Colleen Connolly

Colleen Connolly

Colleen Connolly is a Minneapolis-based bilingual journalist writing about immigration, education, Latin America and other issues. Connolly has also worked as a digital news editor at the Chicago Tribune and NBC Chicago.

In Minnesota, a new model challenges the widespread mistreatment of construction workers

By: - September 11, 2023

This article was produced by Capital & Main and is co-published here with permission. Sign up for Capital & Main’s newsletter. In 2021, Alvaro Chavez took a job doing wood framing for a new apartment complex in Saint Paul. The project was funded by Paster Properties, a prominent Saint Paul developer whose stated mission is “placemaking that strengthens communities.” But […]

Former Gov. Arne Carlson is 88 and battling a massive mining conglomerate

By: - June 8, 2023

Former Gov. Arne Carlson is a political survivor who has long cleared his own path, machete in hand, even when others doubted him. After suffering a resounding defeat in the Republican primary for the 1990 governor’s race, he emerged as a popular write-in candidate. Jon Grunseth, the GOP nominee facing allegations of sexual misconduct with […]

The next act in the fight against Line 3? A museum on treaty rights

By: - April 10, 2023

A treaty between the United States government and the Ojibwe (or Anishinaabeg) signed in Washington, DC, nearly 170 years ago will be the main focus of a new museum set to open this summer in Park Rapids. But far from being a history museum, the organizers behind Giiwedinong: The Museum and Cultural Center of the […]

New Dakota language app helps bridge gap between elders and youth

By: - March 7, 2023

Khloe Cavanaugh learned some Dakota words from her grandfather growing up on the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota. He was one of the few fluent first language speakers on the reservation. “I have an Indian name and I didn’t know how to say it in Dakota, so he taught me how to say it […]

Line 3 activists face felony charges for attempted assisted suicide

By: - September 6, 2022

Standing in front of the Water Protector Welcome Center in Palisade on a frigid day in January 2021, Shanai Matteson took a microphone and addressed the bundled up crowd. Some carried “stop Line 3” signs and flags in gloved hands. Others sat in lawn chairs around a fire pit. “We’re looking for people who might […]

Q&A with Dr. Nathan Chomilo, Medicaid medical director

By: - August 1, 2022

As a kid, Nathan Chomilo watched his parents — a nurse and pharmacist who immigrated from Cameroon to Minnesota — give health advice to people while out at community events. “They were always wearing their pharmacist or nurse hat,” said Chomilo. “I really respected that and looked for my own way to help folks and also be […]

Q&A with Dave Thomas, a government teacher trying to get to the state House

By: - July 21, 2022

Editor’s note: In June, the Reformer interviewed Leigh Finke, the other DFL candidate in House District 66A. You can read it here.   As a government teacher at MTS Secondary, a charter school in Minneapolis, Dave Thomas believes he has an edge against others running for office on the DFL ticket.  “You get a lot of […]

Q&A with Minnesota Dreamer Danely Quiroz: ‘With a status, the sky is the limit.’

By: - July 13, 2022

Danely Quiroz moved from Mexico to Minnesota with her family about 30 years ago when she was just 3 years old. Quiroz, who lives with her own family in Orono now, is the youngest of six siblings, and her parents immigrated in the hopes of providing their children better opportunities.  Starting in her early 20s, […]

Q&A with Leigh Finke, who could be Minnesota’s first out trans lawmaker

By: - June 28, 2022

Leigh Finke has worked in politics and activism for years — volunteering for campaigns, organizing, and most recently working for the ACLU. But being a candidate herself is new. Finke, a single mom who lives in a rented home in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, will be on the August primary ballot to be […]

Would Minnesota mining end U.S. reliance on Russian nickel? Experts say probably not.

By: - March 30, 2022

The usual arguments for copper-nickel mining in Minnesota are largely economic. Mining creates local jobs. It generates wealth for the state. It can even help fight climate change. As the demand grows for renewable energy and electric cars — whose lithium ion batteries are often made with nickel — the need for mining increases, with Minnesota […]

In big win for Enbridge, most of its old Line 3 pipeline will remain in the ground

By: - November 11, 2021

There is a spot in Cloquet, Minnesota, where the old Line 3 pipeline almost meets the new one. This happens just a few yards from Highway 210, and a stone’s throw from Colleen Bernu’s driveway. For Bernu and others, the new, larger Line 3 pipeline, which began moving oil on October 1, isn’t the most […]

These Native historians are compiling what we know about boarding schools

By: - August 9, 2021

Since 2006, Denise Lajimodiere, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, has spent hours hunkered down in archives searching for records of Native American boarding schools.  “It is tedious,” she said. “It is dusty work.” And grueling and traumatic. The records are incomplete, but what researchers like Lajimodiere have […]