Courtesy Michael Meuers
The flags of Minnesota's Indian Nations at the American Indian Resource Center

Red Lake Constitutional Reform Wraps up Informational Meetings

Michael Meuers
5/2/14

Issues that affect the Nation's language, culture, land and resources were the topics of the final session of the first round of meetings hosted by the Red Lake Constitution Reform Initiative Committee (CRI). The committee was seeking input by Red Lake enrolled Citizens and immediate family in the Bemidji area on these issues.

The meeting was held at the American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) on campus at Bemidji State University on Monday, April 14, 2014. This was the last of a series of meetings held in Duluth, Minneapolis, and all four communities on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

The Constitution Reform Initiative Committee wants to hear from members of each community in order to ensure that the drafting of a New Red Lake Constitution accurately reflects the voice of the Red Lake Nation.

CRI Community Engagement Meeting

Cars trickled into the parking lot of the AIRC, a beautiful building bordered on two sides by Lake Bemidji, and the gem of the cities many parks, Diamond Point. At the front of the building a large sculpture of Mashkode-bizhiki (buffalo) looks toward the west.

Upon entering the American Indian Resource Center one is surrounded by an environment steeped in cultural heritage and tradition – a gathering place that honors the past and helps shape the future.

People milled around in the lobby of the AIRC before entering the Mawanji'idii-wigamig or Gathering Place which provides seating for up to 120 guests and features state-of the-art "smart" technology along with a full service kitchen.

With beautiful tree lined views, dramatic vaulted ceilings and original Ojibwe art and artifacts, the Mawanji'idii-wigamig makes a memorable setting for the community engagement meeting.

A field stone fireplace is to the right as one enters. Huge rows of windows arced to the West. Large portraits of local American Indian leaders and personalities covered two sides of the circular room with the vaulted ceiling reminiscent of a Round House. High on that ceiling flew 13 flags, banners representing Minnesota's 11 tribal nations and flanked by the state of Minnesota to the right and the stars and stripes to the left.

Upon registration, each participant received a folder with information about the Constitutional Reform Initiative. One sheet had the main questions of the evening which served as an agenda and a form to fill out seeking the participants feelings on the following questions:

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