CASS LAKE-The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe held their Quarterly Meeting for 2024 on Friday, January 5th, at the Bena community center.
“We want to build a nation that is strong, and we want to get away from the thinking that we are a band. We are a nation. We are the Leech Lake Nation. We have to keep that in the forefront for how we plan to move together. We have to keep our ways of Traditional ways of life strong, and educate leaders while we expand our self determination,” said Tribal Chairman Faron Jackson Sr.
Jackson gave the events opening remarks and delivered the Chairman’s report. Highlights from the Chairman’s report included; an update on the secretarial land transfers which now includes “the Leech Lake restoration technical correction act” that includes additional land acres, developments on the IHS drive-thru pharmacy, the MCT constitution draft, and the announcement of awarded grant dollars to begin a Leech Lake Wild Rice finishing plant.
Secretary-Treasurer, Lenny Fineday, followed the Chairman by giving a report on the financial data from government operations. A meeting regarding gaming operations financials will be held February 8, 2024 at 5:00PM, Tribal ID will be required for entry. The Band is continuing to review best methods to privately distribute gaming financial information to Band Members, information will be shared once a decision has been reached. Contact your district representative if you have questions, comments or concerns about the change regarding gaming financials.
A number of enrollment resolutions were passed at the meeting. These resolutions included new enrollments, ineligible enrollments, and transfers to and from the band. New employees hired in the past quarter were also introduced and welcomed at the meeting.
For those who were unable to attend in person, a livestream of the event is available at https://vimeo.com/891103409. Full copies of the Chairman’s and Secretary Treasurer’s reports can be found in the February print of the DeBahJimon newspaper.
Quarterly Meetings are held every three months on a rotating schedule between each district on the reservation. The next Quarterly Meeting will be held in District III at the Onigum Community Center on April 5, 2024.
Quarterly Report Summaries
- Held 3 Local Indian Council (LIC) meetings.
- Office held CPR/First Aid and Narcan Training on November 8th.
- The Duluth office now has an Elder Advocate to assist elders twice a month.
Twin Cities Office
- A number of health and safety issues around the office building are being addressed.
- A 2 day hand drum class was offered in the last reporting period. Participants were able to bring drums home after class.
- A halloween treat event was held at the TC office, 148 bags of candy were given out as well as 800 Hats and mittens.
- On November 28th, The TC office held a vaccine event for Covid and flu shots. $100 gift cards were given to those who received a Covid booster.
- Leech Lake Enrollment came to TC office and provided 144 Tribal IDs to Band members.Band members who stopped in for an ID were also given hand sanitizers, wipes and hats/mittens.
- The TC office partnered with the volunteer lawyer network to hold two expungement clinics during the reporting period.
- The TC office hosted an Elders Christmas event, December 5th, 2023.
- The TC office offered 4 sewing classes within the reporting period and partnered with AIM healing medicine program to offer an applique class as well.
- The 2024 objectives for the Education Administration include implementing and hiring staff for the Leech Lake Leadership program and Gaa-Niigaaniziwad.
- The PFAS issue at Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig continues to be addressed but is facing delays due to uncompleted audits for FY 2021,2022.
- The post-secondary education program has awarded 181 student awards this previous reporting period.
- Community Gardens will be open again April-September 2024. New developments for the gardens include classes on how to harvest/preserve the food.
- “American Indian Food Sovereignty” state funding will develop hydroponic food growing operations. This will be connected to the current food distribution building which has been remodeled and expanded.
- LLBH has begun offering different levels of Reiki classes including master classes to all community members.
- LLBH now has salves, teas, sage, and asemaa available in the waiting room for community members.
- Bi-weekly meetings with Public Safety and other LLBO staff on addressing fentanyl overdoses. Identified community navigators and civil commitments as top priority areas.
- Pets for life clinic has purchased a mobile clinic that is in the process of being set up to be able to travel to communities and offer services. The pets for life veterinary center will break ground in spring 2024.
- Housing inspections conducted 337 unit inspections for substandard conditions in the LLHAA stock.
- The Modernization Department renovated 17 vacant homes and renovated 27 occupied units with health and safety updates during the reporting period.
- The broadband committee continues to meet weekly to address two areas of the grant project.
- Sugar Point Community Center is getting a kitchen renovation and cemetery expansion.
- A 3.6 million dollar grant was awarded to build a Bena shelter.