Circle News - Community News
December What's New
Wednesday, December 06 2017
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FDLTCC wins marketing and communications award

whatsnewvideo.jpgThe Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet,  Minn. was honored with a Bronze Medallion award for excellence in public relations, marketing, and communication in the 2017 National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 5 Medallion Awards competition.

The Bronze Medallion of Excellence award in the College Promotional Brand Video category recognized the college’s video about the First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician courses offered at the college.

The video features Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College students and faculty talking about advantages of the courses and shows students in hands-on situations practicing emergency first responder techniques.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Public Information Director Tom Urbanski worked with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College graduate Chris Brown of Cloquet to create, plan, film, and edit the award-winning video into its final form. Brown has worked on about 25 recent video projects for the college, helping build a collection of promotional videos across a range of programs and topics.

The regional Medallion Awards recognize outstanding achievement in marketing communication at community and technical colleges in NCMPR District 5, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, the Canadian province of Manitoba, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. It is the only competition of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and public relations professionals at two-year colleges.

There were over 300 entries submitted across 31 categories in the 2017 NCMPR District 5 Medallion Awards competition. The video categories are some of the most competitive categories and receive the largest number of entries each year.

The Bronze Medallion of Excellence award-winning video can be seen at:


Blackwell receives leadership Award from Minnesota State

whatsnewblackwell.jpgBill Blackwell, Jr., the executive director of Bemidji State University’s American Indian Resource Center, received the Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award from the Minnesota State colleges and university’s Academic and Student Affairs division.

Blackwell (Grand Portage Ojibwe) was named AIRC executive director in June 2015. He has helped develop programming and support servicers that have impacted BSU’s retention rates for American Indian students, which has increased to nearly 84 percent.

Under his leadership, BSU has developed a series of dual-enrollment agreements with Fond du Lac, Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth tribal colleges, granting students at those colleges automatic admission into BSU after meeting certain requirements.


November What's New in the Community
Tuesday, November 07 2017
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Dream Big Campaign awarded

dreambigweb.jpgIn October, the members of the Dream Big Campaign received an award from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office as part of the office’s 17th Annual Community Leadership Awards Program.

The Dream Big Campaign works to improve school attendance by Native American children. Dr. Tim Zuel, program manager for the county attorney’s be@school truancy program, said in his introduction that one of the keys to its success is that when a child has 10 or more days of unexcused absences, there are weekly attendance review meetings with the child and parents. Besides people from the be@school program there is one other critical person.

“A Native American Elder participates in all meetings and, using traditional rituals, explains to the student the importance of attending school,” Zuel said. “These meetings, which have high attendance, have been beneficial in connecting young students to their history and community and preventing court involvement in truancy cases.”

Elaine Salinas, executive director of MIGIZI Communications, said the Dream Big Campaign arose from brainstorming sessions from a group of people in the Indian community who meet every two weeks as the Phillips Indian Educators.

“The Dream Big Campaign has been going on for about eight years and every year the number of children we have been recognizing and celebrating for their attendance has increased,” Salinas said on behalf of those receiving the award. “This past May, we had 400 young children who received recognition for attending 95 percent or more of the time. So we are moving the bar.”

Besides Salinas, those honored included Louise Matson of the Division of Indian Work; Braden Canfield, Christine Wilson and Anna Ross of Minneapolis Public Schools; Mika Barrett of Anishinabe Academy, and Joe Beaulieu and Maurissa Bigjohn of Little Earth.


Bonnie Wallace receives Honorary Doctorate

boniiewallaceweb.jpg(By Deborah Locke) Bonnie Wallace, Fond du Lac Reservation Band member, received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from the Minnesota State Colleges and University System in May. She is shown here with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College President Larry Anderson who presented the degree at the college commencement.

Bonnie was recognized for her 43-year career in higher education as an advocate for American Indian students. She founded and served as director of the American Indian student support program at Augsburg College, and then served as Fond du Lac Band scholarship director until her retirement in 2012.


Leech Lake receives grant for Onigum Center

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has received a grant that will be used to build a new community center. The $250,000 grant, awarded by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, will help fund the construction of a new center in Onigum, Minn. Onigum is about 35 miles south of Cass Lake.

“It’s been a long road and we’re very happy that we have finally reached this point. Our outlying communities feel like they have been neglected over the years and it is a great feeling to bring this new gathering space to our band members,” said Faron Jackson Sr, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe chairman, in a press release.

The center will include an indoor basketball court and locker rooms, saunas, a kitchen, clinic, office space and elder space, as well as classroom space.


Oct What's New in the Community
Friday, October 06 2017
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 art.jpgFirst public Indigenous mural goes up in Duluth

On September 23rd, the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) unveiled Duluth’s first public Indigenous mural. The mural, which has not been given a name yet, is on the new Dr. Robert Powless Community Center in downtown Duluth. Created by Votan Ik (Mayan/Aztec), with apprentices Derek Brown and Leah Marie, it was completed in collaboration with the Native environmental-advocacy organization Honor the Earth, and help from more than 40 community members.

The mostly red and black mural displays a traditional jingle dress dancer – a dance known for its connections to health and healing. According to the artist, “America suffers from historical amnesia” where “the original inhabitants of this paradise still suffer the after effects of colonialism.”

Ik has created mural art for the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Little Earth of United Tribes. The mural was made possible by Honor the Earth, Clearway MN, Fond du Lac and SHIP.


Famous Dave induced into Barecue Hall of Fame

famous_dave_photo.jpgFamous Dave Anderson was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame® at the American Royal in September. The award is BBQ’s highest honor.

“To be inducted into the hallowed shrines of BBQ at the American Royal is the pinnacle. This is what any pitmaster dreams of. But it isn’t about me. It’s always about making other people happy with my BBQ,” said Anderson in a press release.

Famous Dave (Ojibwe) started his BBQ business in 1996 when he opened the first  Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack in Hayward, WI. In September 1996, Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues opened in Minneapolis, one of his many BBQ shacks through out the country. He has published several cook books, won the SMOKED Champion in the Discovery Channel/Destination America TV Series, won Oprah’s Angel Network Award for leadership developments work with at-risk Native American youth, and his cookbook Rib-O’Licious proceeds help disadvantaged Native American youth. He has won numerous others awards for his food and his dedication to helping the Native American community.


Ninth Cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders selected

The Native Governance Center and the Bush Foundation have selected awardees for the ninth cohort of the Native Nation Rebuilders Program. Rebuilders consist of emerging and existing Native leaders looking to build leadership skills and nation building knowledge. With this newest cohort, 165 Native leaders call themselves Rebuilders.

The Rebuilders will convene for four structured sessions during which they will also develop action plans to share knowledge with peers and their respective Tribal governments. The sessions involve partner organizations and individuals with expertise in nation building, organizing, and issues specific to Indian Country. The new cohorts are listed below by tribe.

Cheyenne River Sioux; Jesse Abernathy and Alissa Benoist. Fond du Lac Band; Elizabeth Jaakola. Leech Lake Ojibwe; Levi Brown. Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation; Cesareo Alvarez, Margaret Landin, Sterling Reed, and Cory Spotted Bear. Mille Lacs Ojibwe; Katie Draper and Bradley Harrington. Oglala Sioux; Darrell Brown Bull, Paulina Fast Wolf, Tamatane I’atala and Peri Pourier. Red Lake Ojibwe; Harvey Roy. Rosebud Sioux Tribe; Lauri Bordeaux, Brian Dillon, Florence Duran, Cante Heart and Tori Whipple. Spirit Lake Sioux; Melissa Brady. Standing Rock Sioux; Caleb Dogeagle. Turtle Mountain Ojibwe;  Jamie Azure and Jona Peltier. Yankton Sioux; Valeriah Big Eagle.

The next round of applications for the tenth cohort of Rebuilders will be announced in the summer of 2018. For info, see: .


First Nations Development Institute Awards $410,000 to Support 22 Native Youth Programs

The First Nations Development Institute announced the selection of 22 American Indian organizations and tribes to receive grants through its Native Youth and Culture Fund for the 2017-18 funding cycle. The grants total $410,000. To date this fund has awarded 351 grants to Native youth programs throughout the U.S., totaling $5.96 million.

Local awardees are:

• Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Odanah, Wisconsin, $18,200 – “Weshki Niigaaniijig-Young Leaders” serves tribal youth, ages 13-18, in developing leadership and role-modeling skills through projects focused on traditional Anishinaabe harvesting activities. The youth will teach cultural harvesting practices to other youth in four communities, thereby encouraging development of positive cultural role models.

• Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, Minnesota, $20,000 – The “Heritage, Culture and Traditions - Uniting Youth and Elders” pilot project will bring youth ages 14 to 24 and tribal elders together to plan, implement and evaluate a cultural learning center program for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. This initiative will establish the foundation, tools and community investment required to develop a sustainable program and permanent site for future generations.

For more information, visit .


September What's New in the Community
Thursday, September 14 2017
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Dr.  Arne Vainio named Physician of the Year
arnevainio.jpgDr. Arne Vainio, M.D. (Mille Lacs Ojibwe) was named Physician of the Year by the Association of American Indian Physicians at its 46th annual conference on July 28 in Shawnee, Okla.
Vainio completed his undergraduate studies in 1990 at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and graduated in 1994 from University of Minnesota Medical School – Duluth. He completed his Family Practice Residency Program at the Seattle Indian Health Board and Providence Hospital in Seattle, Wash. in 1997.  
He has been a family-practice physician at the Min-No-Aya-Win Human Services Clinic on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Reservation in Cloquet, Minn., since September 1997. He also is employed as a preceptor at the Duluth Family Practice Center and volunteers as a preceptor for the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth Campus. He is a member of the Association of American Family Physicians and the Association of American Indian Physicians.
He is also a columnist for News From Indian Country and Vainio is also dedicated to working with the youth, creating the “Mad Doctor Science Project” to inspire young Native Americans to take up careers in health and science.

Yazzie wins Sally Ordway Irvine Award
Twin Cities playwright, director and theater founder Rhiana Yazzie (Navajo) has won the Sally Ordway Irvine Award, which honors “individuals and institutions that… enrich the state through their commitment to the arts.” Yazzie was awarded the Vision Award, one of five awards given by the Sally Award.
Yazzie is a Playwrights’ Center McKnight Fellow, a two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow and was a Playwrights’ Center Core Member for three years. Yazzie created New Native Theatre in 2009, a company based in the Twin Cities, as a place to showcase Native acting and stories. Yazzie is also shooting her first feature film, called A Winter Love.
The awards are presented annually to honor individuals and organizations that strengthen and enrich Minnesota with their commitment to the arts, arts education and arts access. The Sallys will be presented Oct. 16 at the Ordway Center.

Eagle Heart wins American Express NGen Leadership Award
Sarah Eagle Heart (Oglala Lakota), CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy, is the recipient of the 2017 American Express NGen Leadership Award in recognition of her advocacy for tribal communities and the role philanthropy plays in narrative change, advocacy, education, healing, and representation for Indigenous communities.
The Award honors accomplished charitable community leaders under the age of 40, demonstrating significant impact in addressing society’s critical needs in their fields.
She joined Native Americans in Philanthropy as CEO in 2015 and has strengthened the organization’s mission and helped elevate its position in the sector.  Eagle Heart will receive the award on October 25-27 in Detroit, Mich.

LaDuke Wins Spendlove Prize
The UC Merced committee has selected Winona LaDuke (White Earth Oijbwe) as the 11th recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. “UC Merced is pleased to recognize Ms. LaDuke, especially for her outstanding activism toward social justice for Native Americans and their sacred lands, cultures and heritage,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said.  
A Harvard University graduate, LaDuke is an educator, economist, environmentalist and writer. LaDuke is also known as a leader on the issues of cultural-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy, and sustainable food systems. She is the author of numerous books. Ceremonies will be held Nov. 13 on the UC Merced campus.

Kehaulani Esch named NICWA’s 2017 Member of the Year
Jill Kehaulani Esch was named the 2017 NICWA Member of The Year, which honors and recognizes an individual or organizational member of NICWA who has demonstrated outstanding service, contributions, and leadership in their profession, as well as involvement as a member of NICWA.
Esch has been involved with promoting her Native Hawaiian culture. After moving to Minnesota nearly two decades ago, she became part of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association as a member, board member, and secretary, as well as fundraising for their Native law scholarships.

Crooks-Stratton and Roberson named 40 Under 40 winners
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) has announced its 2017 class of “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipients. The award is given to individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and their community.
Two of the award winners are from the Twin Cities area. Rebecca Crooks-Stratton (Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux) is Program Director at the Native Governance Center in Prior Lake, MN. Matthew Roberson (Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) is Executive Director at the Department of Athletic Regulation for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Pine City, MN.
Award winners will be honored during the Northwest Enterprise Development Conference at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Tulalip, WA on September 6th.

Indian Health Board offers 2 Spirit Group
The Indian Health Board Counseling and Support will be hosting a LGBT (QIAP) group for Natives called “2 Spirit Group.” It is a place where people who identify across the spectrum of gender or sexual orientation can come for support and discussion in a talking circle format. The group will meet once a week, beginning in mid-September on the 3rd floor of the Indian Health Board.
People who have never been seen at the Indian Health Board for medical or mental health services will need to schedule an intake appointment with a counselor at the Indian Health Board Counseling and Support so they can open a chart for their paperwork. If people are interested, they can call Luz Angelica Salinas at 612-721-9877. The Indian Health Board is located at 1315 East 24th Street in Minneapolis.

August What's New in the Community
Tuesday, August 08 2017
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Dream of Wild Health awarded grant for Teaching Kitchen

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund has awarded Dream of Wild Health, a 10-acre organic farm in Hugo, a $50,000 grant to implement a Teaching Kitchen. The kitchen will allow the farm to offer new programs centered on reconnecting Native American youth and families with Indigenous plants’ culinary, spiritual and medicinal uses. Dream of Wild Health will offer training and certifications on sustainable, healthy food preparation and farming. The kitchen also supports its mission to address issues related to systemic poverty and disease and promote positive economic and self-sufficient food preparation and sourcing options for Native American families.  

The grant is part of the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program, which is made possible each year by a $1 million contribution courtesy of the NFL Foundation and is complemented by the Super Bowl Host Committee.

Dream of Wild Health is a Native-led nonprofit that has owned and operated the 10-acre organic farm since 2005, in addition to providing community-based educational programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul from the urban office.

MDA grants help increase healthy food access

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) awarded more than $165,000 in grants to ten food hub projects that will help Minnesotans gain access to locally grown and raised foods. The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Food Hub Grants were awarded to food hubs and other alternative community-based food distribution businesses throughout the state of Minnesota.

Awardees will use AGRI Food Hub Grant funds to develop their business plans, conduct feasibility studies, or create marketing plans; other projects will use funds to purchase equipment, or make physical improvements to their businesses that will allow them to purchase, process and distribute more Minnesota agricultural products.

Two Native organizations that were awarded the AGRI Food Hub Grant funds include the Waite House Community Center in Minneapolis, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Cass Lake. For more information about the MDA’s AGRI Program, see: .

White Earth receives $100,000 Legacy funding for new skate park

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund awarded the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council a $100,000 grant to build the reservation’s first skate park. The goal of the state park is to improve the long-term health of children and families on the reservation by providing a place for outdoor recreation in a community with few nearby parks and resources. The new skate park will be located next to Pine Point School’s playground.

Target donated 100 skateboards. Additional ones were purchased by the White Earth Boys and Girls Club and the White Earth Tribal Police Department,

The White Earth Reservation Tribal Council will collaborate with the local Boys and Girls Club and other project partners to teach kids proper skating, biking and blading techniques. The skate park will be designed with traditional Native American culture and art to reflect the local community’s Anishinaabeg heritage.

Blandin Foundation awards $4.4 million in grants

The Blandin Foundation trustees have awarded grants totaling nearly $4.4 million. Following is a list of Native American organizations that received grants:  
• Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, $500: Donation in support of youth activities at Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school in rural Minnesota.
• Dakota Wicohan, $2,500: Project support for a master-apprentice art program as part of the Blandin Leadership Grants Program in rural Minnesota.
• Family Safety Network of Cass County Inc, $500: Donation for a symposium called “One Load at a Time” focusing on raising awareness and combating sex trafficking and sexual violence on the Leech Lake Reservation in rural Minnesota.
• White Earth Tribal Council, $25,000: Project support for the White Earth Broadband Initiative as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.

For more info on the Blandin Foundation, see: .

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