Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Red Lake Nation State of the Band 2024 - P20

Red Lake Tribal Chairman Darrell G. Seki Sr. State of the Band remarks:

Good morning Red Lake Nation Members, Tribal Council, Chiefs, all Tribal and Gaming Employees and visitors. It's a great day as we are going through an unbelievable winter, climate change.

I would like to start out by informing the members, that there will be a financial summit in April to answer any financial questions anyone may have. Treasurer Lussier will give an update on that event.

EAST BOUNDARY AND OTHER TRIBAL LANDS UPDATE

The Band has been advocating for the return of the entire Upper Lake, plus a one mile buffer of land around the entire Upper Lake,

In May 2023, I accompanied four other Tribal Council members to the office of Assistant Secretary of the Interior Bryan Newland with a request that the federal government recognize the east boundary as intended by the Red Lake Chiefs in 1889.

We presented the Assistant Secretary and his attorneys with copies of the legal research pertaining to the east boundary issue. The Department of the Interior attorneys are working with our attorneys to finalize a legal opinion that the Department of the Interior can rely on to support our position that the east boundary should reflect the boundary that the Red Lake Chiefs intended in 1889.

The maps on the screen show the lands around the Upper Lake that are currently in the ownership of the state of Minnesota.

Minnesota state Legislators have agreed to sponsor legislation that returns the state owned lands around the Upper Lake to the Red Lake Band.

Also, the legislation includes the return of the Red Lake State Forest lands, which are to the east and south of the Upper Lake.

The lands to the north of the Reservation in green are lands that total 92,000 acres, which were leased by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the state of Minnesota in 1940. The lease is scheduled to expire in 2035.

Because the Red Lake Band was not informed of this lease; and because the Band did not consent to the lease, the Tribal Council is pursuing an early cancellation of the lease, so that these 92,000 acres are returned to the Band free of any lease.

Here are some highlights of business conducted in 2023.

In January 2023, we attended the Minnesota House of Representatives swearing in and the event at the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King building. We met with Representative Zack Stephenson on sports betting and cannabis legislation. We met with Walt Lamar, a Consultant on Law Enforcement issues.

In February 2023, we met with U.S. Attorney Luger on updates on drug related issues on the Reservation. We held Red Lake Day at the Capitol and met with various State legislators on the Red Lake Nation issues and needs.

In March 2023, I was invited to provide testimony at the Appropriation's sub-committee on Federal BIA Budgets, as always, I reminded them of their trust responsibilities in reference to the United States Constitution, Article Six which is the Supreme Law of the Land. On March 13th, we attended Sovereignty Day with the MN House Representatives and State Senators at the State Capitol regarding issues related to Tribal Programs funded by the State. The Council delegates on the Indian Gaming Association attended the conference in San Diego.

In April 2023, as co-chair, I attended the Midwest Tribal Interior Budget Committee meetings. On April 25th, we met on the 105 Lease agreements with IHS and staff regarding the Dialysis Center.

In May 2023, a delegation of Council Members went to Washington DC and met with the Assistant Secretary of Interior on the East Boundary issue.

In June, there was a Self Governance conference held.

In July, we celebrated the Red Lake Nation Independence Day.

In August, we attended the Tribal Interior Budget Committee Conference, the BIA Partners in Action Conference and also the Tribal Substance Abuse Disorder Summit. We also met with the Governor to discuss the East Boundary issue.

In October we had the Old Crossing Treaty gathering.

In November, we had another Tribal Interior Budget Committee Conference. These Budget Committee meetings are important to the funding Red Lake receives from the Federal Government.

In December we met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Outlet Dam. We let them know that we want more say on our water levels, etc. The non-members that reside surrounding our reservation have more say on our water. We want to take it over, our DNR staff are competent to run the dam.

Self Governance budget outlook for 2024 and 2025

Our Tribal government services program are funded mainly through the Indian Health Services and Bureau of Indian Affairs. This funding is guaranteed by the treaties we signed, but is considered Discretionary by Congress. Most of this funding is enacted each in the intensive Appropriation Bill.

As I speak, Congress still has not approved 2024 budget, 5 months into the fiscal year. That's because a handful of radical politicians have been pushing chaos for personal gain instead of doing their jobs, and this includes forcing harmful cuts to the most important agencies that fund tribal programs.

The House Interior bill cuts 2024 funding by 35% over last year, and is below than the 2016 funding level. It also includes a 40% cut to EPA programs which are critical to protecting our environment.

I do want to acknowledge that both House and Senate Interior Budget Committees are trying to spare tribes the worst cuts, proposing mostly level funding compared to 2023.

So far in 2024, as well as for 2025, Tribes can expect flat funding for their government service programs. This means that despite existing federal funding short falls, there will be no increases, even though the President requested substantial increases for these programs in both 2024 and 2025.

We all know Congress is dysfunctional and this hurts tribes and our ability to provide needed services to our members. Based on treaties and the U.S. Constitution, which states that treaties are the Supreme Law of the Land, these programs must be fully funded, and the funding needs to be mandatory, not discretionary.

On a positive note, last December, President Biden issued a new Executive Order on reforming Federal Funding and Support for Tribal Nations to better embrace the Governments Trust Responsibilities and promote the next era of Tribal Self Determination. Among other things, this order directs the Office of Management and Budget in collaboration with the White House Council on Native American affairs, to identify chronic shortfalls in Federal funding and support programs for Tribal Nations and shall submit recommendations to the President describing the additional funding and programming necessary to better live up to the Federal Governments trust responsibilities and help address the needs of all tribal nations. These recommendations shall be submitted to the President and shall be considered by agencies and OMB in developing the President's budget beginning with the next regular President's Budget development cycle.

Red Lake Solar Report provided by Robert Blake, Solar Bear Owner and Tribal Member

An estimation of a 20 megawatt community solar garden has been completed by Knobelsdorff Electric and is being prepped for the Tribal Council for review. This should be happening within the next month or so. The community solar portion of this project will be about 5 megawatts and the hope is that, that will serve as the community's part. Our partners are Bakertilly and Knobelsdorff Enterprises. Baker Tilly law firm has completed an energy plan assessment and outline for the formation of a virtual tribal utility authority. This framework is basically the same framework that the Seneca Nation is currently also using. I am waiting for Baker Tilly law firm to give me a date and time that they will present their findings to the Tribal Council. My idea would be to present the Baker Tilly and Knobelsdorff presentation back to back and answer any questions anyone would have.

We currently have 7 grant requests submitted for funding which we hope to receive notices on later this year.

We did receive notifications that we were awarded a 1.5 million dollar battery project that we will be installing this summer. There is a workforce development component to this project and the hope is to hire tribal members for this work.

Native Sun has 2 electric school busses still coming in worth about a million dollars and 1 more electric F-150 truck for the agriculture department. Native Sun will be installing more electric vehicle chargers.

We also have a solar training cart mini lab worth 20k dollars donated by the General Motors Foundation which will be given to Brian Seki for safe keeping. The Native Sun team is working with Red Lake Superintendent Lutz for the solar on school program to install solar on the Red Lake Schools. That grant request should be submitted very soon.

Solar Bear is working with Bob Neadeau and Rhonda Conn on the micro grid grant and the planning for it. This is 850k grant and will be worked on over the next 5 years up to 17 million.

We did get accepted to move forward on the electrification grant and will put in for it which will be another opportunity over 5 years.

Lot's happening, I'm just hoping we can continue to get lucky with these grants.

Red Lake Gaming Enterprises is proud of the economic impact that gaming has provided for tribal members.

At the end of 2023, Seven Clans Casinos employed 535 employees for $20.1 million in payroll and benefits.

Red Lake member employment rate at each site are as follows:

83% employed at Red Lake

63% employed at Thief River Falls

60% employed at Warroad

52% employed at Corporate

Total revenue for 2023 increased 14.8% over last year.

Red Lake Gaming is proud to report that 2023 Tribal Distributions totaled $5.3 million –a 25% increase from 2022.

Key Highlights:

1. Seven Clans Casino - Warroad expansion opened March 2023. The casino expanded by 9,000 square feet adding a restaurant, 100 more new slot machines, and new entrance.

2. Seven Clans Casino - Thief River had live, outdoor entertainment this past summer. The casino recently underwent a renovation of the River Road Cafe. Currently, the building is undergoing a siding replacement project.

There are the Major Capital Improvements this past year.

Red Lake

Building Improvements

$97,630

New Games

$116,370

Vehicle

$68,014

Thief River Falls

Building Improvements

$944,627

Machine/Office Equipment

$84,656

New Games

$281,360

Vehicles

$102,970

Warroad

Machine/Office Equipment

$78,254

Surveillance System (Including Expansion area)

$634,625

New Games and Slot Stools (Expansion)

$1,875,448

Total Major Capital Improvements

$4,283,954

In 2024, the East Boundary will stay a high priority. We will continue advocating for the rightful return of upper Red Lake including state owned land & forests surrounding the upper lake.

Projects on the horizon, all four districts are in need of sewage lagoon replacement and the water lines are deteriorating.

Urban/Metro area we didn't forget about you!

The Red Lake band is now in the works of bringing to you Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as TANF along with the P.L. 122-477 programs and services. Where we plan to put them at our new and beautiful Red Lake Nation

Mino-Biimaadiziwin on Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis!

We are also happy to see the current renovations going on for the new home of our Red Lake Nation College, Minneapolis Campus, located across from the US Bank Stadium. Education is key for our tribal members no matter where they live.

In addition, the old Red Lake Nation Embassy at 2929 Bloomington is currently being remodeled to provide culturally appropriate community services for our members from youth to elders, ceremonies, healings, etc. Also, the city of Minneapolis sold us two parcels of land adjacent to our property here which was much needed.

BIA'S TIWAHE Initiative is still very successful. Tiwahe is to improve the health and wellbeing of families in tribal communities by reducing poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, and associated outcomes, such as youth suicide. It helps us as a tribe to operate juvenile wellness and family drug courts. Job placement training funds allowed us to offer training programs. We operate a youth residential care facility, the Children's Healing Center, allowing us to keep more of our young members here at home, instead of sending them far from home.

Section 105 (l) leasing of the Indian Self Determination Act, which says that at the tribe's request, BIA and I.H.S. must agree to negotiate a building lease agreement for service we operate. Lease includes operation and maintenance costs, principle and interest on building loans as well as USDA loans.

See also: Red Lake emphasizes hope for the future in 2024 State of the Band Address - https://www.bemidjipioneer.com/news/local/red-lake-emphasizes-hope-for-the-future-in-2024-state-of-the-band-address

 

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