Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The new Red Lake Nation Capitol complex is an "extraordinary achievement that reflects the wisdom, determination and commitment" of the Red Lake people themselves, according to U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson, one of more than 200 dignitaries and guests attending the grand opening of the complex on Monday.

Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki, Sr., said Peterson was instrumental in helping the tribe secure the USDA Rural Development loan that funded much of the complex, which includes two spectacular eagle-shaped buildings, a new pow-wow arena, and an impressive veterans memorial. Last year, Peterson fought and won a battle to preserve funding for rural development loans in the 2014 Farm Bill. despite Republican efforts to eliminate that program. "Congressman Peterson is always there for us," Seki said.

Governor Mark Dayton also was on hand to dedicate the veterans memorial, which he described as a "fitting tribute" to the warrior spirit. "We see that same spirit in this effort, which puts such a strong emphasis on education, community values and unity," Dayton said. He commended Red Lake for demonstrating its commitment to education with the new tribal college facility.

Red Lake Nation Tribal College President Dan King paid tribute to the Tribal Council, hereditary chiefs and community members who gave their unqualified support to the project at every stage. He also recognized the architects and builders responsible for the unique design of the buildings. The design team was guided by input from the Red Lake community, he noted.

"Red Lake tribal members said they didn't want to just build a couple of big boxes on this beautiful spot," King said. "They wanted the design to reflect the culture and traditions of the Red Lake Nation. They wanted it to be unique, and that's exactly what we have now in these two beautiful buildings."

The highlight of the event was the sudden appearance of a large eagle, which soared over the dedication ceremony while an honor song was played. The appearance of an eagle is considered a blessing in Native culture.

Grand opening festivities continue through Thursday with tours of the new facilities and educational presentations at the new college.

A complete photo scrapbook of the event is available here.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Officials of the Red Lake Nation are putting the final touches on plans for the grand opening of the tribe's new capitol complex set for Monday, August 17. The 9 am ceremony at the new facility launches a week of celebration as the tribe dedicates the impressive complex, which includes the new government center, Red Lake Nation College, veterans memorial and new pow-wow grounds.

The unique architecture of the complex has earned it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, according to Red Lake media spokesman Michael Meuers.  The twin buildings housing the government center and college are built in the shape of a 48-foot high eagle with outspread wings.

Other highlights of the Monday event include a 10:30 am blessing and drum song at the Veterans Memorial, followed by remarks from Governor Mark Dayton; a noon press conference in the tribal council chambers; a 1:00 pm "mini pow-wow" at the new pow-wow grounds; and afternoon tours of the entire complex.

The observance continues through Thursday with tours of the college and educational presentations on a wide range of subjects from history and culture to mental health and suicide prevention. More information is available on the Facebook page of the Red Lake Nation Tribal Headquarters.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


A U.S. District Court judge has ruled in favor of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in its ongoing dispute with the City of Duluth over revenue sharing from the tribe's downtown casino.

 In the most recent court decision, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled that the band does not have to pay more than $10 million in back payments and interest to the City of Duluth. The judge wrote in her decision, "Directing millions of dollars away from the band is directly contrary to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's goals of promoting tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency and strong tribal government."

The dispute goes back to 1986, when the tribe acquired a square block of land in downtown Duluth. The acquisition was part of a deal under which the tribe would use the property to open a casino and share profits with the city.

In 1988, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which required that tribes be the sole beneficiary of their gaming operations, putting the agreement between Fond du Lac and the City of Duluth on the wrong side of federal law. The band stopped making payments to the city in 2009, and in 2011, the National Indian Gaming Commission, the regulatory authority over Indian gaming, ruled that the agreement was unlawful.

Fond du Lac Chairwoman Karen Diver said she hopes the decision puts an end to the long-standing dispute. According to an August 1 article in the Star-Tribune, Diver said, "The Band continues to hope that the whole matter can be put to rest."

Chairwoman Karen Diver