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Sacred site in S.D. goes up for auction, leaves tribes stunned
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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In mid-August the the sacred site of Pe' Sla (meaning The Heart of Everything in Lakota) near Mount Rushmore and Deadwood in South Dakota went up for auction. Although the land has been privately owned, members of the Great Sioux Nation -known as Lakota, Dakota and Nakota - have been allowed to gather there each year to perform ceremonial rituals they believe are necessary for harmony, health and well-being.
The auction was schedules for Aug. 25 but for unknown reasons, was canceled.
Tribal members fear that if the property they call Pe' Sla is sold, it will be developed and they will lose access. The South Dakota Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are studying the possibility of paving one of the main roads that divides the land, a fact mentioned in the advertisement touting its development potential.
The tribes have now banded together to try to raise money to buy back as much of the land as they can. But with only a weeks notice, so far they have only about $110,000 committed for property they believe will sell for $6 million to $10 million.
Shakopee Mdewakanton Chairman Stanley R. Crooks Passes On
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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shakopee_mdw_chairman_stanley_crooks_passes_on.jpgStanley R. Crooks, Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community since 1992, passed away on August 25th at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, from natural causes. He was 70 years old. A statement from the tribe said Crooks died from natural causes but did not go into more details.
Crooks served as Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for more than 20 successive years and was reelected for a new four-year term of office in January of 2012.   
 Under his leadership, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community members have approved Community donations of more than $243 million to tribes and charitable organizations since 1996, and tribal loans of more than $450 million for economic development and community development.
 A national figure in Indian Country, Chairman Crooks served as the Chairman of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association for many years and was the SMSC representative to the National Indian Gaming Association, as well as to the National Congress of American Indians. A United States Navy veteran, he served during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His father, the late Norman M. Crooks, was the first Chairman of the SMSC.
Tribes and state use unique court to fight addiction
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by By Tom Robertson Minnesota Public Radio News,
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tribes_and_state_use_unique_court_to_fight_addiction.jpgFred Isham sits near a blazing fire just outside Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. The 37-year-old tribal member helped build the fire to heat carefully selected stones that will be used in a nearby sweat lodge. Inside the sweat lodge, Isham and others will pray and conduct spiritual Ojibwe ceremonies.
Isham participates in the Cass County-Leech Lake tribal "wellness court." He's encouraged to use ceremonies and other cultural activities as part of his recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. It's not required, but evidence suggests cultural and spiritual connections can help the healing process.
"In a sense what you're doing is you're going back into the womb of the mother," Isham said of the sweat lodge. "When you come back out there it's a rebirth. You're clean again."
Isham, a member of the Boise Forte Band of Ojibwe who grew up in Cass Lake, was a chronic drinker and pot smoker. Last summer he was cited a second time for driving while intoxicated, and later violated probation. In December, court authorities offered him the opportunity to participate in wellness court as an alternative to a year in prison, and he took it.
The court is a unique partnership among the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Cass and Itasca counties in northern Minnesota. It uses intense supervision and, in some cases, tribal culture, to target chronic substance abusers and cut the cost of crime, and is among a variety of new strategies and approaches to public safety the local officials are trying.
Wellness court is similar to the DWI and drug courts that have become popular across the country. It's a voluntary prison diversion program that provides structured supervision and rehabilitation for non-violent, repeat drug and alcohol offenders. The average length of the program is 18 months for gross misdemeanor offenders and 24 months for felony offenders.
For participants, it's strict. Isham must attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He answers to a probation officer and must attend wellness court meetings every other week. The court sessions are convened jointly by both tribal and county judges, who get updates on his progress.
Media Statement from Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman Gordon Thayer
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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HAYWARD, WI- Recently, several media stories gave the impression that Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) was going bankrupt. This is misleading and far from the real story. The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe has launched a financial efficiency initiative that will result in expense reductions and revenue enhancement promotions to improve the financial position of the tribe. When the tribe is financially efficient the LCO Tribal Government is able to best serve the needs of LCO members. That is our top priority.
Just as many businesses and municipal governments across the country have been affected by the lingering economic downturn in the United States, the LCO tribe has been similarly impacted. And, unfortunately, like the U.S. Congress, past tribal governments have sometimes spent more money than they have taken in. Unlike the United States Congress, this LCO Tribal Governing Board is being proactive by taking action to correct the problem and to balance our budget so we can best serve the needs of our members.
Continuing on a path of spending more money than what is taken in is unwise for the U.S. Congress, any business, households and tribal governments. Long periods of overspending is a sure path to bankruptcy for any government.
Four Day Run in Celebration of Sobriety & Health
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by Photos and Story by Michael Meuers,
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red_lake_band_four_day_run_for_sobriety.jpgThe annual four day Anishinaabe Run for Sobriety and Health began at the Red Lake Chemical Health Programs at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 1, and finished at the  Mash-ka-wisen pow-wow grounds at Fon du Lac on Saturday, August 4, a 200 mile relay run.   On the first day, more than a dozen runners, including several youth began their run down Highway 89.  It was a warm August Day with the temperature approaching the low 80's.  The runners were accompanied by a near equal number of support staff, who would use five or six vans and cars to shuttle runners, provide water, and any other service the runners might need.  Each team or individual runner would run 3/10 of a mile, then be shuttled ahead of the four or five other teams, allowing time to rest while awaiting their turn to run again.
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