News Roundup, May 2-8


Band members recognize National Day of Awareness for MMIW

May 5, 2021, was the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Many Band members attended a rally at the State Capitol . Though awareness for MMIW has increased in recent years, it still very much remains a crisis. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the murder rate of Native females is more than ten times the national average on some reservations. Miigwech to all who help to bring awareness and are working tirelessly to end this crisis. Watch for an article in the June issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin. For President Biden's proclamation, see

Attestation forms needed for economic support payments

Band members who want to receive economic support payments need to fill out a Band Member Attestation Form by June 14th to be considered for eligibility for future payments. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not received an Attestation Form from the individuals listed.

Click here for the list as of May 6, 2021.

If your name is on this list, please submit a completed form to OMB. If we do not receive your form at least 14 days prior to the next payment, you will be ineligible for that month's payment.

If you know someone on this list, please contact them and make them aware that OMB needs their form and current address. They may not have received a form in the mail because they recently turned 18 or because OMB did not have their address.

The direct link to the form is Band Member Attestation Forms are also available on the Office of Management and Budget’s page of the Band’s website: The form is the top document listed under “Downloads.”

Completed forms are to be emailed to, or faxed to 320-532-5402, or mailed to: Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Attn: Dani Jo Harkness, OMB, 43408 Oodena Drive, Onamia, MN 56359.

Adopt-a-Shoreline and Clean up the Rez Roads

Join the District I Representative and Executive Branch to make a difference in the District I community! Come to the old District I Community Center on May 14 from 8:45 to 9 a.m. to pick up supplies and get your assigned cleanup area. See the flyer for more details.

Thank a teacher this week!

This week is Teacher appreciation week. Chi Miigwech to teachers for everything you do! This last year has been challenging for educators and teachers everywhere. Our teachers at Nay Ah Shing, Pine Grove and our Mille Lacs Early Education have been a constant support making sure every student feels important, whether it was in person or online distance learning. During this challenging time of the pandemic our teachers have remained focused on our students while doing everything they possibly can to meet the needs academically, socially and emotionally. Please take a moment to thank our teachers, assistant teachers, paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, parents/guardians, and our Elders who are all shaping our future leaders of our Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

Vaccines recommended to bring an end to pandemic

Are you tired of wearing a mask? Let's all do our part to keep our community safe and end the pandemic. We miss your smile. Check out this video from Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic to learn about vaccination opportunities in District I on May 12 and District III on May 19.

Next Elder food distribution is May 12 and 13

The May Elder food distribution will take place while supplies last, on a first come, first served basis, at the following locations:
Wednesday, May 12, 1–3 p.m.
— Districts I and IIa: Grand Casino Mille Lacs, south side of Convention Center
— District II: Minisinaakwaang Community Center
— District III: Grand Northern Inn Hinckley parking lot
Thursday, May 13th from 1pm – 3pm
Urban Office – 1404 E Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis.

GLIFWC seeks survey responses

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) wants to hear about your experience with and/or interest in maple sugaring (iskigamizige). Help them out by taking the survey, and you may win some sugaring equipment! Take the survey at

Chief Executive shares condolences with Oneida Nation

After a shooting May 2 at the Duck Creek Kitchen and Bar at the Radisson Hotel & Convention Center in Green Bay, Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin shared a message with the Oneida people and their chairman: "Our hearts and prayers go out to Chairman Hill and the entire Oneida Nation in the face of this horrific and senseless tragedy. We offer our deepest sympathies, support and stand in solidarity with our Oneida friends and relatives in resolute condemnation of all forms of violence."

Dual-language picture books now available

Three bestselling picture books are now available in English and Anishinaabemowin from Orca Book Publishers. All three books are translated by Angela Mesic & Margaret Noodin.

Gidagaashiinh (Little You), by Richard Van Camp with illustrations by Julie Flett, is a tender picture book that honors the child in everyone. With its delightful contemporary illustrations, Little You is perfect to be shared, read or sung to all the little people in your life—and the new little ones on the way!

Nijiikendam (My Heart Fills With Happiness), by Monique Gray Smith, is also illustrated by Julie Flett and serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.

Gimanaadenim (You Hold Me Up), by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel, is an evocative picture book intended to foster reconciliation among children, encourage them to show each other love and support and to consider each other's well-being in their every-day actions.

For more information or to order the books, go to

Popup Pantry May 10 in Onamia

There will be a pop-up pantry in Onamia on Monday, May 10, sponsored by the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank offering free food for anyone in need. The pop-up pantry will be held at the Onamia Vets Club from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Please see flyer below for more details.

Follow us on Facebook for American Indian Month information

The Band has been posting regularly on Facebook in recognition of American Indian Month. Among this week's posts:

— The first "Moccasin Telegraph" article by Jim Clark
— A brief glimpse at survival and strength of the Non-Removable Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
— A link to a video on the medicinal power of plants:

Tree seedling giveaway is May 12 and 13


Secretary-Treasurer shares video message

On April 29, Secretary-Treasurer Sheldon Boyd provided an update to Band Members on live streaming, new procedural rules, the HEARTH Act, and more.

District I Representative challenges community members to share their gratitude

Virgil Wind shared a post May 3 for Mental Health Awareness Month and the Arrowhead Regional Public Health & Tribal Public Health Coalition's “Gratitude Challenge” challenging community members to share what they are grateful for May 1-31. People are encouraged to share what they are grateful for on social media with the #GratitudeAttitudeMN.
Schools and businesses are also urged to participate with gratitude challenges for their students or staff.
Check out this video for ideas on creating your #GratitudAttitudeMN video or other post. Let the #GratitudeAttitudeMN challenge begin!

For Band Assembly Weekly Updates and other Legislative news, see


Monday, May 3, 2021 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members and announced a vaccine clinic on May 5. Please call 320-532-1984 to register before noon on Tuesday. She wished a happy birthday to all Elders who have a birthday in the month of May and recognized Teacher Appreciation Week by thanking our teachers at Nay Ah Shing, Pine Grove and Mille Lacs Early Education.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provided the latest on COVID-19 and gave a brief update on a meeting with District I Representative Virgil Wind. Her special guest was Beth Gruber with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures. Beth discussed the The Mille Lacs Tribal Economy (MLTE) and the Community Broadband Resources (CBR): Accelerate Program. Beth encouraged everyone to participate in the survey at For the video, go to

Thursday, May 6, 2021 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provided a COVID-19 update for Band members and sent a Mother's Day greeting to all mothers. Plans are in the works for the District I Aquatic & Fitness Center to open soon.
In addition, Chief Executive Benjamin sent a very important message to all Band members who want to receive economic support payments. You MUST fill out a Band Member Attestation Form by June 14th to be considered for eligibility for future payments. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not received an Attestation Form from the individuals listed on the Mille Lacs Band website at The direct link to the form is Completed forms are to be emailed to, or faxed to 320-532-5402, or mailed to: Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Attn: Dani Jo Harkness, OMB, 43408 Oodena Drive, Onamia, MN 56359.


Check out the new job postings at 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 May 2021 issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin is also online at You can find stories from the current and previous newsletters at, where you will also find links to stories from around Indian Country.

Mille Lacs Band News

Substance Use Disorder department responds to needs
Youth pursues big screen dreams with help from District Rep
Leaders reflect on pandemic successes and lessons
Diabetes triangle of treatment
Last week's news roundup

Indian Country News

COVID-19 still infecting Native Minnesotans
Legislators propose state office of missing and murdered Indigenous relatives
Haaland says it is "unfortunate" that Santorum doesn't know Native American history
U of M taps Diver for role of advisor
Gunman kills two in casino attack


Chiminising Yard Sale May 7 and 8

Join the Family Violence Prevention Program's book/support group

The FVPP Book/Support group will be starting a new book on May 12th: “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. There are 10 copies of the book available for interested community members to join the discussions by Zoom on Wednesdays at Noon and/or 7 p.m. Those who want a copy of the book can email their address to or call 320-360-2691.

Circle of Health, MNSure Outreach coming to all districts, urban area

Ceremonial Dance Dates

Hypnosis: A Tool For Healthy Living

Learn how hypnosis can help you cut down on stress and smoking at a free workshop sponsored by Public Health on May 17 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grand Casino Mille Lacs Event Center. Materials and box lunch will be provided. Masks and social distancing are required. There will be a limited number of attendees, and registration is required. For more information or to register, email colleen.mckinney@ See the flyer below for details.

Grand Makwa reopening is May 28!

Back to the Big Screen – Grand Makwa Cinema is reopening on May 28, 2021! The Grand Makwa Cinema looks forward to welcoming you and your family back to a fun movie-going experience. Movies and showtime information will be posted on their website and social pages in the next few weeks.

Spay/neuter and pet wellness clinics coming to Districts II, IIa, and III

District II spay/neuter surgeries by MNSNAP are scheduled for July 24, with 1/2-day wellness checks by SIRVS are on July 24 and 25 at East Lake Community Center, 20650 363rd Ln, McGregor, MN 55760.

District IIa surgeries will be August 7 and wellness check on August 7 and 8 at Chiminising Community Center, 2605 Chiminising Dr, Isle, MN 56342.

Lake Lena surgeries will be September 4 with wellness clinics on September 4 and 5 at Aazhoomog Community Center 45749 Grace Lake Rd, Sandstone, MN 55072)

In Hinckley, surgeries will will be September 18 and wellness check September 18 and 19 at Meshakwad Community Center, 38043 Hinckley Rd, Hinckley, MN 55037.

Supplies and meals will be provided at all events.

Men's Empowerment Group

Men's Empowerment Group - M.E.G. — meets on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. at the old District 1 Community Center across from the Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

Women's Healing Group

The Women's Healing Group meets on Tuesdays at 5:30 the old District I Community Center across from Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

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. (Sa Miikana) and Fridays at 6:30 (On the RedRoad). ID: 214 608 6245. Password: Redroad.


Chief's words make impact on EPA's manoomin decision

After the tribes pressed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the MPCA's failure to list impaired manoomin waters, the EPA sent letters last month partially disapproving the MPCA's list because it did not include wild rice waters. In a discussion with the EPA, Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin pointed out that discrimination against wild rice waters is really discrimination against Anishinaabe people, making it an environmental justice issue. “The EPA tribal liaison for Minnesota said Melanie’s statements really made an impression on EPA,“ said Perry Bunting, the Band's Director of Environmental Programs. “Tribal staff who were on the call said they wanted to cheer when Melanie made that point.“ Read more at

Proceedings stayed in lawsuit against Mille Lacs County

Judge Susan Richard Nelson entered an order on April 14 staying further proceedings in the law enforcement litigation pending resolution of an appeal by Mille Lacs County Attorney Joe Walsh and Sheriff Don Lorge. The effect of this order is that Judge Nelson will not make a ruling on the reservation boundary issue until after the appeal is decided, which is expected to take about a year.

Grocery store tour — Shopping for your heart

Jackie Braun is the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Coordinator. Via the Band's YouTube channel, she takes you on a tour of the Grand Market in District 1 to demonstrate how to shop healthy when shopping for your heart. Please enjoy the fun information and tips in this video. Then, leave a comment, like and share this video for a chance to enter the April $30 Grand Market gift card. Entries due by May 15. The winner of the $30 Grand Market gift card from the March grocery store tour was Rhonda Jones!

Mekweniminjig — The ones who are remembered

For tributes to Band members who have walked on in recent days, see Send memorial tributes to for publication online and in the Ojibwe Inaajimowin. Photos are not required but will be published if received.

Foster Parents needed

There is an immediate need for foster families in order to ensure that our children remain immersed in their community, culture, and family. Chidren and their families depend on us to provide support while they are working toward family reunification. If you are interested in helping a child and family in need and want to learn more about the fostering process, call Family Services Department at 320-532-4163, ext. 1743. For more information about MLBO Family Services, visit

Please take broadband survey

The Mille Lacs Tribal Economy (MLTE) had been selected to participate in the Community Broadband Resources (CBR): Accelerate Program. The ultimate vision is for all residents of the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy to be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable them to thrive in our communities and across the globe. It is very important to the program for you to participate in this survey from your home to make sure we have real-time data. The Survey can be found here:

Sign up now for summer sports programs

Ge-Niigaanizijig youth program has a host of fun sporting events planned for this summer, including golf league, 3-on-3 basketball, kickball, softball, basketball camp, football skills camp, and volleyball skills camp. Events kick off June 7 with a golf tournament at Grand National Golf Club in Hinckley and continue several times each week until August 23. The events will rotate among the districts giving youth a chance to meet and compete with friends from all reservation communities. Stay tuned to social media and the Ojibwe Inaajimowin newsletter for updates. For more information, contact Tim Taggart at 320-339-6199 or Download the waiver and registration at

Casinos offer summer youth employment program

Attention Mille Lacs Band Member Youth, ages 15, 16, and 17: Are you interested in summer employment with Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley? We are on a journey to develop a strong team of future Mille Lacs Band member leaders. During your summer employment with us, we will show our loyalty by offering training and development opportunities to help match you with future educational and career interests. For more information, please contact us to schedule a meeting. We will host informational sessions (in person or Zoom). Contacts: April Benjamin, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Grand Casino Hinckley, 320 384-4722. Lana Oswaldson, Band Member Recruiter, Grand Casino Mille Lacs/Hinckley, 320-532-8202. For more information, see

Reminder: 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

Join our email list

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

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

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