News Roundup, April 4–10


DNR crew responds to wild fire

The DNR Wildland Crew was called to a fire on Monday, April 6, off Timber Trails Road near the Roads Garage in District I. The crew worked in conjunction with the State DNR to extinguish the fire that burned over 30 acres of land. “The Wildland Crew goes above and beyond working for the Band, not only during fire season, but 365 days of year," said Commissioner of Natural Resources Katie Draper, who oversees their department. "Their hard work and dedication to our communities does not go unnoticed.”

HHS shares recommendations for fully vaccinated people

The Public Health Department shared a message April 7 regarding vaccinations, including current CDC recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Now that more and more of our community members are getting vaccinated, many still have questions. Can I still get COVID? Can I still spread COVID? Do I have to quarantine if I have been exposed — even if I have been vaccinated? These are all good questions. Although less likely, you can still get COVID, even if you have been vaccinated. But having the vaccination means if you do get COVID, your symptoms will be less, there is less likelihood for hospitalization, and the risk of death is greatly decreased. There are new strains, or variants, of the virus that spread more rapidly than the original virus. If you have been vaccinated, you may also still become infected, but you might not have any symptoms. This is called "asymptomatic." If this is the case, you can still spread the virus and/or the variants to others. For details, see

Public Health seeks survey participants

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Public Health is asking Band members to participate in a quick survey to find out more about your COVID-19 vaccination needs and expectations. Your feedback is important. This survey should take less than two minutes. Miigwech for your time.

Revisor's Office publishes Official Acts

Revisor of Statutes Hanna Valento has compiled all official acts of the Mille Lacs Band tribal government in fiscal year 2020 into a single document that is available on the website at The document is over 1,000 pages long with the following chapters: Legislative Orders, Secretarial Orders, Ordinances, Resolutions, Executive Orders, Commissioner's Orders, Opinions of the Solicitor, and Chief Justice Orders.

Elder food distribution is April 14-15

Apply now for COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance

Aanjibimaadizing is grateful to be able to offer COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA). CERA is federal funding for current and past due rent and related utilities. Mortgage payments and home owner utility payments are NOT eligible for this funding. To qualify you must be a Minnesota resident; currently owe, or be behind, in rent or rental utility payments from 3/13/2020 or after; and have outstanding related expense(s) due to unemployment, illness, or another issue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications can be made online at For more information, see

Free cement mason training available

The Cement Masons, Plasterers & Shophands Local 633 Journeyman & Apprentice Training Trust Fund is offering an 11-week cement masons trade orientation training in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The goal of this program is to train Native Americans from several tribal nations in the cement mason trade enabling them to qualify for apprenticeship with the Union and work on MnDOT projects. For more information, contact Lori Trail, Tribal Employment Rights Director, at 320-532-4778, 320-630-2617, or Read more at

SUD Department shares slideshow

Band members and others are invited to learn more about our Substance Use Disorder Department by viewing a slideshow about the department's goals, vision, and services. View the slideshow at The SUD Department, a division of Health and Human Services, assists Band members suffering from chemical use and abuse. The department provides a full range of services, including Rule 25 comprehensive assessments, Wellbriety Groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, relapse prevention, aftercare educational sessions, a halfway house, and outpatient treatment programs. If you or someone you know needs help, please call, email or stop by one of the clinics in District I, II or III. To schedule Rule 25 (Comprehensive Assessments) please call Scheduler/Billing Clerk Teresa Sam at: (320) 532-7773. Questions may also be answered at:

Spring cleanup is a week away

The Mille Lacs Band Annual Spring Clean-up event begins April 17 in District I. Please see the flyer for full details.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month

National Child Abuse Awareness Month is an annual observance and an opportunity for communities to come together to build caring and supportive environments for children. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 7 children in the U.S. experienced child abuse and neglect last year. The Band's Victims of Crime/Family Violence Prevention Program has resources to help those in need, including a 24-hour Crisis Line: 1-866-867-4006. For details and more contact information, see

Severe Weather Awareness Week is April 12–16

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the National Weather Service will be promoting general weather safety and emergency preparedness to Minnesotans during April 12 – 16 for Severe Weather Awareness Week. In addition, statewide tornado drills will be held Thursday, April 15. Outdoor sirens and NOAA weather radios will sound. For links to information about Weather Alerts and Warnings, Severe Storms, Floods, Tornadoes [& Tornado Drill Day], and Extreme Heat, see

Graduation photos needed!

Are you or is someone in your family a 2021 graduate of high school, college, or graduate school? If so, we want to share your accomplishment with other Band members! Send a photo to, along with name, school, degree, awards, activities, interests, and future plans. Graduates — Band members, descendants, and community members of other tribes — will be honored in the June issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin and at

StrongHearts Native Helpline launches text advocacy

StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) has expanded operations and is now offering text advocacy. The expanded service launched on Friday, April 2. Text advocacy can be reached by using StrongHearts Native Helpline’s number: 1-844-762-8483. To learn more, see


Monday, April 5, 2021 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provided Band members with a COVID update including vaccination clinic updates. The Mille Lacs Band is coordinating with Mille Lacs Health Systems in Onamia to ensure vaccination availability. Chief Executive Benjamin also shared that Wigwam (Walleye Road Access) and Father Hennepin landings were open to spearing April 5. New this year, daily updates are sent through a harvester text alert system. Please contact Alyssa Welsh at 320-362-1514 to be added to the list. Chief Executive Benjamin also provided information on the Clean Water Act and Wild Rice Waters.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin shared information about Executive Branch Commissioner openings and the interviewing and confirmation process. Chief Executive Benjamin also discussed: American Rescue Plan funding opportunities for the Band to address Covid-19 impacts; the response by MLBO DNR in conjunction with MN state DNR to battle/extinguish a forest fire that damaged 30 acres of land in District 1; and a new comedy series that begins on April 22nd (Earth Day) called Ruthersford Falls that boast the largest room of Native American writers in television history.

Thursday, April 8, 2021 — In addition to her COVID update, Chief Executive Benjamin provided a brief update from Band Assembly, Mille Lacs Band Foundation, and the Joint Session meetings this week. A film crew from he Ogichidaa (“warrior”) Storytellers will be coming to Mille Lacs to film for a video series produced by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. Each video in the series is supported by educational materials created by GLIFWC, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and Wisconsin Historical Society. To see a sample of previous videos by Ogichidaa, please check out their website at


Click here for last week's news roundup.

Click here for Band Assembly updates and other Legislative Branch news.

Secretary-Treasurer provides video update

Secretary-Treasurer Sheldon Boyd provided an update to Band Members on live streaming, new procedural rules, the HEARTH Act, investments, and more. He praised the Legislative staff for their productivity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and listed a number of accomplishments during the last year, including publication of Band Statutes, Legislative Orders, revision of Statutes, creation of new Rules for the Band Assembly, and development of a Revisor's Office.

TERC letter updates restrictions for gatherings

In a letter to Band members and employees, Tribal Emergency Response Committe (TERC) Commissioners provided an update on restrictions for indoor and outdoor gatherings. The new guidelines allow for additional social and public gatherings, but the TERC Commissioners remind us that the majority are still not fully vaccinated, and they emphasize that with new variants of COVID-19 circulating, individuals should continue to wear masks, maintain social distance, and wash hands regularly. For the full letter, see


The April issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin is now available for download at You can also find stories from the current and previous newsletters at, including:

The Mille Lacs Band's Legislative process
Asiniikwe finds healing through culture
iPad artist Chase Sam makes her mark

You can also find links to stories from around Indian Country at Among this week's headlines:

Lac Courte Oreilles' Waadookodaading Immersion School featured in The Guardian
Fond du Lac Band wins halt to copper mine
Indigenous communities demonstrate innovation and strength despite unequal losses during COVID-19


Among the new job postings this week: Early Education District III Coordinator, DNR Family Tree Specialist, Four Winds
Chemical Dependency Counselor Aide, Executive Assistant to Government Affairs, District II Early Ed Assistant Teacher, District III Community Health Representative, Part-Time Elder Abuse Program Case Aide, Food Shelf Lead Warehouse Technician. For more, see

You can request information about jobs by emailing or calling 320-532-7460. To apply for a job, please submit an application, cover letter, and resume to the HR email by the closing date.

For openings at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Hinckley properties or Eddy’s Resort, visit: For openings with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, visit For openings at Grindstone Laundry or Crossroads Convenience Store, email or call 320-384-4722. Applications are also available at the main receptionist desk of the Corporate Commission building at 700 Grand Avenue, adjacent to the Grand Casino Mille Lacs Events and Convention Center.


Nay Ah Shing kindergarten roundup is April 21

Ceremonial Dance Dates

Recovery group meetings
Most recovery meetings are held via Zoom conference during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Monday night Migizi meeting ID is 856 8473 0121, and the password is 56359. The Wednesday night Red Brick meeting ID is 895 631 97923, and the password is 56359. The Thursday Wellbriety meeting ID is 966 0395 9591, and the passcode is 944772. The nightly Zooming Towards Recovery code is 601-532-2869, and the password is zoom800. ”The Rez” NA meeting meets in person (with social distancing and masks required) on Fridays at 6 p.m. at the old Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic, 43500 Migizi Drive. Meetings for Urban Band members in recovery are held on Zoom Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 6:30.

Reach out for mental health services

In times of uncertainty or when we don’t feel safe, our mental health may suffer. At times, you don’t recognize that your mental health is suffering. You might feel more on edge than usual, irritated, hopeless, or sad. You might feel more upset with others or want to avoid any reminders of what is occurring. For those who already struggle with your mental wellness, you might feel depressed or anxious, or you may lack motivation to carry out your daily routine. If you are struggling and feel alone, or you have any questions, please reach out to the MLBO Mental Health Department crisis phone line at 320-674-4385. Contact Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic at 320-532-4163 for any questions and to make an appointment with a therapist.


The Government Affairs Department, which is in charge of communications with Band members, maintains a list of email addresses so we can send news summaries and breaking news updates to Band members. To sign up, go to