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INDEX News Around Indian Country 2 Commentary/Editorials/Voices 4 Smoke Signals of Upcoming Events 5 Classifieds 6-7 When it comes to hate speech Russell Means excels pgs Tsianina Lomawaima to speak at U of MN pgs Tribes call new federal land trust regulations "mixed bag" pgi Commentary Red Lake bottled water boondoggle pg4 Yet another reservation boondoggle? pgi Yet another reservation boondoggle? A history ofthe Red Lake Water Bottling Plant Voice of the People By Bill Lawrence and Clara NiiSka "at least thirty jobs" Red Lake Reservation—In early March, arctic winds still blow across the ice ofthe Red Lakes, piling snowdrifts against the south shore. And, in the town of Redby, drifting snow gusts across the empty parking lot ofthe bottled water plant. The $2.1 million federally funded Water Bottling Plant opened less than a year ago, and was to provide at least thirty jobs to the economically hard- pressed Red Lake reservation. In early March 2001, the plant sits idle. Plans for extensive marketing of Redby water, packaged as "Nibi," have resulted in plastic bottles of water sold at the tribal ly-owrted trading post. The product is not on the shelves of even the other retail stores on the reservation. There are allegations that money is still owed to people involved in the initial planning and management phases ofthe bottled water project. July 1998: $368,000 EDA Grant Two and a half years ago, in July Native American Press web page: www.press-on.net * <t<e>e< Ojibwe News B We Support Equal Opportunity For All People A weekly publication. Copyright, Native American Press, 2001 Red Lake Tribal business planner Quentin Fairbanks (left) and Red Lake Tribal Chairman Bobby Whitefeather stand behind a sing proclaiming the new bottled water plant being constructed in Red Lake. Founded in 1988 Volume 13 Issue 15 March 2, 2001 1998, Congressman Colin Peterson announced that the Economic Development Administration had awarded $368,000 to the Red Lake Band for bottling water. According to public relations releases in the early fall of 1998, the Redby plant was scheduled for completion by February 1999. Project coordinator Quentin Fairbanks announced that RED LAKE to pg. 6. Tribes call new federal land trust regulations 'mixed bag' Change could affect Minnesota By Frederick J. Frommer Associated Press WASHINGTON -American Indian tribal leaders are recommending endorsement of new federal rules on the placement oflndian land into tax-exempt federal trust, despite serious objections to some ofthe provisions. Tribes are happy that the new regulations, passed in the final days ofthe Clinton administration, establish clear- cut standards and timelines for the process. But they are upset that the regulations would make it harder for them to put land off their reservations into trust. The Bush administration is reviewing the new regulations, along with countless others that were passed at the end ofthe Clinton administration. The land trust regulations will take effect March 17 unless the Department of Interior decides to modify or scrap them. Federal trust status removes the land from tax rolls and exempts it from zoning controls and other regulations. It is designed to help tribes recoup some of the land they lost in the late 19th century and early 20th century, when the government's allotment policy cost tribes two-thirds of their land. About 8 percent has been reacquired. Tribes made wealthy by gambling interests have stepped up their purchases of land on and off their reservations in recent years, leading to conflicts with local communities. Sometimes, those conflicts arise when tribes seek to place casinos on the land; in other situations, local communities resist tax-exempt commercial development that they say would sap their tax base. In Minnesota, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community faced local opposition in 1998 when it tried to place 593 acres of land in Scott County into trust for commercial and residential development. The BIA denied the application, but the tribe has a new application pending, this one for 776 acres to be used exclusively for housing. The county, state and cities of Shakopee and Prior Lake all oppose it. The new land trust rules were first proposed nearly two years ago. The final version was announced on Jan. 16, four days before President Bush's inauguration. "It's kind ofa mixed bag," said Tex Hall, chairman of Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota. But Hall, who chaired a National Congress of American Indians task force that pushed for improvements to the new rules, urged Indians to support them at the NCAI's annual meeting this week. REGULATIONS to pg. 5 Sixth annual Red Lake Days Norton promises American Indians better schools By John Heilprin Associated Press WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton emphasized education in outlining her Indian affairs agenda Feb. 21, promising to replace some schools immediately - including lone in Wash- Interior Secretary ington state - Gale Norton and to attend to a backlog of repairs in others. The $129.2 million earmarked for replacing the schools had already been included in the Clinton administration's $9.4 billion Interior Department budget, approved by Congress. The Lummi Tribal School near Bellingham, Wash., is among those to be replaced. In her first address to American Indian tribal governments, Norton promised to consult tribal governments in federal decision-making but asked for patience as she learns more about Native American-related issues. "I take very seriously my responsibilities as the trustee for Indian lands and assets," Norton told the National Congress of American Indians' executive council winter session. She also underscored her experience dealing with Indian issues as Colorado attorney general while outlining an agenda that gives top billing to Indian education and school facilities. "I see that as one of my top priorities. There is no more important priority than our children who are our future," Norton said. "We must give every Indian child the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for the 21st century. This will be their key to a brighter future." Norton said the Bush administration would work with Congress to relieve the repair backlog and to "immediately provide the funds to replace six schools" based on an existing funding priority list. During his campaign, Bush promised to replace the six schools and to work with Congress to find $802 million for repairs at other schools. NORTON to pg. 6 Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe to get $6.7 million for new school Associated Press ABERDEEN, S.D. - The Sisseton- Wahpeton Tribe in northeastern South Dakota is getting a $6.7 million federal grant to build a new school for kindergartners through 12th-graders, it was announced Thursday. The money comes after a 10-year effort to secure funding for the school, which will be 10 miles south of Sisseton. Construction is to begin this spring and be finished in May 2002. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Facilities Management and Construction in Albuquerque, N JM, made the announcement ofthe funding. The 40,000-square-foot building will replace the existing TiospaZina School, whose enrollment is 400. The new school will accommodate a projected enrollment of 532 and will bear the same name. The tribal school opened in 1982 with 12 students. Part of it was remodeled last year, but Superintendent Roger Bordeaux said the grant is welcome news. The school does not have adequate space and is not energy-efficient, he said. "We've been fighting to get something done for so long now. It's a dream come true," he said. Ponemah Councilman Rudy Johnson and Red Lake chairman Bobby Whitefeather head the food line atthe Legislative Reception following the sixth annual Red Lake Days atthe Capitol in St. Paul on February 28. The reception was held at the Radisson Hotel in downtown St. Paul. Approximately 230 , Jpeople attended the dinner, speeches and awards, including about sixty people the tribal council brought from Red Lake. The featured speaker, Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Mae Schunk, stressed the importance of education and identity. The legislative reception also included a "Red Lake 'Project Preserve' Film Festival" showing Indian Humor, Mother Earth, and Turnover. Photos by Clara NiiSka Rosebud hog farm in court By Carson Walker Associated Press VERMILLION, S.D. - Attorneys argued Feb. 26 over a huge hog farm being developed by a North Dakota company near the Rosebud Indian Reservation. A three-judge panel ofthe 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments at the University of South Dakota School of Law over the project developed by Sun Prairie, a partnership primarily owned by Bell Farms of Wahpeton. N.D. Sun Prairie built 24 hog barns in 1999 on tribal trust land along South Dakota Highway 44. Terry Pechota, a Rapid City lawyer representing the Rosebud tribe, said more infonnation is needed to know whether the project is safe for the environment. "Instead of slowing down and doing a full environmental impact statement, Bell Farms speeded up," he said. "The tribe wants to know the total amount of hog manure that will be out there." Earlier, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe agreed to lease tribal trust land to Sun Prairie in exchange for part of the profits. The tribe now opposes the hog farm. "This is a cutting-edge project. This is not an attempt to dump waste on the Rosebud reservation," argued Greg Fontaine, Sun Prairie's Minneapolis lawyer. "There's no environmental harm. That's what everybody's found," he said. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs initially approved the project after concluding an environmental assessment - not a full-blown environmental impact statement - was enough to show it was safe. But the BIA reversed its decision several months later and withdrew the lease, saying more study was needed. By that time, Sun Prairie had started construction. The tribe and Sun Prairie took the case to court. Last February, U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann in Aberdeen ruled for the developers, saying opponents could not interfere. Kornmann's ruling set up the appeal. Todd Kim of Washington, D.C, a government lawyer representing the BIA, was the first of three lawyers to argue against Kornmann's ruling Feb. 26. The BIA could change its mind on the lease after deciding a more in- depth environmental impact statement was needed if the project was to comply with environmental law, he said. "Agencies shouldn't be faulted for trying to fix their mistakes. They should be commended," Kim told the judges. James Dougherty of Washington, D.C, represented four groups op- • posed to the project: South Dakota Peace and Justice Center; Prairie Hills Audubon Society; Humane Farming Association, an animal rights group; and Concerned Rosebud Area Citizens. Dbugherty argued that the lawsuit brought by Sun Prairie should be dismissed because the company has no jurisdiction. Private contractors cannot sue when they disapprove of a governmental decision, Dougherty said. Fontaine argued the BIA gave no good reason for reversing its decision. ROSEBUD to pg. 6 Hunt delivers Leech Lake's annual State ofthe Band Address Eli Hunt By Devlyn Brooks Bemidji Pioneer CASS LAKE, Minn.—In his second annual State ofthe Band Address Feb. 20, Leech Lake Tribal Chairman Eli Hunt urged his fellow band members not to fear change, a necessary ingredient to helping Leech Lake become self-sufficient. H "Let us not. ..stagnate or be satisfied with the status quo," said Hunt, who spoke for about 35 minutes at the band's Palace Hotel and Casino west of Cass Lake. "Our ultimate goal is to be self-sufficient and independent... .Then, we must not fail but rather be able to achieve these goals or make significant progress. If there is no progress, we all lose." Similar to Leech Lake's first-ever State ofthe Band Address last year, Hunt detailed several major band accomplishments in 2000, but also charged each ofthe band's 30-plus division heads to accomplish more and tackle new issues. More than 250 people attended the event, which was followed by a community feast. The speech was preceded by a traditional pipe ceremony, flag ceremony and flag song. "I bring with me our hopes and dreams that together we can achieve a greater and more prosperous home for our people," Hunt said in his opening remarks. "1 ask for your help and cooperation as we strive to ensure that tribal government will make good and wise choices for your benefit." Hunt highlighted accomplishments in more than a dozen tribal divisions - including gaming, housing, health and the legal department - adding that there was too little time to mention all ofthe progress the band's various divisions made last year. But among the important accomplishments, he said, was the formation of an internal audit department. To enhance fiscal responsibility, the Leech Lake Tribal Council hired an internal auditor who was charged with strengthening the internal control environment throughout each tribal pro gram, he said. "(The department's) purpose is to ensure fiscal integrity, compliance with federal, state and band laws in approved procedural operations," Hunt said. "It will provide for review and analysis of financial statements, detailed audits ofall program accounts to ensure that funds are properly accounted, ensuring that accounting systems and procedures are being followed." Also at the top of Hunt's list of accomplishments, were the financial commitments the Tribal Council made to education. The council upped the annual funding it provides to Leech Lake students attending higher education facilities and the number of band members entering post-secondary education institutions is growing about 30 percent annually, he said. Hunt said the tribal council also established an independent board of trustees for Leech Lake Tribal College, which is an accredited vocational school. The new board now oversees all functions ofthe school, a responsibility previously held by the Tribal Council. In addition, the band's Head Start and childcare programs merged last year and are now housed in a newly constructed building. Finally, he said the Tribal council appointed a new independent school board to oversee the operation ofthe band's K-12 Bug-O- Nay-Ge-Shig School. "Our education programs are a top priority," he said. Hunt also touched upon the band's gaming revenues, which has increased exponentially in four years. He said the gaming operation's gross revenue has grown 41.81 percent from 1997 to December 2000. Net revenues are up 83.64 percent during this same period and more ofthe gaming money is now being spent on Leech Lake tribal programs. Payroll has increased 35.29 percent. The chairman also touted the band's new White Oaks Casino in Deer River, which was constructed in 2000, and the soon-to-be finished expansion ofthe Northern Lights Casino in Walker. "In reviewing the last three years of our gaming operations, it has shown tremendous growth with record progress and accomplishment,' he said. "A new management philosophy emphasizing pride, self-reliance and HUNT to pg. 5 Governor Scott McCallum McCallum won't meet with Oneida until annual payment received Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wisconsin -Gov. Scott McCallum will not meet with leaders from Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin until the state receives a $4.85 million annual payment as required by its gaming compact with the state. In late December, tribal leaders announced that they had placed the funds in an escrow account. The leaders said they asked for a meeting with the governor to ^^^^^^^^^^^ discuss what they claim is the state's failure to spend past gaming revenue sharing checks according to the compact. "Right now there is an agreement that is not being abided by," McCallum told the Green Bay News Chronicle Feb. 21. "Without agreement, that compact ends." In January, fonner Gov. Tommy Thompson issued a notice that the compact will not be renewed when it expires in May 2003. McCallum reiterated Feb. 21 that he did not support expanding gambling in Wisconsin and said the notice of nonrenewal will not be lifted without the payments. Administration Secretary George Lightbourn, who also visited the newspaper, said the payment language is "very plain" and is included in the gaming compacts with each ofthe state's 11 tribes. "It is not a remedy ofthe tribes to be able to withhold a payment," he said. The state has filed a dispute resolution document as provided in the compact, Lightbourn said. In withholding payment, the tribe said Thompson failed to fulfill a pledge to use his best efforts to expend the gaming compact payments to promote tribal economic development, regional economic development near the tribe, and state tourism, and to subsidize programs and services of local governments surrounding the tribe. Thompson resigned Feb. 1 to become President Bush's health and human services secretary. .
News Around Indian Country 2
Smoke Signals of Upcoming Events 5
When it comes
to hate speech
speak at U of MN
Tribes call new federal
land trust regulations
Red Lake bottled
Yet another reservation boondoggle?
A history ofthe Red Lake Water Bottling Plant
Voice of the People
By Bill Lawrence and Clara
"at least thirty jobs"
Red Lake Reservation—In early
March, arctic winds still blow across
the ice ofthe Red Lakes, piling
snowdrifts against the south shore.
And, in the town of Redby, drifting
snow gusts across the empty parking
lot ofthe bottled water plant. The
$2.1 million federally funded Water
Bottling Plant opened less than a
year ago, and was to provide at least
thirty jobs to the economically hard-
pressed Red Lake reservation.
In early March 2001, the plant sits
idle. Plans for extensive marketing
of Redby water, packaged as "Nibi,"
have resulted in plastic bottles of
water sold at the tribal ly-owrted trading post. The product is not on the
shelves of even the other retail stores
on the reservation. There are allegations that money is still owed to
people involved in the initial planning and management phases ofthe
bottled water project.
July 1998: $368,000 EDA Grant
Two and a half years ago, in July
web page: www.press-on.net