10 Sovereignty Success Stories from 2018
2019 has arrived! Here are ten of our favorite sovereignty success stories from 2018. We hope that these stories will inspire you to support and strengthen Tribal sovereignty this year!
Cankdeska Cikana Community College (Spirit Lake Nation) and UnitedHealth Group teamed up to renovate the Spirit Lake Recovery and Wellness center into a 15-bed residential treatment facility. The project demonstrates cultural match, a key principle of nation building, because it came about through community feedback and provides culturally-sensitive care to patients. The treatment center is the first of its kind in the area.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe set a goal to create a Tribally-run fire department to better serve its citizens and took significant steps toward achieving this goal in 2018. The Tribe received a grant to create the Akicita Fire Department and trained a group of volunteer firefighters.
Red Lake Nation installed solar panels on the roof of its government center in May 2018 in an effort to increase its energy sovereignty. The Tribe is undertaking a three-phase initiative to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels; the solar panel project aligns with its goals of culturally-relevant energy production, employment, and energy conservation.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s economic development corporation (REDCO: Rosebud Economic Development Corporation) conducted a study in May 2018 to determine the feasibility of a range of economic development opportunities for the Rosebud Reservation. Part of the feasibility study came about in response to community engagement. The feasibility study is important because economic development will allow more dollars to remain within the Rosebud community.
The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa held a dedication ceremony in summer 2018 on the Reservation River. The ceremony celebrated a collaborative restoration project, which began in 2017, to mitigate the effects of erosion on the Reservation River. The Grand Portage Band first discovered the erosion and alerted the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Several agencies partnered with the Grand Portage Band to restore the river.
In summer 2018, Native Governance Center held the first-ever Youth Rebuilders session with the Turtle Mountain Youth Council. Turtle Mountain Youth Rebuilders outlined their future vision for their community, including the following long-term goals: create additional outlets for community activities, help community members struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, create more jobs and lower the poverty rate, and increase opportunities for youth. The Youth Council understands the value of planning for future generations.
The Fond du Lac Band submitted a petition to the FCC in September 2018 to create its own telecommunications company, Aaniin. Aaniin will provide Tribal citizens with high-speed broadband internet service. It will become the first Tribally-owned and operated high-speed fiber service provider in Minnesota. While other Tribes have contracted with private companies to bring service to their citizens, Fond du Lac is creating its own entity as an economic development strategy.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe broke ground on the Oglala Lakota Artspace in partnership with First People’s Fund in September 2018. The space will feature art studios, a Native art gallery, a recording studio, and a gift shop, in addition to a branch of the Lakota Federal Credit Union. The project is an example of economic development rooted in culture! Oglala Lakota Artspace will open in spring 2020.
MHA Nation opened a $25 million treatment facility in Bismarck (the Good Road Recovery Center) that will employ 40 people and house up to 16 Tribal citizens at a time. The Center allows Tribal citizens to receive culturally-relevant addiction treatment in Bismarck, rather than out of state. Currently, three to four MHA Tribal citizens leave North Dakota each week for treatment. MHA Nation eventually hopes to expand the facility to create sober living apartments and a sweat lodge.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cass County back in 2014, and since then, the two governments have held a series of meetings on how they can work together to achieve mutually beneficial goals. The Leech Lake Band is leveraging collaboration to assert its sovereignty and received a Local Government Innovation Award (LGIA) for its efforts in 2018.