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Foreclosure Battle Creates Bad Feelings In Community
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by By The Circle staff,
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foreclosure_battle_woodlands_national_bank_and_anita_reyes.jpgLongfellow neighborhood resident Anita Reyes (White Earth Band of Ojibwe) and Occupy Homes Minnesota (Occupy) have been protesting the foreclosure of Reyes's house and her eviction from the premises. The property is held by Woodlands National Bank (Woodlands), one of only a few
tribally-owned financial institutions in the country and owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The Minneapolis branch of the bank was opened in 2009 with programs specifically geared toward
low-income and Native American clients. The battle has caused bad feeling between people in the
community.
Reyes and her advocates claim that the bank has been communicating erratically and untruthfully with Reyes about the status of her house and her mortgage agreement. "I figured their integrity would be flawless - they're in a position with all this money - you would think they would have to be honest," said Reyes.
However, Woodlands representatives claim that Reyes was unresponsive to their repeated attempts to meet with her in the period leading up to her foreclosure and that she did not give them the information they needed to assist her before she defaulted on her mortgage payments.
AIFC makes needed renovations thanks to Drops of Good Community Project
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by By Jamie Keith,
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aifc_makes_needed_renovations_1.jpgThe American Indian Family Center (AIFC), located in East Saint Paul, is the recipient of a $50,000 community center renovation grant from the Drops of Good Community Project.
On August 7, AIFC held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the renovations. In addition to community members, volunteers, and representatives from the organizations that funded the project, special guests included Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and former Minnesota Twins pitcher Brad Radke.
"It's bringing life back to this community and it's what the people need around here," said Radke. "It's a great opportunity for me to come back to the cities and lend a hand."
The Drops of Good Community Project is a partnership between Maxwell House and the national nonprofit organization Rebuilding Together. The two organizations first teamed up in 2011 to sponsor the grant program, which brings crucial structural renovations to deserving community centers nationwide.
"This program is raising awareness in local communities and we've been able to help these vital community centers continue to do good, inspire hope, and bring much-needed change," said Corey Provine, Senior Brand Manager for Maxwell House.
AIFC was initially approached by the Twin Cities affiliate of Rebuilding Together in March to be interviewed for nomination to the competition. The organization was then selected by Rebuilding Together and Maxwell House as one of ten finalists nationwide to move on to the online voting phase of the project, which lasted from April to May. To get the word out, Rebuilding Together and Maxwell House launched social media voting campaigns to the public and the AIFC recruited community members to vote at local events. After all 144,000 votes were tallied, AIFC was selected as one of three community centers to receive the grant.
The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award hosts event in Mpls
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award 2012 event will honor Native artists from Minnesota and throughout Indian country, and will share performances and stories from the Anishinaabe, Blackfeet, Oneida, Seneca and Tsimshian tribes.
The event takes place in Minneapolis on September 27 and will feature performances by comedian Charlie Hill, Jennifer Kreisberg, Git-Hoan (People of the Salmon), and Oshkii Giizhik Singers with Elizabeth Jaakola. A pre-show reception and art auction will be held at 6:30 p.m. (premium tickets required). The show and awards ceremony begins at 8 p.m.
During the event, six Native artists will receive the Community Spirit Award, including:
o Charlie Hill (Oneida Tribes of Wisconsin) - Hill honed his skills at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles before going on to do theater, television and film. According to fellow entertainer Jennifer Kreisberg who nominated him, "Charlie has opened a door and paved a road for Native performers all over Indian Country. He is strengthening our community in his own unique ways - first and foremost is his use of humor as medicine."
Sacred site in S.D. goes up for auction, leaves tribes stunned
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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In mid-August the the sacred site of Pe' Sla (meaning The Heart of Everything in Lakota) near Mount Rushmore and Deadwood in South Dakota went up for auction. Although the land has been privately owned, members of the Great Sioux Nation -known as Lakota, Dakota and Nakota - have been allowed to gather there each year to perform ceremonial rituals they believe are necessary for harmony, health and well-being.
The auction was schedules for Aug. 25 but for unknown reasons, was canceled.
Tribal members fear that if the property they call Pe' Sla is sold, it will be developed and they will lose access. The South Dakota Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are studying the possibility of paving one of the main roads that divides the land, a fact mentioned in the advertisement touting its development potential.
The tribes have now banded together to try to raise money to buy back as much of the land as they can. But with only a weeks notice, so far they have only about $110,000 committed for property they believe will sell for $6 million to $10 million.
Shakopee Mdewakanton Chairman Stanley R. Crooks Passes On
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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shakopee_mdw_chairman_stanley_crooks_passes_on.jpgStanley R. Crooks, Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community since 1992, passed away on August 25th at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, from natural causes. He was 70 years old. A statement from the tribe said Crooks died from natural causes but did not go into more details.
Crooks served as Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for more than 20 successive years and was reelected for a new four-year term of office in January of 2012.† †
†Under his leadership, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community members have approved Community donations of more than $243 million to tribes and charitable organizations since 1996, and tribal loans of more than $450 million for economic development and community development.
†A national figure in Indian Country, Chairman Crooks served as the Chairman of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association for many years and was the SMSC representative to the National Indian Gaming Association, as well as to the National Congress of American Indians. A United States Navy veteran, he served during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His father, the late Norman M. Crooks, was the first Chairman of the SMSC.
Tribes and state use unique court to fight addiction
Monday, September 17 2012
 
Written by By Tom Robertson Minnesota Public Radio News,
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tribes_and_state_use_unique_court_to_fight_addiction.jpgFred Isham sits near a blazing fire just outside Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. The 37-year-old tribal member helped build the fire to heat carefully selected stones that will be used in a nearby sweat lodge. Inside the sweat lodge, Isham and others will pray and conduct spiritual Ojibwe ceremonies.
Isham participates in the Cass County-Leech Lake tribal "wellness court." He's encouraged to use ceremonies and other cultural activities as part of his recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. It's not required, but evidence suggests cultural and spiritual connections can help the healing process.
"In a sense what you're doing is you're going back into the womb of the mother," Isham said of the sweat lodge. "When you come back out there it's a rebirth. You're clean again."
Isham, a member of the Boise Forte Band of Ojibwe who grew up in Cass Lake, was a chronic drinker and pot smoker. Last summer he was cited a second time for driving while intoxicated, and later violated probation. In December, court authorities offered him the opportunity to participate in wellness court as an alternative to a year in prison, and he took it.
The court is a unique partnership among the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Cass and Itasca counties in northern Minnesota. It uses intense supervision and, in some cases, tribal culture, to target chronic substance abusers and cut the cost of crime, and is among a variety of new strategies and approaches to public safety the local officials are trying.
Wellness court is similar to the DWI and drug courts that have become popular across the country. It's a voluntary prison diversion program that provides structured supervision and rehabilitation for non-violent, repeat drug and alcohol offenders. The average length of the program is 18 months for gross misdemeanor offenders and 24 months for felony offenders.
For participants, it's strict. Isham must attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He answers to a probation officer and must attend wellness court meetings every other week. The court sessions are convened jointly by both tribal and county judges, who get updates on his progress.
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