FOND DU LAC DECIDES AGAINST NETTING ON
LAKE VERMILION, Minn. – After
planning to gill net a maximum of 2,500 pounds of walleye on Lake
Vermilion this spring, the Fond du Lac Band decided not to undertake
the operation, according to a news release from the Bois Forte Band.
The decision came after a meeting in
late April between leaders of the three bands who have fishing rights
on Lake Vermilion under the 1854 Treaty — Bois Forte, Fond du Lac
and Grand Portage — and staff members of the Department of Natural
Resources and the 1854 Treaty Authority.
Prior to the decision, the Bois Forte
Reservation Tribal Council passed a resolution urging Fond du Lac not
to issue netting and spearing permits due to reasons including
methods and the upcoming Governor’s Fishing Opener event.
In response to this request, the Fond
du Lac Band agreed to suspend fishing this year. “Fond du Lac has
the right to harvest fish in the 1854 ceded territory, and we defend
their right,” said Bois Forte Tribal Chair Kevin Leecy. “But we
have significant concerns about them harvesting in our backyard. Fond
du Lac tribal members use motorized boats to net, while Bois Forte
tribal members net in the traditional way with canoes only. Also,
Fond du Lac has access to many lakes in the ceded territory besides
Lake Vermilion, which we consider part of our reservation.”
With the governor coming to Lake
Vermilion in a few weeks, Leecy said that the spotlight should be on
the community and tourism, not tribal netting. “Our Fortune Bay
Resort Casino is an active member and the single largest tax
contributor to the Lake Vermilion Resort & Tourism Association,”
Leecy said, “we have fostered good relationships with neighboring
resort owners. The opener should be a time for all of us to shine.”
Last month, the Fond du Lac Band
informed the state of Minnesota that it intended to allow its
citizens to net and spear on Lake Vermilion. The Band, as well as
many others, were looking for alternative spots to harvest fish since
the restrictions on Lake Mille Lacs indicated that the walleye
population is in trouble. An Associated Press story reported that
only 11,400 pounds of walleye would be available for netting this
year on Mille Lacs.
As a sign of respect, most bands that
have previously netted there have given their shares to the Mille
Lacs Band, and Fond du Lac has indicated they will not net on the big
lake. This fishery issue could lead to nearly 80 lakes in central and
northern Minnesota seeing additional tribal harvesting of walleye.
WHITE EARTH COLLEGE NOW OFFERING FOUR
FREE SUMMER CLASSES TO ALL
MAHNOMEN, Minn. – The White Earth
Tribal and Community College in Mahnomen is offering free, accredited
college classes to anybody this summer who is qualified to take them,
regardless of tribal citizenship or student status.
“You still have to go through the
admissions process and have a high school diploma or GED, but you
don’t have to be an enrolled student,” WETCC Communications
Specialist Joe Allen said.
There are four free classes to choose
from that go throughout the summer semester: Ojibwe Language 101,
Humanities, Plant Science and Education. Prospective students are
allowed to take up to seven credits free, which essentially means two
classes. “But people still need to pay for books or any fees
associated with the class,” Allen said. “But it’s still quite a
The college’s offer is valid only for
the summer, but Director Terry Janis said the college will likely
offer free classes again next summer. “We’ll take it on a
year-by-year basis,” Janis said. “We wanted to open ourselves up
for people to come and have an understanding that not only does the
college exist, but that there are high quality, amazing higher
education opportunities here.”
Enrollment at the college has taken a
hit over the past couple of years, going from a high of 150 to a low
of 58 last year. Leadership at the college came under scrutiny a
couple of years ago, but since Janis took over last year, he and the
staff have a goal to see enrollment up to 200 within three years.
Today, enrollment today sits at 65 students.
Most of the summer classes begin May 18
and are typically two days a week. Three of them are on-campus only
and the Humanities course is hybrid, meaning one day is done
on-campus and one day online. For more information visit
PE’SLA DETAILS STILL IN WORKS,
EXTENDED 60 MORE DAYS
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The request for
the Pennington County Commission to submit comment to the U.S.
Department of Interior regarding the property known as Pe’ Sla has
been extended multiple times and April 21 saw a continued extension.
Pe’ Sla, near Deerfield Lake, was
purchased by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in 2012.
Lisa Colombe, a Rosebud Sioux Tribal
citizen said this is about protecting one of the few natural, sacred
pieces of land the Natives have left. "It’s more to ensure that
the tribal members and community members that wish to take part in
ceremonies, which could just be on your own, going up on the hill and
praying on your own, for your own needs or your own family, but that
basically we are never denied access, you know, and also there were
some other interested parties that looked into purchasing the same
area and do some commercialization of the area."
A consultant for the Shakopee
Mdewakanton Sioux Community says that if the land is accepted in "in
trust" status then it is Indian land and will be under Indian
jurisdiction, not county jurisdiction.
HUNDREDS GATHER TO MOURN LOWER BRULE
LOWER BRULE, S.D. – Hundreds of
mourners, representatives from South Dakota’s tribal governments and
state and federal leaders gathered on April 9 to remember late Lower
Brule Sioux Tribal Chairman Michael Jandreau, who was considered an
icon in Indian Country.
Leaders from other tribes in South
Dakota and neighboring states paid respects to Jandreau and told
stories to a packed gymnasium of funeral-goers at the Lower Brule
Community Center. The 71-year-old Jandreau died on April 3 from heart
problems at a Sioux Falls hospital after serving as a leader in the
tribe for more than 35 years.
Jandreau was elected to the Lower Brule
Tribal Council in the early 1970s and later became chairman. He
earned praise from tribal members and state and federal leaders for
economic development projects that benefited the 1,300 Native
Americans on the reservation.
The tribe owns the Golden Buffalo
Casino & Motel, a propane plant, a construction company, hunting
and tourism enterprises, and a farm that is known as one of the
nation’s top popcorn producers and processers.
But Jandreau spent his final days
defending himself against allegations of financial wrongdoing
outlined in January by Human Rights Watch. The group accused him and
others of diverting money and concealing financial activity. Jandreau
and Marshall Matz, who has been an attorney for the tribe, have
vigorously denied those allegations.
Those present described Jandreau as a
tireless champion of the Lower Brule Sioux and Indian Country as
whole who was unconcerned with taking credit for his work. Crow Creek
Sioux Tribal Chairwoman Roxanne Sazue said Jandreau was a very
spiritual man, and the ceremony included both Catholic and
traditional Native American elements.
"I don’t know if we have someone
within our whole, big nation to do what Mike has done keeping us
together," Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele
Jandreau was born Oct. 20, 1943, in
Fort Thompson on the Crow Creek reservation. He was educated in
Catholic American Indian schools. His wife, Jackie, died in 2011.
CHEYENNE RIVER SIOUX TRIBE PREPARES FOR
COBELL BUY-BACK OFFERS
FT. YATES, N.D. – Cheyenne River
Sioux Tribe citizens could see $69 million in offers under the Land
Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations, South Dakota Public Radio
The tribe signed a cooperative
agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior in January to help
facilitate outreach for the program. Offers are expected to go out to
8,000 landowners. ‘The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is one of the
most highly fractionated reservations in the country. The Land
Buy-Back program will assist us in our continued effort to
consolidate our land base," Chairman Harold Frazier said in
The $3.4 billion Cobell settlement
provided $1.9 billion for Indian landowners who want to sell their
fractionated interests. DOI will pay "fair market value" as
required by the Indian Land Consolidation Act.
Participation is entirely voluntary.
Any land that is acquired will be returned to tribes. As of April 3,
DOI has extended $924 million in offers to nearly 49,000 owners. Some
$365 million in transactions have been concluded so far, according to
a chart posted on the program’s website.
The equivalent of more than 577,000
acres have been returned to tribal governments as a result of the
PINE RIDGE SELECTED AS FEDERAL PROMISE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Pine Ridge
Indian Reservation was designated one of eight new Promise Zones, the
Obama Administration announced on April 27.
Promise Zones are high-poverty
communities, in which the federal government partners with local
leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational
opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime,
enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the
community, according to a release from the U.S. Department of
All Promise Zones receive: priority
access to federal investments that further their strategic plans;
federal staff members on the ground to help implement a zone’s goals;
and five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members to recruit and manage
volunteers and strengthen the capacity of the Promise Zone
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development Secretary Julián Castro and Agriculture Secretary Tom
Vilsack announced new Promise Zone designations Tuesday in the
following communities: Camden, N.J.; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis,
Ind.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Sacramento, Calif.; St. Louis/St. Louis
County, Mo.; Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe,
S.D.; and South Carolina Low Country.
The new Promise Zones join five others
that Obama designated in January 2014: San Antonio, Los Angeles,
Philadelphia, Southeastern Kentucky Highlands and the Choctaw Nation