Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Shakopee Mdewakanton Announce $1 Million Tribal Grant

White Earth Nation to Receive Funds


Prior Lake, MN – Diabetes is a silent disease. By the time it is diagnosed, damage to arteries, eyes, nerves, and kidneys may have already been occurring for seven to ten years. Every minute at least one person is diagnosed with diabetes. While diabetes affects people of all ethnic groups, it is four to eight times more prevalent among Native Americans than in the general population. And a staggering 68% of Native American children will come down with Type 2 Diabetes, which is entirely preventable. In Indian Country, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions and is considered a health crisis.

To help combat this health crisis in Indian Country, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community today announced a $1 million grant to the White Earth Nation for construction of a diabetes wing to be added to their tribal health building. The SMSC funded the same project with a portion of a $1 million grant one year ago.

“Your tribal government’s generosity towards tribes and other organizations within the state is to be commended,” wrote White Earth Chairwoman Erma Vizenor.

The White Earth Nation of northern Minnesota will use the $1 million grant along with a U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant to complete a new diabetes wing containing a dialysis unit and exercise center at their tribal health offices building. Thirty percent of all Native Americans living on the White Earth Reservation have been diagnosed with diabetes.

The previous building, originally designed as a childcare facility, had become unsafe and energy inefficient. Costly major repairs and extensive renovations were not feasible in the building described as “vintage” in the grant request.

The White Earth Nation used part of their previous $1 million SMSC grant for the diabetes wing with another portion going to the Volunteer Fire Department to replace a 38-year-old fire truck which was obsolete yet still in use. The department has 15 volunteer fire fighters who provide services for an area covering 100 square miles. Funds were also used for construction of a 12,000 square foot metal fire and ambulance building in the community of Naytahwaush. The tribe broke ground for the new fire and ambulance building August 2, 2011, with construction expected to be completed in 2012. The new building will replace one that is more than 30 years old.

The White Earth Reservation is located in northwestern Minnesota and is one of six member reservations which comprise the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The boundaries of White Earth encompass Mahnomen County, portions of Becker and Clearwater Counties, and 35 townships over 1,300 square miles which serve as the homeland for more than 20,000 band members.

In 2008 and 2009 the SMSC provided $2 million to help the White Earth Nation purchase a youth treatment center in Bemidji, Minnesota. Oshki Manidoo Center, the White Earth Youth Treatment Facility (formerly the Archdeacon Gilfillan Youth Center), provides early intervention and chemical dependency treatment services for tribal members and Native American youth.


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