Weekly News Summary, November 29-December 5



Band Assembly passes Revisor's Office ordinance; Chief Executive signs bill into law

A new tribal government office, the Office of Revisor of Statutes, will be created after an ordinance passed by the Mille Lacs Band Assembly on December 2, 2020, was signed into law by Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin on December 3. The ordinance enacts the Revisor's Code as Title 25 of Mille Lacs Band Statutes. For more information, see the January issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin. To read the ordinance in its entirety, see ordinance-08-21-revisor-of-statutes-12.03.2020. The previous Title 25, which conferred honorary Band membership to Steven D. Tibbetts, was repealed by Band Assembly on July 21, 2020. For the ordinance repealing the previous Title 25, see ordinance-48-20-repealing-title-25-official-recognition.

Please respond to HHS COVID-19 Vaccination Survey

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Health and Human Services Department is conducting a survey for insight to Band members desires to receive a COVID-19 vaccination upon availability. Your opinion is important to us. The simple survey will take less than one minute to complete and no personal data is requested or obtained. Miigwech. Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z6J6JRJ

Mille Lacs Band featured on Pakistani television

Through a project undertaken by the Government Affairs Department in conjunction with the United States State Department, the story of the Mille Lacs Band is being featured on Pakistani television. The video is introduced by Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin and features a story in Ojibwemowin by Baabiitaw Boyd, a primer on history and law by Tadd Johnson, information about cultural arts by Joyce Shingobe . To watch the video on a Pakistan TV website, see https://vns-live.com/2020/11/28/native-american-tribe-history-of-mille-lacs-band-of-ojibwe/.

Commissioner extends mask order until February 28

Commissioner of Health and Human Services Nicole Anderson signed Commissioner's Order 20-03 extending the requirement for individuals to wear masks or cloth face coverings in Mille Lacs Band government facilities and Band-owned businesses until February 28, 2021. The previous extension expired November 30, and the new order went into effect December 1. https://millelacsband.com/news/commissioner-extends-mask-order-until-february-28.

Food distribution meets needs of Band members

Food distribution took place again this week in all districts and the urban area. The Urban Office teamed up with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures and employees from the other districts to hand out over 10 pallets of food on December 3. Urban Office Administrative Assistant Billie Berry said, "We do not limit our distribution to just band Elders as we get all of the overflow from all the other districts. Usually just our few urban employees hand out everything ourselves, so we are very grateful today to have so many helping hands from MLCV and the other districts."

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.


Band Assembly Weekly Update: Week of November 23-27, 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020: Legislative held a work session for the Band Assembly members, Legal Counsel, Staff Attorney, and Legislative Staff. Work Session Agenda: Band Assembly meeting minutes and Revisor of Statutes bill review comments and edits from Ziontz Chestnut. Reviewed April, May, June, July and August Band Assembly records with questions, comments, and changes to records that required it. Reviewed Revisor of Statutes bill. Review comments and edits from Mr. Marc Slonim and rejected or accepted the edits. Further discussion on placement of the bill. Discussion of publication items to include while thinking of expired materials, separate publications, fluidity, and accessibility. For the full update, see https://millelacsband.com/news/band-assembly-weekly-update-november-23-27.


A friendly reminder that many tribal government employees are currently working from home, while others are on furlough. Please consult this list of important phone numbers if you need assistance: https://millelacsband.com/news/mille-lacs-band-important-phone-numbers


Monday, November 30, 2020 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID update for Band members. District 2 held pop-up testing on Tuesday, November 24 with 73 people tested resulting in two positive cases. There will be more pop-up sites coming soon with the dates to be announced. Band members who are tested at sites other than Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic are asked to notify the clinic if they test positive in order to help with contact tracing. The CHAPS program deadline is December 7th – one week from today! Aanjibimadizing is encouraging those who need assistance to contact them right away. COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program, which provides housing assistance payments to help prevent eviction, prevent homelessness, and maintain housing stability for eligible renters and homeowners. The program is available in all districts 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. Eligible expenses include rent, mortgage, utilities, and other housing-related payments (association dues, manufactured home lot rent, etc.) Eligible renters or homeowners must have a household income at or below 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines. (Preference is given to households at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.) Also, a reminder of the Commissioners Order to extend the Mask requirement until February 28, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BSj522S9N8

Tuesday, December 1, 2020 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides Band members with a COVID-19 update with additional information from Commissioner of Health and Human Services Nicole Anderson. Restrictions have tightened up across the reservation and state to slow the spread of COVID as we await the vaccine. In the meantime, more and more people are not following the guidelines and our numbers continue to increase. Contact tracing is leading us back to parties and unregulated social gatherings. With the recent holiday it is suspected that we will see a surge within the current surge. This is having a major impact on healthcare systems across the US as well as on the reservation. HHS does prioritize testing based on individual need and symptoms. With the steady stream of calls received daily HHS has to continuously adjust testing strategies. If you are sick please call the nurse line (320-630-0855) or clinic (320-532-4163 #2) – If you do not get an immediate answer please leave a message to ensure a call back as they may be on another call. The most IMPORTANT thing we can do is limit our interactions with those outside of our households. We must keep ourselves safe from the virus. We must also think about those we could put at risk if we do not follow the recommendations. Although, you may not get very sick from COVID, the next person could. Care and compassion for our relatives is needed – kindness is powerful and needed. With the long winter months ahead of us and the continued rise in COVID cases we need to come together as we battle the pandemic as a community. Protect our loved ones, protect our elders, and protect oneself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMdsiCyphOc

Thursday, December 3, 2020 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members. In addition, she honors Tisha Mitchell as a Mille Lacs Band member who will be retiring this month after 46-plus years at Nay Ah Shing Schools. Chief Executive Benjamin also discussed the importance of the language books that just came out, and our Language Preservation project with Rosetta Stone. Many studies have proven how critical language is for Indian people. These studies prove that high-risk youth from difficult backgrounds are able to overcome their socioeconomic circumstances and to excel when they know their native language. Language is what connects us with our culture and identity. When you are proud of who you are and where you came from, that plays a huge role in how well a child does in school, and the choices they make later in life. Also, The High-Intensity Activated Cross Walk, or HAWK has been installed by the Market/Makwa on Hwy. 169. The lights will be activated early next week, so watch for that. And please cross with care. In addition, she discussed the White House Fellows Program. The White House Fellows program is one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. White House Fellowships offer exceptional young men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. The application is available now and will remain open until January 6, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Any applications received after the deadline will not be accepted. To apply, visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/get-involved/fellows/. And finally, she has another reminder of the CHAPS program approaching deadline. If you need assistance with rent, mortgage, utilities, etc., please contact Tammy Moreland at 320-292-1942 for assistance with the application process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A53S4LJbyeU


The December issue of the Band's monthly newsletter, Ojibwe Inaajimowin, is now available online at https://millelacsband.com/content/8-news/inaajimowin-archive/2012-inaajimowin.pdf.

You can also read online versions of this month's articles, including:

December 2020 Message from the Chief Executive
Richard Osburn Sworn In as District Court Judge
GRA Update: Self-Exclusion for Gambling Prevention
Bill Schaaf — A Hall of Fame Court Career

Visit https://millelacsband.com/news for Inaajimowin archives and links to news from Indian Country. The page is updated regularly to give Band members easy access to articles our communications team find interesting or inspiring. Among the recent updates: Leech Lake Reservation Restoration Act passes House, heads to White House for final approval


Need 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 December 7 and January 4. Students, parents, and guardians are encouraged to attend. See below for the flyer.

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 you 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.


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.