Regional and Local Briefs: July 2015

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HO-CHUNK NATION CASINO GOES SMOKE-FREE

ON AUG. 1

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. – The

Ho-Chunk Nation is going smoke-free at its gaming facility in

Madison, Wisconsin.

Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison will be the

first tribal facility in the state to eliminate smoking. The change

goes into effect on Aug. 1.

Electronic cigarettes, however, will

continue to be allowed on the gaming floor. A separate area for

smokers of traditional cigarettes will be created away from the

facility.

“We still believe in providing areas

to accommodate all of our guests, but, want to assure the existing

building will be 100% smoke-free,” Daniel Brown, facility executive

manager, said.

The Wisconsin Smoke-Free Air Law,

which went into effect in July 2010, requires restaurants, bars,

entertainment venues and other public facilities to go smoke-free.

The law does not apply in Indian Country.

FLANDREAU SANTEE SIOUX TRIBE TO SELL

MARIJUANA BY YEAR’S END

FLANDREAU, S.D. – The Flandreau

Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota plans to sell marijuana by Jan. 1,

2016.

The tribal council voted 5-1 in

mid-June to legalize the drug for commercial, recreational and

medicinal use. Marijuana will be grown at a dedicated facility

located on the reservation. The drug will then be sold and consumed

at separate facility on the reservation. The tribe plans to welcome

all people – Indians and non-Indians – to the operation.

But South Dakota Attorney General

Marty Jackley said any non-Indians who consume marijuana on the

reservation will be in violation of state law. He asked the tribe to

work with the state to address law enforcement, safety and other

issues.

“I want to encourage tribal leaders

to continue to work with state authorities to better ensure our

respective laws are followed, public safety on our roads remains a

consideration, and that both Indian and non-Indian persons are not

put in harm’s way by the jurisdiction complexities being created by

our federal government,” Jackley said in a press release.

The tribe is the first in South Dakota

to legalize the drug and adopt a comprehensive set of laws and

policies to address its sale and use. Elsewhere in the state, drug

laws remain extremely strict.

The Department of Justice opened the

door to legal marijuana in Indian Country with the 2014 Wilkinson

memo. So far, only one tribe in California has started growing the

drug and local authorities plan to assert jurisdiction if they

believe the operation violates local laws.

The tribe is the first in South Dakota

to legalize the drug and adopt a comprehensive set of laws and

policies to address its sale and use. Elsewhere in the state, drug

laws remain extremely strict. The Department of Justice opened the

door to legal marijuana in Indian Country with the 2014 Wilkinson

memo.

S.D. BOARD WON’T BACK NAME CHANGE FOR

HARNEY PEAK

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Board

on Geographic Names voted 4-1 on June 29 to retain the name of Harney

Peak despite its connection to the massacre of tribal people.

Board members said the public does not

support a change to "Hinhan Kaga," the Lakota name for the

sacred site in the Black Hills. But confusion arose in the process

because the board initially considered "Black Elk Peak" as

the name.

The board in fact held five meetings

to discuss Black Elk Peak. According to news reports, there was near

unanimous support from the public for that name. Hinhan Kaga was a

newer suggestion. Officials in Pennington County opposed that name,

which translates to Place of Owls, according to Delphine Red Shirt, a

citizen of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Basil Brave Heart, Oglala, originally

proposed "Black Elk Peak" as the new name. Black Elk was an

Lakota medicine man who died in 1950. His proposal is being

considered by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The South Dakota

board’s vote will be considered as a recommendation as part of the

process.

Tribal citizens support a new name

because General William S. Harney led a massacre of the Lakota people

in 1854 during the Indian wars.

BOIS FORTE BAND OPENS SECOND TIM

HORTONS CAFE

TOWER, Minn. – The Bois Forte Band of

Ojibwe opened a second location of Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop

located at The Y Store near Tower.

Tribal officials said the opening is

part of the tribe’s economic diversification strategy. “A lot of

hard work went into this project and we feel it’s just another way

for us to invest in our future," Norm Adams, the CEO of Bois

Forte Business Development, said.

The tribe also operates a Tim Hortons

at the nearby Fortune Bay Resort Casino. The Canadian-based fast

casual restaurant is known for its coffee and doughnuts.

OJIBWE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE CAMP SET

PONEMAH,

Minn. – The Red Lake Band of Ojibwe will host an Ojibwe Language

and Culture Camp from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21-23 p.m. at the Ponemah

Round House to help with the Red Lake Nation’s Ojibwemowin

Revitalization efforts.

The three-day camp is hosted by Red

Lake Chemical Health, Red Lake Economic Development and Planning, and

Oshkimaajitahdah (New Beginnings). It will feature canoeing,

lacrosse, Ojibwe bingo, a moccasin game, plant identification,

crafts, traditional Anishinaabe teachings and more, according to a

release. Transportation and meals are provided.

Admission is free but there is a

limited number of participants. For more information, contact Red

Lake Chemical Health at (218) 679-3392.

LEECH LAKE BAND OFFERS SUBSTANCE ABUSE

PREVENTION TRAINING

WALKER, Minn. – The Leech Lake Band

of Ojibwe, in collaboration with SAMHSA’s Center for the

Application of Prevention Techniques, will offer Substance Abuse

Prevention Skills Training for American Indians/Alaska Natives.

The training will be held July 13-16

from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Northern Lights Casino in Walker, Minn..

The training combines online and

in-person components. It offers practitioners working with American

Indians or Alaska natives a comprehensive introduction to the

substance abuse prevention field.

Grounded in current research and

SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework, the training is designed

to help practitioners develop the knowledge and skills needed to

implement effective, data-driven prevention that reduces behavioral

health disparities and improves wellness. It is appropriate for entry

level practitioners as well as professionals in related fields.

The SAPST consists of a five-hour,

self-paced online module, followed by a four-day, 26-hour

interactive, in-person training.

The online module is now available.

Participants must complete the online module before July 13. To

register for both the online module and the in-person service, visit:

www.surveymonkey.com/r/register-CAPT-0794. For more information, call

Shawn MacGregor at 218-335-8371 or email

Shawn.macgregor@llojibwe.org.

A certificate for 31 hours of

participation will be provided through Central CAPT upon completion

of both the online module and in-person training.

ST. LOUIS RIVER WATERSHED PROVIDES

BILLIONS IN REVENUE

CLOQUET, Minn. – The Fond du Lac

Band, working with Earth Economics, of Seattle, Wash., commissioned a

study of the economic benefits of ecosystem goods and services

provided by the St. Louis River watershed.

Quantifying these benefits allows the

“natural capital” to be included in economic tools and

decision-making.

The St. Louis River provides an

estimated $5 billion to $14 billion in ecosystem service benefits per

year. The asset value of the watershed is between $273 billion and

$687 billion over 140 years.

Fond du Lac Chair, Karen Diver, says

"The Fond du Lac Band takes our environmental and cultural

stewardship of the St. Louis River watershed, our homeland, very

seriously. We understand the connection between healthy lands,

communities, and economies. We recognize that the lands and waters

must be conserved and protected for our shared benefit and future

generations. We hope this report generates discussion with local,

state and federal partners about how we can best invest in and

preserve these irreplaceable natural and cultural resources."

RECONCILIATION EFFORTS BEGIN IN BEMIDJI

BEMIDJI, Minn. – A movement led by

people in Bemidji and their neighbors both on and off nearby

reservations have set out to find a path to reconciliation between

whites and Native Americans.

No government is taking part; no plan

has been laid; no blame will be assessed; and no one knows how long

this journey might take. “Truth and reconciliation is not an

event,” Anton Treuer, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, one of the people

facilitating the process, said.

“It’s not something that happens

in a week, a month or a year. It’s a process and it might take a

really long time. If it’s just something short then it’s only

something to make people feel good rather than to really change the

culture and reconcile the historical experiences of diverse people.”

Treuer is an author and a professor at Bemidji State University.

The Blandin Foundation has been

sending people to participate in the Bemidji effort, at the

invitation of people in that group.

That kind of inclusiveness is equally

crucial. Justin Beaulieu, Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, said, “One of

our principles is to make sure the group is inclusive, to make sure

everyone can participate and they feel comfortable participating. Who

is at the table right now and who else needs to be?”

Part of the difficulty is the

inclination to put difficult events into the past and keep them

there. Beaulieu says, “For me, personally, I hear ‘Get over it’

all the time from people, or ‘We didn’t do that.’ I just want

people to understand, ‘Of course you didn’t do that, but it does

have residual effects that have come down the line. And there’s new

research being done that shows that those changes within the

physiology can be passed along. We are trying to get over it, but

it’s going to take help from everyone and understanding.”

Treuer summarized some of the

challenges. “You can only really influence people who are in the

room with you, so the goal is not to chase everybody away from the

table and sit there eating alone. That’s why a lot of these things

have failed in the past. If it goes too fast, then sometimes

non-Native folks get really uncomfortable and step away because

they’re way beyond their comfort zone, but if it goes too slowly

then a lot of times people of color feel like it’s a feel-good pat

on the back and nobody’s willing to do any real change. The trick

is to go a bit in between where everybody agrees to stretch the

bounds of their normal comfort and everybody agrees to be patient and

kind in going through that process at the same time.”

FORMER OMAHA TRIBE CHAIRMAN PLEADS

GUILTY IN FUND THEFT CASE

OMAHA, Neb. – Amen Sheridan, a former

chairman of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, admitted his role in a theft

case.

Sheridan, 54, pleaded guilty to

accessory after the fact to theft from an Indian tribal organization.

He admitted that he knew Julia Whiteskunk took money from the tribe’s

housing authority and used it as down payment for a house. He also

admitted the he helped her evade punishment.

Whiteskunk was serving as executive

director of the tribe’s housing authority at the time of the theft.

Sheridan was serving as chairman. She also was indicted and pleaded

not guilty to the charges. She died in September 2014.

Sheridan is due to be sentenced on

Sept. 14, a little over a year after Whiteskunk’s passing. He faces a

maximum of 2 years and 6 months in federal prison.