Local Briefs
France delegation promotes Native products
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by Jon Lurie,
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france delegation promotes native products-web.jpgThe idea of becoming a Native American trade ambassador came to Diane Gorney during one of her recent excursions to France. “Walking down the streets in Paris people kept coming up and offering to buy the jewelry right off of me,” says the Minneapolis resident and White Earth descendant.

Gorney refused to sell the stunning beaded earrings, necklaces and bracelets she had purchased from Ojibwe artists back home. From those interactions, however, she came to understand the appetite French people have for all things Native American. In their hunger Gorney saw an opportunity to help her Ojibwe people. She investigated the availability of American Indian items such as traditional art and jewelry, and hand-harvested Minnesota wild rice.

The “Native American art” Gorney found in Parisian shops was of poor quality and manufactured in China. Gorney’s search for wild rice led her across the French capital. French cookbooks and menus frequently reference an ingredient called “riz sauvage (translation: wild rice),” so Gorney was mystified when she couldn’t find it in stores. Finally, at an obscure kosher market, Gorney ran across riz sauvage, but found the product nothing like the natural cereal grain which flourishes upon Minnesota’s northern waters.

The graphic on the packaging of France’s leading brand of riz sauvage, Tilda Giant Wild Rice, lends the impression the black rice is harvested by Native Americans. Its box cover contains an image of two American Indians poling a birch bark canoe through a wild rice bed. But a closer look reveals the truth: the product marketed in France as Native American wild rice is actually Indonesian, paddy-cultivated, black basmati rice, packaged and distributed by a Britain-based food brand selling in over 50 countries.

Gorney, a former art teacher, soon returned to Paris with a suitcase full of White Earth wild rice. She handed out one-pound bags to chefs and others whom she hoped would spread the word about the nutritious, delicious and sacred grain. “I wanted them to share, but people loved it so much they kept it for themselves. So my efforts were dead on arrival.”

Education and tribal administrator named to multi-state development post
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by Lee Egerstrom,
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c. kay-web.jpgAn experienced tribal and education administrator from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been named the new executive director of the three-state Common Enterprise Development Corporation based at Mandan, N.D.

Cheryl Ann Kary (Hunkuotawin) succeeds long-time North Dakota public and private economic development leader Bill Patrie, nationally known for helping start several value-added agricultural businesses and services firms in North Dakota that involved several Indian organizations.

Patrie will remain working at the nonprofit consultancy during a transition period.

“I wouldn’t say I want to be a bridge between Indians and non-Indians,” she said in an interview. “I look at my new role as a resource link for people wanting to do things.”

Kary previously worked with adult education, student recruitment, public relations, and as vice president for community development at Sitting Bull College at Fort Yates. She was executive director of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe for two years. She also served as curriculum development director and trainer at the Native American Training Institute, and research director of United Tribes Technical College, both in Bismarck

She echoes views of Patrie, the executive director since it’s founding in 2009. Both say persistent poverty and health problems on reservations and in other communities aren’t a “people failure,” but rather a “systems failure.”

Farm poverty has at least been partly overcome by “system change,” Patrie said, whereby farm families now keep more of the value of their production at home and working in their state and local economies. Over the years, he helped create more than 30 such cooperatives including the Fort Berthold Agricultural Cooperative at New Town and the Twin Buttes Land Owners Energy Cooperative at Twin Buttes.

Common Enterprise, or CEDC, is a nonprofit consultancy providing technical assistance to start-up enterprises mutually or cooperatively owned on and off reservations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. Tribally-owned enterprises are by definition membership-owned and thus sibling organizations with agricultural and food co-ops, mutual insurance and finance companies, credit unions and other forms of community enterprises owned and operated for the common good by members.

At CEDC, Patrie worked with local groups involving North Dakota reservations, 11 North Dakota counties, and others on developing a cooperative health care system; various community development projects; with North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba agricultural groups in developing value-added processing enterprises; and on rural and reservation housing projects.

Prior to starting CEDC, Patrie served 16 years as rural development director for the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. He later was director of cooperative business strategies for the multi-state Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund and Foundation. CEDC is a spin-off development consultancy still linked with Northcountry.

The Sioux Chef opening highly anticipated food truck
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by Alfred Walking Bull,
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tatanka_truck-web.jpgThe city of Minneapolis is anxiously anticipating the opening of The Sioux Chef’s first venue: Tatanka Truck.

Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota) made waves over the last year by introducing his unique approach to Indigenous cuisine. Born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, he attended college at Black Hills State University. Part of his drive to create an Indigenous cuisine, free of processed sugars, dairy or flour, came from just being a chef in Minneapolis since the early 2000s,

“I had been cooking since I was 13 in the Black Hills, in tourist restaurants. And I thought It was silly that there was no Native restaurants,” Sherman said. “There were fusion recipes like buffalo burgers, wild rice risotto and pumpkin cake,” but nothing truly spoke to traditional Native food.

Sherman’s approach has also been respectful of the regional culture of the Ojibwe and Dakota people and will be reflected in the offerings of Tatanka Truck. “I’ve been surrounding myself with awesome foods and learned how people were preserving things. I learned about the ancestral food cache. For us around here, there’s lots of wild rice, corn products and all the produce that people were growing in the region. The meats are easy. We’re serving bison, turkey, duck, walleye, smoked lake fish and on occasion, rabbit.”

National Briefs: May 2015
Monday, May 04 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – President Barack Obama reached out to Native youth on April 25, inviting them the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering this summer.

In a video message delivered to the 32rd annual Gathering of Nations powwow in New Mexico, Obama said he was inspired by the youth he and First Lady Michelle Obama met during their visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in June 2014. The historic trip was his first to Indian Country as president.

"Their resilience, pride and optimism in the face of incredible obstacles moved us deeply," Obama said of the youth from the reservation, whom he later invited to Washington, D.C., in November. "I know that many Native youth share the same experiences."

Obama is hoping that same spirit will return to the nation's capital on July 9, when his administration hosts the inaugural Native youth event. He urged powwow participants to join Generation Indigenous and engage their communities through the Youth Challenge. Applications are due May 8 so Native youth only have two more weeks to complete the challenge. The conference is open to Native youth ages 14-24 from "rural or urban communities," the White House said.

The goal is to select some 800 Native youth to attend the gathering, whose theme is "Two Worlds, One Future: Defining Our Own Success." The event will be held at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel.

The youth will meet with administration officials and the White House Council on Native American Affairs, an inter-agency body chaired by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Additional details will be shared as the event approaches, so it's likely the conference will also include a visit to the White House by some participants.

Although Obama wasn't at the powwow, two representatives of the White House were there – Raina Thiele, who is Alaska Native, and Jodi Gillette, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Thiele works in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Gillette serves as the president's senior advisor for Native American Affairs.

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.

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