Regional and Local Briefs: August 2015




ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Fond du Lac

Band of Ojibwe does not owe any more gaming revenues to the city of

Duluth, Minnesota, a federal judge ruled on July 28.

The tribe shared $75 million from the

Fond-du-Luth Casino with the city until 2009. The National Indian

Gam­ing Commission struck down the ar­rangement in 2011 after

determining that it violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The city went to court to seek

ad­ditional money for the years 2009 through 2011. Judge Susan

Richard Nelson initially agreed that the funds were owed.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

re­versed. A unanimous decision from May concluded that IGRA

requires tribes to be the “primary beneficiaries” of their

casinos and Nelson has em­braced that finding.

Nelson wrote that “directing

mil­lions of dollars away from the band is directly contrary to

the IGRA’s goals of promoting tribal economic develop­ment,

tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal government.”

About $13 million, a figure that

in­cluded interest, was in dispute before Nelson made her ruling.

The fight, however, is not over.

The city is still suing the NIGC for

ending the revenue-sharing agree­ment. A judge in Washington,

D.C., sided with the agency but the city has taken the case to the

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.



GRAND PORTAGE, Minn. – The chairman

of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe has asked Minnesota

Gov. Mark Dayton to end the moratorium on state agency moose

collaring research.

Norman Deschampe wrote the governor in

early July, saying that the governor’s executive order ear­lier

this year has hamstrung efforts to find out the root causes behind

the rapid decline in moose numbers across the state’s north woods.

The governor issued the executive order

banning state agency and uni­versity researchers from capturing

and collaring moose, citing an appar­ently high number of moose

deaths related to their capture.

While the governor’s ban does not

affect tribal moose collaring, Des­champe said the state moose

research was valuable despite the unfortunate deaths. “While your

order does not impact our ability to conduct moose research, it has

crippled our ability to partner with (the Minnesota Depart­ment

of Natural Resources) and other active Minnesota moose

research­ers,’’ he wrote.

Matt Swenson, Dayton’s spokes­man,

said the governor just received the letter but has not had a chance

to review it.

In the letter, which tribal officials

made available to on July 9, Des­champe said moose are the key

sub­sistence animal for his band and that the state should rejoin

the effort to find out why the numbers have de­clined more than

60 percent in recent years.

“We ask that you re-evaluate your

decision to halt moose collaring re­search and carefully consider

the implications of the loss of this neces­sary government-led

and sponsored research to the Minnesota moose population, to the

citizens of Minne­sota and beyond, and to the culture and

identity of the Grand Portage Band. …” Deschampe wrote.



SAWYER, Minn. – For the sixth year in

a row, the Kiwenz Language Camp on the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe

reservation finishing up its latest camp in June.

However, the language camp will now be

organized and planned by the tribe’s new Anishinaabemowin

Coordinator, Janis Fairbanks, instead of past organizers, including

Jim and Patricia Northrup.

Fairbanks, who started working for the

tribe’s administration in January, has a doctorate in Ojibwe

language, culture, history and literature of the Great Lakes Ojibwe.

She attended Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters

and is a citizen of the Fond du Lac band.

Fairbanks will be running the lan­guage

camp among other things, and she is the developer of the

res­ervation’s entire language program.

“We may try to change the time of the

language camp to August. I did some surveys out there and I asked if

people would attend if it changed from June to August and 62 said yes

and 8 said no. There’s a lot going on at the end of the school year

in June when the camp is held. We were in competition with five

different events in June, so there wasn’t room at our Black Bear

facility to hotel people,” Fairbanks said.

The Northrups will still be in­volved,

but Fairbanks will be the new point of contact.

Next April she will put together a

strategic plan for the whole lan­guage program. She will be

work­ing with elders and youth at the language camp, the Ojibwe

school, the community center and the tribal college. Interested

persons are asked to call Fairbanks at 218-878-7351 or email



RED LAKE, Minn. – Citizens of the Red

Lake Nation will be going to the polls on Aug. 19 for a Mandato­ry

Referendum Vote about the sale of alcoholic beverages at the casino

properties located in Thief River Falls and Warroad, Minn.

“This shall not include any part of

the diminished reservation,” Tribal Secretary Donald Cook said.

(The Secretary’s office handles all elec­tions) “Therefore,

alcohol would not be allowed on the Red Lake Reserva­tion nor

would it be served at the Seven Clans Casino Red Lake.”

On Nov. 10, 1999, the Red Lake Tribal

Council conducted an advi­sory vote concerning the sale of

al­coholic beverages in certain tribal businesses.

“An advisory vote is when citizens

vote on a non-binding question,” Cook explained. “The outcome of

an advisory vote is not binding on the Tribal Council to enact a law

or constitutional amendment. Howev­er, the outcome of a mandatory

ref­erendum vote is binding upon the governing body (the Red Lake

Tribal Council) to do what the results say.”

For Red Lake citizens not living on the

reservation, the Absentee Ballot Committee (ABC) will be open from 9

a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Red Lake Nation

Head­quarters Library. Absentee ballot­ing will also be open

Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. the last two weekends prior to

the referendum vote and on Aug. 19 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For those citizens living in the Twin

Cities voting will be on Aug. 17. The Absentee Ballot Committee be at

the Minneapolis American In­dian Center (1530 E. Franklin Ave.)

from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to receive ab­sentee ballots.

Any enrolled Red Lake citizens with

questions can contact the Ab­sentee Ballot Committee or the

Trib­al Secretary’s Office at 218-679-1838.