News Roundup, February 14-20


Grand Casinos welcome new leaders

Congratulations to twelve Band members who have started Director positions with Grand Casinos! Stay tuned for more information on our new business leaders.

Pat Sam, Associate Director of IT, Grand Casino Hinckley
Kate Davis, Director of Finance, Grand Casino Hinckley
Craig Beaulieu, Director of Gaming, Grand Casino Hinckley
Arielle Shaw, Director of Finance, Grand Casino Mille Lacs
Nate Sutton, Director of Special Projects, Grand Casino Hinckley
Chris Staples, Director Of Hospitality, Grand Casino Hinckley
Charlie Sam, Director of Hospitality, Grand Casino Hinckley
Ezra Sam, Director of Operations, Grand Casino Hinckley
Shannon Porter, Director of Special Projects, Grand Casino Mille Lacs
Kate Kalk, Director of Operations, Grand Casino Mille Lacs
Jereck Weyaus, Director of Gaming, Grand Casino Mille Lacs
Ginger Weyaus, Director of Hospitality, Grand Casino Mille Lacs

Sign up for vaccine information

If you want to be placed on the list to be vaccinated, please call 320-532-4163. Your name and contact information will be added to the list. The Band will soon be receiving regular weekly shipments of the vaccine and will begin to set up vaccination clinics in all of our districts. HHS is working on setting up a solid plan of what that will look like. As soon as a solid plan is in place, all Band members will be notified. It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often. The State of Minnesota also has a website where you can sign up to be notified when vaccines become available:

Grand Casino job fair is February 24

Are you looking to start your career at our gaming properties? Join Grand Casino as they host Happy Hour Job Fairs:
Grand Casino Mille Lacs: February 24, from 2 – 6 p.m.
Grand Casino Hinckley: February 25, from 2 – 6 p.m.
Enter through the main entrance, head to the Event Center, learn about the opportunities available – and apply for a job that suits your interests.

Aadizookewin with Niigaanibinesiikwe via Zoom

Neyaashiing Ojibwemowin Enokiijig invites you to the first storytelling series featuring Niigaanibinesiikwe/Hannah Orie on Wednesday, February 24. Preregistration is A Zoom link will be sent out 48 hours prior to event to the email submitted, and the event will also be live streamed through the Nay Ah Shing School's Facebook page. See below for information on another Aadizookewin event scheduled for March 3.

Tribal members contribute in Isle-Onamia rivalry

Band member Aiyanna Mitchell shared her photos from the February 5 basketball game between the Onamia Panthers and the Isle Huskies. The teams were evenly matched, and the game was destined to be a battle. Onamia started out with a 10-point lead before the Huskies came back and tied the score 18-18, eventually beating the Panthers 46-40. Isle Senior Derek Smith scored 10 points. Onamia Junior Cayden Eagle scored 10 points, Sophomore Seth Benjamin scored 6 points, and Junior AJ Drift scored 6 points. See more at


Band Assembly approved two bills at their February 10 meeting: Band Assembly Bill 19-03-24-21: A Bill of supplemental appropriation for Health & Human Services for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, and
Band Assembly Bill 19-03-25-21: A Bill amending Title 17 of the Mille Lacs Band Statutes (“MLBS”) for the purposes of establishing the Advisory Committee to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Foundation. A Joint Session of the Band Assembly occurred through conference call and Zoom. Briana Michels was approved as Department of Athletic Regulation Chairperson. For the complete update, see

Video update from District I Representative

District I Representative Virgil Wind shared a video update on Friday, February 19. Watch the video at


Tuesday, February 16, 2021 — Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin provided a COVID-19 update for Band members including a vaccination update, and she reminded Elders of food distributions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Reminder, if you want to be placed on the list to be vaccinated, please call 320-532-4163. Chief Executive Benjamin also discussed a phone call with Governor Walz last Friday to provide him with updates that are critical to the Mille Lacs Band. Secretary-Treasurer Sheldon Boyd and District I Representative Virgil Wind were also on the call.


State files amicus brief in Band's lawsuit against Mille Lacs County

The State of Minnesota petitioned the U.S. District Court on February 8 to file an amicus curiae (”friend of the court”) brief in the Band’s lawsuit against Mille Lacs County, the County Sheriff, and the County Attorney. An amicus curiae brief allows an individual or organization that is not a party to a particular litigation to advise the court on a matter of law that affects the case. The request from Attorney General Keith Ellison makes two points: (1.) That the Mille Lacs Reservation remains intact, as supported by McGirt v. Oklahoma, and (2.) that the State of Minnesota can accommodate a federal court decision recognizing the 1855 Reservation boundaries. The State’s brief also supports the Band’s request for a summary judgment on the boundary issue, which is only one part of the Band’s lawsuit against Mille Lacs County.

Chief Executive named to selection committee for federal law enforcement

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin has been chosen to participate in a selection committee formed by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to assist them in making recommendations to the President for candidates to serve as U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal for Minnesota. It is an important step toward giving tribal members a voice and a seat at the table to find candidates who will keep our communities safe while upholding the fundamental value of equal justice for all Minnesotans and Americans.

Tax help available for Band members

Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures is excited to share that our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program now has a self-assistance site, also known as FSA Remote. FSA Remote is a program that empowers taxpayers to prepare their own return and e-file for FREE! There are no income restrictions or scope restrictions that the standard AARP or VITA sites typically have. Email to request our unique URL link. We will reply to your email with a Word document that includes your link plus other important tax resource information and links for you. Upon receiving the link, you’ll need to set up a UserID and password. Once your UserID is complete, you will be directed to the Taxslayer website and have access to complete AND e-file your tax return FOR FREE. We do not and will not be able to see any of your personal tax information. It is YOUR account and YOUR return. Remember, you will receive a helpful Word document when we respond to you with the tax software link, which will also provide links to other valuable tax resources. If you still have in-scope tax questions after using the tools and provided resources, you can email our team at: We will respond within 2 business days.


Many new job openings have been posted this week with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government. See Among the new postings: Ge-Niigaanizijig DIII Youth Mentor DIII, Dental Assistant, Chief Medical Officer, GRA Compliance Director, Licensed Practical Nurse (PT), Chemical Dependency Counselor Aide, Chemical Health Counselor, District II Youth Mentor, District III Community Center Site Coordinator.

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.


The March issue of Ojibwe Inaajimowin will be sent out next week and uploaded to You can also find stories from the current and previous newsletters at, including:

Tribal leaders discuss enrollments
Legislative order establishes procedures for critical nominations
Free cement mason orientation and training


You can find links to stories from around Indian Country at Among this week's headlines:

After generations, Lower Sioux Community gets ancestral land back
Ed Rogers — Native American athlete and lawyer inducted into Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame
Daniel Jourdain set to be Bemidji's next city councilor at large
U of M pledges to slash graduation gaps, recruit more students of color
Minnesota falling behind in equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine


Ge-Niigaanizijig language classes with Memengwaakwe

Urban recovery groups on Zoom
Meetings for Urban Band members in recovery are held on Zoom Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 6:30.

SUD Department offers grief support
A Community Grief Support Group meets Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. via Zoom. Meeting ID: 950 0668 4301. Passcode: Support! Contact Allison at 320-630-9243 or

Recovery group meetings
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 starts at 6 p.m. at the old District I Community Center.

Free streaming of movies by Native women
Vision Maker Media is marking its 45th anniversary with a yearlong celebration of free commUNITY events, including thematic online film screenings, online virtual programs, and more. The Cherokee Nation Film Office is a sponsor of the 45th anniversary events. In recognition of Women's History Month in March, Vision Maker Media presents “commUNITY: Herald Native Women,” a showcase of six films offered for free 24/7 streaming all month at

Ceremonial Dance Dates

Storytelling with Maajiigwaneyaash
Join Maajiigwaneyaash Dr. Gordon Jourdain on March 3 from 6 to 7 p.m. for Niibaa-Aatisooke — Sacred Teachings in Night Time Story, sponsored by Nay Ah Shing Schools-Ojibwemowin Enokiijig. To register, go to The event will also be streamed live on the Nay Ah Shing Facebook page.

Bingo with the Band

Treaty Rights Day

Treaty Rights Day will be celebrated on March 19 this year. Government offices close at noon. Watch for more information in coming news roundups.


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