Bemidji City Council, Red Lake Nation discuss shared goals and challenges

Featured photo: members of the Bemidji City Council and city staff during the joint Red Lake-Bemidji meeting.

The Bemidji City Council met with a number of representatives from the Red Lake Nation during a special joint meeting Monday at the Sanford Center.

The discussions focused on three themes: public safety, race relations, and economic development.

On public safety, the groups agreed to work on improving communications on missing person cases, such as the missing 15-year-old Neveah Kingbird.

The conversation shifted to another shared issue between the two governmental units, the opioid epidemic.

On race relations, Tribal Secretary Sam Strong pointed out a troubling reality. He said many Red Lake band members experience racial profiling.

Red Lake Tribal Secretary Sam Strong, right, addresses the group. Also pictured is Red Lake Chairman Darrell Seki (center).

Jerry Loud, the executive director of the Oshkimajitadah, or “New Beginnings” center, highlighted the new initiative that he hopes will happen right in the city of Bemidji with the former Central School building.

The new life for the building is slated to be as Odena, the “Place of Many Hearts,” which will act as a gathering place to connect social services to the people who need them.

The Bemidji School Board has not yet finalized the transfer of the building.

The meeting began with a shared meal, a prayer and pipe ceremony, and an exchange of gifts.

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