Tuesday, October 18, 2011


ONAMIA, Minn. – The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe donated $42,384 in monetary and in-kind contributions to a variety of nonprofit organizations and other charitable causes in September.

Each month the Band and its businesses make contributions to community organizations including schools, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, food shelves, and others in Minnesota and nationwide.

In September the Mille Lacs Band donated $1,000 to Brainerd’s Crisis Line and Referral Service to help fund a 24-hour lifeline volunteer program to serve Crow Wing County. The Band also contributed $1,000 to Webb Lake Area First Responders in Spooner, Minnesota, to replace the organization’s defibrillators.

Additionally, the Mille Lacs Band gave $1,000 to Our Place Teen Addictions Recovery Program in Forest Lake to fund programming and support group resources. The Band also donated $800 to the Dakota Wicohan, an organization dedicated to preserving the Dakota language and culture in Morton, Minnesota, to assist with summer camp and after-school activities for native youth.

Other notable contributions include those to Minnesota DARE Inc. for assistance with youth drug prevention, Plymouth’s Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners’ leadership and activity club, Overcomers Outreach Ministries’ recovery center, Moose Lake Area Hockey Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association in Saint Paul.

In September the Band donated to organizations and causes in Aitkin, Anoka, Blue Earth, Carlton, Chisago, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Freeborn, Hennepin, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Lake of the Woods, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Olmsted, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Renville, Rice, Saint Louis, Scott, Sherburne, Sibley, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, and Wright counties. The Band also donated in Barron, Burnett, Columbia, Eau Claire, and Pierce counties in Wisconsin as well as Floyd County in Iowa.

About the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is a self-governing, federally recognized Indian tribe located in East Central Minnesota. The Band has more than 4,000 enrolled members, for whom it provides a wide variety of programs and services.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Update on Wisconsin's Iron Mining by Jordan Weinand KBJR News 1

Updated Oct 3, 2011 at 6:48 PM CDT

NW Wisconsin, (Northlands Newscenter) - Today marks the first day of our week long Community Spotlight on Bayfield, Wisconsin.
A proposed open pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills south of Bayfield has many in Northwestern Wisconsin asking for more information

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Bayfield and surrounding areas could benefit from an increase in jobs, but those who oppose the mine say they're concerned for its impact on the environment.

"The waterways are our way of life; hunting, fishing and gathering."

Many members of the Bad River Tribe in Northwestern Wisconsin feel their way of life is threatened by the proposed iron ore mine. And while they and others opposed, understand the economic benefits to the region, they're concerned about long-term damage to the environment.

Tribal leaders recently met with Governor Scott Walker in Madison.

"We had a good initial meeting and I think part of it was we left the door open for having follow ups in terms of what other details they would want to make sure there are clean and effective mines if there was an additional mine in the future."

Bad River Tribal Chair Mike Wiggins said the meeting with the governor gave them the first opportunity to take their message to a larger audience.

"It was just a wonderful opportunity for the tribe in its scarce and limited resources to have a platform to try and assert a voice. A voice that essentially spoke for clean air and clean water."

But other voices are speaking for the economy. They say the region is depressed and unemployment is high. They say a mine could make a huge economic difference to the entire region.

"It could be an economic game changer, at least for a short period of time, in Iron and Ashland Counties. Huge benefits to the creation of jobs and to restaurants and supportive industries."

But the tribe wants to be sure that economic growth doesn't come at the expense of the environment. During their meeting with Governor Walker they presented ten principles they'd like to guide future development.

"We're going to spend more time, getting more details, and trying to figure out if there's a way to do that, not only for the Bad River, but for other tribal governments all throughout the state who have concerns."

The governor promised that a recently formed bipartisan committee will attempt to meet those principles. But that new Senate Mining Committee doesn't include tribal representation.

"The notion that a bipartisan committee is complete as a one side and a two side come together, I would assert that there's a third side and that is the tribes of Wisconsin."

We should point out its not just the tribes who have concerns about the impact of the proposed mine on the environment. Several other groups have formed as well including "Save the Waters Edge" which held a protest gathering this past weekend in the Penokee Hills.

The week old mining committee will need to meet to discuss current laws. The chair of the Committee, Senator Neal Kedzie, hasn't set up anything yet and is working to organize all seven members.

Jordan Weinand