What's New in The Community
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Circle of Life Academy Graduates
The Circle of Life Academy held their 2016 graduation commencement on June 2 at the Circle of Life Academy in White Earth, Minn. Graduating seniors were Autumn Auginaush, Jordan Bower, Nathaniel Christianson, Precious Dominguez, Cassidy Fineday-Roy, Tristian Fox, Kathleen Heisler-Azure, Adrianna Smith, Chandler Smith, and Jarred Whitener.
Front row from left are pictured: Precious Dominguez, Cassidy Fineday-Roy, Tristian Fox, Adrianna Smith, and Autumn Auginaush. Back row from left: Nathaniel Christianson, Chandler Smith, Jordan Bower, and Jarred Whitener. Not pictured: Kathleen Heisler-Azure. Photo by Gary W. Padrta.
Fond du Lac elects new leadership
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has elected Kevin Dupuis Sr. to take over after a victory in the June general election, with 622 votes or 58.5 percent of the vote.
Kevin Dupuis Sr. will replace Karen Diver on the Reservation Business Committee, the governing body of the band. Diver, the longtime chairwoman, left in the fall to become special assistant to the president for Native American affairs D.C., in President Barack Obama’s administration .
Kevin Dupuis was previously the District III (Brookston) representative on the RBC.
Vanessa L. Northrup and Roger M. Smith Sr. also were elected to the RBC.
The band had narrowed the field of 10 chairperson candidates to two during its April primary election.
White Earth Nation elects Tibbetts chair
The White Earth Nation has voted in Terry Tibbetts Sr. as their new chair.
Tibbetts and Mindy Iverson led a field of 12 candidates in a primary earlier this spring. In that race, they each received roughly 20 percent of the vote, with Tibbetts squeezing out a lead of just eight primary votes.
Official results of the election put Tibbetts ahead of Iverson with nearly two-thirds of total votes.
Tibbetts will be sworn in in July. He'll be the first elected chair since a power struggle over constitutional reform cost former chair Erma Vizenor her job late last year.
Eugene Tibbetts beat out Barbara Fabre for White Earth district three representative.
American Indian Family Empowerment Program June grantees
The American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund has awarded ten grantees in the June round of funding Native individuals to help them pursue their vision and dreams. The grants were made in partnership with the Two Feathers Fund of the Saint Paul Foundation.
The American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund invests in human capital, skills and cultural strengths through three priority areas: cultural connections, educational achievement and economic self-sufficiency.
During the June 2016 grant round, the following individuals received awards:
• The Preserve and Renew Native Cultural Connections category: Brian Heart, to support Native cultural education in the Little Earth community
• The Educational Achievement category: Cassandra Buffalohead, to support her education at Augsburg College; Frances Butler, to support her education at Anoka Technical College; Andrea Cornelius, to support her education at Augsburg College; Heather House, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College; and Lisa Lachner, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College
• The Economic Self-Sufficiency category: Korina Barry, to support completing a yoga teacher certification program; Patricia Columbus-Powers, for small business to purchase materials to create first product line of Native made fashion items; Brook LaFloe, to support living costs relating to education at the Montessori Institute of San Diego; Jacqueline Pearl, to support creating a family owned and operated window cleaning business.
The next deadline is September 6th. For information on how to apply, see: www.grottofoundation.org/aifep.
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10-year-old runs marathons for suicide prevention
10-year-old Tristan Smith ran in the May 19, Fargo 5K and the half-marathon on May 20, in Fargo, North Dakota. He plans to run all summer and has set up a GoFundMe page to raise $1,000.
On his GoFundMe page, Tristan said, “I am currently the White Earth Jr Brave and trying to represent the White Earth Nation as best as I can. I am asking for your help to raise money for suicide prevention. I have seen what drugs and alcohol have done to families and it makes me sad. I want to raise money to help kids get into sports because I think if they are active in sports like I am, they will stay away from drugs and not want to kill themselves.” The money raised will help White Earth Nation kids afford to play football.
Tristan is a 4th grader at Roosevelt School in Detroit Lakes, but used to live on the White Earth Reservation.
People can donate to “Run For Life” at any Midwest Bank, or donate on his GoFundMe page at: www.gofundme.com/24zymgc.
Robert Lilligren new President and CEO of NACDI
The Board of Directors of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) announced the appointment of Robert Lilligren as their new President and CEO. Lilligren, a former Minneapolis City Council Member and enrolled member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, just finished an 18 month commitment as interim CEO of Little Earth of United Tribes in Minneapolis. Earlier this year Lilligren stepped down as the chair of the board of NACDI. Lilligren took the reigns of NACDI on May 9, 2016.
“We are thrilled to have Robert take on the leadership of NACDI,” says the board’s Vice Chair Reverend Marlene Helgemo (Ho-Chunk), “As the founding board chair Robert has lived NACDI’s asset-based approach toward community development in his personal, professional, political and activist life. We expect great things from him in this new role as NACDI’s CEO.”
Founded in 2007, NACDI is committed to transforming the American Indian community to effectively respond to 21st century opportunities. NACDI works to promote innovative community development strategies that strengthen the overall sustainability and well-being of American Indian people and communities.
FDLTCC publishes Thunderbird Review Anthology
The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has published the fourth edition of its literary anthology, The Thunderbird Review. The 97-page book features writing and art submitted by students from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and residents of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin communities.
The journal received over 100 submissions this year to consider for inclusion, and is an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience in writing, editing, and publishing at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
“Working on the journal is a great experience for students,” said English instructor Darci Schummer. “It is also so important for students to have a place to submit their work. The feeling of seeing your work in print for the first time, which it is for many of these students, is indescribable.”
For more information or to purchase a copy of The Thunderbird Review, contact Darci Schummer at 218-879-0845. People interested in purchasing copies of the anthology can find them at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Bookstore for $5 each. Funds from book sales go toward producing the current publication as well as the next edition.
Dream of Wild Health Receives National Kresge Foundation Grant
Out of more than 500 applications, Dream of Wild Health is one of 26 organizations selected for a national grant from the Kresge Foundation. The Kresge Foundation announced funding to develop food-oriented initiatives in cities across the nation through it’s “Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization” initiative, also known as FreshLo.
Dream of Wild Health (DWH) submitted a plan to establish, plan, and create an Indigenous Food Network in the Philips neighborhood of Minneapolis. As part of the FreshLo community, DWH will create and enhance pathways to opportunity for Native American people in low-income, urban neighborhoods.
DWH will receive $75,000 planning awards through FreshLo to design neighborhood-scale projects demonstrating creative, cross- sector visions of food-oriented development.
The Indigenous Food Network, Gimino-Wiisenimin (We Eat Well Together) is a cooperative Native American cultural food system that will address the community’s food needs by: expanding production of organic and traditional foods, improving healthy food access through innovative community distribution systems, developing job training and employment opportunities, and providing hands-on gardening and cooking programs for Native youth and families.
DWH is partnering initially with the Minneapolis American Indian Center, Nawayee Center School, Little Earth of United Tribes, and Division of Indian Work.
Native American Students with SMSC Scholarships Celebrate Graduation from UofMN
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) joined the University of Minnesota on April 30 to celebrate the graduation of this year’s Native American students who received scholarships from the SMSC.
The scholarship program is part of the SMSC’s focus on bolstering other tribal nations and supporting talented Native American students with financial needs.
This year’s graduates are: Chad Auginash, Red Lake Nation; Hannah Brengman, Adopted Native American; Veronica Briggs, White Earth Mississippi Band of Ojibwe; Chilah Brown, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; Robert Budreau, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Hana Bushyhead, Eastern Band of Cherokee; Travis Crego, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin; Rachel Forrest, Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas; Vanessa Goodthunder, Lower Sioux Indian Community; Phillip Gullikson, Three Affiliated Tribes; Diana Hawkins, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate; Chelsea Holmes, Rosebud Sioux Tribe; Alayna Johnson, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; John Kelsey, Huron Band of the Potawatomi; Olivia Mora, Manchester Band of Pomo Indians; Brandon One Feather, Oglala Sioux Tribe; Jasmine Paron, Red Lake Nation; Cage Pierre, Avoyel-Taensa Tribe of Louisiana; Jesslynn Poitra, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; Kate Shelerud, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe; Zachary Wilkie, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians; Jaimin Williams, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Tia Yazzie, Navajo Nation; Darian Ziegler, Lower Brule Sioux; and Mathew Zumoff, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
About 200 Native American students have received the SMSC Endowed Scholarship in the past eight years. The program was established in 2009 with a $2.5 million gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The University of Minnesota matches the scholarship payouts from the endowment fund.
Name Change for Midwest Area Tribal Health Board and Bemidji Area Indian Health Service
The Great Lakes Area Tribal Health Board (GLATHB) is working to change the Area Indian Health Service Office name from “Bemidji Area” to “Great Lakes Area”. The GLATHB represents 34 tribes across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In an effort to promote uniformity, the board voted in April to change its own name from Midwest Area Tribal Health Board to Great Lakes Area Tribal Health Board.
One of 12 Indian Health Service (IHS) regions in the country, the “Bemidji Area” serves 34 tribes and nations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan; plus four Urban Indian Health Centers in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago.
The press release sent out by the GLATHB said, “This name will promote unity, comprehensive representation and inclusion of the Great Lakes area. Additionally, it will eliminate confusion regarding the composition of the service area.”
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Emily Johnson wins Guggenheim Fellowship
Twin Cities resident Emily Johnson (Yup’ik) has won the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship, the New York-based foundation has announced.
Out of approximately 4,000 applicants, Johnson is one of the 200 creative artists, natural scientists and humanities scholars to win a Fellowship.
Guggenheim winners get varying amount of funding, which helps to support their work over a period of six months to a year.
Johnson, who has performed at Walker Art Center and Northrop, among other venues, is one of several Twin Cities-connected winners.
Guggenheim Fellowships are only open to advanced professionals in mid-career.
The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications every year.
Priscilla Day wins 2016 President’s Award/Outstanding Service
Priscilla Day (Leech Lake Ojibwe), professor and head of the Department of Social Work at the University of Minnesota Duluth, is a recipient of the 2016 President’s Award for Outstanding Service.
The award is presented each spring and recognizes exceptional service to the University of Minnesota, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units by an active or retired faculty or staff member.
UM President Eric W. Kaler praised Day for her accomplishments, “Your excellence is a model for your colleagues and co-workers to emulate. True to the mission of this great land-grant institution, you have done more than your share to make the University of Minnesota one of the preeminent institutions in the nation.”
In addition to teaching and serving as department head, Day serves as director for the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare. She wrote “Bridging our understanding: American Indian family preservation,” for the Minnesota Department of Human Service and provides training on the subject. Her areas of research are American Indian family preservation and culturally competent practice.
Two events that honor recipients of the Outstanding Service award will be held in Minneapolis. The first is at a University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting on May 13, and the second is at a reception on June 16.
The University of Minnesota President’s Award for Outstanding Service was established in 1997 to recognize faculty and staff (current or retired) who have provided exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments and service units. Such service must have gone well beyond the regular duties of a faculty or staff member, and demonstrate unusual commitment to the University community.
Migizi Communications receives $702,000 grant
Migizi Communications has received at three-year grant totaling $702,000 ($234,000 annually) to support the Green Jobs Pathway that will involve 60 disconnected Indian youth per year to receive education, training, supports, and experiences needed to prepare them to become financially independent, self-determining adults.
The project will utilize the Back On Track model developed by Jobs for the Future to create a career pathway for American Indian youth to discover their cultural role as caretakers of the Earth, develop strong workplace skills, learn through their experience, and complete postsecondary coursework and credentials of value to secure living wage jobs as they build a career in the Green Economy. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The projects include:
• A 10-week Green Stewardship Institute focused on educating and engaging youth in hands-on learning and community service that promotes clean energy, energy conservation technologies, and environmental sustainability.
• Paid internships in high-demand green jobs in the private and public sectors
• Individual Development Accounts for youth savings for college
• Enrollment in dual coursework for college credits
• Enrollment and completion of postsecondary certificate, degree, or union apprenticeship in the green energy field.
The funding was made possible through a 3-year $3 million Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to Youthprise for Opportunity Reboot. SIF is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that is focused on improving the lives of people in low-income communities throughout the United States. Six organizations from across Minnesota were selected to receive 3-year grants ranging from $193,000 to $234,000 annually.
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures buys Big Sandy Lake Lodge
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV) has purchased Big Sandy Lodge & Resort, in McGregor, Minn. The sale includes the resort’s 18 lodge rooms, seven cabins, fourteen townhomes and a seasonal retreat log home, as well as The Pines Restaurant, The Bear’s Den Sports Bar & Grille, indoor pool, hot tub and sauna.
According to Joe Nayquonabe, Jr., CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, the McGregor area has been a market that has been on MLCV’s radar since beginning its diversification efforts in 2013.
“Our roadmap calls for a mix of hospitality growth in targeted markets as well as acquisitions that allow us to expand the local business economy within all three districts of the Mille Lacs Band reservation,” Nayquonabe said. “Big Sandy Lodge has a reputation as one of Minnesota’s premier resort destinations. We look forward to expanding upon the resort’s rich traditions by leveraging our experience in hospitality.”
Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe said that Big Sandy Lake is so important to the regional economy, but it is more than that for the Band. “We have a long history with Big Sandy Lake, and it is actually a very sacred place for Anishinabe people, so this acquisition was a perfect match for more than just business reasons. We are delighted to join the families of resort owners on Big Sandy Lake and honored to host the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener this year with Gov. Mark Dayton.”
MLCV made the decision to acquire Big Sandy Lake Lodge & Resort based on its strong performance and its unique position as a premiere up-north destination resort on the Big Sandy watershed. No immediate changes are planned, but MLCV will monitor business operations and look for opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability over time.
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IHB Buys Prime Franklin Avenue Real Estate
Dr. Patrick Rock (Leech Lake), CEO of the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis (IHB), announced that the Minneapolis-based health clinic recently acquired the former Blue Nile restaurant property on East Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.
“The Indian Health Board sees this as a sound investment to continue improving our work in Native Healthcare and further indigenizing our services to meet community needs,” said Dr. Rock. Rock says the IHB will continue working in partnership with the local Native community and neighborhood partners in developing the property for a future expansion of holistic-oriented, Native-based services.
Dr. Laiel Baker-DeKrey (Nueta/Hidatsa), IHB Psychologist and Training Director, said. “With the help of our elders, we provide services that incorporate traditional Native practices promoting health and wellness that are also balanced with Western practices. The combination creates a strengths-based and affirming space for healing, and there’s definitely demand for more.”
IHB has no set timeframe for property and expansion planning, but the development will be careful and intentional, so that Native community needs are at the forefront. IHB provides culturally-appropriate, full-service outpatient medical, dental, and counseling services. For more information, contact Dr. Patrick Rock at 612-721-9843.
Joe Hobot Honored as ’40 Under 40′
American Indian OIC president and CEO, Joe Hobot (Lakota) was named a Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal “40 Under 40” honoree. Each year the publication honors 40 leaders under the age of 40 who have “already accomplished much in their professional lives while also taking a leading role in the Twin Cities community.” Hobot was selected among 550 other nominations for his charismatic leadership and his contributions at AIOIC and beyond. Hobotwill receive his award on March 10.
New Board Members Appointed to Tiwahe Foundation
The Tiwahe Foundation, located in Minneapolis, has recently appointment four new board members.
Monica Flores (Three Affiliated Tribes) currently the Executive Director of Bii Gii Wiin Community Development Loan Fund, Flores has many years of experience working in Native American communities and Tribal governments. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and is pursuing a Masters of Business Administration and Certified Public Accountant certification.
Paul Meyer (White Earth Band of Ojibwe) is the President and CEO of Meyer Contracting. A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, he has vast experiences in starting and growing businesses.
Amanda Norman (White Earth Band of Ojibwe) is the Executive Director of the soon-to-be Thor Foundation, the corporate foundation arm of Thor Construction, Inc. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Minnesota-Morris and is currently pursuing a Masters in Education at Augsburg College.
Joseph Regguinti (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) served on the Leech Lake Local Indian Council from 2012-2015, as a liaison between urban Leech Lake citizens and the Tribal council. He currently works as the Father Project Coordinator at the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. He holds a degree in English and American Indian studies from Augsburg College.
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Artist Kruse donates birchbark artwork to Children’s Hospitals
Pat Kruse and his son, Gage, members of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, along with the Minnesota Historical Society, donated a birch bark mural called “Nature’s Beauty” to the Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The artwork was placed in the Family Resource Center at Children’s Minnesota’s St. Paul campus in December.
Bobby Wilson Takes Up Residence at Red Lake Middle School
(By Michael Meuers) – In January, Red Lake Middle School welcomed Resident Artist, Bobby Wilson, from the comedy troupe, 1491s. Wilson worked with students and staff from January 4 to 15. A large mural was painted in the middle school’s main hallway and was inspired from floral beadwork designs on Native American shoulder bags from the 1800’s. Art teacher, Janel Lackner, said that about 80 students took part in helping to complete the mural.
Wilson and Industrial Technology teacher, Tony Bellino, also helped students, in the after-school program Targeted Services, complete a painting on a refurbished bus stop which also displays beautiful floral designs.
Wilson also worked with students in Tara Olson’s Language Arts classes focusing on Spoken Word, which encourages students to write and perform.
The activities were made possible by the Minnesota State Legislature through its arts and cultural heritage fund, as well as the Minnesota State Arts Board.
MN Organizations Receive Funding from the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
In 2016, Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) is awarding grants to 17 organizations across Minnesota to host community events on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) prevention. All aim to reach and educate under-served and at-risk communities including young, rural, low-income, under or uninsured, homeless and chemically dependent women and reach into the Hispanic, African American, Native American, Somali, and Hmong communities.
The following organizations were awarded funding: Bemidji State University (Bemidji), Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota (Minneapolis), Division of Indian Works – GMCC (Minneapolis), High School for Recording Arts (St. Paul), Intermediate School District 287 (Plymouth), Minnewaska Area Schools (Glenwood), Model Cities of St. Paul (St. Paul), New Ulm Early Childhood & Family Ed. (New Ulm), Ridgewater College (Hutchinson), Southside Community Health Services – Q Health Connections (Minneapolis), St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud), Stevens County Early Childhood Initiative (Morris), The Center Clinic (Dodge Center), Tri-County Community Action (Little Falls), Upper Midwest American Indian Center (Minneapolis), Upper Sioux Community (Granite Falls), and West Side Community Health Services (St. Paul).
Organizations will host events throughout Minnesota until June 30, 2016. For more info, contact MOFAS at 651-917-2370 or toll-free at 1-866-906-6327.
FDLTCC awarded $350,000 Minnesota Job Skills Grant
The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership has awarded a $350,000 grant to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to develop an in-house training system for employees of Sappi Fine Paper in Cloquet. The three-year project will support entry-level, retraining, and advanced training for 560 employees at the paper mill, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced during a partnership signing agreement ceremony held at Sappi’s Cloquet Mill on January 28.
The proposed Knowledge Management and Training System will be used to identify, document, and transfer employees’ knowledge so that critical information can be passed on from retiring generations of workers to new ones.
Once fully developed, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College will have full rights to duplicate and customize the framework to fit the needs of other manufacturers and businesses in the community.
For more information, contact Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Customized Training Director Jeannie Kermeen at 218-879-0741.
SMSC elects new Business Council
Members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) elected incumbent Charlie Vig as Chairman, incumbent Keith B. Anderson as Vice-Chairman, and Freedom Brewer as Secretary/Treasurer of the Business Council on Tuesday. The SMSC’s three-person Business Council is responsible for the operations of the tribal government.
Vig became Chairman in August 2012 after the passing of then-Chairman Stanley Crooks. He also served for 14 years on the SMSC Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors, which oversees Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino.
Anderson has served as Vice-Chairman since August 2012; he previously served as Secretary/Treasurer for eight years.
Incoming Secretary/Treasurer Freedom Brewer will serve her first term on the Business Council. She presently serves as Chairwoman of the SMSC Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors, which she has been a member of since 2002.
Current Secretary/Treasurer Lori Watso, who has served since 2012 and held her first term from 2000-2004, did not seek re-election.
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