Archive for the ‘Turtle Mountain Chippewa’ Category

Here’s the entire story from the Associated Press:

U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. (AP/Susan Walsh)

U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. (AP/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – The chairman of the Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee says the group has launched an investigation into Indian Health Service facilities in four states, sparked by a revolving door executives at a North Dakota hospital.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Wednesday that the committee is looking into alleged “mismanagement, malfeasance, retaliation against whistleblowers as well as potential criminal behavior” in the Aberdeen Area of the IHS, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.

“I believe this type of mismanagement in the region over a long period of time has negatively affected health care provided to the Native Americans,” Dorgan said in a release. “These problems must be remedied.”

Officials with the Aberdeen Area IHS did not return phone and e-mail messages left Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The investigation centers on the Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Hospital in Belcourt, on North Dakota’s Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where there have been five different CEOs in about two years.

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Elouise Cobell and attorney David Smith explain details of the $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement at a public meeting held on the Salish Kootenai College campus in Pablo on Monday afternoon. Approval of the settlement funding by Congress has been delayed to April 16. “You need to weigh in now,” says lead plaintiff Cobell. “We need help in Congress.” (LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian

Elouise Cobell and attorney David Smith explain details of the $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement at a public meeting held on the Salish and Kootenai College campus in Pablo on Monday afternoon. Approval of the settlement funding by Congress has been delayed to April 16. “You need to weigh in now,” says lead plaintiff Cobell. “We need help in Congress.” (LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian


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There have been plenty of questions about the historic settlement in the Cobell v. Salazar case.

That long-running lawsuit, filed by Elouise Cobell, who is Blackfeet from Montana, resulted last winter in a $3.4 billion settlement for Indian people who collectively lost billions because the federal government mismanaged royalties from the use of their lands.

But Congress has yet to sign off on distribution of the money and in the meantime, questions have arisen about the settlement. Cobell and her attorneys have been traveling Indian Country to answer some of those questions. Yesterday, she was on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin covered the story, here:

    This is a political settlement,” Cobell said. “The federal government always said they didn’t owe us any money. This would not have happened without a president who wanted it done.”

    The settlement, she said, is President Barack Obama making good on a campaign pledge.

    The settlement does not involve lawsuits by tribal governments over similar issues, only individual tribal members, who would receive $1,000 for the century of alleged historical mismanagement of their accounts, and a minimum of another $500 that addresses mismanagement of assets and resources on their land.

As Devlin reports, an estimated $15 million is scheduled to go to Cobell and the lead plaintiffs to pay costs incurred during the 14 years of litigation. That has been pointedly criticized by Richard Monette, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin and former chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Yesterday, Cobell termed Monette “a clown” and said “he’s doing a disservice to Indians.” But at least one man seemed to disagree with Monette, calling the settlement “junk change.”

Gwen Florio

Fond du Lac

The DSGW Architects firm in Duluth, Minn., already does a lot of business with Indian clients. Now it’s looking to do even more with the launch of its First American Design Studio, a special division within the company focused on meeting the needs of American Indian clients, according to this story in the Pine (Minn.) Journal.

In fact, DSGW partner Randy Wagner credits the firm’s two-decade tradition of working with Native clients with softening the blow of the recent recession.

“We’ve maintained much of our tribal activity, and that’s certainly helped us weather these tough economic times,” he says.

He says the fact that the firm has hired Mike Laverdure, of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, will help it develop even stronger ties with American Indian clients. The story reports that Laverdure has worked in the industry for a decade and is in the final stages of being certified as an architect. Laverdure, who says there are only about 50 American Indian architects in the country, believes he will become the first member of his tribe ever to achieve that distinction.

Meanwhile, Sonny Peacock, a director for the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, says DSGW’s work there shows that the firm is responsive to tribal members’ vision.

“What we wanted to do was to let people know this was a tribal college when they walked in the door. You can see that in our building’s design, the color scheme, the four directions, the circle theme and the artwork we’ve chosen,” he said. “It all celebrates the tribal community.”

You can check out DSGW’s work on its Web site, here.

Gwen Florio

It seems as though we write about this two or three times a week. Given the progress (broad sarcasm) toward reform, we’ll probably be doing that for the foreseeable future. Anyway, we’ll start the week with yet another story about a problem that’s routinely overlooked in the debate on health care reform, and that’s the need for sweeping change in the Indian Health Service, traditionally funded at only about 50 percent of what it needs. (Who started that tradition, anyhow?)

“We have many health disparities in our communities much higher than the national average statistics,” Delvin Cree tells the Minot (N.D.) Daily news, here.

Cree, a member of the Turtle Mountain Treaty Council, goes on to say that “Indian people live a much shorter life span than most people in America. It is important for our tribal communities to be part of health reform for the benefit of possibly receiving more monies for Indian health care.”

It is important. But apparently not to the right people.

Meanwhile, here’s a link to North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan’s concept paper on health care reform.

Gwen Florio


Leonard Peltier (AP photo)

Leonard Peltier (AP photo)


Sometime this week, a federal parole board is to decide whether Leonard Peltier – serving two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents during a 1975 standoff on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. – should be released.

Late last month, Peltier – who maintains he was framed – had his first full parole hearing in 15 years at the federal prison in Pennsylvania where he’s being held. The hearing spurred demonstrations on behalf of Peltier outside the prison, as well as several cities in the United States and other countries.

His attorney, Eric Seitz, says a representative of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa told the federal parole board that the tribe has arranged for a home and job for Peltier should he be paroled, as well as a position on the Council of Elders.

At the time of the hearing, Seitz said he expected a decision within three weeks, which would be tomorrow. But this Indian Country Today story says Friday. Either way, as that same story notes, the clock is ticking.

Gwen Florio

Leonard Peltier (Associated Press)

Leonard Peltier (Associated Press)


The attorney for imprisoned American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier says his client should know within three weeks whether he’ll be paroled after more than 30 years in prison.

Peltier is serving two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents during a 1975 standoff on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Peltier, who says the FBI framed him, had his first full parole hearing in 15 years today.

His attorney, Eric Seitz, says a representative of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa told the federal parole board that the tribe has arranged for a home and job for Peltier should he be paroled, as well as a position on the Council of Elders.

But North Dakota U.S Attorney Drew Wrigley termed Peltier “an unrepentant, violent, armed criminal.” Read more here.

Gwen Florio