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Local Early Childhood Program Awarded NECPA Accreditation
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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Cherish the Children Learning Center, located in the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center in Minneapolis, has been awarded the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA). This nationally recognized accreditation follows a rigorous process of self-study, surveys of parents and staff, verification by early childhood education/child care professionals, and a final review by the NECPA Board of Commissioners. The accreditation is valid for three years, after which the program must complete the process again in order to maintain its accredited status.
NECPA Accreditation is reserved for exceptional early childhood programs that substantially exceed minimum state licensing requirements. Parents seeking care and education for their young children can use national accreditation as a means of locating the highest quality programs. Cherish the Children is located at the MIWRC at 2300 15th Ave. South, Minneapolis. For more information call Heather Reynolds at 612-728-2013.

Red Lake Tribe Receives YouthBuild Grant
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Michael Meuers,
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The Red Lake Ojibwe Tribe has received a YouthBuild Grant of  $1,008,000. The project will assist participants to attain their high school diploma or GED and gain construction and work readiness skills. The occupational training is provided through the Northwest Technical College Construction Program. Under this program, each course is a "stackable credential" that conveys a certificate of completion to the learner as well as college credits that apply toward academic certificates, diplomas and degrees. The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) will be one of the certifications completed during this training. Participants will build two new low-income housing units through the Red Lake Housing Authority in addition to rehabilitating two substandard dwellings owned by low-income households

State grant helps preserve Native American cosmology
The Minnesota Planetarium Society (Society) will partner with Jim Rock (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) and Roxanne Gould (Odawa/Ojibwe) to create an interactive program that will cover all state education standards of astronomy and Native American cosmology; the program (funded through the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants, Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund) will consist of culturally relevant Native American star knowledge and cosmology and will be made for flexible use in respect to tribal traditions. It will be designed for planetarium and flat screen use and will include traditional music, instruments, and other artifacts.
Rock, an astronomer at Wayzata High School and Gould, a consultant for Indian Education Programs for Minneapolis Public Schools, will work with the Society to provide the Dakota oral cosmological knowledge and Ojibwe Native American lore. Once completed in summer 2011 the program will be available to schools and audiences through some of Minnesota' s nine planetarium facilities and the ExploraDome.
Standing named Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle NEws Staff,
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Pamela Standing (Cherokee) has been named the Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through outstanding advocacy efforts on behalf of minority-owned small businesses.  
In 2007, Standing started the Minnesota Indian Business Alliance (MNIBA) as a volunteer with no compensation and is co-chair. Prior to starting the MNIBA, she was the Executive Director the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce where she promoted American Indian businesses.
The Minnesota Indian Business Alliance is a statewide all-volunteer organizational collaborative working to promote an economic environment that supports the development of American Indian businesses. Since 2007, Standing has recruited over 130 organizational partners statewide. She is an entrepreneur herself creating gourmet baked goods. For more info about MNIBA, see:
Waterman Wittstock to receive Farr Award
Tuesday, April 12 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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 Laura Waterman Wittstock will receive the prestigious Farr Award for her contributions to public affairs when the Frank Premack Journalism Awards are handed out on April 18 in the UofM's McNamara Center. Waterman Wittstock, of Wittstock and Associates, is also the former president of Migizi Communications, a non-profit organization that delivers quality programming to the Indian community. Wittstock is the author of several publications and served as the fourth Louis W. Hill Jr. Fellow in Philanthropy at the UofM's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. The Awards Board confers the Farr Award to a member of the community who has made an exceptional contribution to public affairs journalism. 
Native American Somali Friendship Committee works toward dialogue and understanding
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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somali indian committeeNative American and Somali communities in Minneapolis have lived close to each other ever since the first refugees of war-torn Somalia began to arrive in the early '90's. The attraction of jobs and services in the cities has been offset by the conflicts that have arisen between Native and Somali youth. Assault and sexual abuse have been reported in the past, and members of both communities have voiced concern about the safety of their neighborhoods.
A high profile crime in January of last year brought the issue to the wider public. Violence, human trafficking, and housing placement are just some of the issues facing both Natives and Somalis in Minneapolis.
To stop the violence, and begin a dialogue between the two communities, the Native American Somali Friendship Committee (NASFC) was formed.
"It was really a series of linkages," says Terri Yellowhammer, an Indian Child Welfare Consultant and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. "There was an email sent out expressing anger over a Native woman who was attacked. I forwarded it on to other community workers and the idea to get together started."
Kristin Berg Thompson, a Minneapolis Public Schools Liaison, responded to the email. "I read this letter, and thought, 'Ok, what do I do with this?' I talked to Terri and asked if I could help. I wanted to bring members from both communities together and so I sent the email on to members of the Somali community."
One of those contacted from the Somali community was Yusuf Ahmed, a worker for the City of Minneapolis, and community organizer. He saw an opportunity for dialogue. "Basically what happened was we had all received this mail about what was happening in the city, and we wanted to change this for the better. There are a lot of similarities between Native American and Somali culture, so when we came together I asked, 'how can we live better together as Americans?'"
Tribes Going Green and the Buy Indian Act
Sunday, March 13 2011
Written by Ryan Dreveskracht,
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The Obama Administration has made its commitment to Native American economic development well known, and has likewise followed through with many of those promises. The President has included the Indian Health Service in the Affordable Health Care Act, devoted $3.2 billion in stimulus funds, and endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In all, tribal leaders agree that Obama has brought progress to Indian Country.
On January 19, 2011, the U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced unyielding support for the tribes in their efforts to use alternative energies to "improv[e] the environment and support long-term clean energy jobs." Part of Secretary Chu's plan includes making up to $10 million available for renewable energy projects on tribal lands.
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