Local Briefs
Regional and Local Briefs: May 2015
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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LAKE VERMILION, Minn. – After planning to gill net a maximum of 2,500 pounds of walleye on Lake Vermilion this spring, the Fond du Lac Band decided not to undertake the operation, according to a news release from the Bois Forte Band.

The decision came after a meeting in late April between leaders of the three bands who have fishing rights on Lake Vermilion under the 1854 Treaty — Bois Forte, Fond du Lac and Grand Portage — and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources and the 1854 Treaty Authority.

Prior to the decision, the Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council passed a resolution urging Fond du Lac not to issue netting and spearing permits due to reasons including methods and the upcoming Governor’s Fishing Opener event.

In response to this request, the Fond du Lac Band agreed to suspend fishing this year. “Fond du Lac has the right to harvest fish in the 1854 ceded territory, and we defend their right,” said Bois Forte Tribal Chair Kevin Leecy. “But we have significant concerns about them harvesting in our backyard. Fond du Lac tribal members use motorized boats to net, while Bois Forte tribal members net in the traditional way with canoes only. Also, Fond du Lac has access to many lakes in the ceded territory besides Lake Vermilion, which we consider part of our reservation.”

With the governor coming to Lake Vermilion in a few weeks, Leecy said that the spotlight should be on the community and tourism, not tribal netting. “Our Fortune Bay Resort Casino is an active member and the single largest tax contributor to the Lake Vermilion Resort & Tourism Association,” Leecy said, “we have fostered good relationships with neighboring resort owners. The opener should be a time for all of us to shine.”

Last month, the Fond du Lac Band informed the state of Minnesota that it intended to allow its citizens to net and spear on Lake Vermilion. The Band, as well as many others, were looking for alternative spots to harvest fish since the restrictions on Lake Mille Lacs indicated that the walleye population is in trouble. An Associated Press story reported that only 11,400 pounds of walleye would be available for netting this year on Mille Lacs.

As a sign of respect, most bands that have previously netted there have given their shares to the Mille Lacs Band, and Fond du Lac has indicated they will not net on the big lake. This fishery issue could lead to nearly 80 lakes in central and northern Minnesota seeing additional tribal harvesting of walleye.

What's New In The Community: May 2015
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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brendachild-bw.jpgBrenda Child wins American Indian National Book Award

“My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks: Ojibwe Family Life and Labor on the Reservation” by Dr. Brenda J. Child won the the seventh annual Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.

Child uses her family’s own powerful stories to tell a different kind of history – one that puts her reader’s feet on the reservation. She shows how Ojibwe men and women on reservations around the Great Lakes sustained both their families and their cultural identity in the face of extreme prejudice and hardship.

Winners of the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award cross multiple disciplines or fields of study, are relevant to contemporary North American Indian communities and focus on American Indian Studies, modern tribal studies, modern biographies, tribal governments or federal Indian policy.

Dedicated in 1993, the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in the Arizona State University (ASU) Libraries is one of the only repositories within a public university library devoted to American Indian collections. The Labriola Center holds both primary and secondary sources on American Indians across North America. The Center’s primary purpose is to promote a better understanding of American Indian language, culture, social, political and economic issues. The Labriola National American Indian Data Center has been endowed by Frank and Mary Labriola whose wish has been that “the Labriola Center be a source of education and pride for all Native Americans.”

“My Grandfather’s Knocking Sticks” was also a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award.

Child is an associate professor of American Studies and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota and serves on the Board of Directors of The Circle News.

David Bice honored with 2015 Progress Minnesota Award

Finance & Commerce honored David Bice, owner of Bald Eagle Erectors with the organization’s Individual 2015 Progress Minnesota Award on April 9 at the Hyatt in downtown Minneapolis.

Bice is a citizen of the White Earth band of Ojibwe. He is a leader in the Native American community, serving on the Boards of Directors for the Tiwahe Foundation as well as The Circle News.

Bice joined the Marine Corps in 1977 and graduated from Honolulu High, serving three years in the Marines and was honorably discharged as a corporal in 1980. He says that the key turning point in career was the Marines, which he says gave him direction and taught him to never give up.

During the past two decades, Dave Bice has grown his Forest Lake-based Bald Eagle Erectors to $11.4 million in annual revenue and 60 employees. The company has completed ironwork on many noteworthy projects, including the Minneapolis Central Library, the Guthrie Theater and Target Field Station.

Bice also landed a contract at the $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium project with the help of a $200,000 working capital loan designed for small minority-owned businesses. Bice believes his company is the only Native American-owned steel erector in Minnesota. He has 14 ironworkers at the Vikings stadium project and is using the Minneapolis Foundation loan to help with cash flow.

Bice, 57, attended Minneapolis South High School before dropping out and joining the Marine Corps. He comes from a family of ironworkers, so it seemed a natural fit to launch his own company in 1994. His grandfather and his grandfather’s three brothers were union ironworkers and he has extended family members working in the industry.

It’s a priority for Bice to hire Native Americans, other people of color and women. About one-third of his employees are people of color. “We give a lot of people an opportunity to become an ironworker,” he said.

Bice’s road to success hasn’t always been easy. The recession took a toll on his company, but even worse was a client failing to pay $363,000 and an employee embezzling $100,000. Still, Bice has learned valuable lessons — especially from the Marines — that helped him persevere. “The Marines teach you, never give up,” he says. “In my career, there were a lot of times when things were really bad and I just kept moving forward. When I got ripped off for $363,000, people were just telling me to give up, file bankruptcy and start over. I couldn’t do that.”

sing_our_rivers_red-web.jpgSing Our Rivers Red raises awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women

By Clara Tsac, TC Daily Planet

The smell of roasting espresso and justified indignation greeted visitors of the Pow Wow Coffee shop, and adjoining All My Relations art gallery on Friday, April 10th. In collaboration with the Sing Our Rivers Red (SORR) foundation, All My Relations Arts and the Native American Community Development Institute are asking people to donate earrings a part of the SORR Traveling Earring Exhibition. SORR is a foundation dedicated to raising awareness for missing Native American women in Canada and the U.S. Event organizer Susan Horne detailed an example in the death of “August Osage County” actress Misty Upham.

“She went missing, and the police questioned her personal state of mind more than they spent time actually looking for her. When the coroner finally released the report, it was ruled a homicide due to blunt force to the back of the head.

“Since then, they haven’t covered that it was a homicide, that she was ultimately killed. And it’s stuff like that… this is a Native American woman, 32 years old, goes missing, nothing is accounted for. This isn’t just Native American women, this is happening everywhere.” said Horne.

Over 3,406 earrings were donated from over 400 people, organizations and entities from 6 provinces in Canada and 45 states in the United States. Each earring symbolizes recognition of the cause and a unique mourning.

“The one-sided earring effort is because as Native women, we love our earrings, it’s our adornment, and when you give something of yourself for something, it’s a representation of feeling that loss,” said Horne.

All My Relations Gallery is hosting The Traveling Earring Exhibition on April 17th, 2015 from 6-8pm. The exhibition will be on the wall for 4 weeks, and there will be a ribbon-tying ceremony and an informational documentary.

For more information about the exhibit:

Tiwahe Foundation completes McKnight Match

The Tiwahe Foundation is announced the successful completion of the McKnight Foundation Endowment Challenge match.

In 2014, Tiwahe received a $400,000 investment in American Indian philanthropy from The McKnight Foundation. $300,000 was leveraged as a two-to-one endowment matching grant for the foundation’s $6 million Seventh Generation Endowment Campaign.

The Tiwahe Foundation thanks the The McKnight Foundation for its support. Tiwahe Foundation reports that it is now closer to creating a community foundation that will continue to support Native Americans and create long-term equity in Native philanthropy.

The Seventh Generation Endowment Campaign will secure the grant-making of our American Indian Family Empowerment Program (AIFEP) Fund, ensure operating support, leadership development programming and organizational development and capacity building.

Fond du Lac helps restore Lake Sturgeon population

Cloquet, MN – Namawag or Lake Sturgeon are considered to be one of the most unique fish on the Great Lakes.

"They are very prehistoric," said Jay Walker, operations director at the Great Lake's Aquarium. "They have been around since the time of the dinosaurs."

However, the "King Fish" as it's referred to in Longfellow's epic poem, became almost nonexistent in the 1970s, for there was virtually no sign they existed besides some large fish tales told by elders.

To help turn the trend around, the Fond du Lac band set a plan into motion in 1998 called the River Sturgeon Restoration Project. "Lake sturgeon are considered threatened, not endangered," Thomas Howes, Natural Resources Program Manager for the Fond du Lac band said. "If you have the habitat available, you should do that work to restore them."

Part of the band’s efforts has included tracking sturgeon's spawning patters. Female sturgeon don't reproduce until they are 25 years old and only spawn every 3 to 5 years. "Reproductive uniqueness is one of the reasons if you take one of the large adults out of the population, why they decline," Howes said.

Another thing that's interfering with the sturgeon's spawning patterns are hydro-power dams along the rivers. "These fish largely spend their time in the Great Lakes and then migrate up rivers to reproduce, and if they are blocked that's the end of that cycle," Howes said.

Members of the Fond du Lac band have re-started the cycle of life by stocking the streams with 237,000 eggs, and another 400 advanced stage fingerlings. It took 16 years, but researchers are finally seeing signs of success.

"There is a successful reintroduction in the lower part of the St. Louis River, in the estuary, and we want to connect the dots and bring them into the upper part of the River along the Fond du Lac reservation," Howes said.

White Earth Nation promotes tribal citizens in casino positions

WHITE EARTH, MN – The White Earth Nation of Minnesota has promoted two casino executives.

John “Bomber” Clark, a tribal member, is the new human resources director at Shooting Star Casino. He's worked for the facility since 2008.

Gary Litzau, also a tribal member, was promoted to marketing director. He has worked at the casino since 1999.

May 2015 Calendar
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Through May 9

The Art of Indigenous Resistance”

The Art of Indigenous Resistance is a traveling exhibition of work by 20 Indigenous artists co-curated by All My Relations Gallery and Honor the Earth. The exhibition is made of both prints and original works of art that highlights Honor the Earth's 31 years of Indigenous outreach and community resistance. In correspondence with the art and activism theme, we are excited to also include paintings from the Minneapolis community.

Visual art plays an important role as it has the ability to stimulate and encourage a unifying perspective. Through art, it can evoke emotion, tell stories, inspire and motivate. When channeled as a vehicle it carries issues of consciousness where it can become a catalyst for meaningful change.

Artist Participants: John Isaiah Pepion, Jesus Barraza, Jaque Fragua, Betty Laduke, Votan, Gregg Deal, Nani Chacon, Chip Thomas, Kim Smith, Tom Greyeyes, Star Wallowingbull, Rabbet Strickland, Donald Montileaux, Alania Buffalo Spirit, Ron Toahanie Jackson, Michael Horse, Remy Fredenberg, Jaycee Beyale, Cheyenne Randall and Lucie Skjefte.

All My Relations Gallery, 1414 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 612-235-4970 or visit


Through May 31

American Indian Month at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Celebrate Minnesota American Indian Month at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Take a free tour with one of our fantastic Native American guides. See the great Native art in the Art of the Americas galleries. And view the new exhibition – “Arriving in Fresh Water: Contemporary Native Artists of Our Great Lakes,” including the work of some of the most important artists of our region.

Tours: May 14, 7 p.m.; Fridays, 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call 612-870-3000 or visit

May 1

2015 Minnesota American Indian Month Kick-Off

Opening Ceremony, 10 a.m., Cedar Field, Little Earth of United Tribes, Cedar Avenue and 25th St.; Parade of Nations, 10:30, Cedar Field to Minneapolis American Indian Center; Community Speakers, 11:30 a.m.; Round Dance, 11:45; Community Feast, noon. Sponsored by NACDI.

For more information, call Ashley Fairbanks at 612-235-4969.

May 1

American Indian Wellness Fair

Community Feast featuring food by The Sioux Chef; Free Health Assessments, blood pressure, diabetes screenings and more; more than 60 vendors.

11 to 3 p.m., Minneapolis American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, MN. For more information, call Stephanie Graves at 612-673-3735.

Columbus Statue Celebrates Genocide and Should Be Removed
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by Bill Sorem and Michael Mcintee, The Uptake,
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tcdp-columbus statue celebrates genocide and should be removed-web.jpgNative American activist groups in Minnesota would like people to learn the real history of Christopher Columbus and quit putting him up on a pedestal at the State Capitol.

“We all know in 1492 he sailed the ocean blue. And in 1493 he stole all that he could see,” American Indian Movement-Twin Cities Chair Mike Forcia said at a rally held on April 18 outside the Minnesota capitol building, where the statue of Columbus stands.

For more than 83 years a statue of Columbus has gazed from the Capitol toward Minnesota’s Justice Center. For Forcia, real justice would be removing the statue. “We need to deport Columbus,” he said. “We can’t be celebrating genocide anymore.”

Genocide isn’t a word most history books associate with Columbus, but he enslaved Native Americans. As governor of the large island he called Espanola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Columbus’ programs reduced the native population from as many as eight million at the outset of his regime to about three million in 1496.

Minnesota’s legislature is considering a bill that would change the engraving on the statue from “Discoverer of America” to “Christopher Columbus landed in America.” A co-sponsor of the House bill includes Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), who taught high school government classes 35 years.

Passing On: Terri Lynn Oliver
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Terri Lynn Oliver

Terri Lynn Oliver, 47, of St. Paul, journeyed to the Spirit World on Monday, April 20, 2015 at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.

She was born on July 23, 1967 in St. Paul, the daughter of Allan F. Oliver and Zelda M. King.

An independent spirit and being, Terri enjoyed crossword puzzles, playing cards, spending time with family and friends, joking and laughing. She could sing a capella. Terri cared and protected her friends and family always, if she couldn’t do it personally, they would always be on her mind and in her heart.

She is survived by special friend: Greg Maurer; sons: Marc Anthony Gozzi, Marc Joseph Gozzi and Marc Michael Gozzi; a daughter: Sarah Gozzi; a granddaughter: Olivia; a brother: Wayne Oliver and by a sister: Jane Anderson; a niece, nephew and by two grand nephews.

Funeral Services for Terri Oliver were held on Saturday, April 25 at Noon at The St. Paul Area Council of Churches/Division of Indian Works.

All night wakes were held on Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24 at 6 p.m. at The St. Paul Area Council of Churches/Division of Indian Works.

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted, Minnesota is serving the family. Online condolences may be made to

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