Regional and Local Briefs: December 2014



TOWER, MN – The Bois Forte Band is

celebrating the completion of its new 11,000-square-foot health and

dental clinic in Vermilion, which replaces a smaller clinic in the

community. Band members and guests gathered on Nov. 20 for the

official grand opening of the new Vermilion Clinic.

Along with an increased number of

examining and treatment rooms, the new clinic includes a pharmacy,

dedicated space for diabetes education, expanded lab services and

telemedicine capabilities that will allow clinic providers to

communicate directly with providers at the University of Minnesota


Funding for the clinic was provided

through loans and grants from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux

Community, Indian Health Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture

and the Iron Ranges Resources and Rehabilitation Board. Clinic

equipment was provided by Indian Health Service.



ST. PAUL, MN – Walleye regulations

will be more restrictive on Upper Red Lake following record walleye

harvests the past winter and summer, according to the Minnesota

Department of Natural Resources.

Effective Dec. 1, anglers can only

keep three walleye and the possession limit is also three. Anglers

must immediately release all walleye from 17- to 26-inches. Only one

walleye in possession may be longer than 26 inches.

The DNR and the Red Lake Band of

Chippewa jointly developed a harvest plan for Red Lake’s walleye

stocks in 2006 prior to reopening the fishery that governs walleye

harvest on an annual basis. The plan allows for some excess harvest

in an individual year, but requires a regulation adjustment to manage

harvest back within a target range on a three-year average.

Harvest reduction scenarios were the

topic at an Upper Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in late


“Previous advisory meetings were

easier when we were relaxing regulations, but everyone on the

committee understands the importance of protecting this fishery and

adhering to our joint harvest plan,” Joe Corcoran, advisory

committee member said. The regulation package had full support from

the committee as the best way to balance harvest reduction with

business and angler interests, he added.



SHAKOPEE, MN – Summer Brooks,

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, was selected as a Youth

Ambassador for the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference based

on her exceptional community involvement.

Brooks is is among fewer than 40 Youth

Ambassadors from across the country who have been selected to

represent their tribes at President Obama’s sixth annual Tribal

Nations Conference. At the event, she will have the opportunity to

interact with the President and members of the White House Council on

Native American Affairs. The Council, which includes more than 30

federal departments and agencies, helps federal officials work more

collaboratively and effectively with tribes to advance their economic

and social priorities.

She is currently the chair of the SMSC

Youth Leadership Council, leading the group that has developed its

own constitution, bylaws, election system, and objectives. She also

urged young SMSC members to attend a college fair and organized

transportation for them to attend. She has been involved in several

tribal programs, including the SMSC’s Young Native Pride and the

Gathering of Native Americans. She was also the runner-up in the

SMSC’s first youth royalty program. Summer is interested in

cellular biology and teaching, and plans to pursue a college


“I’m really excited for this opportunity to expand my

leadership skills and play a part in helping tribal governments and

the federal government work better together,” Brooks said, who

attended the conference with Chairman Charlie Vig, the SMSC’s

tribal delegate, from Dec. 1-3.


ONAMIA, MN – Mille Lacs Corporate

Ventures announced on Nov. 21 that it purchased the 236-room Embassy

Suites Oklahoma City hotel in Oklahoma City. The purchase represents

a strategic expansion into a growing market for the company.

“We are excited to enter the

Oklahoma City market with one of the strongest performing hospitality

assets,” said Joseph Nayquonabe, CEO of Mille Lacs Corporate

Ventures, in a news release. “The quality of the suites and the

proximity to key attractions around the city position this hotel for

exceptional performance.”

Located only six miles from downtown

Oklahoma City and four miles from Will Rogers World Airport, the

recently renovated hotel boasts an atrium, of almost 10,000 square

feet of meeting space, a business center, fitness room, indoor heated

pool and gift shop.

In 2013, Melanie Benjamin, chief

executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, issued a directive to

diversify the Band’s corporate holdings and strengthen the tribal

economy. MLCV began to diversify their investments beyond gaming with

the acquisition of its first hotel deal, the Crowne Plaza St. Paul

Riverfront hotel and the DoubleTree by Hilton in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Since then, MLCV has further

diversified by opening Sweetgrass Media, a commercial print shop and

acquiring 2020 Brand Solutions. It is in the process of several other

planned investments, including the rebuild of Eddy’s Resort on Lake

Mille Lacs and the development of a commercial laundry facility and a

medical office building in Hinckley, Minnesota.

The hotel acquisition is the second

step in a nationwide strategy to acquire hospitality assets in major

markets. Nayquonabe said MLCV is continually analyzing deals in

search of opportunities that meet its investment criteria and will

position the company for success. “We look forward to discovering

our next great opportunity.”



WASHINGTON – More than 100 citizens

of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe shared their culture and traditions

during the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting on Dec. 2.

During the annual Capitol Christmas

Tree celebration (which was hosted by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar)

the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe performed a traditional drumming

ceremony, the Capitol Christmas Tree Facebook page says.

The students will also perform at

various tree lighting celebrations around Washington, D.C., according

to the Capitol Christmas Tree Web site. They will be honored at the

Museum of the Native American Indian, the Facebook page noted.

This year’s tree was cut from the

Chippewa National Forest, located on the Leech Lake Reservation. 180

students from the tribe left for Washington, D.C. on Nov. 30. The

tribe was involved with a similar trip in 1992.

The Capitol Christmas Tree was

decorated on Nov. 30 with some of the 10,000 ornaments created by

Minnesota students. The other ornaments will decorate the 70

companion trees throughout the U.S. Capitol building that were

provided by the Minnesota Tree Growers Association, according to the

Leech Lake Reservation Web site.



MORTON, MN – Almost 138 years after

his execution, the remains of Dakota Indian warrior leader Mahpiya

Okinajin, or He Who Stands in the Clouds, have been buried with all

the honors due a chief. Also known as Cut Nose, he was one of 38

Indians hanged in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862, following the Dakota


Jim Jones, a member of the Leech Lake

Band of Chippewa and cultural resource specialist for the Minnesota

Indian Affairs Council, brought the remains home from Michigan for a

recent private burial near this western Minnesota town. Several

Indian nations sent representatives.

As head of the Dakota warrior society

at the time of the 1862 uprising, Cut Nose would have been elevated

by the conflict to status as a chief, Jones said, and he deserved

burial with the ceremonies due a chief.

Cut Nose and the 37 other Indians

hanged in the largest mass execution in U.S. history were buried in a

shallow mass grave, but their bodies were dug up the night they died

for use in anatomical studies. The remains of the chief went to Dr.

William Mayo, father of the brothers who founded the Mayo Clinic in


Jones said the first part of the body

that was reburied was the skull, found several years ago at the Mayo

Clinic. Working with scientists at Hamline University in St. Paul,

the council determined that it was Cut Nose’s skull.

After an inventory mandated by the

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Public

Museum of Grand Rapids, Mich., this year identified one item in its

collection never displayed as a piece of Cut Nose’s skin. It had been

tanned and tattooed with identifying marks. At the request of the

Lower Sioux Community of Morton, Jones went to Michigan to claim the


Cut Nose is mentioned twice in Kenneth

Carley’s "The Sioux Uprising of 1862," published in 1961

and republished in 1976 by the Minnesota Historical Society. He wrote

that Cut Nose and other Indians stopped a group of fleeing white

settlers near Fort Ridgely, but they were stopped from killing the

whites by a Sisseton Dakota woman who had married a white Indian


Carley also recounted how doctors,

"quick to seize the rare opportunity to obtain subjects for

anatomical study," dug up the bodies after the mass execution at

Mankato. "Dr. William Mayo drew that of Cut Nose, and later his

sons learned osteology from the Indian’s skeleton."

His body was taken to Le Sueur, where

it was dissected by William Mayo in the presence of other doctors,

and the skeleton "was cleaned and articulated for the doctor’s

permanent use." The Grand Rapids museum never displayed the

piece of skin, curator Eric Alexander said. It measured about 4 by 5


Advised of the find, the Lower Sioux

Indian Community submitted a claim, and the remains were given to

Jones for return to the tribe.