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Federal officials close to compensating Chippewa bands for tribal land
Friday, March 09 2012
 
Written by Conrad Wilson Minnesota Public Radio News,
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It's taken 123 years, but the federal government is the closest it's ever been to compensating Minnesota's Chippewa bands for tribal land that the U.S. government sold unfairly.
On March 1 a bill that would award millions of dollars to the six bands that make up the tribe and their members, will receive a hearing before a House committee in Washington. The money would settle a dispute over a century-old land deal.
But not all tribal members think the deal is fair.
In 1889, the Congress passed the Nelson Act, which consolidated Minnesota's Chippewa reservations by allocating plots to individual tribal members and selling off the rest of the reservation land. The act aimed to assimilate the tribes, in part by shrinking the size of the reservation. Money raised from the sale was supposed to help the tribe, but the government sold it at prices considerably below market value.
"They were listing it as swamp land, which was probably $2 per acre, as opposed to timber land," said Gary Frazer, executive director of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. "It was really timberland and they were classifying it as swamp lands."
In 1946, the Chippewa tribe filed a lawsuit against the government, seeking full compensation for the land. The tribe argued the money the federal government raised wasn't used appropriately. But an agreement wasn't reached until 1999, when federal officials offered the tribe $20 million. Tribal leaders accepted.
But a disagreement within the tribe over how the money should be distributed stalled the payment. Since then, the money has sat in an account, slowly collecting interest, making the payout now closer to $28 million.
SMSC Organics Recycling Facility is wave of the future
Friday, March 09 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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smsc_organics_facility.jpgEach day at lunch, children in the Prior Lake Savage School district put their leftovers and their biodegradable paper products into a special bin. Empty milk cartons, napkins, and thick cardboard pressed trays are collected along with food waste and then transported to the nearby Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Organics Recycling Facility. There they are mixed with leaves, branches, used chopped up casino playing cards, water, and cucumbers and potatoes from nearby processing facilities.
Using best management practices and following both state and federal guidelines, the staff foster an environment where the heat and energy created within these materials breaks them down. Twelve weeks later these materials have been transformed into usable compost, decomposed organic matter rich in nutrients which can be used as a soil amendment.
The SMSC Organics Recycling Facility, located on trust land off County Road 83 and owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, opened to the public in the fall of 2011.
"First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language"
Monday, January 09 2012
 
Written by Emmy Award tours elementary schools,
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Last fall, the Twin Cities Public Television documentary First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language was awarded a MidWest Regional Emmy  Award for Artistic Excellence in the Documentary-Cultural category. The one-hour program features the work of the Niigaane Ojibwemowin Immersion school and other schools and scholars in the region working to revitalize and restore the Ojibwe language.
Niigaane Ojibwemowin Immersion Kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms participated in the film during late spring of 2010. At Niigaane, all academic and social content is taught through the medium of Ojibwe language. Through this style of teaching the Leech Lake community hopes to reclaim the Ojibwe language as a vital, necessary language for the coming generations.
The Emmy award is currently traveling on a "Miigwech Tour" to all of the sites that opened their doors as participants in the film. First stop has been at the Niigaane school in Bena, Minnesota, where the Niigaane Kindergarten through sixth grade students have been taking care of the award and talking about the importance of the Ojibwe language in today's world.
GO RUN trains Native women to run for public office
Friday, December 16 2011
 
Written by By LeAnn Littlewolf,
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go_run_trains_native_women1.jpgAmerican Indian women are ready to lead in their communities, whether it's on tribal land or on local, county and statewide levels. Over the weekend of November 18-20th a group of twenty-eight American Indian women, representing over 12 tribal nations from across the Midwest region, drove down the snow-covered gravel road winding into the Deep Portage Learning Center near Hackensack, Minnesota, to gather, strategize and develop their personal strengths for leadership.
Nevada Littlewolf (Leech Lake Ojibwe), the Rural Field Organizer for The White House Project (a national non-partisan non-profit organization), envisioned the first-ever Go Run for American Indian Women as the beginning of a movement where American Indian women lead the dialogue, provide the expertise, and build real support to be effective leaders. The training supports American Indian women in running for public office, working on campaigns, and advancing their leadership in the public sector.
First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language wins Midwest Emmy
Friday, November 11 2011
 
Written by Michael Meuers,
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Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) wa awarded an Upper Midwest Emmy for First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language, a documentary funded through Minnesota's Legacy Amendment. First Speakers follows a new generation of Ojibwe scholars and educators racing against time to save one of Minnesota's Native languages. One of those endangered tongues is the Ojibwe language. Now this new generation of educators are working with the remaining fluent-speaking Ojibwe elders, hoping to pass the language on to the next generation. Told by Ojibwe elders, scholars, writers, historians and teachers, the TPT original production is filled with hope for the future. As recent as World War II, the Ojibwe language (referred to as Ojibwemowin in Ojibwe) was the language of everyday life for the Anishinaabe and historically the language of the Great Lakes fur trade.
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