What's New in The Community

Whats New In The Community For October
Friday, October 02 2015
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Native Americans in Philanthropy Announces New CEO
nap_new_ceo.jpgSarah Eagle Heart joined Native Americans in Philanthropy as its new Chief Executive Officer on September 2, 2015. “I am humbled and honored to be selected as the new CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy,” said Eagle Heart.
Founded in 1990, Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) strives to power reciprocity and investment in Native communities. Eagle Heart’s experience working at small nonprofit organizations and corporate tribal organizations, as well as large international non-governmental organizations has built upon her knowledge to understand the essential need for communication, education, mutual respect, collaboration, and advocacy.
Eagle Heart is an accomplished non-profit executive, having worked as Team Leader for Diversity and Ethnic Ministries and Program Officer for Indigenous Ministry at The Episcopal Church, New York, NY. Under her leadership, The Episcopal Church became the first major denomination to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery focusing programmatic education and advocacy on accurate history education, cultural teachings, healing and asset based community development. She has excelled at activating key leaders from grassroots to corporate level through capacity building – skills she plans on bringing to her new role at NAP.
Eagle Heart holds an Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, San Diego, CA; a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communications, and a Bachelors of Arts in American Indian Studies from Black Hills State University, Spearfish, SD. She is a 2014 recipient of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s “40 under 40 Award”. She is enrolled at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

New Native Theatre Celebrates Non-Profit Status
New Native Theatre’s founder and artistic director, playwright, Rhiana Yazzie, announced that the company is now a non-profit organization. New Native Theatre’s presence in the sea of over 100 theatre companies in the Twin Cities is an opportunity for more Native artists to see their ideas come to life on stage.
New Native Theatre is celebrating its new status with a review of the six years they’ve been producing plays and events. It will feature excerpts from The Dreaming Bundle (2010), 2012: The Musical! (2012), Native-Somali Friendship Play (2013), and Native Man the Musical (2015) among other events that have happened in New Native Theatre’s last six  years. The 2010 and 2011 winners of Franklin Avenue Indian Idol will return along with the New Native Theatre Actor Ensemble and surprise guest appearances.
The celebration will take place at October 30, starting at 7:30pm at the Bedlam Lowertown, 213 4th Street East, Saint Paul, MN. Ticket price $20. No one turned away. For more info, see: at

First Nations Development Institute Awards $165,000 in Grants
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has awarded four grants to Native nonprofit organizations and two grants to tribes through its Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative (NACBI). The initiative is part of a three-year project targeting Native nonprofits and tribal government programs serving the field of Native arts and artists in the four-state region of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The 2015 NACBI grantees are:
• American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), Duluth, Minnesota, $30,000 – The Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin Artist/Community Collaboration will be a year-long art-making and artist-development project for Native American artists primarily from the Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, White Earth, Mille Lacs, Leech Lake Bands and Red Lake Nation.
• Dakota Wicohan, Morton, Minnesota, $30,000 – Dakota Wicohan will use the grant for its Tawokaga Program to create opportunities to develop artists and for artists to make art. Dakota Wicohan will also focus on strengthening its organizational capacity to support the artists to be able to better sustain the artists and the arts while also expanding the visibility of and supporting the network for Dakota arts in rural Minnesota.
• Lower Sioux Indian Community, Morton, Minnesota, $30,000 – This project will help revitalize the Native American artists who have been teaching, preserving and showcasing art in the mediums of pottery, quilting/sewing, woodwork/sculpting, beading, leather work, painting/drawing, and quillwork. The Lower Sioux Agency Historic Site will be the hub station for artists to showcase their art, market their products and provide educational workshops to the Lower Sioux Tribal Community members and other Natives in the area.
• Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake, Minnesota, $30,000 – The Red Lake Native Arts Program serves predominantly adult artists and emerging youth artists living on and or near the remote Red Lake Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. The grant will provide a wraparound approach from developing the artist’s personal/business foundation to providing access to expanded markets and the necessary tools for success.
•Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF), Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, $15,000 – The Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF) will utilize the grant to expand its capacity as a Native nonprofit. LEAF will plan and implement a board retreat for a planning, growth and expansion project, which will serve the LEAF Board of Directors and the Native artists (predominantly Ho-Chunk and other Great Lakes-area tribes) that benefit from LEAF's programs.
• Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association, Belcourt, North Dakota, $30,000 – The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians has experienced a loss of art forms that were essential to its heritage and culture. Creating an authentic Native American artwork project will assist in redeveloping the lost arts. The Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association has created an art project, the Artistic Renewal and Preservation Project, consisting of three component: beadwork, red willow basket creation, and dance regalia, focusing on the traditional styles of the ancestors.

SMSC and MAZON partner with U of Arkansas School of Law
A landmark project to enhance tribal food sovereignty was unveiled as the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger announced their collaboration with the University of Arkansas School of Law as part of the tribe’s Seeds of Native Health initiative.
 Due to a long history of limited access to nutritious food, Native Americans suffer with obesity, diabetes, and other nutritional health problems at disproportionate rates compared to other ethnic groups. In an effort to create and sustain lasting policies and programs that will overcome these challenges, the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the School of Law will lead the development of a long-needed, comprehensive set of model food and agriculture codes to be customized and adopted by tribal nations.
The project will be led by Janie Simms Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and former U.S. Department of Agriculture senior adviser for tribal relations.
The SMSC’s leading gift of $250,000 through its Seeds of Native Health campaign and MAZON’s gift of $50,000 through its Rural and Remote Initiative will support the first phase of an anticipated three-year project.
For more info about Seeds of Native Health, see:
Sept What's New in The Community
Friday, September 04 2015
Written by Catherine,
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Jolly named to lead Minnesota Philanthropy Partners
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Philanthropy Partners welcomed Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D. as its new president and chief executive officer on Aug. 3. Jolly succeeds Carleen K. Rhodes, who led the organization for a dozen years and retired in June. “I love that community foundations collect the dreams of many people toward a shared goal,” he said of the role philanthropy plays in civic life. He fell in love with Minnesota and Saint Paul, because among other things, “the state has the largest amount of personal time in volunteerism in the nation and the greatest amount of personal philanthropy.”

Jolly arrives at MN Partners after 11 years as president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota. He has a doctorate in psychology and also served in academic-leadership roles. He is chair of the National Academies of Science, a widely published author and has served as a columnist for several publications.

“Dr. Jolly’s range of experience in organizational and philanthropic leadership, as well as in education and community engagement, stood out among the candidates for this leadership position,” said Mary Brainerd, MN Partners board chair and president and CEO of HealthPartners. “The board and staff are eager to see how he envisions our work in new ways.”

Jolly will oversee the implementation of the Strategic Framework adopted by MN Partners this year, as well as its Racial Equity Framework, which focuses on advancing racial equity in the state through achieving specific goals such as closing the achievement gap in education between minority and white students.

MN Partners includes The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation and 2,000 other charitable organizations and donor funds that are committed to solving complex community issues by strategically investing funds entrusted to the Foundations. Together, the Foundations and donors made $74 million in grants to nonprofits, projects and initiatives in the East Metro and across Minnesota in 2014. Learn more at


SMSC appoints conservation officers to enforce game laws on reservation
PRIOR LAKE, Minn. – On Aug. 18, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) signed a joint powers agreement with Scott County, Shakopee and Prior Lake to enforce conservation laws on tribal land.
The agreement follows a joint powers agreement signed in July with the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The SMSC’s three conservation officers are licensed by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officers Standards and Training.

Through the joint powers agreements, the SMSC’s conservation officers are licensed and recognized by the State of Minnesota. Similar to state conservation officers, their main role is to educate people about conservation laws and cite violators. They are authorized to cite SMSC members and members of the general public for hunting and fishing violations on SMSC fee and trust land, such as trespassing on non-hunting lands, baiting deer, and violating possession limits. To hunt on SMSC lands, a person must hold a license issued by the Mdewakanton Conservation and Enforcement Agency.

The conservation officers’ work is independent from criminal law enforcement, which will continue to be performed by the Scott County Sheriff’s Department and the Prior Lake and Shakopee police departments. The agreement signed yesterday authorizes the SMSC’s conservation officers to respond in a support role when local law enforcement agencies need assistance with emergency situations such as domestic complaints or vehicle accidents.


SMSC Wacipi Winners 2015 announced
PRIOR LAKE, Minn. – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi Committee released the results of its annual powwow contest winners on Aug. 20.

JUNIOR GIRL'S (Ages 6-12) Traditional: Shundiiwan White Horse (first place); Sparrow Little Sky (second place); Tylyn Thurman (third place). Jingle: Yanabeth White Horse (first place); Alice Brown Otter (second place); Sarai Tso (third place). Fancy: Wakinyela Clairmont (first place); Micayla Silas (second place); Alva Snow (third place).

TEEN GIRL'S (13-17) Traditional: Nichole Nordwall (first place); Taylor Clairmont (second place); Elyza Robertson (third place).
Jingle: Waskewane Stonefish (first place); Dajia Shinos (second place); Hokian-Win McCloud (third place).  Fancy: Malia Jacobs (first place); Oke-Tis She Roberts (second place); Hozhoni White Cloud (third place).

JUNIOR BOY'S (6-12) Traditional: Jonah Jackson (first place); Terry Brown Otter (second place); Elijah Leonard, Jr. (third place). Grass: Chaske Jacobs (first place); Deo TopSky (second place); Wakinyan Fiddler (third place). Fancy: Buster Cleveland (first place); Silas White Buffalo (second place); Jaymison Hill (third place).

TEEN BOY'S (13-17) Traditional: Triston Lasley (first place); Talon White Eye (second place); Donovan Haury (third place). Grass: Therien Paskemin (first place); Gavin White Eye (second place); CJ Lasley (third place). Fancy: Delano Cleveland (first place); Parker Bearstail  (second place); Tyler Thurman (third place).

WOMEN'S GOLDEN AGE(55+) Traditional/Southern Buckskin: Bev Larvie-Medhaug (first place); Carmen Clairmont (second place); Linda Standing (third place). Fancy/Jingle: Irene Oakes (first place); Dianne Desrosiers (second place); Annamae Pushetonequa (third place).

MEN'S GOLDEN AGE (55+) Traditional/Southern Straight: Terry Fiddler (first place); Charles Hindsley (second place); Jim Red Eagle (third place). Fancy/Grass: Daryl Bearstail (first place); Wayne Pushetonequa (second place); Albert King, Sr. (third place).

JUNIOR WOMEN'S (18-34) Traditional: Alva Fiddler (first place); Arianna Green Crow (second place); Tara Whitehorse (third place). Southern Cloth/Buckskin: Charish Toehay (first place); DaLynn Alley (second place); Amanda Harris (third place). Jingle: Tonia-Jo Hall (first place); Mallary Oakes (second place); Shaina Snyder (third place). Fancy: Tanksi Clairmont (first place); Laryn Oakes (second place); Jocy Bird (third place).            

JUNIOR MEN'S (18-34) Traditional: Eli Snow (first place); Zane Tacan (second place); Wendall Powless (third place). Southern Straight: Lewis Perkins (first place); Denny Medicine Bird (second place); Audie Todome (third place). Grass: Trae Little Sky (first place); Bryson Rabbitt Many Horses (second place); Julius Not Afraid (third place). Chicken: Nelson Baker (first place); Rooster Top Sky (second place); Isaiah Stewart (third place). Fancy: Canku One Star (first place); Darrell Hill (second place); Shorty Crawford (third place).

SENIOR WOMEN'S (34-54) Southern Cloth/Buckskin: Danita Goodwill (first place); Chalene Toehay (second place); Jamie Whiteshirt (third place). Jingle: Grace Pushetonequa (first place); Anika Top Sky (second place); Yvette Goodeagle (third place). Fancy: Verna Street (first place); Nahmi Lasley (second place); Candace Gadwa (third place).  Traditional: Amber Buffalo (first place); Tosha Goodwill (second place); Lonna Street (third place).

SENIOR MEN'S (34-54) Traditional: Richard Street (first place); Tony Wahweotten (second place); Chaske LeBlanc (third place). Southern Straight: Sean Spicer (first place); Terry Tsotigh (second place); Everette Moore (third place). Grass: Randall Paskemin (first place); Clifton Goodwill (second place); Buck Spotted Tail (third place). Chicken: Marty Thurman (first place); Rod Atcheynum (second place); Bobby Badger (third place). Fancy: Michael Roberts (first place); Wayne Silas, Jr., (second place); Tyler Lasley third place).

CONTEST Moccasin Game: J Max (first place); Golden State (second place); Old Style (third place). Drum Contest: Wahpekute (first place); Crazy Spirit (second place); Black Otter (third place).

What's New In The Community: August 2015
Monday, August 03 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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bemidji american indian resource center-bill blackwell.jpgBemidji’s American Indian Resource Center names new director

(By Lee Egerstrom) Bill Blackwell Jr. became director of the novel, two-school American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji in July and is now overseeing merged programs for In­dian students at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.

The collaboration between the two nearby Bemidji campuses is partly an economic move for better use of resources, Blackwell said in an interview. At the same time, it will build critical mass for programs.

Three weeks into the job, Blackwell was already holding meetings with students and com­munity people planning for the 43rd annual BSU Council of Indian Students Pow-Wow next April. The Northwest Tech students will likely become a chapter of the BSU group, working both jointly with the university students and separately, he said.

That makes a fit given the relationships between the two Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) institutions at Bemidji. Students at the two-year Northwest Tech can select on-campus dormitory housing at Bemidji State and access dining services and cultural events at the four-year university, the only such arrangement in the MnSCU system.

An enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Blackwell has a bachelor’s degree from Bemidji State and a master’s from University of Minnesota-Duluth. Most recently he served as director of institutional advancement heading private and public fundraising efforts for Leech Lake Tribal College and previously was an admis­sions and outreach coordinator at Leech Lake.

He succeeded Dr. Anton Truer who as returned to the BSU faculty after a three-year term as the center’s director.

Collaborative Effort for Red Lake/Leech Lake Long-term Homeless
Friday, July 17 2015
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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collaborative_effort_for_red_lake-leech_lake_long_term_homeless.jpgJust behind the baseball fields near Bemidji Middle School, nestled among the pines, is a place called Conifer Estates, a supportive housing project put together with collaborative effort by several governments and agencies, including Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and Bi-County CAP.

On June 11, the 70 residents, staff and guests gathered near Conifer's office building for a picnic supper while enjoying the sun and the 78 degree weather.

To the rear of the building was a meeting room filled with hot dog and hamburger buns, chips, pickles, and more. Outside the open back door, two charcoal grills are commandeered by Conifer's young, hard-working resident manager, a stern but gentle fellow known as Joe Van Horn of Redby and Chad Nelson Chief Property Manager for DW Jones.

After lunch Nelson and Van Horn gathered all the children together and led them to a dry "run-off" pond, a round depression not unlike a small amphitheater where bags of water balloons lay waiting. After forming three teams, the fun began. Later every child and adult were the recipients of at least one give-away.

"This is such a great turn-out," Nelson told the small crowd of neighbors and friends. "My thanks to the staff here at Conifer and of course the tenants who have made this effort such a great success."

"We have monthly service provider meetings, and our families will approach any of us for assistance," Valerie Robinson, Leech Lake Housing case manager, said. "We work hard at knowing what is happening at Conifer and pass along important information to each other. This helps the three entities identify problem areas as well as opportunities to help in positive areas, then to act quickly so we can address the issues. We work well together and share the responsibility of management and services to our clients."

Nova Larson, Red Lake Housing Authority, confirmed Robinson's observations, "Valerie, Barb, Karen and I not only work together well, we like and respect each other. This camaraderie helps us help our residents by designing programs in life-skills training, money management, etc. We also act as liaisons between residents and social agencies to help them get on their feet, if needed."

Conifer Estates, which grew out of the planning process, is a collaborative effort between Headwaters Housing Development Corporation, Beltrami County HRA, Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Bi-County Community Action Programs, Inc. The 20-unit development consists of 16 supportive, three transitional housing units, and one caretaker's unit, all designed to successfully house long-term homeless families. Red Lake HRA and Leech Lake HRA each hold the master lease for five units and sublet these 10 units to eligible tribal members. The remaining nine units are available to other households experiencing long-term homelessness.

Conifer Estates serves eligible tribal citizens and long-term homeless people. In 2009, 393 people were known to be homeless in the Northwest Region of Minnesota, including 235 children and youth through age 21. As the economy worsened and homelessness increased, housing leaders in Beltrami initiated a planning process to bring a supportive housing project into the community.

Conifer Estates, which grew out of the planning process, is a collaborative effort between Headwaters Housing Development Corporation, Beltrami County HRA, Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Bi-County Community Action Programs, Inc. The 20-unit development consists of 16 supportive, three transitional housing units, and one caretaker's unit, all designed to successfully house long-term homeless families. Red Lake HRA and Leech Lake HRA each hold the master lease for five units and sublet these 10 units to eligible tribal members. The remaining nine units are available to other households experiencing long-term homelessness.

What's New In The Community: July 2015
Friday, July 10 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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shaynowishkung statue dedicated in bemidji park.jpg Shaynowishkung Statue Dedicated in Bemidji park

(Story By Michael Meuers)

BEMIDJI, Minn. – An estimated 300 people gathered at Library Park on June 6 to dedicate a statue honoring Shaynowishkung, (He Who Rattles), also known as Chief Bemidji.

Shaynowishkung who lived on the South shore near the river inlet in the late 1800s, was nicknamed Chief Bemidji by the settlers of the region. The city of Bemidji got its name from the Ojibwe word Bemijigamaag which means "lake with cross waters" referring to the Mississippi River crossing through the lake.

The 9-foot, 3-inch, bronze-casted sculpture is the third statue of Chief Bemidji built and displayed on the shores of Lake Bemidji.

Carolyn Jacobs, co-chair of the Shaynowishkung Statue Project shared the podium with co-chair Kathryn "Jodie" Beaulieu of Red Lake.

“This is the culmination of over six years of work,” said Jacobs. "This monument is dedicated to the honoring and healing of our diverse and collective communities. In a time when conflict was more common than peace, Chief Bemidji brought people together."

"Shaynowishkung came to this area, paddling up the Gichi-Ziibi (Mississippi River, literally Big River) in 1882 with his children, being unable to bear the recent death of his wife. He settled on the South shore of Lake Bemidji along the Mississippi’s inlet," Jacobs said. "Here he befriended the first settlers of European descent in the late 1800s. We hope to emulate his good example and that this event will lead to healing and understanding between cultures. A recognition that both Indians and non-Indians have much in common yet much to learn about each other."

Beaulieu said creation of a new statue took the collaboration of both Native and non-Native members coming together through “forthright conversations” for a common goal.

"The committee was impressed with Gareth Curtiss during the interview process when he displayed a 3-foot high clay model of what he intended to create," Beaulieu said. “The model brought tears to the eyes of the family of Shaynowishkung.”

“We hope that this dedication and other initiatives will improve race relations and build further respect between cultures,” she said. “It’s a beginning of understanding of our culture, and the bringing together of people as human beings and go forward in a good way that we can all be respected when we come to Bemidji.”

A Flag Song and Honor Song were rendered by Eyabay Drum Group of Red Lake, as the Leech Lake Honor Guard posted the colors. The song was to honor all of those who have gone on before us, those who are here now, and those who will be coming in the future.

Larry Aitken, Spiritual leader from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe did a short prayer and pipe ceremony in Ojibwemowin, and then spoke to the crowd in English.

PHOTO: “It is a good day today as peoples of many nations come together to honor a good man,” community member Larry Aiken said. (Photo by Michael Meuers)

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