Red Lake Nation College Construction
Michael Meuers
A view of Red Lake Nation College from the street.

New Red Lake Nation College Takes the Shape of an Eagle

Michael Meuers

Looking toward the lake near the Red Lake Humanities Center in Minnesota, beyond the Red Lake Powwow grounds, the landscape continues to change. Outside walls are up, roads are nearly complete, and sidewalks are emerging where soon a college campus will rise. This is the site of what Red Lake Nation College president Dan King refers to as the new Red Lake Capitol.

In the process of being built are huge twin buildings in the shape of Migiziwag (bald eagles), a unique design that may draw attention far and wide and will make the Guiness Book of World Records. They will be the world’s largest fiberglass eagles at 48 feet high. To the East will be the new Tribal Government Center, to the West the new Red Lake Nation College. The construction is scheduled to be completed in June 2015. With a move in date scheduled for August 3, 2015.

“The grounds are prepared for several heat pumps in the future. All the underground work is done… the plumbing and lighting, the final grading for sites are done, light pole bases are in, and the tubing for radiant heat is installed,” college president Dan King told council members at a meeting on March 10.

An architectural rendering of Red Lake Nation College and the Red Lake Nation Tribal Government buildings. (

More About the Red Lake Nation Capitol

Red Lake Nation College

Construction of the new buildings will be a source of pride for Red Lake Nation.

The new building will increase educational opportunities and be an accredited school.

The twin College campus and Tribal Government Center buildings’ Eagle design symbolize the culture, strength, power and perseverance of Red Lake Nation.

With high unemployment rates and numerous social and health issues, the Red Lake Tribal leadership feels that higher education is one of the best long-term solutions for community development.

The remote location of the Red Lake Reservation creates an access barrier to higher education. The high cost of transportation for a two-hour daily round trip, (to the nearest college) the cost of daycare, etc., presents a financial difficulty for many tribal members. The motto for the Red Lake Nation College is “A Great Place to Start!”

Currently 95 percent of the students are Red Lake Tribal Members. However, once the new facilities are complete, college leaders anticipate higher percentages of non-members and non-Indian students from the surrounding area.

The new campus will feature state-of-the-art technology for shared distance learning with other colleges. The campus will contain a large, multi-purpose Student Union and hold 14 classrooms that include biology and chemistry labs, and two computer labs.

The new college will host a library, tribal archives/library center and study rooms. Within the college library there will be a new learning center with free tutoring. There will be an Ojibwe Language Center and an Ojibwe Language Immersion Head Start and Daycare Center for up to 60 children. Included also is a Student Café, Wellness and Fitness Center, and a Sweat Lodge to promote healthy lifestyles and strong cultural living. The college facilities will be open to the public.

Virtual presence classrooms will be connected to other regional colleges and universities.

Red Lake Tribal Government Center

A more than $10 million USDA loan will be used to build a 27,400-square-foot tribal government center next to the college. The new center will provide a safer environment and allow the tribe to operate out of one central location.

By the fall of 2015, Red Lake Tribal Government will be housed under one roof for efficiency and the convenience of the people.

The front of the twin buildings will bear the silhouettes of wingspread eagles.

In addition to the new buildings, the project will include new powwow grounds, walking trails along the lake and a Veterans Park honoring all Red Lakers who have served in U.S. Armed Forces. The park will feature black granite monuments for inscribing names of living and deceased service personnel with plenty of room for more names if need be.

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