Chairman Seki interviewing with Native Report on the Public Health Emergency
Published October 29, 2017
Interviews on 100 Percent Grad Rate & Public Health Emergency – Tribal Resolutions
RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION – Mike LeGarde, producer/director for Native Report, a weekly program broadcast state-wide…and nationally, which is produced at WDSE Public Television in Duluth, was in Red Lake for interviews on Monday, October 23, 2017.
LeGarde interviewed persons regarding two recent and important Red Lake Tribal Council resolutions, one on attaining a 100% graduation rate, and second, the declaration of a Public Health Emergency regarding the opioid epidemic.
First LeGarde interviewed Red Lake Tribal Treasurer Annette Johnson, who is part of a team searching for ways to attain a 100 percent graduation rate for all Red Lake students. Team members include representatives from the Tribal Council, Red Lake Schools, Oshkiimaajitahdah, Children and Family Services, students, parents, and other programs involved in or concerned with education.
Treasurer Annette Johnson speaks to 100 percent graduation rate with Native Report’s Mike LeGarde
LeGarde then interviewed Dr. John Eggers, former high school principal at Red Lake who brought the issue before the Red Lake Tribal Council this past summer, and who is spearheading the issue. Eggers is a strong advocate for Indian Education and stresses the importance for ALL youth to graduate from High School.
100 Pecent Grad Rate, Background
The Red Lake Tribal Council at the June 2017 monthly meeting, passed a bold and courageous resolution that calls for a goal of 100 percent graduation rate for all Red Lake youth regardless of where they attend school. Although the graduation rate for all Native youth has increased in the past years, the number of youth leaving school early is still unacceptable. By adopting a 100 percent goal for graduation, the Red Lake Nation is saying that they believe no young person should leave school without having a diploma and all young people are capable of receiving one.
According to educator and advocate, Dr. John Eggers, achieving a goal of a 100 percent graduation rate is everyone’s responsibility, not just the school district. Community leaders, parents, students and educational personnel need to come together to achieve this goal. The leadership for this task begins with community leaders. Students will rise to the expectations of the community. Graduating from high school needs to become a mindset and when all communities work hard to help their students graduate, 100 percent of young people will graduate regardless of ethnicity.
The Red Lake Band of Chippewa is believed to be the first community in the United States to emphatically state that nothing less than a 100 percent graduation rate is acceptable for its young people.
Public Health Emergency
Next LeGarde interviewed Red Lake Tribal Chairman, Darrell G. Seki, Sr., regarding the Tribal Council’s Public Health Emergency resolution passed at the July 2017 Tribal Council Meeting. Chairman Seki addressed his concerns and frustrations with the rash of Opioid overdoses, addictions and dealings of the dangerous drugs at home, and how the tribe is quite serious about dealing with this critical issue.
Coincidently, the Health Emergency Group, which meets every three days emphasizing the seriousness of the issue, was having a lunch meeting while the film crew was there. The Emergency Group is made up of representatives of several tribal programs including Public Safety, Comp Health, Red Lake Schools, Family and Children Services, Chemical Health and others. LeGarde and his team took the opportunity to film part of the meeting for the coming program as a cut-away from the interviews.
Later, LeGarde and his film crew visited the Red Lake Director of Public Safety, Bill Brunelle for a more detailed interview on law enforcement initiatives, statistics and other issues regarding the opioid crisis.
LeGarde interviews Public Safety Director Bill Brunelle on the opioid crisis
Background, Public Health Emergency
At the July monthly meeting, the Red Lake Tribal Council responded quickly with a Motion by: Representative Smith and Second by: Representative Stately to declare a Public Health Emergency on the Red Lake Reservation as a direct result of the large scale drug trafficking and addiction of many tribal members to dangerous illegal drugs and powerful opiate drugs. It passed unanimously.
The tribal council took further actions at the August 2017 monthly meeting, by passing a resolution for “Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).” Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including opioid treatment programs (OTPs), combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
The other was a resolution amending a tribal ordinance on the “banishment” issue. Please note that banishment has been part of tribal ordinance since December 2003 regarding non-members, but there was no protocol. The protocol now includes tribal members. Banishment is expected to be used sparingly, and the protocol includes an opportunity for reversal.
This past summer, a Walk Against Heroin was conducted by 200 tribal members. The annual four-day Anishinaabe Spirit Run for drug and alcohol health from Red Lake to Fond du Lac also addressed the issue.
More Red Lake Stories to be Filmed
LeGarde and Native Report still have two more issues they want to cover for the coming season. On Tuesday, October 31, the team will return to Red Lake to first interview representatives from Chemical Health to supplement interviews with Chairman Seki and Public Safety on the Public Health Emergency.
They will also seek interviews for stories about Red Lake’s Three-Phase Solar Energy Project, and an interview on the release of a book (ROAD TO PONEMAH) about the teachings of Red Lake Spiritual Leader, now passed, Larry Stillday.
Photos by Michael Meuers