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

Minnesota DHS grapples with charges of 'toxic environment' for employees of color, Native Americans


September 9, 2020

Glen Stubbe – Star Tribune file

Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead: "Obviously, we have work to do."

People of color and Native Americans working at the Minnesota Department of Human Services are sometimes the targets of racial slurs and harassment, denied promotions and raises and are isolated without support from senior management, several current and former employees say.

The climate not only creates personal turmoil and career disruptions for those affected, but employees say their ideas to improve outreach and programs to better meet the needs of the state's diverse communities are sometimes ignored.

"The atmosphere there is so blatantly racist," said Shirley Cain, a Native American who left the DHS in June after six years. "They need to do something big to make that place fair for people."


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