City Council moves new ward boundaries forward, hears about Healing House from NWICDC

The Bemidji City Council opted to keep the city’s polling places as-is for now.

A proposed combination site for Wards 2 and 4 at the Armory was suggested by City Clerk Michelle Miller to alleviate some of the strain at Ward 4’s current polling site, City Hall.

Ward 4’s Emelie Rivera was against the move, citing a further distance for residents in the southern parts of Ward 4 to get to the polls.

The council also held the first reading for the proposed new ward boundaries with little further discussion.

The Northwest Indian Community Development Center presented the initial ideas for a Healing House for Indigenous women re-entering society after a stint in prison.

According to the presentation, staffers with the NWICDC conducted interviews with inmates at the Shakopee women’s prison and found that Native women account for 20 percent of the inmate population despite American Indians representing around 1 percent of the state’s population.

The interviews revealed haunting patterns of trauma, such as physical and sexual abuse as well as historical traumas in nearly all cases.

The Healing House’s main focus will be culturally responsive healing from these traumas, with space enough to build community with whole families together.

The project has bonding dollars proposed in the governor’s budget from the Department of Corrections to fund a program manager, and architectural design will be presented in a few weeks.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!


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