The Red Lake Nation State of the Band address Friday acknowledged numerous achievements over the past year as well as looked ahead to some of its challenges.
Red Lake Chairmen Darrell Seki, Sr., summarized the achievements the Band had over the year, such as using COVID-19 dollars towards a number of projects including the Oshkimajitahdah Facility in which the address was held, to the significant reduction in out-of-home placements of tribal youth.
Challenges ahead include continuing the fight against fentanyl, as well as treaty issues, such as efforts to reclaim the eastern boundary of the Red Lake Reservation.
Seki also gave an update on voter-approved initiatives taking shape, such as the establishment of a medical cannabis dispensary that is now open for business for members and nonmembers to fill their prescriptions, as well as alcohol sales at Seven Clans-Thief River Falls casino.
Red Lake Secretary Sam Strong spoke on the Band’s history of continuing its cultural practices and language, looking onto future generations.
Strong said the Band will be having more conversations about blood quantum and the future of the Red Lake Nation, as long-range population forecasts indicate steep membership declines with the blood quantum staying at 1/4th.
The Red Lake Nation took action in 2019 towards abolishing blood quantum, deeming all members on the 1958 rolls as full-blooded Red Lake band members.