What's New in The Community

What's New In The Community: October 2014
Saturday, October 11 2014
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CLOQUET, Minn. – The Environmental Institute at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has been awarded more than $1,150,000 in total grant project funding through the United States Department of Agriculture to continue innovative projects and expand capacity in science, technology, engineering, and math programming.

The Environmental Institute, along with project partner Fond du Lac Band Resource Management, will work together to accomplish the objectives established in the grant projects. Grant were made possible because of the partnership agreement between the Fond du Lac Band and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

The Environmental Institute promotes educational and cultural growth in studies related to natural resources and the environment. Programs fulfill the college’s role as a Land Grant Institution through extension programs covering research, education, and community outreach.

Three USDA Land Grant Extension grants totaling around $740,000 will support ongoing extension programs beginning in September 2014 and continuing through August of 2016 and September 2018, depending on the project. A new USDA Capacity Building grant of approximately $410,000 also begins in September and ends in August 2018.

The grants are intended to support three major projects. The first includes the college's Seed Library (The Bimaaji'idiwin Ojibwe Garden), is a research and demonstration garden that preserves traditional Ojibwe cropping systems. It also incorporates modern strategies for organic food and medicinal plant production.

The second project for development is the St. Louis River Watch Program, which is an annual water quality monitoring program of the St. Louis River watershed and western Lake Superior basin.

The third and final project that was awarded a grant was the Thirteen Moons Program, connecting people to natural resources. The tribe describes the program as providing nine-to-12 seasonal content workshops on natural resource activities such as a Sugarbush Tour, Wild Berry Camp, and Manoomin Camp.

"Our Thirteen Moons program reaches around 2,000 community members each year and is a leader in connecting people with natural resources and Ojibwe culture. Our River Watch program is almost 20 years-old and continues to teach over 400 students a year about our local rivers. The Bimaaji'idiwin Ojibwe Garden is continuing its great work in promoting local, fresh foods and is helping more people see that they can garden,” FDLTCC Environmental Institute director Courtney Kowalczak said.

Depending on the grant project, support completion is expected between August 2016 and September 2018.


What's New In the Community: September 2014
Monday, September 08 2014
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The American Indian Cancer Foundation, a national nonprofit committed to eliminating cancer and its impact on American Indian families, announced the new members that will join its board of directors in October 2014: Andrew Adams III, JD (Muscogee Nation), Bret R. Benally Thompson, MD (White Earth Ojibwe), Mary Fairbanks, DNP (White Earth Ojibwe), Mark Fox, JD (Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nations), Margo Gray (Osage Nation), Samuel A. Moose, MTAG (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Kalina Newmark (Sahtu Dene First Nations).

These individuals bring an impressive set of energy, passion, partnerships and skills to the board that will help the foundation advance its mission. In addition to their service with the American Indian Cancer Foundation, the new members serve in many professional and volunteer capacities devoted to improving and strengthening American Indian communities.

The AICAF Board of Directors is made up of 12 American Indian leaders from across the United States. The seven founding board of directors who successfully launched this foundation have served their maximum terms. The current board of directors led the process to identify and elect new board members to join the AICAF board of directors and guide the next phase of the organization’s development.

“We are so honored to welcome the new additions to the American Indian Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. Their individual and combined dedication and service to serving American Indian communities are well known and respected across the nation. Their drive is just what we need as we work to expand our capacity to address cancer issues in American Indian communities across the country” said Kristine Rhodes, executive director of the American Indian Cancer Foundation.

The U.S. has celebrated declining rates of cancer mortality over the past two decades, yet American Indians face increasing cancer mortality compared to other populations.

Today, many American Indians face alarming inequities in cancer incidence and mortality. Cancer rates vary by tribe, region, and gender. But according to a 2014 American Journal of Public Health special issue, cancer is now the No. 1 cause of death for American Indian men and women in many states and for all American Indian women in the United States.

The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to address the tremendous cancer burden faced by American Indians. Its mission is to eliminate the cancer burdens on American Indian families through education, prevention, early detection, treatment and survivor support. AICAF supports transformational interventions that engage communities in the discovery of best practices. AICAF believes that communities possess the wisdom to discover the solutions to effectively address challenges but are often looking for resources and support. The American Indian Cancer Foundation strives to be a partner trusted by tribes and organizations working toward effective and sustainable cancer solutions.

For more information, visit

What's New In the Community: August 2014
Thursday, August 07 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS Dr. Patrick Rock, Indian Health Board of Minneapolis CEO, was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to a 18-member committee that will recommend ways to enhance the University of Minnesota's Medical School, in an effort to ensure the state’s preeminent medical school is a national leader in medical training, research and innovation.

The Blue Ribbon Committee will come up with ideas for strategies and investments in the medical school, and prepare recommendations for the 2015 Legislature.

"The future health of Minnesotans depends on what we do now to train the next generation of medical professionals in our state. Today’s medical students will become the doctors who will care for our families, and the research professionals who will develop life-saving innovations in medical technology in the years to come," Dayton said.

The committee's goals include: National Prominence, ensuring the Medical School’s national preeminence by retaining and attracting world class faculty, staff, students and residents. Nation-Leading Research and Innovation, sustaining the university’s national leadership in health research, care innovation and health-care delivery, capitalizing on the state’s investments in biomedical research and ground-breaking discoveries; Excellence in Clinical Services, expanding the university’s clinical services to strengthen its ability to serve as a statewide health-care resource for providers and patients, as a training site for health professional students and residents, as a site for cutting-edge clinical research, and as a source of critical funding for the Medical School and health sciences; and Meeting the Health Care Needs of a Changing Minnesota, addressing the state’s health workforce needs so as to serve Minnesota’s broad continuum of health care needs, including primary care, a growing aging population, and increased chronic health needs.

What's New In the Community: July 2014
Monday, July 07 2014
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The Tiwahe Foundation is honored to announce that at its June 10 board meeting, 15 grants were awarded to Native American individuals in the Twin Cities seven county metro area through its American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund. This program awards $70,000-$80,000 annually to American Indian individuals and families seeking financial resources to achieve their goals, shape their future and make positive contributions to their community through three priority areas: Economic Self-sufficiency; Education and Cultural Connections.

Grants range from $500 to $2,500, enough to make a significant impact on grantees and the community and contributing to the self-determination of individuals. Individuals received awards in the following focus areas:

Goal 1: Preserving and Renewing Native Cultural Connections (Learning Native languages, developing kinship ties, traditional and cultural practices). The grantees include: Nancy Cain-Kouri, Melissa Davis and Cleone Thompson.

Goal 2: Educational Achievement (Expenses related to college degrees, certificates, vocational training, GED, and college entrance exams). Grantees for this goal were: Travis Earth-Werner, Savanna Elmquist, John Fairbanks, Miigis Gonzalez, Kevin Head, Mia Mikel, Cynthia Pawlitschek, James Smith, Shantelle Stately, Kelly Suzick and Aaron Thomson.

Linda Lucero was the grantee for Goal 3, which includes economic self-sufficiency through employment, business, entrepreneurial opportunities and expenses related to home-ownership.

AIFEP strives to reverse the social, educational, and economic challenges facing American Indians by investing in human capital, skills, resources and cultural strengths that people possess that allow them to live healthy and productive lives, build strong relationships, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. To learn more, visit

What's New In The Community: June 2014
Monday, June 09 2014
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By Rachel Eta Hill

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – In reaction to the Spring Fest incident on the University of North Dakota campus where several students posted photos of themselves wearing T-shirts with the school's previous mascot with the words, “Siouxper Drunk,” Native students and others rallied on May 16 at the University of North Dakota in an event dubbed #WALKFORCHANGE.

This was a student demonstration and was comprised of over 200 UND students, community supporters and UND administration members who walked together holding signs to educate their community and others on the adverse race relations occurring at their school.

Dani Miller, a recent UND graduate and Sisseton-Wahpeton citizen, was asked by her fellow student body to give a speech addressing the hostile learning environment at her school, sparked by the offending T-shirts.

“Native students are just trying to go to school and now they are being attacked,” Frank Sage, a Navajo doctoral student said. He attended UND for the last 14 years and said it was important for students not only to work on changing race relations between Native and non-Native students at the school, but that it ultimately comes down to educating others on why this type of behavior is inappropriate in an academic setting. “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” Sage said.

Miller added, “All people, native and non-native, to educate themselves on our histories and on the current state of race relations in the United States. Education is the answer to dismantling oppression and [assists in] … relationship building between all people.”

Native students at UND, like many others across the country are working to educate and inspire others on how to change environments of adversity and racism in their own schools. They are fighting hate with love, unity and education. Racism, after all, poses a great threat to the attainment of post-secondary education for our Indigenous students. We must support and applaud those in our communities who are a positive and motivating force for that change. To learn more, use the twitter hash tag #WALKFORCHANGE.

Rachel Eta Hill is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and present graduate student in the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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