Red Lake Nation and Beltrami County recognized for Red Lake Initiative

Photo from Red Lake Tribal Council at the groundbreaking of the Red Lake Intergenerational Services building which will expand and house the Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaaganinaadog, or “Uplifting Our Relatives,” program. The groundbreaking for the new facility was on May 12.

The National Association of Counties has recognized Beltrami County and the Red Lake Nation for their collaborative work for the Red Lake Initiative, which was a compromising agreement that gave the Red Lake Nation jurisdiction to handle out-of-home child placements on the reservation and relieved Beltrami County from a significant funding crisis.

The Achievement Award from NACo honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. For decades, state, tribal, federal and local governments disagreed about who was responsible for welfare services for the Red Lake Nation, a sovereign tribal government.

The new program model, which translates from Ojibwe to “Uplifting Our Relatives,” “serves the Red Lake Nation’s cultural needs and holds sovereignty in the highest regard,” said Beltrami County Health and Human Services Director Becky Secore.

“This is a profound accomplishment that all in our community can celebrate,” said Beltrami County Administrator Tom Barry.

“A truly innovative approach achieved by the tireless efforts of many of our community leaders, the Red Lake Nation Initiative is a testament of the power of synergistic government. It is an achievement of monumental proportions that affirms that when officials at the Federal, State, Tribal and local levels of government put the interests of those they serve first, incredible things can happen.”

“Our Anishinaabeg practice model has a focus on relationships. This was a key component in the partnership we developed with the County in becoming an American Indian Child Welfare Initiative Tribe,” said the Executive Director of Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaaganinaadog for the Red Lake Nation Cheri Goodwin.

“The successful transition of cases from the County to Red Lake highlights what can be accomplished when we work collectively towards a common goal. Being able to exercise tribal sovereignty in child welfare was very important for The Red Lake Nation and we appreciate the support the County provides.”


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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