Circle News - Community News
Tuesday, May 05 2015
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Native Americans in Philanthropy presented its annual Tribal Philanthropy of the Year Award to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community during its 25th anniversary celebration on May 4 at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel.

“Since its gaming enterprise first saw success in the 1990s, the SMSC has been a major driver of tribal philanthropy across the country,” NAP's development and communications director Y. Elaine Rasmussen said. “The SMSC is the largest philanthropic giver in Indian Country, and this year demonstrated their leadership by establishing a national campaign to improve Native American nutrition. This campaign, and the tribe’s long giving tradition, is the embodiment of what NAP seeks to recognize every year.”

What's New In The Community: May 2015
Monday, May 04 2015
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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.

What's New In The Community: April 2015
Thursday, April 02 2015
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LEECH LAKE, Minn. – The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was awarded the $25,000 Greater Minnesota Housing Fund Grant for the its Homeless Shelter.

The Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee Tribal Council renovated a building to address the homeless crisis. The homeless shelter will have 30 beds available and one handicapped unit for those clients that qualify for the services of the shelter. It will also have a commercial kitchen, laundry facilities, around-the-clock administrative services, transportation and case management for clients.

The RBC Tribal Council has also secured funding from the Open Your Heart Foundation in the amount of $10,000 for a van and the Mardag Foundation is in the final process of determining if they will fund the shelter with a $18,000 grant. In addition, the tribal council will apply for funding through the Minnesota Office of Economic Opportunity Homeless Assistance Grants that will provide operational sustainability for the shelter.

The Greater Minnesota Housing Fund was launched in April 1996 in a joint effort of the McKnight Foundation and Blandin Foundation to address the urgent need for decent, affordable housing in greater Minnesota.


What's New In The Community: March 2015
Wednesday, March 11 2015
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Four tribal students win big at MN High School League Dance Tournament

students win big at mn high school dance-web.jpg

Left to right: Jordyn Spry, Jensen Spry (both Grand Portage Band), Clarissa Pederson (Lac Courte Oreilles) and Camryn Towle (Mille Lacs Band).

The Duluth Marshall Dance Team won first place at the 2015 Minnesota State High School League Dance Team Tournament in the Jazz Competition on Feb. 13 at Target Center.

The team dedicated time and energy to learning choreography, endurance training and cardio. The win is especially exciting, as this team has four tribal students who participated.


What's New In The Community: February 2015
Friday, February 06 2015
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MINNEAPOLIS – Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College are pleased to announce the fifth annual Ojibwe Immersion Academy to be held June 14-July 3, 2015 at the Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Cloquet, Minn.

The Ojibwe Immersion Academy is a rare opportunity for intermediate and advanced language learners to study one-on-one and in small groups with Ojibwe elders and faculty speakers for a three-week complete immersion experience.

For more information or another application packet, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with subject "Application Request.” All applications are due before 4 p.m. March 24.



RAPID CITY, S.D. – Rural America Initiatives is $500,000 closer to attaining a new Head Start building, thanks to a $250,000 matching grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

In December 2013 the SMSC committed a quarter of a million dollar grant dependent on RAI raising matching funds and in December 2014, after a $100,000 donation from an anonymous donor, RAI met that goal.

“We will always be grateful to the Shakopee Tribe. They recognized early on the benefit this facility would be to our people and they stepped up to help. It was their gift that raised awareness in our community, generated additional support, and allowed us to launch our campaign,” said Bruce Long Fox, Executive Director of Rural America Initiatives.

In addition to an anonymous donor, the following companies are among the individuals and businesses that helped RAI meet its matching goal: Black Hills Corp/Black Hills Power; Jim Scull of J. Scull Construction; First Interstate Bank; US Bank; SD Community Foundation; Beverly M./Lloyd W. Paulson Charitable Gift Fund; and Casey Peterson and Associates
Using these funds as momentum, RAI, a long-standing nonprofit organization serving Native American families in Rapid City, plans to raise an additional $6 million to build a new Head Start/Community Center building. Its current buildings, originally meant to be temporary, have exceeded their intended lifespan by a dozen years and are fully depreciated. The new building is expected to serve 150 children and their families each year, helping children below poverty level gain the skills they need to be ready to learn on par with their peers when they enter kindergarten.

Rural America Initiatives seeks to create community change by role modeling positive, healthy, alcohol and drug free lifestyles incorporating Lakota/Dakota values. Family and children taught by the organization will have a lasting impact on future generations. RAI seeks to strengthen individuals, families and the Native community in Rapid City.

RAI is the largest, non-profit, continuously operating Native American organization in Rapid City. Founded in 1986 to partner with Native American families to strengthen the development of healthy, sober, self-sufficient lifestyles, it has been the service provider for the most at-risk Rapid City families for close to 30 years.

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