Regional and Local Briefs: August 2015
Monday, August 03 2015
Written by The Circle Staff,
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ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe does not owe any more gaming revenues to the city of Duluth, Minnesota, a federal judge ruled on July 28.

The tribe shared $75 million from the Fond-du-Luth Casino with the city until 2009. The National Indian Gam­ing Commission struck down the ar­rangement in 2011 after determining that it violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The city went to court to seek ad­ditional money for the years 2009 through 2011. Judge Susan Richard Nelson initially agreed that the funds were owed.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals re­versed. A unanimous decision from May concluded that IGRA requires tribes to be the “primary beneficiaries” of their casinos and Nelson has em­braced that finding.

Nelson wrote that “directing mil­lions of dollars away from the band is directly contrary to the IGRA’s goals of promoting tribal economic develop­ment, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal government.”

About $13 million, a figure that in­cluded interest, was in dispute before Nelson made her ruling. The fight, however, is not over.

The city is still suing the NIGC for ending the revenue-sharing agree­ment. A judge in Washington, D.C., sided with the agency but the city has taken the case to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.


GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. – The chairman of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe has asked Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to end the moratorium on state agency moose collaring research.

Norman Deschampe wrote the governor in early July, saying that the governor’s executive order ear­lier this year has hamstrung efforts to find out the root causes behind the rapid decline in moose numbers across the state’s north woods.

The governor issued the executive order banning state agency and uni­versity researchers from capturing and collaring moose, citing an appar­ently high number of moose deaths related to their capture.

While the governor’s ban does not affect tribal moose collaring, Des­champe said the state moose research was valuable despite the unfortunate deaths. “While your order does not impact our ability to conduct moose research, it has crippled our ability to partner with (the Minnesota Depart­ment of Natural Resources) and other active Minnesota moose research­ers,’’ he wrote.

Matt Swenson, Dayton’s spokes­man, said the governor just received the letter but has not had a chance to review it.

In the letter, which tribal officials made available to on July 9, Des­champe said moose are the key sub­sistence animal for his band and that the state should rejoin the effort to find out why the numbers have de­clined more than 60 percent in recent years.

“We ask that you re-evaluate your decision to halt moose collaring re­search and carefully consider the implications of the loss of this neces­sary government-led and sponsored research to the Minnesota moose population, to the citizens of Minne­sota and beyond, and to the culture and identity of the Grand Portage Band. ...” Deschampe wrote.


SAWYER, Minn. – For the sixth year in a row, the Kiwenz Language Camp on the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe reservation finishing up its latest camp in June.

However, the language camp will now be organized and planned by the tribe’s new Anishinaabemowin Coordinator, Janis Fairbanks, instead of past organizers, including Jim and Patricia Northrup.

Fairbanks, who started working for the tribe’s administration in January, has a doctorate in Ojibwe language, culture, history and literature of the Great Lakes Ojibwe. She attended Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters and is a citizen of the Fond du Lac band.

Fairbanks will be running the lan­guage camp among other things, and she is the developer of the res­ervation’s entire language program.

“We may try to change the time of the language camp to August. I did some surveys out there and I asked if people would attend if it changed from June to August and 62 said yes and 8 said no. There’s a lot going on at the end of the school year in June when the camp is held. We were in competition with five different events in June, so there wasn’t room at our Black Bear facility to hotel people,” Fairbanks said.

The Northrups will still be in­volved, but Fairbanks will be the new point of contact.

Next April she will put together a strategic plan for the whole lan­guage program. She will be work­ing with elders and youth at the language camp, the Ojibwe school, the community center and the tribal college. Interested persons are asked to call Fairbanks at 218-878-7351 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


RED LAKE, Minn. – Citizens of the Red Lake Nation will be going to the polls on Aug. 19 for a Mandato­ry Referendum Vote about the sale of alcoholic beverages at the casino properties located in Thief River Falls and Warroad, Minn.

“This shall not include any part of the diminished reservation,” Tribal Secretary Donald Cook said. (The Secretary’s office handles all elec­tions) “Therefore, alcohol would not be allowed on the Red Lake Reserva­tion nor would it be served at the Seven Clans Casino Red Lake.”

On Nov. 10, 1999, the Red Lake Tribal Council conducted an advi­sory vote concerning the sale of al­coholic beverages in certain tribal businesses.

“An advisory vote is when citizens vote on a non-binding question,” Cook explained. “The outcome of an advisory vote is not binding on the Tribal Council to enact a law or constitutional amendment. Howev­er, the outcome of a mandatory ref­erendum vote is binding upon the governing body (the Red Lake Tribal Council) to do what the results say.”

For Red Lake citizens not living on the reservation, the Absentee Ballot Committee (ABC) will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Red Lake Nation Head­quarters Library. Absentee ballot­ing will also be open Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. the last two weekends prior to the referendum vote and on Aug. 19 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For those citizens living in the Twin Cities voting will be on Aug. 17. The Absentee Ballot Committee be at the Minneapolis American In­dian Center (1530 E. Franklin Ave.) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to receive ab­sentee ballots.

Any enrolled Red Lake citizens with questions can contact the Ab­sentee Ballot Committee or the Trib­al Secretary’s Office at 218-679-1838.

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