Engaging Community and Confronting Environmental Injustice

Exhibition Open
Bell Museum of Natural History
2088 Larpenteur Ave W, St Paul, MN

1796: Saint Anthony Falls, depicted by Jonathan Carver before the milling industry’s rise; the Falls remain sacred space for Dakota people.

Courtesy of John Carter Brown Library.

1890–1894: Milling industry on the West Bank of Saint Anthony Falls
 
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1890–1894: Milling industry on the West Bank of Saint Anthony Falls. 

Courtesy of Hennepin History Museum.

1934: Aerial View of post-dam construction at Saint Anthony Falls.
 
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1934: Aerial View of post-dam construction at Saint Anthony Falls. 

Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.

The Problem
The Roots
The Solutions

Minnesota has some of the worst racial disparities in the nation and a history of Indigenous dispossession and disempowerment. Industrial capitalism is a slow violence aimed at vulnerable populations. We focused on how to center community voices in forming more equitable and accountable policy.

Disinvestment in communities of color and the impact of industrialization build on the structure of settler colonialism, which aspires to eliminate Indigenous peoples and their rights. The rise of a milling industry on Indigenous sacred space, white flight, and practices such as redlining created landscapes of inequality that manifest in exclusionary redevelopment schemes.

All people deserve to have their demands for equity heard and acted upon. Governments and institutions must take responsibility for restitution by engaging with communities to rectify past actions. Truth telling and preserving land for future generations must replace the neglect of marginalized people’s experience.

 

2019: The Roof Depot water tower casts a shadow over Minneapolis’ Public Works Campus in East Phillips
2011: North Minneapolis residents address tornado damage after slow, inadequate government response
An artistic depiction of the Ford Plant and surrounding undeveloped rural land.
2017: Ojibwe wild rice harvesting is threatened by pollution, climate change, and settler colonial practices
2019: The Upper Harbor Terminal is set for major redevelopment. Who may benefit from it? Who may be left out?
Industrialization causes collapse in more ways than one.
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Image: 2019: The Roof Depot water tower casts a shadow over Minneapolis’ Public Works Campus in East Phillips.
Storymap: Drowning Our History: Minneapolis’ Water Yard Agenda.


Image: Courtesy of Avian Ciganko-Ford.
Storymap: Courtesy of Avian Ciganko-Ford and Samantha Ly.

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Image: 2011: North Minneapolis residents address tornado damage after slow, inadequate government response.
Storymap: 2011 Tornado: Environmental Racism in the Aftermath of Natural Disaster.


Image: Courtesy of Jerry Holt, Minneapolis
Star Tribune.
Storymap: Courtesy of Samuel Henneberg, Noriko Kikuchi, and Kate Rogers.

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Image: An artistic depiction of the Ford Plant and surrounding undeveloped rural land.
Storymap: Ford’s Fate: Community Confronts Capitalism.


Image: Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.
Storymap: Courtesy of Elsa Ballata, Gabrielle Gauthier, and Amber Januszewski.

4

Image: 2017: Ojibwe wild rice harvesting is threatened by pollution, climate change, and settler colonial practices.
Storymap: The Rights of Manoomin.


Image: Courtesy of Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Minneapolis
Star Tribune.
Storymap: Courtesy of Paige Mitchell and Chris Rico.

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 Image: 2019: The Upper Harbor Terminal is set for major redevelopment.  Who may benefit from it? Who may be left out?
Storymap: Harboring Equity: The Upper Harbor Terminal.


Image: Courtesy of Myra Billund-Phibbs.
Storymap: Courtesy of Myra Billund-Phibbs, Grace Rude, Shea Swenson, and Jacob Youngblood.

Additional Media

Image: Industrialization causes collapse in more ways than one.
Storymap: Owamni-Yomi: What is Environmentally Just Restoration for St. Anthony Falls?


Image: Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society.
Storymap: Courtesy of Amelia Daddi, Katelin Jaggi, and Grant Simons.

Our Point of View

University Partners
Community Partners

Our status in the university carries inherent privilege. Yet we hope our work will help promote awareness of environmental injustices that harm historically oppressed communities, undermine Indigenous sovereignty, disadvantage poor neighborhoods, and worsen the effects of climate change. We have grown more conscious of environmental injustices in our communities. Our work has inspired us to amplify stories that help build empathy and accountability, develop a more complex understanding of where we live, and fight for environmental justice.

—University of Minnesota

We affirm our interconnectedness of the human and natural world and take responsibility for inspiring change to create a society that equitably protects and promotes a healthy and vibrant environment for all people in current and future generations.

We are grounded in our values of self-determination in Indigenous, low-income communities, and communities of color, and we gear our work toward the creation of a fully informed economic and political democracy.

—Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED)

Contributors

University Partners

University of Minnesota

Faculty Project Directors Kevin Murphy Jean O'Brien
Students Elsa Ballata Myra Billund-Phibbs Avian Ciganko-Ford Amelia Daddi Stephen Estevez Sam Henneberg Amber Januszewski Noriko Kikuchi Samantha Ly Paige Mitchel Chris Rico Kate Rogers Grace Rude

Community Partners

Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED)