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

Bois Forte Band of Chippewa to Receive $1 Million SMSC Grant


Prior Lake, MN – A $1 million grant to the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa of northern Minnesota will fund a new medical and dental clinic on the Lake Vermilion portion of their reservation.

“We have had a positive working relationship with the Bois Forte Band and are pleased that we are in a position to help them,” said SMSC Chairman Stanley R. Crooks.

“Our health services currently operate out of an undersized and inefficient facility at Vermilion, and replacing this with a larger and more efficient clinic is the highest priority in our reservation strategic plan,” said Bois Forte Chairman Kevin Leecy. “With the new clinic we will be able to provide lab services on-site; hire another medical provider and increase health care services in the clinic from the current three days per week to five days per week. Diabetes education and the WIC clinic will now have room to meet with patients rather than require patients to travel to another location.”

Preliminary plans call for a new medical and dental clinic of approximately 9,500 square feet adjacent to the Vermilion Community Center and the existing clinic. Indian Health Services staff are involved in the Planning Committee for the new clinic.

The new clinic will substantially increase the size and availability of services by increasing from the current one examining room and one treatment room to four standard rooms and four special treatment rooms. It will also have a “telemedicine station” where patients and providers can talk face -to-face with medical providers at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Enhanced laboratory services will allow for same day tests where previously they were sent out with results taking several days. Additional spaces will include facilities for an onsite pharmacy, physical therapy, dental services, administrative offices, and a garage to house medical vehicles. Future plans include an x-ray room.

The existing clinic space of 1,200 square feet attached to the Community Center will be converted to offices for the tribal Human Services Department. The estimated cost of the project is $4 million, including construction, furniture, fixtures, and equipment. IHS funding will pay for about half of the project.

The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa live on two tribal parcels of land: Nett Lake, home of the tribal government and where the majority of tribal members live, and the Vermilion Sector, also home to tribal members and Fortune Bay Resort Casino, the Band’s largest economic enterprise.

Previous SMSC grants to Bois Forte have funded a quick lube center and car wash and associated infrastructure improvements at the tribe’s Y-Store near the Vermilion Lake Reservation; the Lake Vermilion Community Wellness Center, a 13,668 square foot facility which contains space for a gymnasium, locker rooms, weight training and exercise area, youth operated canteen, and staff offices; and land purchases. In November 2005 the SMSC approved a $2,000,000 loan to the Bois Forte Band for acquisition of the Ledge Convenience Store, now renamed the Y-Store, near the Vermilion Lake Reservation.


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