What's New In The Community: December 2014
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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ST. PAUL, MN – In recognition of winning a 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, the Native American Community Development Institute of Minneapolis and First Peoples Fund of Rapid City, S.D. have received continued funding from the Bush Foundation in the amounts of $157,201 and $313,068, respectively.

NACDI grew out of research that showed outcomes for American Indians in Hennepin County had not improved substantially in the past 40 years. NACDI spent three years asking Native people what they wanted for their future, as opposed to what they needed to meet their basic needs. The gatherings resulted in a rich and bold vision for a vibrant, resilient community that celebrates Native identity.

This work has spawned numerous efforts, from homeownership opportunities to youth entrepreneurship training to the building of the American Indian Cultural Corridor, a half-mile physical manifestation along Franklin Avenue of the community's vision for a prosperous home in Minneapolis.

The only entity of its kind in the country, NACDI has employed an asset-building approach to reposition the American Indian community as an engine of economic growth. It works from the premise that comprehensive, asset-centered strategies and cross-sector partnerships embracing technology, entrepreneurship and community development will promote innovative ideas. (2014 Bush Prize winner)

First Peoples Fund set out nearly 20 years ago to devise an approach that empowers Native artists to be culture bearers and leaders of social change in their communities.

Today, First Peoples Fund empowers Lakota, Dakota, Nakota and Ojibwe artists through a combination of financial support, mentoring and entrepreneurship opportunities. The program helps revitalize cultures while providing artists with tools to grow as creative leaders and financially support themselves, their families and their communities.

Recognized nationally as a leader in its field, First Peoples Fund is sharing its model across the country, working with other Native communities to provide artists with access to knowledge, materials, networks, capital and markets.


WASHINGTON – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder just announced the launch of an ICWA initiative to address ICWA noncompliance and halt the unnecessary and illegal removal of Indian children from their families.

The initiative mirrors the recommendations NICWA has made in countless pieces of testimony submitted, policy briefings provided to officials, and hundreds of hours working behind the scenes, building on the relationships and reputation we have carefully nurtured in over 30 years of working on Capitol Hill.

We use our invitation to the policymaking table to advocate tirelessly, ensuring YOUR stories and concerns are shared with those at the highest level. Chief among these been reports of widespread noncompliance with ICWA. NICWA has listened to you, and called for accountability for those who have disrupted and damaged our families.

We applaud today's announcement. Your voices have been heard.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the Department of Justice is launching a new initiative to promote compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act. Under this important effort, we are working to actively identify state-court cases where the United States can file briefs opposing the unnecessary and illegal removal of Indian children from their families and their tribal communities. We are partnering with the Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services to make sure that all the tools available to the federal government are used to promote compliance with this important law.” Holder said in a speech on Dec. 3.

“And we will join with those departments, and with tribes and Indian child-welfare organizations across the country, to explore training for state judges and agencies; to promote tribes' authority to make placement decisions affecting tribal children; to gather information about where the Indian Child Welfare Act is being systematically violated; and to take appropriate, targeted action to ensure that the next generation of great tribal leaders can grow up in homes that are not only safe and loving, but also suffused with the proud traditions of Indian cultures.”


By Michael Meuers

Red Lake Nation News

RED LAKE, MN – The Red Lake Chemical Health Programs is proud to share the news that the Red Lake Alcohol Rehabilitation Red Road of Wellness Grant was nominated by Dr. Cecil White Hat to receive the Commissioners Circle of Excellence award. The program was selected for the recipient of the 2014 award! “We are thrilled and eager to share the news,” Project Director Salena Beasley said.

Dr. Cecil White Hat, (Sicangu Lakota), with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, as a Principal Planner/Program Consultant, nominated the program for the award.

"Congratulations! Congratulations! You were selected to receive the Commissioner’s Circle of Excellence Award for 2014,” White Hat said in an email to Tom Barrett Director of Red Lake Chemical Health Programs. “It is well deserved. You are finally being recognized for the outstanding work that you do. Keep up the good work!”

In a letter to Red Lake Chairman Darrell G. Seki, Sr., and Director Barrett, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services Lucinda E. Jesson wrote, “Congratulations on the selection of Red Lake Chemical Health's Red Road of Wellness Program as a recipient of a 2014 Commissioner's Circle of Excellence Award! Your organization was nominated for your chemical health prevention and treatment support services that emphasize cultural values.”

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to reconginize your organization as our partner in performing outstanding work to support the DHS mission, priorities and goals and for your outstanding commitment to our human services program clients,” Barrett continued.

The official award ceremony will take place in St. Paul on Dec. 15.

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