What's New In The Community: July 2015
Friday, July 10 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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shaynowishkung statue dedicated in bemidji park.jpg Shaynowishkung Statue Dedicated in Bemidji park

(Story By Michael Meuers)

BEMIDJI, Minn. – An estimated 300 people gathered at Library Park on June 6 to dedicate a statue honoring Shaynowishkung, (He Who Rattles), also known as Chief Bemidji.

Shaynowishkung who lived on the South shore near the river inlet in the late 1800s, was nicknamed Chief Bemidji by the settlers of the region. The city of Bemidji got its name from the Ojibwe word Bemijigamaag which means "lake with cross waters" referring to the Mississippi River crossing through the lake.

The 9-foot, 3-inch, bronze-casted sculpture is the third statue of Chief Bemidji built and displayed on the shores of Lake Bemidji.

Carolyn Jacobs, co-chair of the Shaynowishkung Statue Project shared the podium with co-chair Kathryn "Jodie" Beaulieu of Red Lake.

“This is the culmination of over six years of work,” said Jacobs. "This monument is dedicated to the honoring and healing of our diverse and collective communities. In a time when conflict was more common than peace, Chief Bemidji brought people together."

"Shaynowishkung came to this area, paddling up the Gichi-Ziibi (Mississippi River, literally Big River) in 1882 with his children, being unable to bear the recent death of his wife. He settled on the South shore of Lake Bemidji along the Mississippi’s inlet," Jacobs said. "Here he befriended the first settlers of European descent in the late 1800s. We hope to emulate his good example and that this event will lead to healing and understanding between cultures. A recognition that both Indians and non-Indians have much in common yet much to learn about each other."

Beaulieu said creation of a new statue took the collaboration of both Native and non-Native members coming together through “forthright conversations” for a common goal.

"The committee was impressed with Gareth Curtiss during the interview process when he displayed a 3-foot high clay model of what he intended to create," Beaulieu said. “The model brought tears to the eyes of the family of Shaynowishkung.”

“We hope that this dedication and other initiatives will improve race relations and build further respect between cultures,” she said. “It’s a beginning of understanding of our culture, and the bringing together of people as human beings and go forward in a good way that we can all be respected when we come to Bemidji.”

A Flag Song and Honor Song were rendered by Eyabay Drum Group of Red Lake, as the Leech Lake Honor Guard posted the colors. The song was to honor all of those who have gone on before us, those who are here now, and those who will be coming in the future.

Larry Aitken, Spiritual leader from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe did a short prayer and pipe ceremony in Ojibwemowin, and then spoke to the crowd in English.

PHOTO: “It is a good day today as peoples of many nations come together to honor a good man,” community member Larry Aiken said. (Photo by Michael Meuers)

Coalition Returns to Council to Say Miigwech

(Story By Michael Meuers)

RED LAKE, Minn. – First up on the agenda of the June 9 monthly meeting of the Red Lake Tribal Council was the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless. Coalition members Mike Bredon, Keni Johnson and Carolyn Jacobs had returned to the Council to say thanks for kicking-off the fundraising efforts for the group.

Red Lake was first on the list when the group began fundraising late last year. The Coalition visited Red Lake at the November Council meeting. After a short presentation the Council voted unanimously to support the effort with a $5000 grant.

"We wanted to return to Red Lake to personally accept the $5,000 check promised, but more importantly to thank the Council for having faith in our project, with the very first large contribution. Getting that first donation is always the hardest," said Coalition member Mike Bredon in opening remarks to the Tribal Council.

Bredon told the Council how grateful he was that the tribe was the first to give a major donation, punctuating his thanks with a heart-felt personal story of how he had experienced chronic inebriation in his own family which brought tears to some in the near capacity Council Chambers.

"The donation from Red Lake was the first large single donation that the Nameless Coalition received," explained member Keni Johnson. "We had recently opened our account at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation when we went to the November council meeting to ask for their support for our mission…'securing a safe, warm, overnight shelter for chronic inebriate males in the Bemidji community.' Their generous donation assisted us greatly in securing donations from Leech Lake, White Earth, Mdewakanton Sioux, City of Bemidji, Beltrami County, local churches, businesses and many, many private donations within the community."

"To date we have raised close to $150,000 and are in the process of identifying and moving forward on a site for this winter. We continue to fundraise, and are sincerely grateful to everyone who has supported us and really appreciate Red Lake Nation for their early support and commitment to the Nameless Coalition," concluded Bredon.

Red Lake Tribal Treasurer Annette Johnson then presented the group with a $5000 check while posing for a requested photo.

Donations to the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless can be made to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Nameless Coalition for the Homeless Fund, 201 Third Street NW, Bemidji, MN 56601. For more information, call 218-751-6201. Upcoming events will be listed on the coalition's Facebook page,

Adobe DeSigns wins Award of Distinction

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Adobe DeSigns, LLC, won the National Association of Minority Contractors-Upper Midwest Chapter's Award of Distinction for Small Contractor of the Year on June 13.

Adobe DeSigns is owned and operated by Vivian Guerra (Tiwa) and Lisa Owen (Flandreau Santee) and specializes in signs, banners, vinyl graphics, fleet and vehicle graphics.

The NAMC-UM is a Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors, a nonprofit trade association established in 1969 to address the needs and concerns of minority contractors. NANC-UM was established in 1984; and services Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

NAMC-UM's membership includes general contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers, associations, state and local governmental organizations, bankers, attorneys accountants, and other professionals.

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