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Citizen Journalism

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Polymet lawsuit
Sunday, March 13 2011
 
Written by Circle NEws Staff,
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I wrote last August about the environmental dangers associated with sulfide mining, which is being proposed for several areas in northeastern Minnesota. Although further environmental analysis has been ordered for the PolyMet Mining project near Hoyt Lakes - within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory - the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), the State of Minnesota economic development agency located in Eveleth, has given PolyMet a $4 million loan.
In January, five conservation groups, including the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), filed a lawsuit challenging the IRRRB loan to help PolyMet develop its open-pit sulfide mine.
Tribal stimulus
Sunday, March 13 2011
 
Written by Circle News Staff,
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Most people likely don't think of Indian tribes when the discussion turns to economic recovery; but, as a recent article in the Duluth News Tribune reports, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is holding its own in the recession.
Karen Diver, chairwoman of the band's Reservation Business Committee, told the newspaper that none of the 2,000 FDL employees have been laid off. The band "kept a large part of Northeastern Minnesota working at a time when that wasn't the norm for the area. Even a small change in our activities would have a large impact," said Diver.
The newspaper reported that the Fond du Lac Band "moved forward on projects, completing a natural resources building, several housing complexes and a drug treatment center expansion." The band increased spending from 2009 to 2010, from about $160 million to $182 million, which includes payroll and membership payments. More than half the tribal employees work in non-casino jobs, according to Diver. In addition to government services, the band runs sand and gravel, lumber and construction businesses.

High School senior plans powwow for her final project
Sunday, March 13 2011
 
Written by Jennifer FairbanksAshlen Delgado (Ogalala Sioux), has set her ambitions high by organizing a powwow,
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high school student plans powwow storyAshlen Delgado (Ogalala Sioux), has set her ambitions high by organizing a powwow for her senior project at Johnson Senior High in Saint Paul. Every year, students at Johnson must complete a senior project for their Finale class in order to graduate. The senior project is the capstone piece to the students’ high school careers. The project the students focus on must align with their career or educational goals, involve community help, or have a concentration on culture.
With the help of her mentor Travis DeCory, a Chemical Dependency Prevention Coordinator for the Ain Dah Yung Center, Delgado was awarded a $2,500 grant to fund the powwow.
Delgado and DeCory worked together to write a grant to the Tiwahe Foundation, (formally the American Indian Family Empowerment Program) in August 2010 asking for $1,600.  Instead, they were awarded the full grant amount of $2,500 in October of 2010.  DeCory has had previous experience with writing grants through his work and was confident that Delgado would receive the grant.
Delgado’s Finale teacher, Mary Voigt was both proud and relieved by Delgado’s grant approval and for wanting to share her culture with the rest of the school. 
“Her American Indian ancestry is so important to her and she was so passionate when she talked about her powwow. It was really hard not to be excited for her,” said Voigt. “Success always breeds more success, so I think it could be a source of inspiration for her in her future.”
Delgado said she first got the idea to put on a powwow for her senior project from attending the Indian Education powwows around Saint Paul. She said another factor was the small population of Native students at her school.  Delgado feels that the fact there are Native students at Johnson often gets overlooked due to more prominent cultures at the school. 
“I want to educate the community and let them know that there’s Natives at Johnson because our Indian Ed is pretty small. It’s to let them know we’re here,” said Delgado.
Minority business presidents to help at-risk students
Saturday, March 12 2011
 
Written by Circle News Staff,
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 Numerous mentoring programs around the country regularly match businesses with kids. The varied programs are critically important and often show positive results. But few, if any, of these initiatives involve the head of the company in a year-long effort to broaden the horizons of at-risk students through the world of business.
In an ambitious effort to prepare vulnerable children for rewarding careers in the future, Risen Christ School (RCS), a 325-student, K-8 grade school located in the Powderhorn Park area of Minneapolis, has created an innovative program, Imagine the Possibilities.
More than 90 percent of RCS's students come from families who are living either at or below the poverty line.  Many of these students will become first-generation high school graduates. Because these students have limited contact with the world of business, the school believes they would benefit from personal interactions with business leaders.

minority business story dave bice mugImagine the Possibilities program will pair the top executives from over a dozen companies with up to six students in grades 6-8. The business leaders/mentors would design a project related to their field to be presented over the course of the school year to their group of six students.
Michael McHugh, president of Midwest Construction Group and Dave Bice, president of Bald Eagle Erectors are teaming up to create a program to introduce the students to a variety of careers in construction beyond manual labor.
"We are going to build our program around a construction project that the students can follow from beginning to end so they can understand each phase," said McHugh, who attended RCS, formerly Holy Name School.

Native health care advocate smooths patient/hospital communication
Saturday, March 12 2011
 
Written by Jessica Mador,
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native healthcare advocate storyMinnesota Public Radio News
http://minnesota.publicradio.org

 American Indians are six times more likely to die from tuberculosis and twice as likely as other Americans to die from diabetes. Doctors and others familiar with the disparities between American Indians and the rest of the population say using specially designated advocates can improve care for Indian patients while they're in the hospital. It also can improve health outcomes once patients return home.
That's what Aida Strom does every day. It's her job to make sure American Indian patients at Hennepin County Medical Center have everything they need.
Strom visits patients to ask how they're feeling and relays their concerns to social workers and medical staff. She resolves complaints, arranges for spiritual leaders and clarifies medical information for families.
"My role is, for lack of a better term, like an interpreter's role," she said. "There are some real strong cultural identity issues that Indian people come with in the hospital."

N.D House says UND must keep Fighting Sioux name
Saturday, March 12 2011
 
Written by Circle News Staff,
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Setting up a potential clash with the NCAA, the North Dakota House approved a bill that requires the University of North Dakota to keep its Fighting Sioux athletics nickname. The university has been preparing to drop the nickname and its American Indian head logo this summer as part of a negotiated lawsuit settlement with the NCAA, which considers both to be hostile and abusive to American Indians.
House members voted 65-28 to approve legislation that requires UND to keep the nickname and logo, and directs Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to consider an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA if any penalties result.
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