Cobenais Appointed to Governor’s Council

(By Michael Meuers) Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed Jerald Cobenais of Red Lake as the “Red Lake Band of Ojibwe Delegate to the Minnesota Tribal Youth Gathering Steering Team” on December 1, 2017.

The team will meet monthly, beginning with a meeting on January 22, 2018, in St. Paul, to begin planning a Tribal Youth Gathering Conference for July 2018. The conference will cover subjects of concern to Native youth from all over the state, with an emphasis on education. Athena Cloud, a Red Lake member from the Twin Cities, was also picked for the Steering Team.

In an interview, Cobenais said that Red Lake Tribal Secretary and Hereditary Chief Darwin Sumner suggested the opportunity to Cobenais. He applied and was selected.

Cobenais, age 23, has a strong background in this type of thing, having been a member of the Red Lake Youth Council since he was a sophomore in High School. He currently serves as the Youth Council Coordinator.

The Youth Council has been a major part of organizing the annual Youth Leadership Conference held at Red Lake High School. Plans are now in progress for the 13th Annual Youth Leadership Conference, which will be held in late April or early May.

Native Women Honored as Water Protectors at Solstice Gala 

Five area Native American women were honored as Water Protectors on December 21, 2017 at the Manidoo-Giizisoons Gala (Feast of the Little Spirit Moon) in Duluth at the Sacred Heart Music Center. The awards were given to recognize the courage and leadership of indigenous water protectors from regional communities.

The event was hosted by Honor the Earth and included an all-indigenous feast prepared by The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman. The meal featured foods grown and harvested by Honor the Earth, and Native singer/songwriter Annie Humphrey performed at the event.

The Honorees included:

  • Dawn Goodwin (White Earth Ojibwe) has been a dedicated opponent of pipeline projects in Minnesota for many years, She has traveled hundreds of miles to make sure the voice of the Native people were heard.
  • Tania Aubid (Mille Lacs Ojibwe) has spent years standing up against dirty oil projects that threaten Minnesota waters and defending tribal treaty rights.
  • Sharon Day (Bois Forte Ojibwe) is a leader of five Nibi Walks to honor water. She is a language teacher and founder of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force.
  • Alyssa Beaulieu (Red Lake Ojibwe) risked her freedom resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline and continues to stand up for Mother Earth.
  • Sandy Gokee (Bad River Ojibwe) uses the tools she has been given to speak truth to power and be creative in her actions to guard future generations from the dangers brought by oil companies and others. Sandy is a language teacher.

Lower Sioux Indian Community receives $100,000 Minnesota Super Bowl Legacy Fund grant 

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund awarded a $100,000 grant to the Lower Sioux Indian Community in December, which will be used to build a lacrosse field, canning kitchen and resurfaced gym floor.

The community has already updated the gym floor in their recreation center. They also plan on replacing equipment in the recreation center’s exercise room, purchasing materials for the community kitchen and adding a lacrosse field nearby.

The grant will also help enhance the Lower Sioux Indian Community’s healthy food resolution, adopted in 2016.