Cover art for podcast Minnesota Native News

Minnesota Native News

181 EpisodesProduced by Minnesota Native NewsWebsite

Minnesota Native News is a weekly radio segment covering ideas and events relevant to Minnesota’s Native American communities. Made possible by the Minnesota Art's and Cultural Heritage fund


Red Lake Welcomes 1,212 New Citizens After Blood Quantum Rule Change

The Red Lake Nation has 12-hundred new citizens!

The tribal council voted to approve their enrollment at their February 11th meeting.

This is the first wave of new enrollees after a resolution passed last year changed the blood quantum rules for tribal citizenship.

Reporter Melissa Townsend tells us more. 

[meeting sound] 

In the Facebook Live video of the February 11th meeting, there is an overflow crowd seated in front of the tribal council.

There is some discussion about whether this is a good idea - to allow 1200 new enrollees into the tribe. 

[A lot of people think they’re going to come here and get free medical, free everything…] (:10)

But eventually the tribal chair calls a vote and the tribal council says yes. 

And they welcome 1,212 new Red Lake citizens to the tribe.

[welcome home, chi miigwech] 

Simone Senogles is sitting in the room watching the discussion and the vote. Her mother is a Red Lake citizen. But she was not. 

SENOGLES: I’ve always wanted to be officially enrolled in my family’s homelands.

Growing up, Simone spent the school year in South Minneapolis, but her summers were in Red Lake. 

SENOGLES: I spent summers up there with my uncle Bradley Senogles, probably one of the proudest Red Lakers who ever walked the earth.  (:08)

She would watch him set nets and clean fish.  

As a teenager, he taught Simone how on the Red Lake back roads. 

SENOGLES: He had this little house with a picture window in the front and the driveway went right up to the house. And I remember seeing all my little cousins looking at me out the window and I almost didn’t press the break in time.  And I could hear my uncle saying wo, wo, wo, my girl, wo. [laughter] (:23)

Simone says she always wanted to be enrolled in her tribe. 

SENOGLES: You know it’s like that’s my family, that’s our homeland. But on paper, I don’t officially belong. (:07)

But now — she does. 

With the tribal council’s decision to approve the new enrollees, Simone is now an official Red lake citizen. 

SENOGLES: I cried when they made the decision. It was funny because here I am almost 50 years old and there was this young girl there. And she cried too.  And I was just thinking man, this is really affecting generations now and into the future.

STRONG: That’s the good part of it, seeing the people all in the audience that were very much impacted because their families could finally come home.

Sam Strong is the Secretary of the Red Lake Nation.  

He shepherded tribal council action to change blood quantum rules and paved the way for these new tribal citizens.

STRONG: I see blood quantum as mathmatical genocide. Its’ like a cliff. That’s the way it’s been best described to me.  When you get a certain number of band members who are in a certain blood quantum range, the next generation isn’t enrollable. And so for us, 85% of our population was between 1/4 and 1/2 blood quantum. (:24)

With those numbers, STrong says, within a 100 years there would be no Red Lake citizens.

But changing blood quantum rules scares folks for a lot of reasons - one of which is a possible big bump in enrollment. 

STRONG: How do you make a change that doesn’t drastically impact the tribe and inundate its resources etc. with too many tirbal members?

Strong says the council projects there will be a 10% bump in enrollment; that’s1500 to 2500 new enrollees. 

They will study the impact on their recourses and decide what needs to happen next.

Just a few days ago, Simone Senogles got her official letter in the mail welcoming her to the tribe. 

It lays out the benefits of being a Red lake citizen and also the responsibilities…

SENOGLES: As an heir to our beautiful homeland, held in common by our people since time immemorial, you now share in the responsibility of sustaining and protecting our pristine environment, our natural resources, and carry on the legacy of our inheritance, our sovereignty, customs and traditions.  The Red Lake band of Chippewa Indians welcomes you.  

It’s really really - it’s really a big thing. It’s something I waited my whole life for. 

Sam Strong expects more enrollment applications for Red Lake citizenship throughout the year. 

For Minnesota Native News, I’m Melissa Townsend. 

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Listen to Minnesota Native News


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens