Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Bush Foundation Announces Fifth Cohort of Native Nation Rebuilders

Twenty-Seven Citizens from 13 Tribes Join Program to Strengthen Skills, Serve Native People

(St. Paul, MN – February 11, 2014) – More than two dozen leaders from 13 of the 23 Native nations served by the Bush Foundation gathered last week in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to kick off their two-year journey through the Native Nation Rebuilders Program.

The Native Nation Rebuilders Program is designed for emerging and existing Native leaders who want to build their leadership skills and nation-building knowledge so they can be instrumental in working with elected leaders to help move their nations toward realizing their unique goals. The Bush Foundation launched the Rebuilders program in 2010 in support of the elected leaders of the 23 Native nations, who said supporting the development of Native leaders was crucial to the long-term success of their nations. Today, almost 90 Native leaders call themselves Rebuilders.

“Around the world, Native nations are seeking to rebuild culturally authentic governance structures. Rebuilders can be valuable assets to elected tribal leaders in pursuing a nation-building strategy,” said Bush Foundation Vice President Jaime A. Pinkham (Nez Perce), who leads the Foundation’s partnerships with tribal nations, including the Rebuilders program. “Rebuilders are passionate about their nation’s exercise of its sovereignty and can inspire all Native citizens to consider how nation-building can change what’s possible in Indian Country.”

Rebuilders gather five times per year in meetings led by several regional and national partners with expertise in nation-rebuilding, organizing and issues specific to Indian Country, including the Native Nations Institute and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. They also develop and implement nation-rebuilding action plans, and agree to actively share knowledge with peers and with their respective nations’ governments.

“I love my tribe, said Vanessa Little, a new Rebuilder and the first from the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, “and I want to help expand on all the great work we have done so far to make Bois Forte a wonderful and innovative place. I believe the Native Nation Rebuilders Program will [enable us all to] learn what has been done from existing Native leaders, and to hear exciting new ideas from emerging Native leaders. If we can create a good juxtaposition of these two, I think amazing things can happen for all of our nations.”

The Rebuilders’ names, tribal affiliations and bios are given below and at BushFoundation.org.

The Foundation will accept applications for a sixth cohort of Rebuilders between July 15 and August 28, 2014. Learn more at BushFoundation.org/RebuilderInfo.

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation encourages individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geographic area. Learn more at BushFoundation.org.

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Native Nation Rebuilders

Cohort 5 – February 2014

(A listing by Native nation follows)

Verzella Bauman

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

Verzella was raised on the Flandreau Santee Sioux Reservation and attended Flandreau Public School. She went on to achieve a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Colorado Technical University. Verzella currently works as the cultural outreach specialist for the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. She also serves on the planning committee for the Sioux Falls Diversity Council and enjoys working with tribal citizens in urban areas to help strengthen their connections to traditional ways. Verzella is married with four adult children and 10 grandchildren.

Adrienne Benjamin (Amikogaabawiikwe)

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Adrienne is the administrative coordinator for the Mille Lacs Band Boys & Girls Clubs. She is passionate about the Ojibwe culture and language, attends ceremonies and works in her free time toward becoming fluent in the language. Through her job, she has worked to include Ojibwe culture and language as a daily component in traditional Boys & Girls Club activities. She has attended Fond Du Lac Tribal College and will soon begin pursuing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Central Lakes College/St. Scholastica. Adrienne is also an alumnus of the Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program. She is a proud mother of two children.

Luke Black Elk

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Luke was raised by his mother, who homeschooled him and strongly believed that his family, tribal elders and community members would be his best teachers. He has lived on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation his entire life, becoming deeply involved in cultural and community activities. Luke is currently the labor foreman for the Tatanka Wakpala Model Sustainable Community, which is building homes and a communal center on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. He is also heavily involved in community garden projects.

Curtis Buckanaga

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Curtis’s father is Charles Buckanaga of the sturgeon clan from the village of Pine Point on the White Earth Reservation, and his mother is Carol White of the bullhead clan from the village of Sugar Point on the Leech Lake Reservation. Both of his parents were lifelong educators. Curtis is currently pursuing his degree in indigenous leadership from Leech Lake Tribal College. He is a resident of Bemidji, Minnesota, where he has been a community organizer for the past five years. He currently works in the office of the District Three Council Representative of the Leech Lake Band. Curtis is married and has seven children.

Florence Clairmont

Yankton Sioux Tribe

Flo currently serves as the economic development director for the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Her responsibilities include providing assistance to local small businesses, implementing the Tribe’s economic development plan and serving a liaison between the Yankton Sioux Tribe Business and Claims Committee and various economic development agencies. Flo is also a trained commercial carpenter, a passion that grew out of her desire to help her Tribe address its housing needs. Outside of work, Flo enjoys beadwork, creating jewelry, powwows and traveling.

Jennifer Cross

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Jennifer is an associate judge at the Spirit Lake Tribal Court, located in Fort Totten, North Dakota. Her professional career has largely focused on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Jennifer served as the urban lead case manager for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe-Twin Cities Office, and as a legal assistant and administrative manager for the Indian Child Welfare Law Center in Minneapolis. Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and her juris doctorate and Indian Law Certificate from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

Dani J. Daugherty

Oglala Sioux Tribe

Dani recently became the deputy regional director of the Great Plains Regional Office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She graduated from Oglala Lakota College with an undergraduate degree in business administration in 2000 and went on to receive a joint degree in public administration and law from the University of South Dakota in 2003. While in law school, Dani became the first Native editor-in-chief of a law school’s primary law review. Dani currently lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and has five daughters.

Guthrie Ducheneaux

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

A lifelong resident of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, Guthrie currently works as the information technology specialist for Cheyenne River Health Center. He is also the founder and owner of the Quantum Cattle Company and a partner in the Ducheneaux Ranch. Guthrie serves on the boards of the Cheyenne River Youth Project and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Ventures, and is the former president of the board of directors for the Oceti Sakowin Education Consortium.

Karen Ducheneaux

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Karen, a Hohwoju Lakota tribal member, was born on the Cheyenne River Reservation, where she resides with her four children. While still a child, Ducheneaux’s family joined the freedom fighters occupying the Black Hills at Yellow Thunder Camp, which has led her to a lifetime of activism in the struggle of the Lakota people. Being raised in a tipi without electricity or running water and living close to the Earth have given Karen an understanding that has led to a commitment to sustainable living through traditional wisdom in present-day circumstance. Karen helped create both the Tatanka Wakpala Model Sustainable Community, where she and her tiospaye (extended family) will construct homes; and a communal education center using the Cal-Earth Eco-Dome technique. A product and proponent of homeschooling, she and her tiospaye have chosen the same path with their children, allowing them to live and work with Lakota language and culture.

Gordon K. Fineday

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Gordon is a proud father and husband, committed to the traditional ways of Anishinaabe. He lives his life to make our ancestors and relatives proud. He is committed to the wellness of his nation by volunteering, helping community members, participating and helping in traditional gatherings and serving as chair of the Leech Lake Housing Authority Board. Gordon is currently employed as the executive assistant to the District Three Council Representative of the Leech Lake Band. In that role, he assists in all major projects related to self-governance; economic and community development; human services; and health, youth and elders needs. Gordon is an avid traditional dancer and singer on the powwow trail.

Leonard Fineday

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Leonard is the legal director of and general counsel to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and is also in his second term as president of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association. As legal director, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of legal representation of the Leech Lake Band and its businesses entities. Prior to his position as legal director, Leonard was an associate attorney at Best & Flanagan LLP in Minneapolis, practicing in the firm’s Native American law and business law sections. Before attending law school, he served the Leech Lake Band in various capacities including self-governance coordinator and executive director. He also served as human services director for the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Leonard received his bachelor's degree in political science from Bethel University in Saint Paul and his juris doctorate from Marquette University in Milwaukee. He is licensed to practice law in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as in several tribal courts.

Donita Fischer

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Donita currently works as the public relations director for the Intertribal Agriculture Council, a national nonprofit working to promote the conservation, development and use of agricultural resources for the betterment of Native people across the country. She attended Black Hills State University and received a bachelor of science in business administration. She has over 15 years of nonprofit experience, primarily working with two distinctive nonprofits serving the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Donita resides with her family east of Eagle Butte, where she practices small-scale sustainable efforts.

Marcella Gilbert

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Marcella comes from of the Oohenumpa and Ihanktowan Bands of the Lakota and Dakota Nation. She is currently working as a community development extension associate for South Dakota State University. Marcella assists Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe citizens in the areas of sustainable living and economic development. She has received her undergraduate degree in community health education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a master’s degree in nutrition from South Dakota State University.

Laurie Harper

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Laurie grew up on the Leech Lake Reservation, graduating from Cass Lake-Bena High School. After high school and after starting her family, she went on to graduate from Leech Lake Tribal College and Native American Educational Services College in Chicago. She currently works as the outreach coordinator for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, where she provides educational and training services to clients of the Band’s Department of Labor. Laurie is the proud mother of four sons, ages 23, 21, 17 and 7.

Pamela Johns

Red Lake Nation

Pamela currently serves as a member on the Red Lake Constitutional Reform Initiative Committee, which is conducting community outreach in an effort to revise the nation’s governing system. Pamela is committed to and involved in Ojibwemowin revitalization efforts taking place in Red Lake. She attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College where she studied photography and digital imaging. Pamela also attended Augsburg College and pursued American Indian studies and film production. She plans to begin graduate school in 2014.

Vanessa Little

Bois Forte Band of Chippewa

Vanessa is the senior executive coordinator for the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. She is responsible for planning and coordinating all government events hosted by the Tribal Council, including the annual State of the Band address. In addition, she serves as chair of the Head Start Parent Policy Council and the Nett Lake Parent Committee. Vanessa is a former coordinator and member of the powwow committee. She previously worked at Fortune Bay Resort Casino, the Saint Paul Foundation and the Northern Divisional Headquarters of the Salvation Army.

Jerry Loud

Red Lake Nation

Jerry Loud is the executive director of the Oshkiimaajitahdah program, which aims to increase employment and family income for the 1,200 Red Lake Nation citizens it serves. Jerry is also the athletic director and women’s basketball coach for the Red Lake Nation College. Jerry has worked for three different tribal administrations in economic development, education and community organization. He is a graduate of Bemidji State University.

Joseph Regguinti

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Joe is an elected representative of the Twin Cities Local Indian Council for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe where he acts as liaison between Leech Lake citizens living in the Twin Cities and the Tribal Council. Joe works as an employment counselor at the American Indian Family Center, a nonprofit organization based in Saint Paul that provides social services to the American Indian population in Ramsey County. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Augsburg College. He loves wild ricing, traveling, the outdoors and spending time with his son.

Prairie Rose Seminole

Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation

Prairie Rose is a descendent of the Sahnish/Arikara, Northern Cheyenne, Mandan, Lakota, and Dakota Nations. Seminole has a long-standing commitment to community service. Her parents, Lynette and Delbert Seminole, were prominent activists in several justice issues. Prairie Rose has over 15 years of community organizing experience. She is a former chair of the Fargo Human Relations Commission, which she served on from 2001 to 2010. In 2012, as a Native vote director in North Dakota, Prairie Rose worked across the state engaging Native voters toward breaking records at the polls and electing a United States senator. In 2013, her nation recognized her as Arikara Woman of the Year. Prairie Rose currently works as a cultural advisor with Sanford Health and is an environmental community organizer with Dakota Resource Council, a nonprofit that works to responsibly develop energy in North Dakota.

Mato Standing High

Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Mato is a licensed Colorado and South Dakota attorney and co-owner of Owl Nest Consulting. He has a strong background in the practice of Indian law and a passion to serve and assist underrepresented individuals. Currently, Mato is vice president of the South Dakota Indian Country Bar Association, as well as vice president of Native Educational Endeavors. Mato helped found a nonprofit, How 2 Unite, and continues to serve as treasurer of its board of directors. He was the attorney general for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe from 2007 to 2012. Mato has taught American Indian law, American Indian history and sociology at Black Hills State University in his hometown of Spearfish, South Dakota. Mato is a graduate of the University of Wyoming, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business marketing, as well as the University of Montana School of Law, where he earned a juris doctorate.

Justin Taylor

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

Justin is the health care administrator for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Clinic. Prior to this position, Justin worked in the health insurance industry serving as director of operations for Wellmark BCBS and then as account manager for DakotaCare. He received his bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. Justin is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

David Tiessen, Jr.

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

David was recently elected to his nation’s Tribal Council, representing the district of Sawyer. David has lived and worked on the Fond du Lac Reservation his entire life. One of his top priorities as an elected representative includes increasing the sense of community togetherness across the Fond du Lac Band. David and his wife have seven children.

Stephanie Traversie

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Stephanie is from Mitchell, South Dakota, and a 1989 graduate of Mitchell High School. Having earned a biology and psychology degree from Dakota Wesleyan University, she is currently completing her master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. While attending DWU, Stephanie was awarded a B.R.I.N. fellowship involving the study of molecular biological factors relating to the onset of Type II diabetes. She was also secretary and student senate representative of Oyate Ho Waste Indian club. Currently working in the field of mental health, Stephanie has certification as an Indian Child Welfare Act expert from the National Indian Child Welfare Association. She is a member of the Watertown child protection team and is seeking certification in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Stephanie resides in Watertown, South Dakota, with her sons, Jaylen and Aaron.

Philimon D. Two Eagle

Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Philimon currently works for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Child Care Services as supervisor for Lakota language, history and culture. His job title, wakicunza, derives from the traditional Lakota leadership position: the wakicunza served as a camp director, organizing the movement and set up of a camp within a Lakota village. Philimon served in the U.S. Army on active duty from 1982 to 1986, honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant. He has worked for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in various capacities, from police officer to a director of the resource development office, where his experience led him to write grants and proposals for economic development. He has worked with Harvard University to create two Native nation rebuilding reports on constitutional reform and economic development for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Courtney J. Two Lance

Oglala Sioux Tribe

Courtney has served as the Oglala Sioux Tribe credit and finance director for the past 10 years. She was instrumental in passage of the Tribe’s business codes, consumer protection laws, secured transactions laws and the memorandum of understanding between the tribe and the Secretary of State of South Dakota to establish a joint sovereign filing system. She continues to assist the Tribal Council in the development of laws and procedures for business development, home ownership and financial education.

Wendy Wells

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe

Wendy currently works as the general manager for the Lode Star Casino in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation. Previously, she worked at Hunkpati Investments, an organization that aims to provide financial opportunities to stimulate economic development on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation. Outside of her work responsibilities, Wendy has served on the board of directors for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter and is a founding member of the Community Coalition Against Drugs for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. Wendy received her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University. She is the proud mother of four children.

Roger D. White Owl (Ma-Ishu Bah!/Eagle Speaker)

Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation

Roger is proudly of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Turtle Mountain Chippewa decent. He is currently employed by his nation as executive assistant to the Office of Tribal Business Council Representative Barry L. Benson. Roger served in the United States Marine Corps and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in political philosophy.

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Cohort 5 Rebuilders Listed by Native Nation

Bois Forte Band of Chippewa

Vanessa Little

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Luke Black Elk

Guthrie Ducheneaux

Karen Ducheneaux

Donita Fischer

Marcella Gilbert

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe

Wendy Wells

Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe

Verzella Bauman

Justin Taylor

Fond du Lac Band of

Lake Superior Chippewa

David Tiessen, Jr.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Curtis Buckanaga

Jennifer Cross

Gordon K. Fineday

Leonard Fineday

Laurie Harper

Joseph Regguinti

Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation

Prairie Rose Seminole

Roger White Owl

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Adrienne Benjamin

Oglala Sioux Tribe

Dani J. Daugherty

Courtney J. Two Lance

Red Lake Nation

Pamela Johns

Jerry Loud

Rosebud Sioux Tribe

Mato Standing High

Philimon D. Two Eagle

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Stephanie Traversie

Yankton Sioux Tribe

Florence Clairmont

 

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