News Roundup, January 24-30


New video raises awareness of need for language revitalization

A powerful new video produced by the Band's Aanjibimaadizing Language Revitalization Project shows that the Anishinaabe language is "on life support" and the immediate need for language preservation.

Band collaborates on Project Blue Light to honor front-line workers

Front-line workers ranging from nurses and doctors to grocery store and gas station workers were honored Jan. 24-31 with Project Blue Light. Businesses, governments and individuals were asked to illuminate the exterior of landmarks, houses, and businesses in blue across the Arrowhead Region as a show of support for front-line workers. Homeowners also showed support by placing a blue light bulb in their porch light. The project urged people to show their support by sharing a photo of their blue light tribute on social media with the hashtag #thankyouwithblue. For more, see

Freedom from smoking course offered to Aanjibimaadizing clients

Aanjibimaadizing is offering the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® program to Aanjibimaadizing clients via Zoom starting Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 10 a.m. There will be 8 sessions over 7 weeks. Participation is required for all sessions, and class size is limited. To register, contact Catherine at 612-547-6560 or For more information, see

Participants still needed for tribal tobacco study

Band members may be eligible to participate in a community health survey called the Tribal Tobacco Use Project II. Contact Colleen McKinney at 320-362-4705 for more information or to schedule an interview. For details, see

Report shows Native American perspectives on COVID-19 vaccine

Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) released a study with the first ever national data regarding American Indian and Alaska Native peoples’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about a COVID-19 vaccine. The study surveyed American Indians and Alaska Natives across 46 states — representing 318 different tribal affiliations — to gather information ranging from individuals’ willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to the hurdles they face in accessing healthcare and resources. For more information, see

New recovery group meets on Thursday evenings

A new Wellbriety group is meeting on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. on Zoom. Contact: Roberta Dunkley at 320-674-4165 or Meeting ID: 966 0395 9591. Passcode: 944772. Connect – Support – Learn – Heal.

Open call for social change and emerging artist support programs

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) is pleased to announce its open call for two new award programs. After a year of strategic planning and working closely with our network of artists, grantees and stakeholders, NACF moves into its second decade with SHIFT, a two-year program designed to support artist and community-driven projects responding to social, environmental or economic justice issues through a Native lens. NACF is also launching LIFT, a one-year award and early career support program for emerging Native artists to develop and realize new projects. For more, see


Legislative Order establishes procedure for nominations

On January 20, the Mille Lacs Band Assembly passed Legislative Order 31-21 establishing procedure for when the Band Assembly receives a critical nomination from the Chief Executive. "Critical nominations" are defined as "any nomination by the Chief Executive for any Commissioner, Judge, Justice, Corporate Board Member, or the Solicitor General." For more information and to read the complete order, see

Band Assembly Weekly Update, January 19-22

On Wednesday, January 20, Band Assembly approved Legislative Order 31-21: A Legislative Order Establishing Procedure for When the Band Assembly Receives a Critical Nomination from the Chief Executive. The Order had been tabled on January 6. Band Assembly approved a contract addendum to add additional funding to the Red Circle contract to complete nine videos and provide two additional video shoots and production pieces for Aanjibimaadizing language projects. The addendum also extends the contract end date from December 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021. Band Assembly denied contracts with Keller Paap, Chato Gonzalez, Indigenous Enterprises, LLC (Anton Treuer), and Michael Sullivan Sr., to provide continued consultation for Language revitalization, serve on the Aanjibimaadizing Ojibwemowin Strategic Planning Board, and assist with the MLB book development project. Band Assembly voted down Bills 18-04-16-20, 18-04-17-20, and 18-04-18-20 for Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (“Corporate Ventures”), a corporate body politic of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (“Band”), for the purpose of appropriating funds and authorizing expenditures to Corporate Ventures.

Band Assembly approved Resolution 19-03-43-21: A Resolution Approving the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Housing Department Drug Policy, and a contract addendum for the Justice Service Agreement to provide the Tribal Court’s FullCourt Case Management System. Contract end date is December 31, 2021. Contract was approved.

For the complete update, go to


Monday, January 25, 2021 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members including some important vaccination information. Chief Executive Benjamin also provided an update for Band members State of the Band gift and urges Band members to make sure your address is up to date in Enrollments and with the Executive Office.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 — Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members and congratulated some Band members on recent promotions. She also discussed the Tribal leaders meeting with the Governor's office yesterday where he provided an update on an education plan to address the immediate impact of the pandemic while building a world-class education system that prepares every student for success. Part of his plan will change how teachers will teach about the American Indian history and what it means to be a sovereign nation. She also shared information on support groups in the area (see below).

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides Band members with a COVID-19 update. In addition, she shares information on federal and Reservation level news important to Band members. She also reports on Band Assembly resolutions and appropriations, women's leadership discussions, news from the White House, Native American Congressional internships ( and the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy Cohort - Enterprise Academy (


Current job openings with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government can be found at Among the new postings: Training & Development Specialist, Early Ed District III Coordinator, Early Ed Maintenance Worker, Client Access Specialist, Acquisition Specialist/Real Estate Clerk, Assistant Teacher. Elementary Education Teacher (Pine Grove and Nay Ah Shing), Aanjibimaadizing Tutor (All districts and Urban), Certified Medical Assistant/Medical Records Technician, Peer Recovery Coach, Admissions/Financial Clerk (Four Winds Lodge), Assistant Teacher (DII).

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.


The February issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin was sent to Band members on Wednesday, January 28, and can also be found at

You can also find stories from the newsletter at, including:

Band member voices — An intro to Ojibwe language learning
DNR's stocking program hits new heights
Youth cooking club — Healthy, tasty, and fun!

The Inaajimowin is sent to Band members who are identified as heads of household by the Enrollments Department. If you are a Band member head of household and are not receiving the Inaajimowin, please contact Enrollments. If you are not a Band member head of household and would like to receive the Inaajimowin, send your name and address to

News from Indian Country

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

Goade becomes first Native American to win Caldecott Medal
White Earth Nation raises minimum wage to $16 per hour
Parade Across America has Indigenous touch


Next Elder food distribution is February 10 and 11

SUD Department offers grief support
A Community Grief Support Group meets Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. via Zoom. Meeting ID: 950 0668 4301. Passcode: Support! Contact Allison at 320-630-9243 or

Bingo with the Band, first Thursday at 2 p.m. at Grand Casino Hinckley!

Recovery group meetings
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.

Mark your calendar
February 15, Chiefs Day, government offices closed.


Tribes condemn Congressman's opposition to Haaland nomination

Last month, Representative Pete Stauber, who represents northeast Minnesota (including Mille Lacs, Pine, and Aitkin Counties) in Congress, sent a letter asking fellow lawmakers to join him in urging President-elect Biden’s transition team to withdraw the nomination of Representative Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior. It’s no surprise that Rep. Stauber, a Republican, was opposed to Haaland’s nomination on policy grounds. But instead of consulting with the five tribes in his district, Stauber sent a strongly-worded statement attempting to drum up support for his opposition to Haaland’s historic nomination. The act resulted into a media storm as tribal leaders responded strongly to the Congressman's attack.

New signs direct drivers to HHS building, new community center

The new Health and Human Services Center, Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic, and District I Community Center have been completed in the Sher development on Timber Trail Road in District 1. Visitors to the facilities are met with natural beauty of the surrounding wild habitat and new homes. However, due to the location, many clients and guests were having challenges finding their way to the campus, so staff in the Community Development Department conducted research on placement of directional signs on local highways. Thanks to our Public Works Department and the Minnesota Department of Transportation, that problem has been solved with the erection of new signs along Highway 169 and other roads.

Band member physician urges us to get the vaccine

Dr. Arne Vainio, a Band member physician who works on the Fond du Lac Reservation, is urging Band members to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they have the opportunity — not just to protect themselves, but to protect their Elders and their communities. For the complete article, see See also

HHS OFFERS help during difficult times

The Department of Health and Human Services understands that these are difficult times. The Behavioral Health Department (Mental Health) is here for the community. Our therapists offer services that assist people experiencing a wide range of mental health concerns. We want to make sure that all community members have the support that they need during challenging times. The Mille Lacs Band Behavioral Health Department also offers a crisis line. When you call, you will talk to one of our Mille Lacs Band therapists. The number to call is 320-674-4385.
We recognize that sometimes it is hard to reach out to people in your own community. If you need referrals or numbers to other agencies we can help with that, too.

State of the Band coverage on YouTube,

If you missed the online State of the Band event on January 12, you can view the entire event, or select portions, at, or you can read articles and speeches at Coverage includes speeches by Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin, Secretary-Treasurer Sheldon Boyd, and Chief Justice Ramona Applegate, as well as updates by commissioners.
English Translation - approximately 44 minutes.


Did you know there is a website calendar with flyers and information on events in our communities? If you have events to share, send an email to or call 320-237-6851. You can find the calendar at For a wealth of news and information about the Band, tribal government, programs, and services, go to and start clicking! Click the Government or Services menu for information on departments and government programs. You can also access the site from your phone's web browser.


The Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police Department’s anonymous drug tip line is 320-630-2458. Feel free to leave voicemails and/or text messages. If you would like a call back, be sure to leave your name and phone number. In case of emergency, dial 911.


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