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RIP Jim Denomie, Ojibwe Artist

Plus (some) pot gets (more) legal, a different kind of pot gets dug up, and a good day for Black hair in today's Flyover.

Jim Denomie
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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Artist Jim Denomie Dies at 66

Minnesota artist Jim Denomie’s day job was working drywall gigs. In his free time, he created dreamy paintings that challenged systems of power and mainstream society with playful humor and dark wit. His work has been showcased at the Walker, the Weisman, and George Floyd Square, as well as in galleries around the world. His wife of 27 years, author Diane Wilson, announced today via Facebook that Denomie has died of cancer. He was 66. Denomie was known for tackling tough topics–including colonization, pedophilia in the Catholic church, and Black suffering at the hands of police–from a distinctively Native perspective. In Edward Curtis, Paparazzi: Skinny Dip, Denomie mocks the man who made his living photographing Native Americans, while Standing Rock 2016, inspired by his time at the site, features a vast army, white men in suits, and monsters confronting protestors with grenades and guns. Denomie was also known for supporting local artists, and was a frequent guest at gallery receptions around town. You can read some sweet stories from friends–which include Frank Gaard, Julie Buffalohead, and Andrea Carlson–in this Star Tribune tribute piece.  

Ancient People Also Burned Their Pots and Pans

The next time you burn something on your stove, know that if archaeologists find that busted pot 1,000 years in the future it’s probably going to make for a really cool discovery. That’s basically what happened with the broken remains of an ancient cooking vessel dug up in the Boundary Waters. After raising the funds to do some carbon-date testing, scientists discovered those shards are between 1,600 and 1,750 years old (between 272 and 422 A.D.). Using data from a burned speck, researchers believe that the bowl was used to prepare and consume wild rice and corn. Fragments of decorations on the pieces suggest that it was used by the Laurel people, who are believed to have traveled up to the Boundary Waters during the summers to fish and process rice. Ancient civilizations: They vacationed up north, too. You can read more about the discovery at MPR

This Bud’s For You

Happy March, and Happy Medical Marijuana Patients Can Finally Buy Dried Flower Day! The 30,000+ Minnesotans in the state’s medical program are now able to purchase bud, a less expensive and more potent option than wax and topical products. “It’s just more affordable, which has been the main barrier of the program,” Chris Tholkes, director of the state health department’s medical cannabis office, tells KSTP. “Other states have added the flower and have doubled and tripled the number of patients.” So far just two area dispensaries—Green Goods in downtown Minneapolis and Leaf Line in St. Paul—are approved to sell flower to medical patients; in August, the program will get another new addition in the form of infused edibles (gummies, chews, etc.). Thinking about helping MN double or triple its medical marijuana numbers? Find more info, including details about whether you might qualify, on the health department website.

A Good Hair Day

The Minnesota House has overwhelmingly passed the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination against Black Minnesotans for … well, basically for having hair. The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWNH?) Act amends the definition of race in the Minnesota Human Rights Act to include natural hairstyles and textures. “We know that racial discrimination is not always overt, and this bill ensures that discrimination based on biases or stereotypes is stopped or held accountable,” said the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Esther Agbaje, DFL-Minneapolis. Of course, the House also passed the CROWN Act in 2020, but the Senate never took it up, so we’ll have to see what that GOP-controlled body does. Seems pretty obvious that Black people should be able to wear their hair naturally. Who would even disagree with that? Oh, wait…