Weekly News Summary, December 6–12



HAWK crosswalk installed in District I

The Mille Lacs Band’s Planning and Project Management Department has worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to install a HAWK crosswalk at Highway 169 and Ataage Drive in District I to provide a safer way for pedestrians to cross from the schools, government buildings, and homes on the east side of the highway to Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Market, and neighborhoods on the west side. HAWK is short for High-intensity Activated Cross WalK. The crosswalk is activated by pedestrians when they want to cross. A flashing yellow light indicates to motorists that someone is waiting to cross, and a double red light tells them they need to stop. The unique double red signal display above a single yellow light gets the motorist’s attention by the unusual shape of the display cluster. The pedestrian will see a raised hand indicating ”Don’t Walk” when the crosswalk is not in use, and also when the yellow light is flashing. After the lights turn red and motorists are stopped, pedestrians will see an icon of a walking person and a countdown of seconds remaining to cross.

For a video about the HAWK crosswalk, see https://youtu.be/SLy3QaIBP1k.

For instructions on how to use the crosswalk as a pedestrian or a driver, see the graphic below. For more information on the crosswalk, see https://millelacsband.com/news/hawk-crosswalk-will-enhance-safety-in-district-i.

Native women call for Indigenous representation in Biden administration

In an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Native American women leaders from tribal governments, Native women’s organizations, and the United States Congress have joined together to urge the incoming administration to honor its promise for diversity in the cabinet by appointing Congresswoman Deb Haaland as the first Native American to serve as Secretary of the Interior. To read the letter, see https://millelacsband.com/news/native-women-call-for-indigenous-representation-in-biden-administration.

A special message from Nay Ah Shing Schools

Nay Ah Shing administrators posted the following message on Facebook last week:

Boozhoo gakina awiya,

Over the weekend Nay Ah Shing Schools were vandalized with multiple rooms destroyed and learning equipment damaged beyond repair. Actions like these have ripple effects across many parties. These acts not only caused physical damage to the buildings themselves but could also affect the school community (students/staff). We hope that by sharing these images of the destruction caused we can move forward in supporting our community with respect and caring. Appreciation goes out to The Nay Ah Shing School Facilities department, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s Community Development staff for their immediate response with securing the buildings and The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Police Department for your steadfast response.

Weweni, Nay Ah Shing Schools

Builder wins award for new HHS building

Hy-Tec Construction, Brainerd, MN received a top award from the Minnesota/North Dakota Associated Builders and Contractors for its Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe District 1 Health Clinic in the Healthcare: Over 5 Million category. For the complete story, see https://millelacsband.com/news/builder-wins-award-for-health-and-human-services-building.

Transportation survey responses needed

The East Central Regional Transportation Coordinating Council in tandem with Tri-CAP and Mille Lacs Health are looking for your ideas about transportation – specifically, extending public transit within northern Mille Lacs County. We are exploring the possibility of bringing convenient, handicap accessible, affordable transportation options to the Vineland area. There is no guarantee that public transit services will be developed, but we want to understand the need for transit in an effort to explore existing and future opportunities. Your answers will help guide our work. To fill out this short survey, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VinelandMLCo. It would be of great help to us – You Transit Team!

Victims of Crime Program offers help

The Band's Family Violence Prevention Program offers a Victims of Crime Program providing advocacy for victims of arson, bullying, burglary, fraud, identity theft, cyber crime, child abuse, vulnerable adult abuse, assault, robber, kidnapping, missing persons, hate crimes, homicide, gang violence, mass violence, teen dating violence, and more. Contacts: VOC Advocate Cell: 320-362-0734; VOC Advocate Cell: 320-362-1416; VOC Program Coordinator Cell: 320-364-3568; Office: 320-532-7865; FVPP Administrator Cell: 320-630-2499; Office: 320-532-7793; Women’s Shelter320-495-3514; 24-hour Crisis Line:1-866-867-4006. Everyone is currently working remotely, so please use the cell phone contact numbers at this time. https://millelacsband.com/news/victims-of-crime-program-offers-help

You're invited to participate in tobacco survey

The Band is working with the American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) on the Tribal Tobacco Use Project II (TTUP II). This is a survey that covers both commercial and traditional tobacco use. We need our community to participate to make this survey successful. A $20 gift card is given to all who participate. To set up a time to do an interview, to find out if you are eligible, or if you have any questions/concerns, please call Colleen McKinney at 320- 362-4705. Miigwech!
Survey subjects are chosen from a random list of community members.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing offered in District I

The Health and Human Services Department provided community COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, December 8, at Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic at the NEW Health and Human Services campus located at 18562 Minobimaadizi Loop. Testing is an important part of reducing the spread of COVID-19. Miigwech to all who worked and to those who got tested.

Sign up for State of the Band updates

A virtual State of the Band event is being planned for January 12, 2012. To sign up for updates on the event, go to https://millelacsband.com/services/sotb-2021.


Monday, December 7, 2020 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID update for Band members. Daily COVID-19 case numbers can and do fluctuate. That’s why it is important to look at the longer-term trends. The daily positive cases have been trending upward rather quickly across the state and on our reservation. The effects of holiday gatherings, funerals, and travel are still unknown, but we thank all Band members for making difficult but necessary adjustments to their plans. If we all work together to take these basic and effective precautions, like wearing masks, social distancing, staying at home, and testing as appropriate, we can get through to better days as we wait for COVID-19 vaccines to be widely available. There is a Drive-through pop-up COVID testing station that will be set in the parking lot of the new HHS building TOMORROW, December 8. The testing is free and open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to anyone interested in being tested. Since January 1, 2020, there have been 76 Band members who have passed away, 11 of whom passed away from COVID. In comparison, there were 44 Band members who passed away in 2019 during the same timeframe last year. Another reminder of the CHAPS program deadline is TODAY. Aanjibimadizing is encouraging those who need assistance paying mortgage, rent, utilities or other house-related payments, to contact them right away. The program is available in all districts in Minnesota and the urban area. If you have questions about the program, call Tammy Moreland at 320-292-1942 or email at tammy.moreland@millelacsband.com to schedule an appointment with someone to walk you through the application. https://youtu.be/vy5b0ydoHik

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members including a message of the vaccine coming to the Mille Lacs Reservation very soon. HHS will provide the date the vaccination is available as soon as details have been complete. Chief Executive Benjamin gives a few shout outs to some Band members for their success and welcomes new attorneys. She also congratulated the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe for a successful passing of a bill that will return 12,000 areas of land that had been taken from them. The bill is awaiting the signature of the President of the United States. And, a reminder to Band members who have harvested deer to bring the head to the DNR department to receive a free box of ammunition. The heads will be sent for studies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMTzhAIVTzQ

Thursday, December 10, 2020 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members. The Drive Through COVID Testing was held Tuesday, December 8 in the parking lot at HHS. The Ne-Ia-Shing clinic staff provided 178 tests throughout the day. Test Results will be going to those who were tested within a few days. HHS will notify those who were tested as soon as results are available. If you have not yet been notified, please be patient. The Band's Family Violence Prevention Program offers a Victims of Crime Program providing advocacy for victims of arson, bullying, burglary, fraud, identity theft, cyber crime, child abuse, vulnerable adult abuse, assault, robber, kidnapping, missing persons, hate crimes, homicide, gang violence, mass violence, teen dating violence, and more. Information is available on the Band website at https://millelacsband.com/news/victims-of-crime-program-offers-help. Your opinion is needed to help determine the need for more public transportation in the Vineland area. The East Central Regional Transportation Coordinating Council in tandem with Tri-CAP and Mille Lacs Health are looking for your ideas about transportation – specifically, extending public transit in and around Vineland. Please take a moment to fill out a short survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VinelandMLCo. Catherine Colsrud, a District 3 Band Member, won her re-election bid to her local hospital board on November 3, 2020. Congratulations to the Band members who recently graduated from the Enterprise Academy. The next cohort will begin early in 2021. Watch for more information as to how you can get help with your entrepreneur business enterprise ideas. https://youtu.be/2eziI_dg6Yo


Band Assembly Weekly Update, November 30–December 4

The Mille Lacs Band Assembly approved two bills at their meeting on Wednesday, December 2:

— Band Assembly Bill 19-02-08-21: A Bill enacting the Revisor of Statutes Code as Title 25. The Revisor of Statutes Code will grant the Revisor the authority to establish an independent Revisor’s Office to ensure the annual compilation, updating, and publication of Band laws and official acts; to provide confidential drafting services of proposed legislation and policy revisions to District Representatives; and to establish a Tribal Register for the publication of Band statutes and policies, Executive Orders, Secretarial Orders, Commissioner’s Orders, Legislative Orders, Chief Justice Orders, Solicitor’s Opinions, and other official notices. The sponsor of the bill was District II Representative Marvin Bruneau. The bill was introduced and approved with a waiver of the formal reading.

— Band Assembly Bill 19-02-09-21: A Bill of Supplemental Appropriation for the Administration, Natural Resources, and Health & Human Services Department for the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2021. Sponsor: District I Representative. Bill was introduced, read and approved with removal of Administration Interest Fund Portion and correction.

Michaa Aubid, a member of the Minisinaakwaang Leadership Academy School Board, provided an educational update. Presented history of MLA and school, employee, and budget information. Donation request items with questions, comments, plan to be under NAS, and goal for BIE status. Best interest of the Band for Education.

For more, see https://millelacsband.com/news/band-assembly-weekly-update-november-30-december-4-2020.


Current job openings with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government can be found at https://millelacsband.com/jobs. Among the new postings: Health Screener, Fitness Coordinator, Early Ed Float Teacher, Chemical Health Counselor, Early Ed Maintenance Worker, Registered Nurse, Food Shelf Warehouse Technician, Emergency Services Coordinator, Solid Waste Driver, Chemical Health Counselor Aide, Early Learning Literacy Coach, and District II Community Service Crew Leader. You can request information about jobs by emailing hr@millelacsband.com 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.

Grand Market is seeking a Deli Associate and a Stocker. For openings at Grand Market, Grand Makwa, Super Stop, Taco John’s, and East Lake Convenience Store, email sbayliss@grcasinos.com or call 320-532-8143.

For openings at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Hinckley properties or Eddy’s Resort, visit: grandcasinomn.com/careers. For openings with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, visit mlcv.com/career-opportunities. For openings at Grindstone Laundry or Crossroads Convenience Store, email enelson@grcasinos.com 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 December issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin can be found at https://millelacsband.com/content/8-news/inaajimowin-archive/2012-inaajimowin.pdf.

You can also find stories from the newsletter at https://millelacsband.com/news, including:

Traditions, fitness — and ukuleles! Youth program adjusts to COVID-19

Caravan raises awareness of domestic violence

A pet wellness clinic like no other

The Inaajimowin is sent to Band member 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@millelacsband.com.

News from Indian Country

You can also find links to stories from around Indian Country at https://millelacsband.com/news.

Among this week's headlines:

Eddie Benton-Banai, cofounder of the American Indian Movement, dies at 89

Indigenous groups stage first protests as Enbridge pipeline construction begins

Indigenous voters helped flip Arizona. Is the Georgia Senate race next?


District I gift card and meal distribution

District I Band members are invited to pick up a $25 Walmart gift card (one per Band member) on December 17 and 18 and a holiday meal (one per head of household) on December 22. See the flyer below for details.

District II and IIa gift card and meal distribution

Band members in District II (Minisinaakwaang/East Lake) and IIa (Chiminising) will also receive gift cards and meals on December 17. See the flyer for details.

New Year's meal giveaway

The Health and Human Services Department is teaming up with MLCV to bring a New Year's meal to Band members. Ring in the New Year with ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, buns, and apple and pecan pie! See the flyer for time and location.

Help with distance learning

The Mille Lacs Band's Family Services Department is joining forces with Nay Ah Shing and Onamia Public Schools to hold technology/academic sessions at the old District I community center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 4. Students, parents, and guardians are encouraged to attend.

Recovery Group Meetings

Two recovery groups are meeting old District I Community Center: An NA meeting on Fridays at 6 p.m. and an All Recovery group on Sundays at 6 p.m. Masks and social distancing are enforced. Contact Randell S. with questions at 650-273-2214.

Many recovery meetings are also 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 nightly Zooming Towards Recovery code is 601-532-2869, and the password is zoom800.

Reminder: Fall and winter events are canceled

The Tribal Emergency Response Committee (TERC) on October 27 announced the cancellation of in-person fall and winter events, including the Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures Fall Feast, District holiday parties, and the State of the Band Address. A notice signed by six Commissioners who are members of the TERC said the approaching flu season and lack of abatement of the COVID-19 crisis made the decision necessary.

Mark your calendar

Midwinter Break: December 24 and 25. Government offices closed.
January 1: New Year's Day, government offices closed.
January 12: State of the Band. This event will be held online. Stay tuned to this site and Facebook for details.
January 18, Civil Rights Day, government offices closed.

Visit the website calendar: The calendar at https://millelacsband.com/calendar has information about events occurring in all Mille Lacs Band districts. Visit regularly to stay up to date on what's happening.


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 weekly news summaries and breaking news updates to Band members.
To sign up, go to https://millelacsband.com/services/mailing-list.