An Idea on the Land | Michigan Radio
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An Idea on the Land

A photo of the Cheboiganing Band village before it was burned in 1900.
Courtesy of the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

This is the final part of our series An Idea on the Land. Here's where you can find Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. 

On a chilly morning, 118 autumns ago, the residents of a tiny village along a lake in Northern Michigan were forced out of their homes and kicked off the land they had legally purchased.

The residents were native people, members of what was then called the Cheboiganing Band of Indians. There’s some evidence native people had been living at that site for thousands of years.

But since that morning, on Oct. 15, 1900, their land has been in the hands of others. And the descendants of those who were there that morning are still fighting for justice and recognition in the courts today.

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courtesy Yale Divinity School


If you’ve been listening to our series An Idea on the Land, then you’ve heard the voice of Willie Jennings. He’s a professor at Yale Divinity school and author of the book The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.

Jennings' work deals with subjects that, for some of us, can be very sensitive. The history of whiteness. The distorted view of Christianity that drove European colonialism. We’ve tried to present those ideas the best we could in our series, but after speaking to Jennings, I’ve had the sense that at least some people would want to hear more. So we’re making this extended interview available as well. This has been lightly edited, mostly to clean up the audio. The quality is still not perfect at times, but you should be able to at least hear what’s being said.

 

hartwick pines state park
DUSTIN DWYER / MICHIGAN RADIO

Today on Stateside, we get an explainer on Proposal 2. That's the anti-gerrymandering ballot proposal that would change how the maps for legislative and congressional districts are drawn. Plus, a look at the discrimination members of the LGTBTQ community face in Michigan, even after the legalization of gay marriage. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons

This is part three of our series "An Idea on the Land." Part one is here. Part two is here.

It’s the summer of 1831. A young French writer arrives in Michigan, hoping to get a glimpse of untouched American wilderness. He sets off from Detroit.

"A mile out of town," he writes, "the road goes into forest and never comes out of it."

It was 1823. The land of Michigan wasn’t yet a state. The indigenous people far outnumbered the white settlers. The Erie Canal hadn’t opened. The flood of European immigrants was yet to arrive.

wolf coming out of a cage
Jacob W. Frank / National Park Service

Today on Stateside, reporter Chad Livengood recaps the most recent debates between incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and her Republican challenger John James. Plus, a former MLive reporter details her experience founding Flint Beat, a hyperlocal news site that covers the Flint community. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

A breakdown of the two Senate debates between Stabenow, James

New York Public Library Digital Collections

We are of the dirt.

That’s what Willie Jennings believes.

“My mother was a gardener,” he says. Each spring, as she got her garden ready, she would spray water on the dirt, and tell him to plunge his hands deep into the wet soil.

“And she would turn to me and say, ‘You feel that? You feel that son? That’s life.'”