Shaping Our Future; Valuing Our Past
By Leo I. Brisbois
Boozhoo Niijii; Gdinimikoon. Hello, Friend; I greet you in a good way.
Well into the first half of the 20th century, American Indian communities, the Ojibwe/Anishinaabe among them, tragically endured the often forced removal of children from their homes, sometimes for years. These children routinely were sent half-way across the continent to boarding schools to be “taught” how not to be Indian. My own paternal grandparents were sent to boarding schools in Carlisle, PA, and Flandreau, SD. The Ojibwe/Anishinaabe children who returned to their communities following the trauma of the boarding school experience very often did not teach their own children the language (Anishinaabemowin) or the traditional values needed for walking the “Good Path” (Mino-Bimaadiziwin), resulting in subsequent generational damage to American Indian communities. However, there were enough elders (Gichi-aya’aag) who still knew the language and the old ways, and who used and followed them, often in secret, that the Ojibwe/Anishinaabe culture survived these hardships. Today, the Ojibwe/Anishinaabe speak of the “new people”(osh-ki-bimadi-zeeg), the young people, who are again seeking out and listening to the elders with a desire to learn the language, the culture, and the values of the old ways so that they and their children can walk the “Good Path.” The efforts of the “new people” are contributing to a time of rediscovery, but also a time of transformation. As a result, there has been a rise in tribal and other Indian-led schools ranging from K-12 to community colleges. These are providing more Indian people with a solid core of culturally appropriate curriculum and support coupled with a strong base in mainstream academics. The efforts of the “new people” are providing the beginning foundations for American Indian children to freely draw on the strengths of their cultural heritage yet be armed with necessary additional skills to walk the “Good Path,” while also being able to walk in the larger world as needed for the benefit of their families and their communities.
The MSBA is also entering a period of transformation and rediscovery as a way to walk successfully into its own future. One such journey involves the annual MSBA convention. While the quality of the programming at past conventions was never in doubt, the traditional format was no longer effectively engaging many members of the bench and bar. We have therefore transformed the convention, preserving the best of our heritage, to better engage and serve our profession going forward.
For the first time in over a hundred years, the MSBA will not hold its traditional convention consisting of two and one-half consecutive meeting days at a single location. This does not mean that there will no longer be any convention whatsoever. On the contrary, there will instead be a new convention format called Nine Days in June. The new format is exactly what the name sounds like; this year’s convention will be nine days in total.
The first eight days of Nine Days in June will be one-day events in each of the eight outstate judicial districts. These will bring professional and social programming directly to outstate lawyers and judges whether MSBA members or nonmembers. The last and final day of Nine Days in June, open to the members of the bench and bar throughout the state, will be held in Minneapolis at the unique venue of the new stadium for the Minnesota Twins—“Target Field.”
Each day of Nine Days in June will offer attendees an estimated 5.5 credits of CLE (with the programming in each outstate location separately developed, in part, through input solicited from local lawyers and judges). Many members of the judiciary from all around the state have committed to participating in the programming and social interaction planned for all of the days of Nine Days in June.
Unlike past MSBA conventions, Nine Days in June will charge no registration fee of several hundred dollars for the professional development programming being offered. All events for Nine Days in June will be open to all members of the bench and bar, whether MSBA members or not, and the only required cost for attendees at each of the daily events will be a nominal charge to cover lunch (estimated at $20–$40, depending upon the particular city and venue). The only separately ticketed event will be the annual Presidents’ Reception at Target Field in the early evening immediately following the programming on June 24th, for which tickets will be priced at an estimated $75–$85. The net proceeds of the Presidents’ Reception will go to the Minnesota State Bar Foundation and for MSBA Civic Education programming.
The Nine Days in June format reaffirms the MSBA’s commitment to bringing value to its members and working with the legal community throughout all of Minnesota. It is a concerted effort to bring lawyers and judges together to build greater professional and personal relationships in a non-adversarial setting in order to promote and foster the core values of professionalism and collegiality. With your help, this year’s inauguralNine Days in June will engage and bring direct benefits to members of our profession statewide in numbers more than six times greater than attended our 2009 convention, which followed the traditional, two and one-half day format.
Nine Days in June—watch for it—go to it—help the MSBA transform a part of itself for the future while reaffirming its commitment to core values of the profession through the delivery of direct convention programming benefits to members of the bench and bar statewide.
Miigwech bizindawiyeg. Thank you for listening to me.