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What's New in The Community


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)

What's New In The Community: June 2015
Friday, June 05 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Drummer awarded for philanthropic work

Tiwahe Foundation President and CEO, Kelly Drummer was awarded the Louis T. Delgado Distinguished Grantmaker Award at the Native Americans in Philanthropy’s 25th Anniversary Celebration – 2015 Native Philanthropy Institute at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, MN on May 6.

Kelly Drummer (Oglala Lakota) has over 17 years of experience working with both nonprofit organizations and community foundations. Prior to joining the Tiwahe Foundation, she served as the director of development and communications at New Foundations, a supportive housing community in St. Paul. She began her involvement with the Tiwahe Foundation in 2007 and previously served as its Board Chair. In this capacity, she helped lead the foundation through a strategic planning and branding process.

Drummer holds a Masters in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University and her B.A. from the University of Minnesota in cultural anthropology. She served as a mentor to young Native leaders throughout the past 20 years and has a particular interest in engaging Native leaders in fundraising and philanthropy.

The Louis T. Delgado Distinguished Grantmaker Award represents Kelly Drummer and her work in the philanthropic sector. She continues to be a bridge for the Native American community and mainstream philanthropy. Drummer is a member of the first cohort (2006-2007) of the Circle of Leaders Program at Native Americans in Philanthropy.

The nominee for the Louis T. Delgado Distinguished Grantmaker Award must fulfill the criteria of understanding and advancing the role of philanthropy between Native communities and mainstream philanthropy.

The Tiwahe Foundation is an independent; American Indian led community foundation that provides permanency for the American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund (AIFEP) and leadership development initiatives.


Flanagan announces run for Minnesota House
Friday, May 22 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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flanagan named co-chair of cradle-to-k cabinet.jpgST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – White Earth citizen and DFL activist Peggy Flanagan announced her candidacy for the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 46A on May 22.

In a press release, Flanagan gave her reasons for running for office. “This community has given me so much. My mom and I moved to St. Louis Park when I was a baby. As a single mother, she chose this community because of the opportunities that it provided for good public education, stable neighborhoods, and economic security, and she was right. My family and I settled in my hometown for the same reasons, and now I want to give back.”

Flanagan, 35, currently serves as executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. She also worked for eight years at Wellstone Action, including as director of external affairs. In 2012, she worked as the Director of Community Outreach for Minnesotans United for all Families; and she was co-chair of the Raise The Wage campaign in 2014.

A citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, Flanagan lives in the Bronx Park neighborhood of St. Louis Park with her husband Tim Hellendrung and 2 year-old daughter Siobhan. She is a graduate of St. Louis Park public schools and the University of Minnesota.

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL) announced his retirement from the Minnesota House of Representatives on May 21, after serving more than eight years. A special election will likely be held later this year for the remainder of his term. District 46A includes parts of St. Louis Park, Golden Valley and Plymouth.

PHOTO: Flanagan with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in 2014. (Courtesy photo)

NATIVE AMERICANS IN PHILANTHROPY HONORS SMSC AT CELEBRATION
Tuesday, May 05 2015
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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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.”


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