Regional and Local Briefs: December 2014
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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TOWER, MN – The Bois Forte Band is celebrating the completion of its new 11,000-square-foot health and dental clinic in Vermilion, which replaces a smaller clinic in the community. Band members and guests gathered on Nov. 20 for the official grand opening of the new Vermilion Clinic.

Along with an increased number of examining and treatment rooms, the new clinic includes a pharmacy, dedicated space for diabetes education, expanded lab services and telemedicine capabilities that will allow clinic providers to communicate directly with providers at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Funding for the clinic was provided through loans and grants from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Indian Health Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Iron Ranges Resources and Rehabilitation Board. Clinic equipment was provided by Indian Health Service.


ST. PAUL, MN – Walleye regulations will be more restrictive on Upper Red Lake following record walleye harvests the past winter and summer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Effective Dec. 1, anglers can only keep three walleye and the possession limit is also three. Anglers must immediately release all walleye from 17- to 26-inches. Only one walleye in possession may be longer than 26 inches.

The DNR and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa jointly developed a harvest plan for Red Lake’s walleye stocks in 2006 prior to reopening the fishery that governs walleye harvest on an annual basis. The plan allows for some excess harvest in an individual year, but requires a regulation adjustment to manage harvest back within a target range on a three-year average.

Harvest reduction scenarios were the topic at an Upper Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in late September.

“Previous advisory meetings were easier when we were relaxing regulations, but everyone on the committee understands the importance of protecting this fishery and adhering to our joint harvest plan,” Joe Corcoran, advisory committee member said. The regulation package had full support from the committee as the best way to balance harvest reduction with business and angler interests, he added.


SHAKOPEE, MN – Summer Brooks, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, was selected as a Youth Ambassador for the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference based on her exceptional community involvement.

Brooks is is among fewer than 40 Youth Ambassadors from across the country who have been selected to represent their tribes at President Obama’s sixth annual Tribal Nations Conference. At the event, she will have the opportunity to interact with the President and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs. The Council, which includes more than 30 federal departments and agencies, helps federal officials work more collaboratively and effectively with tribes to advance their economic and social priorities.
She is currently the chair of the SMSC Youth Leadership Council, leading the group that has developed its own constitution, bylaws, election system, and objectives. She also urged young SMSC members to attend a college fair and organized transportation for them to attend. She has been involved in several tribal programs, including the SMSC’s Young Native Pride and the Gathering of Native Americans. She was also the runner-up in the SMSC’s first youth royalty program. Summer is interested in cellular biology and teaching, and plans to pursue a college degree.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity to expand my leadership skills and play a part in helping tribal governments and the federal government work better together,” Brooks said, who attended the conference with Chairman Charlie Vig, the SMSC’s tribal delegate, from Dec. 1-3.



ONAMIA, MN – Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures announced on Nov. 21 that it purchased the 236-room Embassy Suites Oklahoma City hotel in Oklahoma City. The purchase represents a strategic expansion into a growing market for the company.

“We are excited to enter the Oklahoma City market with one of the strongest performing hospitality assets,” said Joseph Nayquonabe, CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, in a news release. “The quality of the suites and the proximity to key attractions around the city position this hotel for exceptional performance.”

Located only six miles from downtown Oklahoma City and four miles from Will Rogers World Airport, the recently renovated hotel boasts an atrium, of almost 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a business center, fitness room, indoor heated pool and gift shop.

In 2013, Melanie Benjamin, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, issued a directive to diversify the Band’s corporate holdings and strengthen the tribal economy. MLCV began to diversify their investments beyond gaming with the acquisition of its first hotel deal, the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront hotel and the DoubleTree by Hilton in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Since then, MLCV has further diversified by opening Sweetgrass Media, a commercial print shop and acquiring 2020 Brand Solutions. It is in the process of several other planned investments, including the rebuild of Eddy’s Resort on Lake Mille Lacs and the development of a commercial laundry facility and a medical office building in Hinckley, Minnesota.

The hotel acquisition is the second step in a nationwide strategy to acquire hospitality assets in major markets. Nayquonabe said MLCV is continually analyzing deals in search of opportunities that meet its investment criteria and will position the company for success. “We look forward to discovering our next great opportunity.”


WASHINGTON – More than 100 citizens of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe shared their culture and traditions during the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting on Dec. 2.

During the annual Capitol Christmas Tree celebration (which was hosted by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar) the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe performed a traditional drumming ceremony, the Capitol Christmas Tree Facebook page says.

The students will also perform at various tree lighting celebrations around Washington, D.C., according to the Capitol Christmas Tree Web site. They will be honored at the Museum of the Native American Indian, the Facebook page noted.

This year’s tree was cut from the Chippewa National Forest, located on the Leech Lake Reservation. 180 students from the tribe left for Washington, D.C. on Nov. 30. The tribe was involved with a similar trip in 1992.

The Capitol Christmas Tree was decorated on Nov. 30 with some of the 10,000 ornaments created by Minnesota students. The other ornaments will decorate the 70 companion trees throughout the U.S. Capitol building that were provided by the Minnesota Tree Growers Association, according to the Leech Lake Reservation Web site.


MORTON, MN – Almost 138 years after his execution, the remains of Dakota Indian warrior leader Mahpiya Okinajin, or He Who Stands in the Clouds, have been buried with all the honors due a chief. Also known as Cut Nose, he was one of 38 Indians hanged in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862, following the Dakota Conflict.

Jim Jones, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Chippewa and cultural resource specialist for the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, brought the remains home from Michigan for a recent private burial near this western Minnesota town. Several Indian nations sent representatives.

As head of the Dakota warrior society at the time of the 1862 uprising, Cut Nose would have been elevated by the conflict to status as a chief, Jones said, and he deserved burial with the ceremonies due a chief.

Cut Nose and the 37 other Indians hanged in the largest mass execution in U.S. history were buried in a shallow mass grave, but their bodies were dug up the night they died for use in anatomical studies. The remains of the chief went to Dr. William Mayo, father of the brothers who founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Jones said the first part of the body that was reburied was the skull, found several years ago at the Mayo Clinic. Working with scientists at Hamline University in St. Paul, the council determined that it was Cut Nose's skull.

After an inventory mandated by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Public Museum of Grand Rapids, Mich., this year identified one item in its collection never displayed as a piece of Cut Nose's skin. It had been tanned and tattooed with identifying marks. At the request of the Lower Sioux Community of Morton, Jones went to Michigan to claim the remains.

Cut Nose is mentioned twice in Kenneth Carley's "The Sioux Uprising of 1862," published in 1961 and republished in 1976 by the Minnesota Historical Society. He wrote that Cut Nose and other Indians stopped a group of fleeing white settlers near Fort Ridgely, but they were stopped from killing the whites by a Sisseton Dakota woman who had married a white Indian agent.

Carley also recounted how doctors, "quick to seize the rare opportunity to obtain subjects for anatomical study," dug up the bodies after the mass execution at Mankato. "Dr. William Mayo drew that of Cut Nose, and later his sons learned osteology from the Indian's skeleton."

His body was taken to Le Sueur, where it was dissected by William Mayo in the presence of other doctors, and the skeleton "was cleaned and articulated for the doctor's permanent use." The Grand Rapids museum never displayed the piece of skin, curator Eric Alexander said. It measured about 4 by 5 inches.

Advised of the find, the Lower Sioux Indian Community submitted a claim, and the remains were given to Jones for return to the tribe.

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