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
This is Minnesota Native News. I’m Marie Rock. This week on Minnesota Native News, members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe vote on blood quantum requirements. Also, we hear from Juliet Rudie, who now heads the state’s new Office of Missing And Murdered Indigenous Relatives. Here’s reporter Cole Premo.
In a historic move, members of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe in July voted to remove a decades-old requirement that members have a minimum of 25% Ojibwe blood.
About 64% of voters on an advisory referendum say the blood quantum requirement, which began in the 1960s, should be removed from membership in the six-reservation tribe.
Also, 57% of voters said each reservation should be allowed to determine its own enrollment requirements. Those reservations include Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs, Bois Forte, Grand Portage, White Earth and Leech Lake.
Blood quantum requirements have been a source of debate and contention for years.
Those in favor of ending the requirement say the blood quantum requirement has caused enrollment in the tribe to shrink, with many children not considered members despite having a parent who is. About 15% of the tribe's roughly 39,000 citizens are under age 18.
Those opposed to ending the requirement are concerned that accepting more members will use limited federal or casino-generated funds, and that more people taking advantage of treaty rights will make resources scarce.
The vote does not change the requirement just yet… The referendum is a guide for tribal leaders who will now decide whether to ask voters to amend the tribe's constitution.
Minnesota Native News will have updates as they come in.
In other news…
Juliet Rudie – a Lower Souix Indian Community citizen – now leads Minnesota’s new office of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives in St. Paul. It’s the first state office of its kind in the nation.
The office was created based on the findings of the Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives Task Force.
The office will work with the 11 sovereign tribal nations in Minnesota; federal, state, and local law enforcement; federal and state agencies; and community-based organizations and advocates.
Rudie has nearly 30 years of experience in public safety, starting as a patrol officer for St. Paul police in 1990. She later joined the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office in 2011, serving as an Inspector, Undersheriff of the Administration Division and Chief Deputy.
Rudie retired in 2017, but she says she felt she needed to do more, something focused on helping native women and children.
Juliet Rudie recently spoke with my sister Leah Lemm and I on Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine. Here she is talking about the new position.
“I got a call that said, Hey, this job is going to be posted…. so I read the task force report, which is 163 pages. And I'm like, this document is amazing. They did research on why this was happening and they, and they managed to piece together some data, the data's in silos. So I give kudos to the research company, which is Wilder, where they were able to pull this information and then give it to, um, the task force. And then they were tasked with, um, there were five, uh, areas they were to look at, and then they were, and then from those five areas that came up with these 20 mandates.
so whenever I get like overwhelmed in a, oh, by the scope of the work, I go back and I look at the report and I go, okay, you're on track, Julie, you're doing these things. Um, and, and then, so when I have to report to the legislature in January, I can say, these are the mandates that I touched.
At this time, Juliet Rudie says she’s narrowing the focus of the office in an effort to tackle as many mandates as possible…
“it's prevention, um, reporting response, and making sure we have enough for victim resources and those. So that's, those are the four areas that I'm gonna focus on. Um, and then, and it's, it's bigger than that.”
Juliet Rudie is now in the process of hiring more people for the new office.
“I'm determined to make some type of difference, um, for the victims and the victims' families and survivors, because it's just sad … I have a friend who lost his daughter to gun violence. He was a native officer that I worked with… he said to me, he said that we need to do more. We need to do more in our community and we need to be better. We need to make things better.
You can listen to more of the conversation with Juliet Rudie on Native Lights Where Indigenous Voices Shine. I’m Cole Premo.
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