Red Lake Chairman and Treasurer travel to DC
Friday, February 06 2015
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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red lake washington dc-web.jpgWASHINGTON, D.C. – Red Lake Tribal Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., and Treasurer Annette Johson, along with others met with members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation on Jan. 28 in Washington, D.C. to discuss a number of issues of concern to the Red Lake Band.

According to a tribal spokesperson, Seki and Johnson met with Minnesota's Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Moorhead, and Rick Nolan, D-Duluth.

Red Lake's lack of criminal jurisdiction over non-band members was the primary focus of the visits with the Congressional delegates. Tribal officials said they would like to have jurisdiction to prosecute non-members who bring drugs onto the Red Lake Reservation.

“All Congressmen were shocked to hear of our troubles with drug dealers and were very responsive to the Band's issues that were raised,” tribal spokespersons said. "Sen. Amy Klobuchar even suggested that a tribal summit – to include all of Minnesota's eleven tribes – would be in order, to discuss this and other topics of mutual concern to Indian Nations."

Seki and Johnson also met with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn (Chickasaw) about the BIA's push to move funding from "one time funding" to a grant-based approach, a move that the Red Lake Band strongly opposes.

Other issues addressed by the Red Lake delegation included Red Lake's concern regarding insufficient funding for tribal roads, specifically the calculation formulas used by the federal government which allow tribes with smaller land bases to receive equal or even more funding. The Enbridge Pipeline was also discussed.


PHOTO: Red Lake Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr. and Treasurer Annette Johnson visit with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (Photo by Michael Meuers)

Red Lake council receives new member and youth report
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Michael Meuers, Red Lake News,
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red lake council receives new member and youth report-web.jpgRED LAKE, Minn. – Shortly after the call to order of the Red Lake Tribal Council on Dec. 9, Hereditary Chief James Loud was called upon by Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr. to swear in Robert Smith, recent winner of the special election for Red Lake District Representative.

He joins council member Roman Stately representing the community on the eleven member Tribal Council.

A special run off election was held on Nov. 19, to elect one Red Lake District Representative to a two-year term. The only eligible candidates in this contest were Donald Desjarlait and Robert Smith. Smith was declared the winner of the election winning 278 votes over Desjarlait's 227.

Hereditary Chief George "Billy" King was appointed by the council in March 2014 to serve temporarily in the Red Lake seat after former council member and Smith's father-in-law Donald "Dudie" May, Jr., died on March 8. May had won a four year term on July 18, 2012. King also served temporarily as Chairman after the death of former Chairman Gerald "Butch" Brun in 2003 until a special election was held.

Critics object to pumping oil through MN lakes country
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by Dan Kraker, MPR News,
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A series of hearings in early January will gather public opinions on a proposed pipeline that would increase the amount of oil flowing across Minnesota by 225,000 barrels a day.

The line is called Sandpiper, and the crude it would carry from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields would be a significant addition to the more than 2 million barrels of oil that daily travel through underground pipelines bound for refineries in the Twin Cities and beyond. Trains carry an additional half-million barrels.

But the plan has raised concerns among environmentalists and state agencies about potential risks to lakes and rivers.

A project manager for Enbridge, the Canadian company that wants to build the line, said the project is necessary "because there's a growing supply of crude oil in western North Dakota, and it needs efficient, cost-effective and safe transportation to get to the markets in the Midwest and the East in the U.S. where it's needed."

Bill Blazar, interim president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, voiced strong support, saying calling the project "key to the development and growth of our state's economy."

"We'd be nuts not to support this kind of infrastructure development," Blazar said.

Mille Lacs walleye lawsuit against DNR heads to appeals court
Tuesday, January 13 2015
Written by John Enger, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Disgruntled resort owners and citizens' groups argued before a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 that the state Department of Natural Resources has mismanaged Mille Lacs Lake.

In April, resort owner Bill Eno, several other local residents and the non-profit advocacy groups Proper Economic Resource Management and Save Mille Lacs Sport Fishing filed suit against the DNR.

Citing a 1998 state constitutional amendment to preserve fishing heritage, they argued that department did not consider it when formulating its latest walleye regulations, which include an extended ban on night fishing.

"The DNR ... could not have designed better plans to destroy the Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing heritage than the plans that the DNR implemented since 1998," attorney Erick Kaardal wrote in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks to force DNR lake managers to rethink fishery management techniques and listen more closely to local opinion. The three-judge panel is expected to rule on the lawsuit within 90 days.

Eno, who has owned Twin Pines Resort on the western shore of Mille Lacs for two decades, said he has watched DNR regulations tighten, even as walleye numbers decrease. He said the department has crippled the lake's walleye population, and his business.

When the DNR announced regulations temporarily banning night fishing early this spring, Eno had to call dozens of regular customers to cancel their night reservations. The rules hit his business hard, because he makes a lot of his money running fishing launches from 8 p.m. to midnight.

The DNR later re-opened night fishing, but for Eno, the ban was the last straw.

DNR tightens winter walleye rules for Upper Red Lake
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by John Enger, Minnesota Public Radio News,
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Minnesota anglers fishing Upper Red Lake this winter will face tougher regulations on their walleye catch.

Effective Dec. 1, anglers can only hold or keep keep three walleye, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

All walleye 17 to 26 inches long must be immediately released and only one walleye in possession may be longer than 26 inches, the DNR said.

The rule changes come following record walleye harvests the past winter and summer and are not a sign of biological problems in the northwest Minnesota lake, the agency added.

"The current walleye fishery is in excellent shape, but the great fishing has attracted considerably more angling pressure, which resulted in walleye harvest exceeding the safe harvest range for the first time since walleye angling reopened in 2006," Gary Barnard, the DNR's Bemidji area fisheries supervisor, said in a statement.

Much of Upper Red Lake is owned by the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe. It's been managed jointly by the band and the DNR since the walleye population there hit an all time low 15 years ago.

Red Lake band Fisheries Director Pat Brown said the lake has made a great comeback. "The lake is probably in better shape than it ever has been," he said. "The lake just continues to become healthier."

The new walleye limits don't apply to tribe members fishing reservation waters.

While the off-reservation portion of Upper Red Lake saw a large walleye harvest this year, Brown said tribe members took many fewer fish then they could have.

"We're about 100,000 pounds under what we could safely take out of the reservation waters," he said. "So we may actually relax our regulations a little bit."

DNR officials remain concerned about the walleye population in Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota. Numbers there remain the lowest seen in decades and DNR officials say it will take time for the population to recover, though a fall survey showed some hopeful signs.

The DNR's been encouraging anglers to catch northern pike instead of walleye at Mille Lacs. As part of that effort, officials on Monday announced they would loosen rules for catching and spearing pike this winter on Mille Lacs.

Anglers and spearers can keep 10 northern pike, of which only one may be longer than 30 inches. Also, northern pike season will be extended from mid-February to the last Sunday in March.

The lake's walleye fishing regulations will not change this winter, the DNR emphasized.

Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard on MPR's statewide radio network or online at

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