What's New In The Community: February 2015

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FIFTH ANNUAL OJIBWE IMMERSION ACADEMY

ANNOUNCED

MINNEAPOLIS – Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa

Gidakiiminaang and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College are

pleased to announce the fifth annual Ojibwe Immersion Academy to be

held June 14-July 3, 2015 at the Fond du Lac Tribal & Community

College in Cloquet, Minn.

The Ojibwe Immersion Academy is a rare

opportunity for intermediate and advanced language learners to study

one-on-one and in small groups with Ojibwe elders and faculty

speakers for a three-week complete immersion experience.

For more information or another

application packet, email ojibwemotaadidaa@gmail.com

with subject "Application Request.” All applications are due

before 4 p.m. March 24.

NATIVE ORGANIZATION RECEIVES $250,000

FROM SMSC TO MEET CHALLENGES

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Rural America

Initiatives is $500,000 closer to attaining a new Head Start

building, thanks to a $250,000 matching grant from the Shakopee

Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

In December 2013 the SMSC committed

a quarter of a million dollar grant dependent on RAI raising matching

funds and in December 2014, after a $100,000 donation from an

anonymous donor, RAI met that goal.

“We will always be grateful

to the Shakopee Tribe. They recognized early on the benefit this

facility would be to our people and they stepped up to help. It was

their gift that raised awareness in our community, generated

additional support, and allowed us to launch our campaign,” said

Bruce Long Fox, Executive Director of Rural America Initiatives.

In

addition to an anonymous donor, the following companies are among the

individuals and businesses that helped RAI meet its matching goal:

Black Hills Corp/Black Hills Power; Jim Scull of J. Scull

Construction; First Interstate Bank; US Bank; SD Community

Foundation; Beverly M./Lloyd W. Paulson Charitable Gift Fund; and

Casey Peterson and Associates

Using these funds as momentum, RAI,

a long-standing nonprofit organization serving Native American

families in Rapid City, plans to raise an additional $6 million to

build a new Head Start/Community Center building. Its current

buildings, originally meant to be temporary, have exceeded their

intended lifespan by a dozen years and are fully depreciated. The new

building is expected to serve 150 children and their families each

year, helping children below poverty level gain the skills they need

to be ready to learn on par with their peers when they enter

kindergarten.

Rural America Initiatives seeks to create community

change by role modeling positive, healthy, alcohol and drug free

lifestyles incorporating Lakota/Dakota values. Family and children

taught by the organization will have a lasting impact on future

generations. RAI seeks to strengthen individuals, families and the

Native community in Rapid City.

RAI is the largest, non-profit,

continuously operating Native American organization in Rapid City.

Founded in 1986 to partner with Native American families to

strengthen the development of healthy, sober, self-sufficient

lifestyles, it has been the service provider for the most at-risk

Rapid City families for close to 30 years.

UM-MORRIS RECEIVES NSF FUNDING FOR

NATIVE STUDENTS

MORRIS, Minn. – The National Science

Foundation awarded $893,041 in funding for the University of

Minnesota, Morris Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program. The

goal of the project, under the direction of Professor of Geology Jim

Cotter, is to increase the number of Native American graduates in the

areas of environmental sciences and sustainability.

The five-year program, began in 2014.

It serves 30 student participants and eight undergraduate interns

each year, for a total of 190 students by its conclusion in 2019.

Program components include: early-encouragement outreach to

reservations; continuation of the Wind-STEP program for American

Indian high-school students; IUSE Environmental Science and

Sustainability summer program for tribal-college students; IUSE

Summer Internship Program with local business, and; IUSE Enrichment

Program to provide advice for the transition after college.

According to Cotter, complex

environmental challenges require interdisciplinary solutions. “It

is equally true,” he says, “that approaches to the environment

require a diversity of viewpoints.” He believes increasing the

number of Native American scientists in the environmental fields

through programs like UMM-IUSE will lead to broader perspective on

approaches to the environment.

“Education is the long-term solution

to complex environmental problems, and the goal of the UMM-IUSE

program is to develop model programs in undergraduate STEM

education,” he says. “This program will augment Morris’s

efforts to take a leadership role in environmental education and will

positively impact partnering communities.”

The UMM-IUSE program is only the

latest NSF-funded opportunity for Native American students at Morris.

For 10 years the foundation has provided funding for Research

Experience for Undergraduates and Science, Technology, Engineering,

and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program projects, led by Cotter, to

encourage the participation of American Indian students in the

sciences. NSF also recently funded the REU “Indigenous American to

Indigenous Borneo,” led by Michael Ceballos, assistant professor of

biology.

At Morris, Native students comprise 16

percent of the student body and have a six-year graduation rate of 61

percent, compared to the statewide average of 39. The campus also

hosts the highest percentage of American Indian students in the

University of Minnesota system.

The National Science Foundation IUSE

program invites proposals that address immediate challenges and

opportunities facing undergraduate STEM education as well as those

that anticipate new structures and functions of undergraduate

learning and teaching.

NCAI CONGRATULATES GOOGE ON RAISING

TRIBAL NATION VISIBILITY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National

Congress of American Indians announced the results of joint efforts

with Google to ensure better visibility for Indian reservations in

the United States on Google Maps. Over the past year, Google launched

several improvements for the way reservations appear on Google Maps,

including labeling reservations, highlighting reservation borders in

search results, and ensuring that their reservation dataset is as

comprehensive as possible. The most recent update was rolled out in

November to coincide with Native American Heritage Month.

In 2012, NCAI and the Google American

Indian Network co-hosted a summit at the Googleplex in Mountain View,

Calif. At the summit, tribal leaders underscored the role of tribal

nations as first American governments, explained the significance of

land to Native peoples, and urged Google to consider closer

partnerships with Native peoples as the first American innovators.

As a result of those discussions,

Google Maps now makes it easier than ever to search for federally

recognized tribal reservations. The project was led by the Google

American Indian Network (GAIN) and the Google Earth Outreach (GEO)

team in close collaboration with NCAI and the Tribal Technology

Taskforce. Including reservations on Google Maps is an important part

of creating a comprehensive map of the United States and the world.

Google and NCAI worked together to accurately represent reservation

labels, borders, and additional details in a way that was respectful

of Indigenous communities.

Welcoming the development, NCAI

President Brian Cladoosby released the following statement: “NCAI

congratulates Google on this important innovation to acknowledge the

place of tribal nations in the American family of governments.

America’s 566 federally recognized tribes are acknowledged

alongside foreign nations and state governments in the US

Constitution and they have jurisdiction over a land base of over 100

million acres. This land base is larger than all but three American

states.

Thanks to the partnership between NCAI

and the GAIN and GEO teams, the lands of America’s first

governments are now clearly highlighted on Google Maps. We look

forward to our ongoing partnership to improve the representation of

tribal lands on Google Maps.

This is a great step forward to

acknowledge the place of tribes in the past, present, and future of

the United States, but it is not the last. NCAI will continue to

build partnerships with tech companies like Google to ensure the

first American innovators remain on the front lines of 21st century

innovation."

SMSC OFFERS $55,000 GRANT TO TURNABOUT

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. – The Shakopee

Mdewakanton Sioux Community is offering Project Turnabout Addiction

Recovery Center’s capital expansion a $55,000 grant to be matched

with contributions from others.

“With its potential to turn into

$110,000, this gift is a great help in our Phase II and III capital

expansion,” Michael Schiks, Project Turnabout Executive

Director/CEO, said in a press release. “It helps us complete our

new 27-bed Women’s Unit and update the Central Medical area at our

Granite Falls campus. We look forward to inviting others to help us

realize the matching grant opportunity.”

Responding to a need for more

treatment beds, Project Turnabout focused throughout the past year on

expanding its capacity to serve individuals seeking help for chemical

dependency and problem gambling addictions. When complete, the Center

will have 33 more beds; bringing its capacity to 122 patients. As

many as 480 more people per year will receive treatment services than

the Center had been able to help in the past.

A new Family and Education Center and

administrative building were completed this past fall in Phase I of

the expansion.

Project Turnabout Addiction Recovery

Center, a nonprofit organization, is headquartered in Granite Falls.

Its interdisciplinary treatment program is nationally accredited

through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

and is licensed by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Human

Services. Comprehensive care for individuals suffering from addictive

illness is offered in a variety of settings and locations including

inpatient/residential treatment, outpatient and transitional living

services. Services are provided in Granite Falls, Marshall, Redwood

Falls and Willmar.