March 2018 Local News Briefs


Study affirms Minnesota DNR walleye findings: A new study has confirmed what the Mille Lacs Band DNR, Minnesota DNR, and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission have been saying about the Mille Lacs walleye population: It is at a historically low level and needs the protection of strict harvest limits. Chris Vandergoot of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center reported the results of his study to the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Council on Monday, February 5. Not surprisingly, members of the Mille Lacs angling and resort communities remained unconvinced by the scientific analysis. Source:

County counterclaim argues that uncertainty causes harm: Mille Lacs County has filed a counterclaim in response to the Mille Lacs Band's lawsuit accusing the County of harming the community by rescinding its law enforcement agreement with the Band. The County's counterclaim asks for a declaratory judgment that the Reservation was disestablished and a declaratory judgment stopping the Band from contesting the status of the Reservation. It also seeks to prohibit the exercise of federal and inherent tribal criminal law enforcement outside of trust lands. It seems that the County is the only entity uncertain of the existence of the 1855 Reservation. The U.S. Government has repeatedly stated that the Reservation still exists. Source: Mille Lacs Messenger.

Brainerd school district aims to improve education for Native youth: The Brainerd School District is embarking on an initiative to better meet the needs of American Indian students in area schools. Charles Black Lance, chair of the American Indian Parent Advisory Committee, said the district has met the committee's expectations and performed well but should "tap the gas pedal a little" by increasing its investment and participation in the program. The committee's goals include improving school readiness, bringing third-grade reading scores up to grade level, improving college and career readiness, closing the achievement gap, and achieving a 100 percent graduation rate for Native students. Source:

Onamia Indian Ed program showcased at state conference: Onamia school district’s American Indian Education program was featured at the Minnesota School Boards Association annual leadership conference Thursday, Jan. 11, at the Minneapolis Convention Center during the conference show and tell event, which highlights some of the state’s most unique and outstanding programs in education. One of the goals of the Onamia Indian Education Department is to increase knowledge and appreciation of American Indian history, language, and culture for all Onamia students and staff by integrating American Indian Culture throughout the entire learning community to ensure student engagement and prepare students to become contributing members of diverse communities. JJ Vold, Onamia School District Superintendent, said, “Our programs do really great, culturally relevant work, and it was wonderful for Chris Nayquonabe (Indian Education Director) and our kids to get the opportunity to go down to MSBA and showcase their work this year. The kids and Chris did a great job at the conference.” MSBA’s annual leadership conference draws nearly 2,000 school board members, school administrators and others. Source: Mille Lacs Messenger.