News Roundup, April 25-May 1


Chief's words make impact on EPA's manoomin decision

After the tribes pressed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the MPCA's failure to list impaired manoomin waters, the EPA sent letters last month partially disapproving the MPCA's list because it did not include wild rice waters. In a discussion with the EPA, Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin pointed out that discrimination against wild rice waters is really discrimination against Anishinaabe people, making it an environmental justice issue. “The EPA tribal liaison for Minnesota said Melanie’s statements really made an impression on EPA,“ said Perry Bunting, the Band's Director of Environmental Programs. “Tribal staff who were on the call said they wanted to cheer when Melanie made that point.“ Read more at

Proceedings stayed in lawsuit against Mille Lacs County

Judge Susan Richard Nelson entered an order on April 14 staying further proceedings in the law enforcement litigation pending resolution of an appeal by Mille Lacs County Attorney Joe Walsh and Sheriff Don Lorge. The effect of this order is that Judge Nelson will not make a ruling on the reservation boundary issue until after the appeal is decided, which is expected to take about a year.

Grocery store tour — Shopping for your heart

Jackie Braun is the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Coordinator. Via the Band's YouTube channel, she takes you on a tour of the Grand Market in District 1 to demonstrate how to shop healthy when shopping for your heart. Please enjoy the fun information and tips in this video. Then, leave a comment, like and share this video for a chance to enter the April $30 Grand Market gift card. Entries due by May 15. The winner of the $30 Grand Market gift card from the March grocery store tour was Rhonda Jones!

Foster Parents needed

There is an immediate need for foster families in order to ensure that our children remain immersed in their community, culture, and family. Chidren and their families depend on us to provide support while they are working toward family reunification. If you are interested in helping a child and family in need and want to learn more about the fostering process, call Family Services Department at 320-532-4163, ext. 1743. For more information about MLBO Family Services, visit

May Inaajimowin is online

The May 2021 issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin has started arriving in Band member mailboxes and is also online at Read about the DNR battling a wildfire, Band Assembly publishing Official Acts of 2020, the Band's role in protecting manoomin, the Chief Executive's busy month, a new transitional housing program in all districts, news briefs from around Indian Country, how COVID-19 rental assistance (CERA) is helping Band members, the Substance Use Disorder program, Ojibwe language and culture , a young Band member dreaming of a role in the movies — and more. You can also find links to Mille Lacs Band and Indian Country news at

Please take broadband survey

The Mille Lacs Tribal Economy (MLTE) had been selected to participate in the Community Broadband Resources (CBR): Accelerate Program. The ultimate vision is for all residents of the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy to be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable them to thrive in our communities and across the globe. It is very important to the program for you to participate in this survey from your home to make sure we have real-time data. The Survey can be found here:

Public Health Newsletter

The May 2021 Public Health newsletter is available online at Learn about mental health, grief and loss, the WIC program, and heart health — and try the recipe for three-ingredient chia seed pudding!

Steve's Law protects those who call 911

In case of an overdose, don't wait. Call 911 immediately. Steve's Law grants immunity for 911 callers in overdoses, even if you are using, too. You will not be prosecuted for making a good-faith effort. People experiencing opioid and heroin overdose may display some of the following symptoms: Passing in and out of consciousness, shallow breathing, unresponsiveness, blue coloring in the skin, lips and fingertips, and small pupils. Call 911 and or Tribal Police ASAP and inform the person(s) that someone is overdosing. Questions will be asked as to the location, possible drugs used, and any other information needed to save the person’s life. Don’t wait. Just pick up the phone and call.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provides a COVID-19 update for Band members. She also has a reminder for the May Elder Food Distribution to be held on May 13 and 14. The hours are 1 to 3 p.m. or while supplies last. See the flyer below for details.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 — Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provided a COVID-19 update for Band members and discussed information regarding the NAFOA convention going on this week via Zoom. She talked about the many tribal affiliates who have been appointed by President Biden to serve in all areas of the United States government and informed Band members of an immediate and ongoing need for foster families to help keep our children in the community while their families are working toward reunification. If you are interested in helping a child and family in need and want to learn more about the fostering process, call Family Services Department at 320-532-4163, ext. 1743. The Mille Lacs Tribal Economy (MLTE) had been selected to participate in the Community Broadband Resources (CBR): Accelerate Program. The Band is asking members to take this survey from home as the goal is to collect data for residential users at The survey can be found at For the video, see


Sign up now for summer sports programs

Ge-Niigaanizijig youth program has a host of fun sporting events planned for this summer, including golf league, 3-on-3 basketball, kickball, softball, basketball camp, football skills camp, and volleyball skills camp. Events kick off June 7 with a golf tournament at Grand National Golf Club in Hinckley and continue several times each week until August 23. The events will rotate among the districts giving youth a chance to meet and compete with friends from all reservation communities. Stay tuned to social media and the Ojibwe Inaajimowin newsletter for updates. For more information, contact Tim Taggart at 320-339-6199 or Download the waiver and registration at

Casinos offer summer youth employment program

Attention Mille Lacs Band Member Youth, ages 15, 16, and 17: Are you interested in summer employment with Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Grand Casino Hinckley? We are on a journey to develop a strong team of future Mille Lacs Band member leaders. During your summer employment with us, we will show our loyalty by offering training and development opportunities to help match you with future educational and career interests. For more information, please contact us to schedule a meeting. We will host informational sessions (in person or Zoom). Contacts: April Benjamin, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Grand Casino Hinckley, 320 384-4722. Lana Oswaldson, Band Member Recruiter, Grand Casino Mille Lacs/Hinckley, 320-532-8202. For more information, see

Reminder: Apply now for COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance

Aanjibimaadizing is grateful to be able to offer COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA). CERA is federal funding for current and past due rent and related utilities. Mortgage payments and home owner utility payments are NOT eligible for this funding. To qualify you must be a Minnesota resident; currently owe, or be behind, in rent or rental utility payments from 3/13/2020 or after; and have outstanding related expense(s) due to unemployment, illness, or another issue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications can be made online at For more information, see

Healthy Indigenous Masculinity webinar

If you missed the April 28 Webinar Series with a panel of menfolk that are doing that serious internal work for personal and community wellness, you can still watch it at Band member David Sam was one of the panelists.


For Band Assembly Weekly Updates and other Legislative news, see


Check out the new job postings at New jobs include Director of Land Management, Tribal Historic Preservation Office Assistant (2 Positions), Community Health Representative DIII, Certified Nursing Assistant, Circle of Health Claims Processor, Physical Fitness & Aquatics Coordinator, Chemical Dependency Counselor Aide, Food Shelf Lead Warehouse Technician, Enrollment Intake Specialist, DII Assistant Teacher, Tribal Child Support Enforcement Program- Financial Worker.

You can request information about jobs by emailing or calling 320-532-7460. To apply for a job, please submit an application, cover letter, and resume to the HR email by the closing date.

For openings at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Hinckley properties or Eddy’s Resort, visit: For openings with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, visit For openings at Grindstone Laundry or Crossroads Convenience Store, email or call 320-384-4722. Applications are also available at the main receptionist desk of the Corporate Commission building at 700 Grand Avenue, adjacent to the Grand Casino Mille Lacs Events and Convention Center.


Mark your calendar: Tree seedling giveaway is May 12 and 13

Join the Family Violence Prevention Program's book/support group

The FVPP Book/Support group will be starting a new book on May 12th: “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. There are 10 copies of the book available for interested community members to join the discussions by Zoom on Wednesdays at Noon and/or 7 p.m. Those who want a copy of the book can email their address to or call 320-360-2691.

Spring cleanup continues in District II

District I cleanup wrapped up on Thursday, April 29, and District III on Friday, April 30. District II members have their turn this week with cleanup taking place May 1 through Friday, May 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Roll-offs will be placed at the East Lake maintenance facility for District II and Chiminising Community Center for District IIa.

Circle of Health, MNSure Outreach coming to all districts, urban area

Chiminising Yard Sale May 7 and 8

Next Elder food distribution is May 12 and 13

The May Elder food distribution will take place while supplies last, on a first come, first served basis, at the following locations:
Wednesday, May 12, 1–3 p.m.
— Districts I and IIa: Grand Casino Mille Lacs, south side of Convention Center
— District II: Minisinaakwaang Community Center
— District III: Grand Northern Inn Hinckley parking lot
Thursday, May 13th from 1pm – 3pm
Urban Office – 1404 E Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis.

Ceremonial Dance Dates

Men's Empowerment Group

Men's Empowerment Group - M.E.G. — meets on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. at the old District 1 Community Center across from the Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

Women's Healing Group

The Women's Healing Group meets on Tuesdays at 5:30 the old District I Community Center across from Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

Recovery group meetings

Most recovery meetings are 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 Thursday Wellbriety meeting ID is 966 0395 9591, and the passcode is 944772. The nightly Zooming Towards Recovery code is 601-532-2869, and the password is zoom800. ”The Rez” NA meeting meets in person (with social distancing and masks required) on Fridays at 6 p.m. at the old Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic, 43500 Migizi Drive. Meetings for Urban Band members in recovery are held on Zoom Tuesdays at 7 p.m. (Sa Miikana) and Fridays at 6:30 (On the RedRoad). ID: 214 608 6245. Password: Redroad.


You can find stories from the current and previous newsletters at, where you will also find links to stories from around Indian Country.

Mille Lacs Band News

May 2021 Message from the Chief Executive
DNR crew douses wildfire
EPA supports tribes on manoomin protection
Band takes strong role in talks with feds
Last week's news roundup

Indian Country News

U.S. agency seeks to speed up Native American land decisions
CNN urged to fire Santorum over racist comments
Powwows across the U.S. adapt to pandemic for a second year
Electronic pulltabs have become too similar to slot machines, legislators say
The importance of trust in tribal gaming — Former casino official remembers Marge Anderson


The Government Affairs Department, which is in charge of communications with Band members, maintains a list of email addresses so we can send news summaries and breaking news updates to Band members. To sign up, go to

Reminder: Graduation photos needed!

Are you or is someone in your family a 2021 graduate of high school, college, or graduate school? If so, we want to share your accomplishment with other Band members! Send a photo to, along with name, school, degree, awards, activities, interests, and future plans. Graduates — Band members, descendants, and community members of other tribes — will be honored in the June issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin and at

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