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Minnesota Native News

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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


Leadership Program Opens Applications

This is Minnesota Native News. I'm Marie Rock. Coming up, applications for the 12th cohort of the Native Nations Rebuilders Program are now open. The program is operated by the Native Governance Center, and the Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis is now requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for its health center staff. Here's reporter Leah Lemm with these stories.

Native Nations Rebuilders, the two year leadership development program, begins this coming December. It was developed to meet the leadership gap identified by Tribal leaders in Native Governance Center's service area. The service area is the 23 Native nations of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Pearl Walker-Swaney is the Program Manager at Native Governance Center.

Pearl Walker-Swaney:
We support Native leaders to rebuild their nations through leadership development and tribal government support. And a lot of our work is around strengthening governments, and we believe that by strengthening governments, we are creating a direct pathway to improve quality of life for Native people.

Native Nations Rebuilders is based on research done by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and its principles of nation building.

Pearl Walker-Swaney:
You get to understand this history of governance and leadership from pre-contact, for example, through policies, such as the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, to modern day governments. And so you get this spectrum of changes in leadership, changes in governing styles, and maybe have a better understanding of some of the issues that you see in your own community and how governance can be a solution.

Pearl also notes participants deepen their understanding and connection to their own personal story and identify what their values are. Come December, there will be over 200 graduates from 11 cohorts, and with COVID-19 pandemic recommendations changing frequently, they're still determining the best format and locations for the 2022 program dates. For now, Pearl says that the program is scheduled to be in-person for 2022.

Applications are now open. More information about the Native Nations Rebuilders Program from the Native Governance Center can be found online at or on their social media pages.

Next, the Native American Community Clinic, or NACC, in Minneapolis, announced that it is now requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for its health center staff. President and CEO of NACC, Dr. Antony Stately, says it wasn't an easy decision to make, but putting action to words was necessary.

Dr Antony Stately:
This is something I've been thinking about and discussing with leadership, including our board and also folks in the community who are leaders. And I've also been watching the news and have been watching and listening and listening sessions at the state and federal level about the variant and all these other kinds of things that are going on with respect to the pandemic.

When it comes down to it, the vaccine requirement is aligned with the mission of the clinic.

Dr Antony Stately:
NACC has a mission, and as part of that mission, a core value is for us to show up and be a good relative to everybody in our community. And I think that a core principle of that, of being a good relative, is to do your part, to protect others, and to not necessarily place your own wellbeing in front of the wellbeing of the crew, or the nation, or the people, right? We have a responsibility to the whole, and we have a responsibility to the future generations.

For Minnesota Native News, I'm Leah Lemm.

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