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Local Briefs
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe continues to oppose DAPL
Friday, September 09 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of South/North Dakota have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline since April of this year. The 1,170-mile oil pipeline would run just north of their reservation and under the Missouri River, which the Tribe says would endanger the main water supply to the area. The protest has been building in numbers over the months and in August it was estimated at over 3000 protestors taking a stand outside of Cannon Ball, N.D.

The protest has gathered national and international support, with tribes from across the US sending representatives and support. Groups from all over the world are posting signs of support on social media. And in August Amnesty International sent observers to the encampment. (Photos courtesy Camp of the Sacred Stones: www.facebook.com/CampoftheSacredStone )

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Red Lake to build affordable housing in Minneapolis
Friday, September 09 2016
 
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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red-lake-housing-minneapolis.jpgThe Red Lake Nation announced in mid-August that it will develop a former hardware warehouse site in south Minneapolis into a large housing and service complex on the east edge of the American Indian Cultural Corridor. This will expand both its tribal business ventures and services to its members and their descendants.

“We recognize there is an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis,” said Justin Beaulieu, chief executive officer of Ogaakaaning Enterprises, the tribally owned holding company and management firm for Red Lake businesses. “This is one of the properties we’ve been looking at so it’s not a one-time thing.”

Where this goes in years ahead is uncertain. It does, however, provide a textbook example of how community development strategies with multiple bottom line goals differ from single bottom line investment strategies usually associated with real estate developments and investments. The project will help diversity Red Lake’s portfolio of business holdings and at the same time it will provide affordable housing and services for away-from-home members of its community and their nearby neighbors.

The project needs to be sustainable while it addresses affordable housing problems, Beaulieu said. But, he added, “We don’t need to make a ton of money” while reaching out to provide a valuable service.

The planned housing development, preliminarily named “Mino-bimaadiziwin,” or “living the good life” in Ojibwe, will contain 115 large apartments for families in upper floors with retail and service space below that will likely include a health clinic and the Red Lake Urban Embassy that is now located in the Cultural Corridor.

Construction work is planned for 2018, the Red Lake Band said in its announcement. This follows the expansion of existing affordable housing in the American Indian Cultural Corridor scheduled to open this fall. It is a $10.5 million project by the American Indian Community Development Corp. (AICDC) and its nonprofit partner, Project for Pride in Living (PPL) that adds 32 such apartment units to the Anishinabe Bii Winn development at 1600 19th St. S. in Minneapolis.

Both housing and business and retail space are squeezed along Franklin Avenue and the Cultural Corridor. “You can’t find land anywhere along here to develop and create new businesses,” Michael Goze, chief executive officer at AICDC, said in a May edition of The Circle. “We replace, or recycle, retail space. We don’t create more.”

The Red Lake project addresses some of these spatial and demographic problems in and around the Cultural Corridor on the near south side of Minneapolis.

In the Red Lake Nation’s announcement, as reported in the Bemidji Pioneer (Aug. 16),  the 17,367 square-foot warehouse site selected for development was described as being 200 feet from the Franklin Station convenient to the Blue Line light rail system. Located at 17th Avenue South and Cedar Avenue, it is just east of where the squeezed American Indian Cultural Corridor begins. While adjacent, the development site is in Minneapolis’ Seward Neighborhood while the Corridor is in the city’s Phillips Neighborhood.

Beaulieu said the neighborhoods around the Cultural Corridor are desirable for people wanting access to cultural events and proximity to jobs and transit. The large, new Somali immigrant and refugee population, for instance, mostly lives nearby.
Securing housing and space for Native Americans and especially Red Lake members and descendants is important, tribal officials explained. Like most Native American tribes, Red Lake now has more members and their descendants living off reservations than on it. There are 5,590 members living on the reservation and 6,000 living outside. With non-enrolled descendants, the outside population is around 10,000 population.

Minneapolis is the largest urban population center for Red Lake members and descendants. “The Red Lake Band has developed a national reputation as a tribal housing leader, and we have long sought a way to extend our affordable housing efforts to our members who reside in Minneapolis,” said Samuel Strong, the Red Lake director of economic development, in the initial announcement.

The Minneapolis development is the first for the Band off the reservation. The Band’s economic development and planning department and the Red Lake Housing Authority have 12 affordable housing developments on the reservation.
“By providing a self-sustaining source of affordable housing for our people, Mino-bimaadiziwin will also generate revenue for the Band that we plan to reinvest on the reservation,” Strong said in the announcement. That further explains the balancing of multiple bottom lines for community development.

Separately, the Red Lake Band operates three Seven Clans Casino sites at Red Lake, Thief River Falls and Warroad. Ogaakaaning Enterprises, meanwhile, operates nine business ventures on the reservation. They include grocery stores, convenience stores, a construction company, propane and fuels companies, Red Lake Foods and Red Lake Farms that prepare Northern Minnesota Native foods, and Red Lake Fishery, which has harvested and sold walleye and other freshwater fish products since 1919.

All these ventures carry out what business professors, sociologists and others call multiple bottom line agendas. In its background section of its website, the tribal businesses note the Red Lake Nation Tribal Council adopted a Ho-Chunk Nation business model in 2011 that separated the business holding company from the tribal government organization.

This model, known as the “Total Approach” model, has proven successful and is the leading model throughout Indian Country, the Red Lake site claims.

Ho-Chunk Inc. operates more than 30 subsidiaries in a wide range of industries in 10 states and four foreign countries. It has more than 1,400 employees. Housing is the Ho-Chunk’s second largest business sector.

The nine Red Lake businesses have 217 employees, not counting casino and hospitality employment; and a customer base estimated at 10,000 people.

September Whats New in the Community
Friday, September 09 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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NACDI announces new All My Relations Gallery Director

nacdi-gallery-new-director.jpgThe President and CEO, Robert Lilligren, of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) announced the appointment of Rory Erler Wakemup as new Director for All My Relations Gallery.  Wakemup brings to the organization 20 years of experience in contemporary Native arts as a student, artist, and curator.
 

As the Youth Activities Coordinator for the Golden Eagle Program at the Minneapolis American Indian Center,  Rory introduced local youth to art activities and a wild rice camp at the White Earth Reservation. Wakemup, who received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2015, cofounded a successful visual arts gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Wakemup brings an artistic and gallery background to the All My Relations Arts program.

“I am excited and humbled by the NACDI team’s invitation to serve as the Director of All My Relations Arts.  As both a Native artist and a committed community member, I am thrilled to begin a role that allows me to work closely with the American Indian community in Minneapolis – one that I consider to be my home and people,” says Wakemup.
Wakemup started his work as AMRA Director on August 15.

Gov. Dayton Appoints AIOIC President to Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board

Governor Mark Dayton has appointed American Indian OIC’s president and CEO, Dr. Joe Hobot, to the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership board. The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership works with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities, and keep high-quality jobs in the state. The board is comprised of public, private, and educational leaders who are tasked with ensuring the ongoing stability and growth of the state’s economy and labor force- principally through the management of the Dislocated Worker program and the issuance of grants and other supportive measures.
 In his role as a member of the board, Dr. Hobot will ensure that underrepresented communities, particularly the American Indian community, remain a part of the conversations, planning, and resource allocations administered by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.

FDLTCC selected for Dept. of Ed Program

The U.S. Department of Education announced that the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College was selected to participate in the new Second Chance Pell pilot program. Featuring a renewed partnership between Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee, the college’s application was selected as one of only three Second Chance Pell pilot program sites in Minnesota. The Second Chance Pell program allows incarcerated individuals access to Pell Grants for college courses delivered online and in person. The college will serve an estimated 45 students each year who are incarcerated at the prison in Shakopee.

Pine Technical College and South Central College were the only other Minnesota colleges to receive Second Chance Pell program funding. Across the United States, selected colleges and universities will partner with 141 federal and state penal institutions to enroll approximately 12,000 incarcerated students in educational programs. Through the pilot program, colleges may provide federal Pell Grants to qualified students who are incarcerated and are likely to be released within five years of enrolling in college coursework.

The Second Chance Pell is an experiment started last year to test whether participation in high quality education programs increases after expanding access to financial aid for incarcerated individuals. The pilot program allows eligible incarcerated Americans to receive Pell Grants and pursue postsecondary education with the goal of helping them get jobs when they are released.

A 2013 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice found that incarcerated individuals who participated in correctional education were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who did not participate in any correctional education programs. The study also estimated that for every dollar invested in correctional education programs, four to five dollars are saved on three-year re-incarceration costs.

Indian Health Board wins Giebink Award

The Minneapolis Indian Health Board has been awarded the 2016 G. Scott Giebink Award for Excellence in Immunization. The organzation was nominated by Immulink, the Hennepin County-based organization that provides MIIC support to the 7 county metropolitan area. IHB was one of four nominees that was presented to the selection committee made up of MDH staff. The committee selected the organization because of their excellence in MIIC use and data interoperability. Some of the activities considered for the award were: First organization to have bi-directional MIIC data exchange, Excellent use of immunization assessment reports, Excellent data quality and MIIC participation and High immunization coverage for clinic population.

AIOIC Recognized for Its Work

The American Indian OIC (AIOIC) was recently recognized by the First Nations Development Institute, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition for its work helping Native Americans living in urban areas attain meaningful employment.
 The group partnered with AIOIC to help more individuals of Native descent break into technology careers. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, of the 34,000 “computer systems design and related services” workers in the state, only 180 or .5% identified as American Indian. AIOIC is working to change this by providing rigorous training for good-paying, in-demand technology jobs through its accredited career college, the Takoda Institute of Higher Education.

Dr. Rock among 100 Influential Minnesota Health Care Leaders

Dr. Patrick Rock, CEO of the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, has been named one of the “100 Influential Minnesota Health Care Leaders” based on nominations from the Minnesota Physician’s readers. Every four years, Minnesota Physician recognizes the 100 most influential health care leaders in Minnesota.


Missouri River threatened by DAPL
Friday, September 09 2016
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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dapl-protestors.jpgIt’s 2016, and the weight of American corporate interests has come to the Missouri River, the Mother River. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry, or the Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, it is Enbridge and Dakota Access Pipeline. In mid August, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II was arrested by state police, along with 27 others, for opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. In the meantime, North Dakota Governor Daplymyre called for more police support. Every major pipeline project in North America must cross Indigenous lands, Indian country. That is a problem.  

The road west of Fargo is rarely taken. In fact, most Americans just fly over North Dakota, never seeing it. Let me take you there.
 My head clears as I drive; my destination the homeland of the Hunkpapa Oceti, Standing Rock Reservation. It is early evening, the moon full. If you close your eyes you can remember the 50 million buffalo, the single largest migratory herd in the world. The pounding of their hooves would vibrate the Earth, and make the grass grow. There were once 250 species of grass. Today the buffalo are gone, replaced by 28 million cattle who require grain, water and hay. Many of the fields are now in a single GMO crop, full of so many pesticides that the monarch butterflies are being wiped out.

If you drive long enough you come to the Missouri River. Called Mnisose, a great swirling river by the Lakota, she is a force to be reckoned with. She is breathtaking.  

The Missouri River has a fixed place in the history and mythology of the Lakota and other Indigenous nations of the Northern Plains. In the time before Sitting Bull, the Missouri River was the epicenter of northern agriculture; the river bed so fertile, the territory was known as the fertile crescent of North America.

Now Enbridge and their partners are preparing to drill through the river bed. The pipeline has been permitted in sections from the west and from the east. The northern portion was moved away from the water supply of Bismarck, into the watershed of Standing Rock.  That’s unfortunate.

Measure twice, cut once: carpenters and Summit Academy students
Friday, September 09 2016
 
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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summit-academy.jpgNo one wants to hear the word “Oops” uttered at a construction site. And not at healthcare and medical facilities, either.
So printed on a wall above blackboards in a carpentry classroom at Summit Academy OIC in North Minneapolis is the carpenters’ proverb: “Measure twice and cut once.” That also sums up what the adult students are doing with their lives, said Steve Shedivy, director of marketing.

Literally, the old adage means carpenters and construction workers should double check their measurements before sawing lumber or putting building materials into place. Figuratively, for everyone else, it simply means to prepare thoroughly before taking action.

Summit Academy (SAIOC) offers 20-week job training programs that ready students for apprenticeships and internships in the construction trades or in healthcare and medical-related career positions.
The program offerings vary during the year, Shedivy said.

Within the construction fields, training programs include electrician, heavy equipment operator, concrete form carpenter, residential carpentry and pre-apprentice construction/carpentry.

Healthcare programs are for community health workers, certified nursing assistants, medical administrative assistants and pharmacy technicians.

Using Minnesota state government projections, the school notes that there will be $6 billion in construction projects in the Twin Cities metro area by 2018. Nationally, the aging population is driving 5.6 million new healthcare jobs within the next four years.
For many students wishing to prepare for expanding job opportunities, a lack of a high school diploma is a large barrier to success. SAOIC has started a unique 10-week GED certificate program to precede the training programs.

Native American students are a small but growing percentage of SAOIC enrollment, Shedivy said, but could increase with the GED preparation program. Roughly half of the Native American population in Minnesota left school before graduating, according to various federal and state studies.

It’s still too new to determine how the 10-week GED preparation, tutoring and help with a personal study program will affect SA enrollment. There are technical training programs at Minnesota community colleges geared to similar career paths, but accessing those programs is not easy for adults without high school diplomas who want to go back to school.

Meanwhile, the logic of nonprofit training programs for recognized real world jobs would seem to be patently obvious. That isn’t the case in most parts of America.

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