August News Briefs


State and Local News Briefs

A good new home for Natives: A planned 42-unit supportive housing project on University Avenue in St. Paul geared toward homeless, young American Indian adults is nearing the construction phase. The $11.3 million “Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung” is intended to help young adults reconnect with their culture and learn to live independently. Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung means “good new home” in Ojibwe. “Everything about the building is designed specifically to support creating a place where these young people can regain their sense of identity,” said Deb Foster, Ain Dah Young Center’s executive director. “We are hoping it will be a model project that can be duplicated in other areas of the country.” Source:

County legal fees are rising: Mille Lacs County taxpayers (including many Band members) are out over $400,000 thanks to legal fees generated by the County's decision to rescind its law enforcement agreement with the Band. The Band filed suit against the county in 2017. In July, the Mille Lacs County Board approved payment for legal fees in the amount of $19,294 to Kelly, Wolter and Scott P.A. for legal fees on behalf of Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren. That brings the total dollar amount for legal fees to $420,500.69, including $133,150.76 on behalf of the county as a whole, $140,576.43 on behalf of County Attorney Joe Walsh, and $146,773.50 on behalf of Sheriff Brent Lindgren. Source: Mille Lacs Messenger.

Arbitrator calls for reinstatement of cop who mistreated Band member: The Duluth Police Department is appealing an arbitrator's decision to reinstate Officer Adam Huot after Huot was caught on video dragging a Mille Lacs Band member through the downtown skywalk system in May of 2017. Huot, who has been an officer for nine years, has a history of excessive force complaints. Police Chief Mike Tusken said, "The passive resistance offered by the citizen in this incident did not justify this level of use of force ... Officer Huot's actions were contrary to his training and department policy, and officer Huot violated our mission, vision, and core beliefs by betraying public trust and our social contract with our community." Source:

Leech Lake girls win five-state tournament: The Leech Lake eighth grade girls' basketball team won the Pacesetter Great Five-State Championship title game at Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday, June 30. Leech Lake players — who will play for Cass Lake-Bena High School — are Keonna Johnson, Taryn Frazer, Amira LaDuke, Krisalyn Seelye, Mya Reyes, Jessica Brunelle, Antavia Bowstring and Jenni Wind. The team's coaches
are Tate Frazier, Kristin Brown and Michael Reyes. Leech Lake defeated three teams that had won their respective state tournaments: Dakota Valley (S.D.) 27–23, Linton (N.D.) 32-22 and Lake City. Source:

VA denies kidney transplant to Native veteran: Frank Sherman's doctors say he will die without a kidney transplant, yet the Veterans Administration has refused to put the former Marine on the transplant waiting list. Records obtained by KARE 11 raise questions about whether tests used to evaluate veterans like Frank for transplants discriminate against Native Americans. Source:

National News Briefs

Feds recognize Bde Maka Ska: At its meeting in June, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved the name Bde Maka Ska for the Minneapolis lake formerly known as Calhoun. The decision follows county and state approval of the name. Bde Maka Ska (beh-DAY' mah-KAH' skah) means "White Earth Lake" or "White Banks Lake" in Dakota, referring to the light-colored sand of its beaches. Federal surveyors renamed it in the 1800s for John Calhoun, the secretary of war who later served as vice president. Calhoun was an architect of the Indian Removal Act and defended slavery as a "positive good" that benefited slaves and slave owners alike. Source:

Senate committee considers Leech Lake allotments: A bill to return nearly 12,000 acres to the Leech Lake Band received its first hearing on Capitol Hill July 11. The tribe lost the land when the Bureau of Indian Affairs transferred it to the Chippewa National Forest between 1948 and 1959. S.2599, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act, would transfer the allotments back to the tribe and place them in trust. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) is the sponsor of S.2599, one of the first bills she introduced when she was appointed to the seat vacated by Al Franken, who resigned due to sexual harassment allegations. Source:

Record number of Native Americans running for office: Mark Trahant, the editor of the news site Indian Country Today, has been keeping track of Native American candidates for the last six years. "There really is a record year this year. It's extraordinary," Trahant says. "You see folks running for such a variety of offices." There are two Native American men in Congress now — both Republicans — and Trahant expects as many as 10 Native Americans will be on the congressional ballot this fall. He says that's double the number in 2016. Among the candidates:
• Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, running for the U.S. House in a strongly Democratic district in New Mexico,
• Peggy Flanagan, a state representative in Minnesota now running for lieutenant governor,
• Paulette Jordan, making a Democratic bid for governor in the conservative state of Idaho, and
• Sharice Davids, an ex-MMA fighter and lesbian who's running for Congress in Kansas.
There are two Native American men in Congress now, both Republicans. Source:

Award named for children's author changed due to racist content: The Laura Ingalls Wilder award, reserved for authors or illustrators who have made “significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature,” is now the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. In the original 1935 version of Little House on the Prairie, the character called Pa says he wanted to go “where the wild animals lived without being afraid.” Where “the land was level, and there were no trees.” And where “there were no people. Only Indians lived there.” After years of complaints, the Association for Library Service to Children said, “This decision was made in consideration of the fact that Wilder’s legacy, as represented by her body of work, includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values of inclusiveness, integrity and respect, and responsiveness." Source: