That’s pretty simply put,” Erickson said. “But you create the sacredness in those feathers when you receive [them].”

2019 Warriors Season Preview

Coach Sawyer previews the 2019 Winona State Warriors Football Season.

The Winona State University Warriors football team started spring practice in preparation for their upcoming 2019 season.

The Warriors, who missed the playoffs in 2018, finished 8-3 and are returning 17 starters from last year’s team.

The 2019 team will have 15 practices including the spring game on April 27. The Warriors, who lost 14 starters to injury during the 2018 season, are looking to put an injury-plagued season behind them.

Senior linebacker Nick Pridgeon, who suffered a knee injury in the second game of the 2018 season, said his goal for 2019 is to stay healthy.

“Really just comeback strong,” Pridgeon said. “Just really finish out the season.”

Pridgeon said he should be cleared from his ACL injury by mid-summer.

Tom Sawyer, WSU’s head football coach, said the future is bright this year.

“The silver lining is a lot of other kids got experience,” Sawyer said. “We got all of those kids that were injured they’re all back, plus the experience our other kids got.”

For three years, the Warriors have been in a trend of getting speed up front. Now, with more scholarship money, they were able to put the money to get higher-profile, larger athletes for the offensive line.

Winona State Warriors offense huddles up after doing practice drills.

“Two years ago, we signed four kids, last year we signed five,” Sawyer said. This year, the Warriors have five additional guys coming, putting them over the 300 pound-average mark.

The Warriors, with their rebuilt offensive line, know they have a job to do, which is to be physical.

Joe Holtzclaw, offensive line coach, said his close-knit unit will be different.

“We want to protect the passer first and foremost,” Holtzclaw said.

When running the ball, Holtzclaw said the offensive line is physical by nature.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive assistant Lee Pronschinske, said he wants his group to continue flying around and cause turnovers.

“We always want to communicate, disrupt the ball and create turnovers,” Pronschinske said. “That’s big when the defense can get the offense the ball back on a short field.”

Pronschinske said he is already seeing the linebackers and defensive backs causing turnovers in practice.

“We haven’t been too handsy because we’re playing against our own teammates, so we don’t want to get too physical, maybe cause an injury,” Pronschinske said.  “We’ve been playing off a little bit that way, but it’s still been nice to see our guys fly around.”

Pridgeon said the defense has to focus on their technique and it all starts with attention to detail and accountability.

“We have a young group but a lot of talent,” Pridgeon said. “A lot of leadership in the young group as well. Really our main focus going into the season is trying to do the best as we can and reach our full potential.”

Sawyer said he wants the preparation and planning to be right, to give them their best chance at a win.

“We just have to make sure we’re planning right, preparing them right and give us the best chance to win,” Sawyer said.

The Warriors start their 2019 season at Maxwell Field Saturday, Sept. 7, against Wayne State College of Wayne, Nebraska.