Are you interested in becoming a Native Nation Rebuilder, joining over 150 Native leaders from across the region? The Rebuilders program is for Native citizens in our region who have a passion for learning about innovative Tribal governance practices and ways to take these ideas and approaches to their own Native nations to make a positive difference. Apply today!
Our “Need to Know” blog series explores important Tribal governance-related concepts in detail. In this installment, we take a look at the Tribes located in North Dakota.
North Dakota is home to five federally-recognized Tribes. (If you’re curious to learn more about sovereignty and what it means to be a Native nation, see our previous post on Minnesota Tribes.) Native Americans make up 5% of North Dakota’s population; almost 40% of the Native population in North Dakota is under the age of 20.
An Overview of North Dakota’s Five Native Nations
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians is the largest Tribe in North Dakota, with over 30,000 enrolled members. Over 16,000 of these enrolled members live on or adjacent to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, which is located about 25 miles from the United States-Canadian border. Members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians are Anishinaabe and are primarily members of the Pembina Band of Chippewa.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is the next largest, with approximately 16,000 enrolled members. The Standing Rock Indian Reservation spans the border between North and South Dakota and is the fifth largest reservation (land area) in the United States. Standing Rock is also the birthplace of Sitting Bull, a notable leader who fought against the United States government’s efforts to erase Native culture and steal Native land. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is comprised of both Lakota and Dakota people.
Spirit Lake Nation and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate are the two Dakota Tribes in North Dakota. Spirit Lake has about 7,200 enrolled members, while Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate has about 13,000. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate call the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation home, which is largely located in South Dakota; a small portion occupies part of the southeastern corner of North Dakota. The Spirit Lake Indian Reservation is located in east-central North Dakota.
Finally, the Mandan, Hidatsa Arikara Nation (also referred to as MHA Nation or Three Affiliated Tribes) has over 12,000 enrolled members who are primarily Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish. (The Arikara call themselves Sahnish, which means the original people from whom all other tribes sprang.) While the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish people all reside on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation together and have shared culture and histories, they’ve also retained their individual cultures, histories, and Tribal relationships.
The North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission
Cohort 1 Native Nation Rebuilder Scott Davis directs the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission. The Commission is a state agency that serves as a resource center for Tribes and seeks to improve state-Tribal relations in North Dakota. It took an historic step toward improving relationships by hosting the Strengthening Government to Government Relationships and Partnerships Conference in January 2018. The conference, the first of its kind in North Dakota, drew more than 300 Tribal, state, and federal officials with the goal of rebuilding relationships between Tribes and the state in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
To learn more about North Dakota Tribes, visit our Native Nations Resource Page.
Our “Need to Know” blog series explores important Tribal governance-related concepts in detail. In this post, we take a look at the Native nations located in Minnesota. (This is the first in a series of posts on Tribes in our region.)
Did you know that Minnesota is home to eleven federally-recognized, sovereign Native nations? Tribal governments, state governments, and the federal government all have their own definitions of what it means to be a Native nation. Some Tribes have recognition at both the state and federal level. Others are recognized only by the state and/or other Tribes.
What does sovereignty mean? Tribes have varying definitions for what it means to be sovereign. At Native Governance Center, we define sovereignty as:
the inherent right of Tribal nations to govern themselves by establishing systems that organize their society, offer programs and services to their citizens, and work with other governmental entities on a nation-to-nation basis
There are seven Anishinaabe and four Dakota nations located in Minnesota. The Anishinaabe nations include the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa,Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and Red Lake Nation. Originally, all seven were established by treaty; the federal government considers them to be separate nations. With the exception of Red Lake Nation, the Anishinaabe nations in Minnesota are joined together in a federation of Tribes known as the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT). A federally-created entity, the MCT provides a centralized governmental structure for the six bands. Each band also has its own Reservation Business Council that serves as a decision-making body.
The four Dakota nations located in Minnesota are as follows: the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Prairie Island Indian Community, Lower Sioux Indian Community, and Upper Sioux Indian Community. The four Dakota nations are located south of the Twin Cities, while the seven Anishinaabe nations are located to the north.
To learn more about Minnesota Tribes, visit the Resources page on our website for a list of all the Tribes in our region.
Program Director Rebecca Crooks-Stratton Transitions to Serve Her Tribe
Our Program Director Rebecca Crooks-Stratton left Native Governance Center at the end of last week for an opportunity to serve her Tribe. We’re sad to see her go, but we’re inspired to see her fulfilling Native Governance Center’s mission of supporting Tribes and empowering leaders by serving her own Tribe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). During Rebecca’s two years at Native Governance Center, she launched our Youth Rebuilders and Rebuilders 2.0 initiatives, strengthened the Native Nation Rebuilders Program, designed several successful large events, and developed innovative approaches to delivering Tribal governance support services. Native Governance Center values our strong relationship with the SMSC, and we are excited to continue to work with Rebecca in her new capacity.
Jayme Davis Promoted to Program Director
We are pleased to announce that Jayme Davis (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) has been promoted to Program Director. As Program Director, Jayme will direct the implementation and execution of our leadership development and Tribal governance support strategies. Jayme brings two years of experience as Native Governance Center Program Manager, in addition to previous work with the Turtle Mountain Community College and United States Senator Kent Conrad (D, ND), to the position. Jayme has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Mary and is currently pursuing an MPA with a concentration in public policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Update: The application period for this position is closed.
Native Governance Center is hiring a Program Manager who will work with the Program Director to implement and execute the organization’s leadership programs (Native Nation Rebuilders and Youth Rebuilders) and Tribal governance support strategies. The role will have a unique opportunity to carry forward and strengthen existing programs and shape and implement new programs for the organization.
We are a Native American-led nonprofit organization located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Our mission is to assist Tribal nations in strengthening their governance systems and capacity to exercise sovereignty. Native Governance Center assists Tribes in their effort to improve governance through two main program areas: leadership development and Tribal governance support. We serve both elected Tribal leaders and grassroots Native leaders (including Native youth).
Primary responsibilities include program strategy support, Tribal consultation, event design and support, and grantmaking. Willingness to travel up to 35% of the time is required.
Download the position description for more information:
How to Apply
The application deadline is June 29, 2018.
Protecting the Land for Coming Generations: A Conversation with Fond du Lac Band Environmental Program Manager and Native Nation Rebuilder Wayne Dupuis
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is leading the way in the fight for environmental health and justice. Wayne Dupuis, a Cohort 3 Native Nation Rebuilder, is Fond du Lac’s Environmental Program Manager and is working to promote sustainability, reduce Fond du Lac’s energy consumption, and protect the land for future generations.
Wayne is an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and he’s lived on the Fond du Lac Reservation with his wife (who’s enrolled at Turtle Mountain) for many years. Wayne comes from a large extended family. Outside of his work as Environmental Program Manager, he’s an avid gardener and is passionate about raising awareness about the impact that his Tribe’s current blood quantum requirements will have on future enrollment numbers. “At the end of the Native Nation Rebuilders program, I took on this project to ensure that we’re fully aware of our population trends and what we need to do to counter them,” Wayne explains.
Wayne’s work spans a wide range of issue areas related to environmental protection—from monitoring air and water quality to supervising Fond du Lac’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO), Wayne wears several hats. He manages a staff of 14 and feels fortunate to have “many good scientists” on his team. The Fond du Lac Band is setting an example for sustainability across the region, state, and nation through its numerous cutting-edge environmental projects.
Declaring Fond du Lac Reservation a Class I Airshed
Fond du Lac is improving air quality by working toward declaring its reservation as a Class I Airshed. What does it mean for an area to be a Class I Airshed? Essentially, the designated area conforms to the highest level of air quality and visibility protection levels as specified by the Clean Air Act of 1963. National parks (over 6,000 acres) and national wilderness areas (over 5,000 acres) are currently Class I Airsheds, in addition to six Indian reservations.
Fond du Lac is working to become the seventh Indian reservation with a Class I Airshed designation, which will beneficially impact air quality not just on Tribal lands but across northeastern Minnesota. Wayne explains, “Industry is our neighbor here, but they’re emitting almost to the top of the scale. In fact, they’re going over in some respects. So us being a Class I Airshed is a threat to their ability to pollute. In the past, Class I Air pertained to a 60-mile circumference. But now it pertains to whatever is going to impact your air—it doesn’t matter what the distance is. So, we’re declaring that we’re at the table when it comes to air quality in our region. We would be the first here to do so.”
Addressing Environmental Justice Issues Impacting Tribal Members Living in Duluth
The Fond du Lac Reservation is located just 20 miles from the city of the city of Duluth, and the Tribe also holds land within city boundaries. Unfortunately, many Tribal members living in Duluth are subjected to environmental racism due to the trajectory of harmful pollutants from area plants and refineries. According to Wayne, “Duluth is a long city, but it rises abruptly on the hill. Most of the low-income people, including our Tribal members, live on the hillside. You know how it is when air is coming from the east—it comes and hits the hillside. We have the refinery over in Wisconsin, the cement plant that emits lots of pollutants, and all of the boats and railroads that are burning diesel. And the coal yards over there. So all of that stuff gets blown here.”
Wayne says that the average lifespan of residents living on Duluth’s central hillside is ten years lower than that of Duluth’s total population. Fond du Lac’s Environmental Program advocates for Tribal members living both on- and off-reservation, and Wayne and his team have raised concerns about the environmental injustice taking place in Duluth with both the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The process is still early on, and Fond du Lac hopes that both entities will take action.
Raising Pollution Concerns Related to Proposed Area Mines
Citizens of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa depend on the health of the land—both reservation land and ceded treaty lands—for their livelihood and survival. The Fond du Lac Environmental Program recognizes this important relationship and also sees the value of clean waterways and wetlands for all Minnesotans. PolyMet Mining plans to construct a large open pit mine (known as the “NorthMet Project”) on Anishinaabe treaty lands to obtain metals embedded in sulfide-containing rocks. The mine is currently in the permitting stage, but Wayne and his team at the Fond du Lac Environmental Program were among the first to raise concerns about the potential for the mine to leach metals and other pollutants into area waterways. As a result of Tribal concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled that PolyMet’s initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was inadequate. While the project has since cleared the EIS hurdle, Wayne and his team plan to continue raising awareness about the mine’s potential to cause irreparable environmental damage: “We live in an area that has 10% of the world’s fresh water, and we’re concerned about what they say is going to happen. We’re not convinced. It’s a foreign corporation. We didn’t make treaties with foreign corporations.”
Wayne is especially worried about the potential impact that the mine could have on the health of wild rice beds in northern Minnesota. He notes that wild rice has declined by 90% across the North American continent, and the decline poses a direct threat to the health of future generations of Anishinaabe. Wayne explains, “Wild rice is the reason that we’re here. It’s in our prophecies. I’ve seen a diminishment over my lifetime. I’ve riced since I was 13 years old, and I’ve been part of ricing since I could walk.” Fond du Lac’s Environmental Program is taking steps to protect what’s left of wild rice habitat by participating in a collaborative project with Tribes across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The member Tribes have established a database to share and store information on wild rice densities across the three-state area.
Creating a Net-Zero HUD Home Prototype
Low-income people spend a high percentage of their monthly income on energy costs. Wayne and the Fond du Lac Environmental Program plan to remediate this issue for their low-income Tribal members and others by developing a net-zero home prototype that the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can use when building low-income housing. A net-zero home is a regular grid home that produces just as much or more energy than it consumes throughout the year through both renewable energy and energy-efficient design. The Fond du Lac Environmental Program hopes to have the prototype design finished by fall of 2018.
Reducing Tribal Energy Consumption as a Kyoto Accord Signatory
Back in 2007, the Fond du Lac Reservation Business Committee passed a resolution to abide by the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and pledged to convert 20% of its consumed energy to renewables by 2020. The Tribe has made great strides toward accomplishing this goal, in addition to reducing its overall energy consumption. The Fond du Lac Environmental Program has spearheaded the effort. For example, the program performed an energy audit on all Tribal buildings (including examining energy bills) to determine the Tribe’s baseline energy consumption and possible ways to cut back. In addition to incorporating energy reduction mechanisms into existing infrastructure, Fond du Lac has pledged to put energy efficiency and renewable energy technology into all new construction. The Fond du Lac Resources Management Building is LEED Certified (the most commonly used green building certification in the world) and features 10.5 kW of solar, south facing windows, and a green roof, among other features.
In addition, the Tribe has installed a megawatt of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells near its casino. Minnesota Power, a northeastern Minnesota utility company, was in the midst of a settlement regarding pollution discharge and awarded Fond du Lac funding for a renewable energy project. Wayne Dupuis suggested using the funding to install solar panels, and the utility agreed. Overall, the Tribe has made great strides toward cutting its energy consumption and increasingly relying upon renewables for its energy generation. It plans to continue this effort into the future. “As a Tribe, we’ve reduced our energy consumption by 50% from our starting baseline,” Wayne explains.
St. Louis River Ecosystem Services Valuation
The St. Louis River, which begins on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota, forms both the northern and eastern boundary of the Fond du Lac Reservation. This portion of the river is downstream from much of the region’s current and proposed mining activities, meaning that sulfide waste flows toward Fond du Lac. As mentioned previously, Fond du Lac members maintain the right to hunt, fish, and gather on ceded lands, and they’re concerned that the pollution of the St. Louis River diminishes these treaty rights.
Wayne notes, “Even though we ceded these lands, we retain the right to hunt, fish, and gather—otherwise known as usufructuary rights. And our usufructuary rights are being diminished. …Every time [a] mine moves an inch, it’s a diminishment of our usufructuary rights. Every time a road goes in, it’s a diminishment. And there’s never been an accounting for that.” The Tribe recently completed an ecosystem services valuation study of the St. Louis River, meaning an estimate of the monetary value that the river ecosystem provides to the area. The valuation study determined that the St. Louis River watershed brings a value of up to $14 billion in benefits to the region each year with a total asset value of up to $687 billion. The Fond du Lac Environmental Program hopes to use its study as leverage as it seeks a seat at the table for negotiations surrounding proposed projects with the potential to impact the local ecosystem. “The value that [a river] brings to a region is eye opening,” Wayne asserts. “People just don’t realize it.”
Looking Ahead to the Future
Wayne Dupuis not only brings an awareness of the need to improve the environment in the short-term to his work, but he also instills a genuine care about the health of future generations into his role as Environmental Program Manager. In the coming year, he hopes to set Fond du Lac on a path toward energy sovereignty: “Energy is really going to determine how we interact with everybody. And we need to know and be strategic about what our energy sources are and how we relate to the world around us.” Wayne sees the importance of remaining accountable to future generations both through his work and in his personal life. He strives to make environmentally-conscious choices on a day-to-day basis. “It’s not only Fond du Lac, but me it’s me personally. That’s where it begins. It’s, ‘What am I going to do?’”
Mark your calendar for our 2nd Annual Nation Building Celebration!
Each year, we host a Nation Building Celebration; a gathering that brings together Tribal leaders, grassroots Native leaders, local and state lawmakers, and members of the general public to network, learn, and gather resources related to leadership and nation building.
This year’s Annual Nation Building Celebration will focus on community engagement strategies for strengthening sovereignty!
The convening will take place on November 9, 2018 at Mystic Lake Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota. On the evening of November 8, 2018, we’ll host a Rebuilders Dinner at Mystic Lake Center to celebrate and honor our Native Nation Rebuilders.
Stay tuned! Registration information will go live in summer 2018.
A Conversation with Fond du Lac Chief of Police and Native Nation Rebuilder Herb Fineday
The world needs more police officers like Herb Fineday. As the newly-appointed Chief of Police for the Fond du Lac Police Department (located on the Fond du Lac Reservation in northeastern Minnesota), Herb is working to instill Ojibwe values into the department and collaborate with other area police departments on issues related to cultural competency.
For Herb, culture starts at home. He’s an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and resides in the Brookston community (Ziibins) on the Fond du Lac Reservation. An Ojibwe word, Ziibins roughly translates to mean “the other side of the river.” The St. Louis River runs through the northern edge of the Reservation, and the community of Ziibins is located on the other side.
Herb and his wife Patti Jo, also an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band, instill culture into their family of seven through participating in traditional activities that align with the seasons, such as ricing, fishing, hunting, and gathering maple sap. Herb is also a talented artist and powwow dancer. On top of his work and family responsibilities, he somehow finds time to teach sewing classes for elders in his community, travel the summer powwow circuit, and make Ojibwe floral appliqué ties and shirts. “What’s huge for me and my family is that cultural component, that traditional component,” explains Herb. “We maintain that, and we pass it down to our children. It’s also going to be a huge component of my new role at the police department.”
Herb has been Chief of Police for just a little under a month, but he already has plans in store to increase cultural competency and build upon the work that he’s accomplished in his previous roles with the department (most recently in the narcotics division). He sees building community trust as one of the most important aspects of his day-to-day responsibilities as a law enforcement officer. From stopping by the community center to visit with elders about elk sightings and muddy roads to carrying tobacco to comfort those who are suffering, Herb understands the value of police-community relations.
As Chief of Police, he plans to launch a new community policing initiative. All officers within the Fond du Lac Police Department will be required to complete one hour of community policing per day and provide a record of their activities. Community policing encompasses a range of activities, such as reading to students at Fond du Lac Head Start or having coffee with community members at Nahgahchiwanong Adaawewigamig, the Tribe’s gas and convenience store. As someone who’s served in a variety of roles within the Fond du Lac Police Department, Herb believes that requiring officers to document their community engagement activities will promote accountability; he wants to prevent community relations from taking a back seat when things get busy.
In addition to community policing, Herb hopes to add Ojibwe verbiage to Fond du Lac’s police cars and create social media pages for the department with titles in Ojibwe. He starts out each week by smudging the police department and invites anyone else in the building at the time to participate. Prior to implementing changes at the department, Herb receives guidance from spiritual advisors: “I have spiritual advisors—people that I entrust—and I give them tobacco and tell them my ideas. They’re always like, let’s allow the spirits to think about this—don’t just move ahead and do it.” Herb’s approach to the Chief of Police role is deliberate and grounded in culture.
Aside from instilling Ojibwe culture into the Fond du Lac Police Department, Herb wants to focus on building relationships with other area jurisdictions. He ultimately hopes to increase cultural competency within non-Native police departments on both a local and statewide level. Three jurisdictions fall within the boundaries of the Fond du Lac Reservation—the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cloquet Police Department. Herb hopes to improve Tribal-county relations by offering a curriculum for law enforcement on the culture and traditions of the Ojibwe people in the Great Lakes Region. He’s received clearance to hold a pilot training with the Duluth Police Department on May 17-18, 2018. The training is not only a first for the Duluth Police Department, but it’s also the first of its kind for law enforcement in the state of Minnesota.
Herb’s eventual goal is to get his training credited by the Minnesota POST Board (Peace Officers Standards and Training). The POST Board is the occupational regulatory agency that’s responsible for licensing police officers across the state. Police officers are required to complete continuing education credits in order to maintain and renew their licenses. If credited, the training, which will be sponsored by the Fond du Lac Police Department, will provide participants with six hours of POST Board credit.
The curriculum would also become part of the implicit bias training required for all police officers in the state of Minnesota. “The implicit bias training that we take online is so vanilla,” Herb acknowledges. “Basically, all you have to do is understand what implicit bias means. It doesn’t cover the social stereotypes of the state. Even in a large city like Minneapolis, it doesn’t even scratch the surface at all.” Herb hopes that by improving the required implicit bias training and instilling cultural competency into police departments across the state, Tribes can build stronger collaborative partnerships with local jurisdictions that will ultimately benefit both Native and non-Native Minnesotans.
The Fond du Lac Police Department is leading the way in advancing cultural competency for law enforcement across the state, yet it faces significant jurisdictional restrictions due to statutes in place at the state level. Essentially, Minnesota state law limits the policing authority of the six Minnesota Chippewa Tribe (MCT) Bands, including Fond du Lac. “There’s a state statute written that limits the authority of the six Tribes of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe,” Herb explains. “Our police department is actually not the primary jurisdiction—the primary jurisdiction goes to Carlton County and St. Louis County.” In line with his focus on partnerships, Herb hopes to collaborate with other MCT Tribes and the MCT Tribal Executive Committee to advance a bill that will give Tribal police departments primary jurisdiction over land within reservation boundaries.
Cultural match and a team building approach to collaborative partnerships guide Herb Fineday’s approach to policing and his new role as Fond du Lac Chief of Police. Herb credits his participation in leadership programs, such as the Native Nation Rebuilders Program (Cohort 7), for instilling in him the importance of both inter- and intra-community relations: “The leadership training I’ve had—for example, being a Rebuilder—is going to assist me exponentially. The everyday aspect of being a Rebuilder is going to help me implement change and gain more of that community trust that I want. When I talk about community trust, I’m talking about the core relationships that we have with other agencies as well.”
We are excited to announce that Native Governance Center Program Manager Jayme Davis (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) has become a certified Insights Discovery Practitioner. Insights Discovery is a psychology-based tool that allows individuals to better understand their strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles. Participants take a short online test, after which they receive a customized profile that describes their personality and the value they bring to a group, among other details.
Certified Insights Practitioners can administer Insights Discovery to groups to encourage participants to discern how to work more effectively together. Native Nation Rebuilders complete Insights as part of their yearlong curriculum. Now that Jayme is officially certified, she’ll facilitate all future Insights sessions for our Rebuilders. Jayme is a Cohort 7 Rebuilder, and she’ll bring an understanding of what it means to be a Native Nation Rebuilder to her Insights facilitation. We look forward to seeing Jayme facilitate her first session with Rebuilders (Cohort 9) in Spearfish, South Dakota in April 2018.
To further hone her skills, Jayme did an Insights Discovery trial run with the Native Governance Center staff in January. The session allowed staff to learn more about one another and how to work even better together.
Jayme said the following about her experience receiving Insights certification: “I can’t wait to get started helping people better understand themselves, and in turn, build better and stronger relationships personally and professionally.”
WHAT is Youth Rebuilders?
Youth Rebuilders is a summer experience that equips Native youth with nation building training and inspires them to share their visions for the future. We’ll meet the selected Youth Rebuilders in their own community and provide them with three days of fun, interactive programming.
WHY Youth Rebuilders?
Youth Rebuilders grew out of the Native Nation Rebuilders Program as a way to develop the next generation of Native leaders.
WHO is eligible to apply?
Interested youth should apply as a Tribal group; we’ll admit up to 20 participants from a single Tribal youth council/youth group. Participants must be in grades 8-12.
HOW does the application process work?
Applications open March 19, 2018 and close on April 30, 2018. Apply using our online application at nativegov.org after March 19, 2018.
Program dates: June 18-20, 2018
Contact Jayme Davis, Program Manager, with questions.