What's New In The Community: November 2014
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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Migizi Communications receives $1.2 million grant

MINNEAPOLIS Migizi Communications, Inc. has received a $1.2 million federal grant to launch Native Youth Financially Independent. This five-year demonstration project is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Services and the Administration for Native Americans.

The Native Youth Financially Independent project is designed to present permanent and sustainable solutions to the intergenerational poverty and lack of economic opportunity that have plagued the Minneapolis Indian community since its formation in the 1950s. Migizi Communications will recruit 150 low-income Native youth from across Minneapolis, ages 14-21, providing them with opportunities and support needed to prepare them to become financially-independent adults.
These students will undergo work readiness training, be placed in paid internship opportunities in high-growth, high-demand careers; save earnings for college in an Individual Development Account which will be matched four-to-one through program funds; and receive financial literacy training, mentorship and 21st century skills development opportunities.

The project’s main partners include AchieveMpls, which will provide workforce training and internship placement for participants through the STEP-UP Achieve youth employment program over the five year course of the project. One of the country's premiere youth employment programs, STEP-UP Achieve – part of the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP program – places 800 Minneapolis youth each year in paid internships with Twin Cities companies, non-profits and public agencies.
NYFI's second partner is Woodlands National Bank, owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, which will administer youth IDA savings accounts. The students will have their savings matched four-to-one to be used for higher education expenses. Woodlands is the primary banking institution serving the urban American Indian community in Minneapolis.
NYFI responds directly to the needs identified and vision created out of a two-year strategic planning process (2008-2010) initiated by the Native American Community Development Institute and involves hundreds of Minneapolis American Indian community members of all ages.

The document created from this process and published in 2011, “American Indian Community Blueprint: Building a 21st Century American Indian Community,” articulates a 20-year vision for a “vibrant, healthy, and balanced community where American Indian people have living-wage jobs that build wealth and assets and eliminate barriers to success, creating economic self-sufficiency.”
Migizi Communications has been in existence for over 37 years and advances a message of success, well-being and justice for the American Indian community.


Tiwahe Foundation announces grant recipients

MINNEAPOLIS The Tiwahe Foundation is honored to announce that at its Oct. 14 board meeting, 14 grants were awarded to Native American individuals in the Twin Cities seven-county metro area through its American Indian Family Empowerment Program.

This program awards $70-80,000, annually, to American Indian individuals and families seeking financial resources to achieve their goals, shape their future and make positive contributions to their community through three priority areas: economic self-sufficiency; education; and cultural connections.

Grants range from $500 to $2,500 – enough to make a significant impact on grantees and the community and contributing to the self-determination of individuals. During the September grant round individuals received awards in the following focus areas:

Goal 1: Preserving and Renewing Native Cultural Connections: Carolyn Gurneau; Goal 2: Educational Achievement: Daryl Alkire, Mika Barrett, Vivian Big Eagle, Roberta Dunkley, LaCecelia Guernsey, Melissa Olson, Joseph Regguinti, Michael Roberts and Lucie Skjefte; Goal 3: Economic Self-Sufficiency: Alexandra Buffalohead, Troy Clark, John Hunter and Rachel LaFriniere.

AIFEP strives to reverse the social, educational and economic challenges facing American Indians by investing in human capital, skills, resources and cultural strengths that people possess that allow them to live healthy and productive lives, build strong relationships and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

SMSC and SCALE Receive National Honors

PRIOR LAKE, Minn. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community received an Honoring Nations award on Oct. 29 from the Harvard University Project on American Indian Economic Development. SMSC’s nomination of the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency was selected as an Honors recipient, the Honoring Nations award for excellence in Native American tribal governance.

SCALE consists of more than 30 members, including the SMSC, all of which are governments or agencies in Scott County. The organization formed in 2003 to foster regional collaboration, better serve local residents, and share resources to save money.

“SCALE has helped improve communication, trust and cooperation between the SMSC and neighboring governments,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig. “We truly value the relationships we have built, and we appreciate the Harvard Project’s recognition of SCALE as a model for other communities and tribes to follow.”

One of the priorities of Honoring Nations is to help share the innovative ideas of its award recipients with other tribes across the country. Related to SCALE, the goal is to encourage tribes, cities, townships and counties nationwide to cooperate more as governments in order to build trust and effectively serve tribal members and local citizens.

Some of SCALE’s achievements include:

Regional Public Safety Training Facility – Needing a local option to train public safety officials, the SCALE partners combined resources to build a joint facility in 2008;

Fiber optic ring – To enhance its members’ ability to work together, SCALE helped develop a 94-mile fiber optic ring that allows every government and public agency in Scott County to function as one continual network. It is the largest high-speed fiber network in Minnesota;

First Stop Shop – A clearinghouse called the “First Stop Shop” was established in 2012 through SCALE to provide one point of contact for businesses that are interested in locating in Scott County. The First Stop Shop assisted Shutterfly and Emerson Electric in opening facilities in Scott County in 2013;

Mutual aid agreements – The SMSC’s Mdewakanton Public Safety has established 15 mutual aid agreements with other local fire and emergency response departments to improve the quality and speed of responses;

Joint transportation plan and numerous road projects – SCALE members developed a unified transportation plan and jointly implement road projects to increase safety and capacity;

Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) – As an outgrowth of SCALE, the IWG meets regularly to discuss land use, transportation, upcoming trust applications, and planning issues of common concern to the SMSC, Scott County, and the cities of Prior Lake and Shakopee;

Interconnected water system – Another development that traces back to SCALE is the SMSC, the City of Prior Lake, and the City of Savage interconnecting their water systems, so that they can share water in the event of a shortage.

“The SMSC and SCALE’s other members make it a priority to work together, because we can accomplish much more that way than working alone,” said SCALE Chair Jay Whiting, who is a Shakopee City Council member. “Strong, creative partnerships are critical when needs must be met and budgets are stretched thin.”

From a pool of nearly 90 diverse programs that were nominated for an award, the Honoring Nations Board of Governors selected three High Honors and three Honors recipients. Awarded programs demonstrate tremendous impact in their communities and evidence great effectiveness, significance to sovereignty, transferability, and sustainability – the criteria by which Honoring Nations assesses applicant programs. In addition to the SMSC and SCALE, the other 2014 award recipients include the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma (High Honors), Lummi Nation in Washington (Honors), Ohkay Owingeh in New Mexico (High Honors), Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington (High Honors), and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Washington (Honors).


Shooting Star Casino announces new General Manager

WHITE EARTH, Minn. – The White Earth Nation Tribal Council congratulates Bill Marsh as the new general manager for the Shooting Star Casino, Hotel and Event Center in Mahnomen, Minn. In addition, Mindy Iverson was named as the assistant general manager.

Marsh is a member of Michigan’s Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and has more than 14 years of professional and executive level experience in Indian Gaming. He has been responsible for all facets of casino marketing, including strategy development, branding, advertising, media, promotions, player development, database (mining and analysis), direct mail, public relations, group tours, sales, revenue projections, entertainment and in-house graphics.

He has also been involved in team building, coaching, vision creation, planning and development and training in gaming environments. Marsh has a master’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. He has been with Shooting Star Casino since 2010 as the director of marketing.

Iverson has been the Human Resource Director for Shooting Star Casino since 2008. She has 16 years of executive level professional experience in gaming, and retail from Lueken’s Foods, Inc. in Bemidji, Minn. She holds an Advanced Tribal Human Resource Professional Certification from Falmouth Institute and the National Native American Human Resource Association.

She is currently a Native Nation Rebuilder, Cohort IV, through the Bush Foundation representing tribes in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Iverson attended Bemidji State University from 1989-1994. She brings an extensive background in Workforce Development, Strategic and Business Planning, Financial Budgeting, Employment Law, Associate Relations, Conflict Resolution, Peer Mediation, Staff Recruitment/Retention and Setting Performance Standards.

She loves to travel, make star quilts, read and compete in 5k’s in her community. Iverson is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation and the daughter of Vernon and Denice Iverson of Bagley, Minn.

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