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Local Briefs
Regional and Local Briefs: April 2015
Thursday, April 02 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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RED LAKE STATE OF BAND LOOKS TO FUTURE

RED LAKE, Minn. – Red Lake Band of Chippewa Chairman Darrell Seki offered an optimistic outlook on the condition of the nation, but said social issues still challenge citizens.

Seki described the nation's situation in the 2014 State of the Band address on March 27 at the Humanities Center. "I am honored and humbled to stand before you as your Red Lake chairman," Seki said, after opening with an introduction in Ojibwemowin. "Our nation has made great progress to build and sustain our culture and provide a stable, strong future for generations to come. However, we still have plenty to do an accomplish."

Seki listed the plagues of illegal drugs, alcohol, gang violence, bullying and suicides as heavy burdens Red Lake citizens carry but encouraged citizens to overcome them.

Following that ceremony, Seki launched into the statistics for the band since he took office nine months ago. Current enrollment is at 11,707 enrolled citizens. The permanent trust grew by 4.7 percent in 2014 and the treasurer made a special distribution in December of $250 per citizen.

The Red Lake Police Department now has its own dive team and the purchase of snowmobiles has made remote law enforcement operations more feasible, Seki said. The juvenile detention center has opened to "operate with the goal of reducing the amount of repeat offenders." And 100 children joined police officers for the "Cops and Bobbers" fishing program last summer.

Seki moved on to the housing situation, noting that 45 units were built last year in the Highland Addition II and sold to Red Lake citizens for $78,000 at five percent interest. Development of six more units at Heart Lake is underway.

Seki's gaming report held both good and bad news. Gaming employed 981 people in 2014, an increase from 925 in 2013, with 87 percent of the employees being Red Lake citizens. Gaming wages and benefits came to $25 million in 2014, an increase from $24.4 million in 2013. However, because of the unusually cold and snowy winter in 2014, gaming income decreased by $900,000 to $8.1 million in 2014, down from from $9.1 million in 2013. Business did pick up during the warmer months of 2014, he said.

Seki said the ultimate political goal is to "return Red Lake to the front of Indian Country by not only protecting our sovereignty, but expanding it. The fight isn't over, but we will continue to lead the fight."

 


National Briefs: April 2015
Thursday, April 02 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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NAVAJO TEEN'S SHORT FILM HOSTED AT THE WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Navajo student Keanu Jones was selected as one of 15 young filmmakers across the country to participate in the second annual White House Student Film Festival.

Jones, an 18 year-old senior at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, said he hopes his three-minute film on his family’s daily struggles helps raise awareness about the fight for water and other natural resources taken from reservations.

The American Film Institute helped select the videos, which were on the theme of “the impact of giving back.” Students behind the 15 winning films, some as young as age 6, were at the White House on March 24 where they got to screen their movies for an East Room audience of filmmakers and celebrities, including Steve McQueen, the Oscar-nominated director behind “12 Years a Slave,” and Academy Award-winning actress Hillary Swank.

“These aren’t just great films, but they’re a great example of how young people are making a difference all around the world,” Obama said to applause from the audience.

Obama used the event to unveil his “Call to Arts” initiative through the Corporation for National and Community Service to help inspire and mentor young artists across the country. The program will work with the American Film Institute, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, whose members have pledged to provide 1 million hours of mentorship to young artists over the next three years.

Keanu’s film, “Giving back the Navajo Way,” told of the Navajo tradition of serving elders despite the sometimes-arduous work needed to do so in Indian Country. Keanu said “simple necessities Americans enjoy like electricity, automatic heaters and running water” may be non-existent in the rural area of Arizona where he is from.

“I’ve never really thought that making a simple three-minute film would even take me to the White House or to see Obama,” Keanu said.

 

HO-CHUNK NATION RAISES MINIMUM WAGE TO $2.75 ABOVE FEDERAL

MADISON, Wis. – The Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin has raised its minimum wage to $10 an hour.

The amount is $2.75 above the federal level. It will go into effect in July.

“The cost is high but the return is much greater,” President Jon Greendeer said in a statement. “We can wait until the perpetual debate is resolved or we can just take action ourselves. We chose to make our move and I feel it’s the right one.”

 

 
Weekend Calendar: March 28, 2015
Friday, March 27 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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March 28

Fix-It Tech Clinic

A community technology education event providing free computer hardware repair, education and technical support.

Have a computer question or issue? If your computer or laptop is slow, not working or seems to have a virus, bring it in for free tech support! Our volunteers will teach valuable repair skills, answer questions and give technical advice about your device.

First come, first served, labor will be free, parts available for purchase. Bring your laptop and/or desktop tower and power cord. Volunteers will help with smartphones and tablets based on capacity. Free workshops and resources: short sessions will cover vasic computer maintenance and Internet safety. Pick up resources, learn about technology education programs and careers. Sponsored by the City of Minneapolis IT Department.

10 a.m. To 2 p.m., Waite House, Pillsbury United Communities, 2323 11th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN.


Augsburg College 7th Traditional Powwow

Registration for drum groups and dancers, 11 a.m., no pre-registration; Dancer honorarium: Registered dancers only, must be in regalia; Drum honorarium: Split for first 10 registered drum groups, 5 singer minimum, no drum hopping.

Honoring for Augsburg College American Indian Graduates at 3 p.m.: Joe Vital, Red Lake; Marcus White, Red Lake; John Boyd, Red Lake; Craig Beaulieu, Mille Lacs; Nick Wadena, White Earth; Ira Mason, Red Lake; Sasha Benitez, Turtle Mountain; Catherine Colsrud, Mille Lacs; Angela Wheeler, Pine Ridge; and Matthew Johnson, Lower Sioux.

Aztex Mexica Dance Ceremony from Kalpulli-KetzalCoatlicue at 3:45 p.m. (after Honoring Ceremony).

Informational vendors include: Indian Health Board; Hennepin County Child and Teen Check Up Program; Native American Community Clinic; Save The Kids; Native Lives Matter; Augsburg Fairveiw Academy School; U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Art/Craft vendors include: Woodland Crafts, Charlie Stately; Estella Yeung, Growing Blue Flowers; Gerald Korbel; Michelle Page; Roberto Cordova; Hustle Tribe; Pat and Myron Rosebear; and Ellie Faller.

All Powwow committee decisions are final.

Free admission; all are welcome. Grand Entries, 1 and 6 p.m., Si Melby Gymnasium–715 23rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN.

For more information, call American Indian Student Services at 612-330-1144, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.augsburg.edu/aissp.


31st Annual CNIA Powwow

Emcee: Jerry Dearly; Host Drum: Bad Nation, Fort Thompson, S.D.; Arena Director: Gus Claymore, Cheyenne River Sioux; Honor Guard: Vietnam Veterans Kit Fox Society, Sisseton, S.D.; Head Dancers: picked each session.

Day money for registered dancers in regalia only; Drum Split: First 10 registered drum groups, 5 singer minimum, no drum hopping; Powwow Feast is free for dancers, singers and elders; Specials: Men's Traditional, Women's Traditional, Men's Grass, Women's Jingle; Hand Drum Contest; CNIA Princess and Brave Contest; American Indian Arts and Crafts; Peace Run 5K (free run and walk), begins at 9 a.m., registration is online at CNIA Web site.

Doors open, 11 a.m.; Grand Entries, 1 and 7 p.m., University of Minnesota, Morris Physical Education Center, Morris, MN. For more information, call Gabe Desrosiers at 605-742-4916 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

It Ain't Easy Being Indian: April 2015
Friday, March 27 2015
 
Written by Ricey Wild,
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ricey wild.jpgA few months ago my son Steve visited me and my friends at the Risky Raccoon Kasino Hotel where we were staying for a powwow. My son told us he got pulled over by a cop and my mother’s heart skipped a beat; I immediately thought he was being racially profiled and thoughts of all the recent slayings of unarmed black men by police made me catch my breath.

Steve pulled a copy of the report out of his pocket and showed it to us, it was a warning and then he said, “Look closer.” The police officer had checked the ‘white’ box where there was a choice for race. I looked at him and said “Whaaaaaat?” He was still pretty brown as far as I could tell, I mean I’m Native and his father is African-American so his being mistaken for white even though we also have French ancestors was rather a stretch. So I did what anyone would do. I laughed but since then I have pondered why?

Why? Why did he let him go? It came to me that police officers have to turn in their papers after each shift and perhaps the cop didn’t want his brethren to know he let an innocent brown man off with only a warning! I have convinced myself that was the why and wherefore because of the extreme racist atmosphere that is law enforcement culture. I add here I do not paint all police employees as being racist; instead I will let the glaring facts speak for themselves. My concern is not only people of color but anyone who takes up activism for the benefit of all peoples.


Political Matters: U.S. Steel vs. manoomin
Friday, March 27 2015
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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mordecai_specktor_some.jpgIn late March, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said that the state’s environmental standard for protecting manoomin (wild rice) was outdated scientifically and was threatening industrial development Up North.

At issue is state permitting for U.S. Steel’s Minntac plant, in Mountain Iron, the largest taconite operation in the U.S.

The facility’s taconite waste pit has been polluting the local watershed for decades; and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed state officials in January that the company is violating the Clean Water Act.

In a March 24 interview with Minnesota Public Radio News, Gov. Dayton addressed the state’s sulfate standard for wild rice waters.

“U.S. Steel has made it very clear — and they closed down the Keewatin plant, they’re still operating the Minntac plant — but they made it very clear that they’re not going to agree to a permit that has a standard of 10 [milligrams of sulfate per liter],” Dayton told MPR reporter Tom Scheck.

The governor said that the allowable sulfate level for wild rice waters “was posted in 1940, and established in the 1960s and ’70s, as the standard, which is not even applied to most other projects in Minnesota or any other place in the country. So, MPCA [Minnesota Pollution Control Agency] is going to be coming out shortly with a way of taking the updated scientific information and applying that to protecting the wild rice in the waters, which we certainly want to do, but it’s got to be done in a way that is based on current science and current information, and not something that is antiquated. We can talk with the EPA about collaborating with us in doing that and going through a public process to work that out.”


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