Public Notices & Updates
Public Works and Housing departments are responsible for snow plowing in all districts of the Mille Lacs Reservation. After any snowfall event, Public Works crews will first open roadways, and when those are completed, they will move on to private residences of Elders and disabled Band members.
Vehicles parked on the roads will be towed.
Non-Elder private residences can be plowed for a $25 fee, paid in advance. The Housing Department plows Elder rental units.
If you have questions about plow service, contact Public Works at 320-532-7448.
Aazhoomog Clinic Hours
Providers are at the Aazhoomog Clinic in District III from Monday through Thursday. The dentist is in the office on the last Friday of every month, and the foot doctor is available the first Wednesday of every month. Call 320-384-0149 to make an appointment or ask a question.
Department of Administration Focuses on Jobs and Culture
The Department of Administration is working on several initiatives, including human resources policies, Department of Labor updates and State of the Band planning.
The Band is mandated by the federal government to perform background checks as part of our grant funding agreements. The Department of Administration is creating hiring guidelines for Band Employees and/or contractors who may come in contact with school children on a regular basis. The Solicitor General has provided opinions and material on the mandatory background investigations HR needs to perform on all education employees, and other Band employees who may come into contact with school children. This will be a change that expands from just education employees to all band positions that may come into contact with the school children. This also extends to contractors, so an educational piece will need to be done for those who deal with contracts. We are meeting weekly to create new policies and procedures.
The Department is also
- Bringing culturally relevant training to outer districts instead of being centralized at government center. Certified facilitators in each district will conduct the training, which will be scheduled in the New Year after the holidays.
- Implementing community outreach in all districts by having an HR representative attend the community meetings, do a short presentation on open jobs, bringing applications along, and answering general questions from the community.
- Restructuring HR, bringing in an executive director to help facilitate the reorganization and restructure of the department. As the number of government programs offered has increased, the HR department is feeling the pinch of being undersized for the current employee base.
Michele Palomaki, Michael Kafka (DOL Director) and I are meeting with our regional director next week to start the process to revise our plan before submission. We have gotten good information back from the Tribal Employment Rights Officer and Michele when they recently attended the DOL conference in Wisconsin. This will benefit Band Members by expanding the training courses we are able to fund and streamlining the approval process.
In addition to these activities, the Department of Administration is:
- Planning the State of the Band events, including a plan to broadcast the event to Grand Casino Hinckley. RFPs will be put out for bids on fry bread, flowers/center pieces and gifts. Steve Premo is working on artwork for the invitation and other artwork needed for the event.
- Working with the District III community to research the history of the district with the goal of producing two books specific to our area.
- Planning Elders pot luck and story sharing in D3. This is a spin-off of the history project. The elders really enjoy getting together and sharing their photos with each other. They want to continue this get-together, and are willing to do it as a potluck from now on, beginning in early November.
Working to get BlueJay Wireless to provide information to the communities on free phones and inexpensive data packages. Those who are eligible will be able to get a free phone, 250 free minutes and 250 free texts each month. This will be offered for 12 months, and Band Members will be able to renew for another 12 months of free service.
Legislation on Objections to Autopsies
Read the legislation moving through the Minnesota state Legislature that would allow for religious objections to autopsies:
Administration Department — RFPs
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Administration Department has the following opportunities open:
- None at this time
Child Support Enforcement Update
Consent for Mille Lacs Band’s Tribal Court to Assume Jurisdiction over a Child Support Order
Child Support clients should be aware that when their Child Support case is transferred from a county to the Mille Lacs Band Child Support office, only their Child Support case is being transferred. If there is an existing Child Support order within that county they continue to have exclusive jurisdiction over that Child Support order, which means if a client requests a modification our office would need to go back to the county to request one.
Pursuant to Federal law, as a general rule a State court retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify its prior child support orders.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule. First, if neither the child nor any contestant resides within the issuing State, the court of another State or Tribe may modify the order if the order is registered in the court of the new State or Tribe and that court has jurisdiction over the nonmovant for purposes of modification. Second, if either the child or any contestant resides within the issuing State, a different State or Tribal court can modify the child support order if each individual contestant files written consent with the issuing court for the new State or Tribe to modify the order and assume continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the order. 25 U.S.C. § 1738B (e) and (i).
Having the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Court assume jurisdiction over your Child Support order makes it easier for our office to modify a Child Support order if certain circumstances arise.
If you would like the Mille Lacs Band’s Tribal Court to assume jurisdiction to modify a Child Support order to which you are a party, and to exercise continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over that order, contact your Case Manager. Please note that the Mille Lacs Band’s Tribal Court cannot modify your Child Support order until it has assumed jurisdiction in accordance with Federal and Band law.
- Shannon Nayquonabe, District I Case Manager
- Tammy Smith, District II, IIa, III and Urban Case Manager
If you have any questions or concerns contact our office at 320-532-7755.
Child Support Office
Here is a list of all employees in the Child Support Office:
- Rachel Sablan, Director of Tribal Child Support
- Valerie Harrington, Financial Specialist
- Ann Stafford, Inter-Jurisdictional Coordinator
- Shannon Nayquonabe, District I Case Manager
- Tammy Smith, District II, IIa, III, and Urban Case Manager
- Michelle Pagel, Administrative Assistant
320-532-7755, 320-532-7476 (fax)
We are also in the process of scheduling a case manager in each district once a month. As always please keep your address updated with our office to assure important information and child support payments will be sent to the right address.
Mille Lacs Early Education
Mille Lacs Early Education (MLEE) is a combination of six programs: Federal Head Start, Minnesota State Head Start, Federal Early Head Start, Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) provided with the Onamia Publics Schools, and Childcare. The programs all serve children and families birth to age five. Childcare is available for children age 6 weeks to 11 years. All of these programs focus on educating children. However, the needs and requirements for the six programs are very different.
Head Start and Early Head Start are federal programs that focus on low income and vulnerable children age birth to five. The goals are to help get children ready for school socially and emotionally, educationally, increase parent involvement, and improve the health and safety of children. The program must prove that a minimum of 51 percent of the families served are low income. MLEE must also recruit and enroll 10 percent of the total enrollment to include children with disabilities. The program also has an enrollment preference for Mille Lacs Band members, descendants and other Native Americans. Currently, only Mille Lacs Band Members and descendants are enrolled. The majority of enrollment points are based on children being low-income, Mille Lacs Band Members, being a foster child, being homeless, and having a disability or suspected disability.
Head Start programs serve children age three to five years. The children are provided with a high-quality early childhood education experience during the day from September to May. The curriculum focuses on literacy skills, math, science, large motor skills, fine motor skills, health, Ojibwe culture, and social emotional development. Children enrolled in Head Start are learning every day. Funding is provided federally by the State of MN and the Mille Lacs Band. This service is offered in all three districts.
Early Head Start focuses on the same learning areas, but adapts them to serve children birth to age three years. Early Head Start operates September through July. Head Start and Early Head Start have a strong parent involvement. Both of these programs must follow Head Start Performance Standards. These are federal laws that regulate classroom space and equipment, staffing, curriculum, transportation services, disability services, nutrition and enrollment criteria. There are over 1,500 Performance Standards. Failure to follow the Head Start Performance Standards will result in the program being found out of compliance and can lead to a loss of funding. Early Head Start is offered in all three districts and is federally funded and Mille Lacs Band funded.
Another major requirement of the Performance Standards is training for staff and parents. There are 25 required trainings cited in the Performance Standards. All staff working with Head Start and Early Head Start children must attend these trainings. Mille Lacs Early Education currently employees over 90 staff who all need to attend the required trainings. The only way to ensure that staff is properly trained is to have training days. Because all staff must attend the trainings, all programs including childcare must close for those days.
Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) funding is provided by the state. ECFE provides learning activities for children and their parents. Mille Lacs Early Education runs Family Activity Nights September through May. These events and other parenting events, like Positive Indian Parenting, are open to all members of the community.
Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) provides child find activities, screenings and assessments for developmental disabilities, and service to children identified with special needs. Head Start must recruit and enroll 10 percent of the total enrollment as children with special needs. Services to children provided include educational support, speech, physical therapy and occupational therapy to help with developmental delays.
Childcare is provided as a wraparound service before and after Head Start and Early Head Start in District I. There is not enough space in the building to provide childcare for families who need childcare only. Because of limited childcare space, the program must follow Performance Standards relating to recruitment and enrollment first. This means the program must give priority to low income and the most vulnerable children first.
Mille Lacs Early Education has the goal to provide high-quality early childhood learning and cultural activities. School will start on September 2. August 25 will be the first day for Head Start and Early Head Start this year. Open House will be on August 25th in all three districts.
For questions and information about the program contact Tammy Wickstrom, Director of Early Education.
Free Hearing Evaluations
Evaluations take place on the second Friday of each month at Ne-Ia-Shing Clinic. Call 320-532-4163 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome — we will do our best to serve you. Ask us about the $1,000 in hearing aid benefits you can receive from the Circle of Health.
Hearmore Hearing has offices in Saint Paul and Osseo. To schedule an appointment Monday through Friday, call the Saint Paul office at 651-771-4019 or the Osseo office at 763-391-7433.
Heating, Water, and Maintenance Problems?
During normal business hours, tenants in Band rentals and Elders living within the service area should call 800-709-6445, ext. 7433, for work orders.
After business hours, tenants with maintenance emergencies should call 866-822-8538 and press 1, 2, or 3 for their respective district.