What's New In The Community: October 2014
Saturday, October 11 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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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.



PRIOR LAKE, Minn. – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community recently announced nine new recipients of the SMSC Endowed Scholarship at the University of Minnesota for the 2014-2015 academic year. This scholarship program is designed to recruit and retain talented American Indian students with demonstrated financial need.

Since the program began in 2009, 192 students from 48 different tribes in 18 states have received this scholarship. Eighty-three of them are enrolled this year: 59 undergraduate students and 24 graduate students.

The nine new scholarship recipients for the 2014-2015 academic year come from across the United States and from seven different tribes. The 2014-2015 SMSC Endowed Scholarship recipients include: Raven Ziegler, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe; Gerard Sordelet, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Misty Peterson, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Hannah Smith, White Earth Nation; Eli Balber-Herman, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Chilah Brown, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; Phillip Gullikson, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Tribes; Jason Weaver, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe; and Robert Budreau, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Some of the students’ majors include elementary education, political science, environmental studies and public affairs.

The SMSC Endowed Scholarship was established through a $2.5 million gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The University of Minnesota matches the interest earned on this endowment fund with proceeds dedicated to providing scholarships for qualified American Indian students. The University’s Office for Equity and Diversity administers the scholarship.

The primary goal of the SMSC Endowed Scholarship is to support incoming University of Minnesota freshmen and transfer students who demonstrate financial need. Scholarships may also be awarded to newly admitted graduate and professional students in specific disciplines. For undergraduates, scholarships are renewable for up to four years or until graduation (whichever comes first), contingent upon academic performance. For graduate and professional students, the length of funding is contingent upon the school of enrollment, academic performance, and degree program, and is determined on a case-by-case basis.


NEW YORK CITY – Ojibwe author Louise Erdrich was awarded the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in a ceremony held in New York City on Sept. 29.

The prize, which includes a cash stipend of $25,000, was announced Sept. 9 by The PEN American Center.

The judges for the award were authors E.L. Doctorow, Zadie Smith and Edwidge Danticat. In a statement, the judges praised Erdrich’s work, “Pursuing the seeds of her own lineage she has drawn comprehensive portraits of Native American life, followed German immigrants in cramped boats across the Atlantic, and delved inwards, right back to conception, in her wonderful non-fiction account of childbearing, 'The Blue Jay’s Dance' … She is a writer only America could have produced, committed to the extraordinary project of capturing a complex land and a various people in their own voices, and in hers.”

Erdrich’s novels include “Love Medicine,” ”The Plague of Doves” and “The Round House,” the latter of which was named winner of the National Book Award for fiction in 2012.

The 59-year-old daughter of a German-American father and a French-American-Ojibwe mother, Erdrich expressed her delight about the honor, “Getting this award would intimidate the hell out of me if I weren’t so excited,” Erdrich wrote.

Past winners include Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo and E. L. Doctorow.

Last month, Erdrich was awarded with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for illustrating through her words that U.S. history includes violence, discrimination and neglect, Sharon Rab, co-chairwoman of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation said. “Her work reminds us that we are not observers but participants in the national history of the ownership of land and the taking of territory.”

Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribal and was raised in North Dakota. She is the author of 14 novels as well as poetry, short stories, children’s books and a memoir of early motherhood. She also owns Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis.

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