What's New in The Community

What's New In The Community: July 2015
Friday, July 10 2015
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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
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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
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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)

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.

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