The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (MLBO) is a federally-recognized Native American Tribe located in northeastern central Minnesota. The reservation spans across 160 miles and is divided into three districts, reaching into Pine, Aitkin, Mille Lacs and Crow Wing counties.In 2009, the tribal enrollment numbers totaled 4,130 persons with the majority of the citizens (2,274) living on the reservation lands while 1,856 members live outside its borders. The Tribe was granted its hunting, gathering and territorial rights in 1837, and was classified under the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe in 1934; however, it predates the US government.
In 1981, MLBO created a separation of powers government comprised of executive, legislative, and judicial branches; this was modeled after the federal government, but it better permitted MLBO to assert its rights and sovereignty by establishing a system of self-governance. The leaders of the Executive and Legislative Branches are popularly elected, and the terms of office are staggered so that each leader serves a four-year term. The leader of the Executive Branch is the Chief Executive, Marge Anderson. Anderson has the authority to appoint Commissioners to administer the various divisions, such as Community Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Natural Resources, and Administration.Band Assembly (BA) is the Legislative Branch of government. BA includes the Speaker of the Assembly, and three district representatives.District I, located on the southwestern shore of Lake Mille Lacs, contains the MLBO government center. District II is located on the southeastern shore of Lake Mille Lacs and East Lake south of McGregor. District III is located 30 miles west of Hinckley, MN. The Legislative Branch also administers the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Judicial Branch consists of the Chief of Central Jurisdiction,, and the Appellate Chief. The Chief of Central Jurisdiction is comprised of the District Judge, and the Appellate Chief is comprised of a Chief Justice and two Associate Judges. Both Chiefs interpret law and administer justice determined by MLBO Statutes, Federal law and State law. The MLBO Tribal Chief system currently hears civil regulatory offenses. It has the ability to prosecute and sentence.
The US government has a trust responsibility for tribes. In exchange for creating the land base from which the US exists, tribes were to have housing, land, service, education and health care among other things. The main problem is the sub-par level of the delivery of these resources and service.
The government is operated on tax revenuefrom its two casinos and other small businesses. Therevenue supports all tribal government operations, infrastructure, economic development, and other assets that benefit the entire community. DHS in conjunction with MN Chippewa Tribe (comprised of 6 res—Mille Lacs, Fond de Lac, white earth, Leech lake, Grand Portage, Bois Forte) and Otto Bremer Foundation because tribes had never been included any of the other homelessness plans created by state, counties, cities or townships. $150,000--$25,000 per tribe to create their homelessness plans.
I had worked with the facilitator, she had done other facilitation for the bandI knew that decision would be challenged. And I knew that I should be part of the process to be able to bring my input from the state plan as a participant instead of facilitating it.Existing staff could not be assigned to facilitate because of the press of daily work and the large scope of the projectIchose to share my input from the state plan as a member of the process rather than facilitateImportant to show the team the geographical barriers—connectivity problems, service delivery problems
Knew it was important to start with buy in from key stakeholders—elected officials, elders, commissioners, directors of various programs, tribal police (see list). Get that group together for 2 day retreat to get buy in once we got the plan togetherProcess of getting legislators to meeting difficult, trying to coordinate the initial 2 day retreat –vs the old way of trying to herd cats. Winter is no joke. Asked that group who else needed to be at the table and then consultants started meeting. Don had been talking to stakeholders before the retreat for several months laying groundwork. Then consultant had to meet with stakeholders –individually and with some groups such as elder boards, the school board, the housing board
Once we started meeting we began to discover challenges, barriers and issues:One of the first things we identified, distance, and lackof transportation to housing, jobs and child care.Housing policies—the way lists worked ran counter to the traditional way our families clustered to live togetherTraditional values were not part of federal policies and did not serve us wellAlso had to overcome all the other obstacles that were created by allotment acts, VA, boarding schools,
Over 1,200 people were homeless or near-homeless (doubled up), with 98% of doubled up preferring to own home. “We used to be able to live with relatives, the traditional way, versus what’s going on today.” “After WWII, there were economic and education barriers. Indian vets didn’t get the GI Bill government housing. They were not allowed to use it.”“Sheriff’s burned Mille Lacs Band member’s homes in the 1950’s to force them off the land.”
5.10 Don Eubanks
The Mille Lacs Band Homelessness Planning Process <br />Donald Eubanks<br />Commissioner, Health & Human Services <br />
Funding<br />The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, the Otto Bremer Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Human Services funded the plan <br />The Band government taxes its business entities at 100%. Tax revenues enable us to provide programs and services which reduces the burden on other governments’ health care, human services, and education resources.<br />5<br />
Facilitation<br />Don Eubanks served on the State of Minnesota Task Force that created the first Business Plan to End Homelessness<br />Needed to have a good outside neutral facilitator to begin the planning process. <br />Orientating the facilitation team was critical<br />6<br />
Stakeholders<br />It was essential to start with buy-in from key stakeholders—elected officials, elders, commissioners, directors of various programs, tribal police<br />Don began talking to stakeholders for several months laying the groundwork before meetings began. <br />Consultant met with stakeholders –individually and with some groups such as elder boards, the school board, the housing board<br />7<br />
Meeting Design<br />Two-day Retreat October 27-28, 2010 <br />Retreat Follow-up Meeting November 15, 2010<br />Stakeholder Interviews November 2010<br />Work Group half-day Meeting November 29, 2010<br />Work Group half-day Meeting December 15, 2010<br />Work Group Meeting (2hrs) January 17, 2010 <br />Chippewa Tribe Technical Assistance Conference <br />January 25-26, 2011 <br />Work Group Editing Committee ½ day Meeting March 4, 2011<br />Work Group Editing Committee ½ day Meeting April 4, 2011<br />Final plan submitted to Editing Committee April 11, 2011 <br />Final plan reviewed by Editing Committee April 15, 2011 <br />Plan presented to The Band Assembly for approval April 19, 2011<br />8<br />
Challenges, Barriers & Issues<br />Distance & lack of transportation to housing, jobs and child care<br />Housing Policies—the way lists worked vs. traditional housing patterns<br />Traditional values not part of federal policies<br />Obstacles created by allotment acts, the Veterans Administration, boarding schools, urban relocation and exclusion from Federal Housing Authority(FHA 1934) and the GI Bill(1944)<br />9<br />
Challenges, Barriers & Issues<br />Tribal Government created silos which become barriers to effectively address homelessness<br />One of the major differences urban vs. rural, is “doubling-up”<br />Low employment rates-average household income less than 2/3 that of Minnesotans statewide ($29,377 compared to $47,111)<br />Shortage of affordable housing<br />Shortage of housing stock<br />10<br />
Ending Homelessness Mission Statement<br />The Mille Lacs Band’s government and Band members commit to provide communities that are safe, with affordable housing where all members are treated with care, dignity and respect.<br />11<br />
Ending Homelessness Vision Statement <br />All Mille Lacs Band members will have access to safe, stable place to call home and the independent means to take pride in and maintain that home. No one should experience homelessness and everyone should be able to acquire the education, life and work skills to become self-reliant.<br />12<br />
Ending Homelessness Values Statement<br />The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe commit to work collaboratively with the Ojibwe values of caring for others, sharing resources, and respecting traditions to reduce chronic homelessness and dependency. We will work together with honesty, respect, compassion and humility to provide safe homes, to instill dignity and pride in all living environments, and build trust through meaningful community involvement. We will operate with courage to support each other without judgment and to honor everyone’s contribution.<br />13<br />
7 Goals To End Homelessness<br />Provide a safe, affordable range of housing that is specific to individual and family needs and is culturally relevant.<br />Establish emergency shelters and services<br />Create and sustain effective policies and practices that promote accountability, coordination, equitable distribution of resources and consistent eligibility requirements, using the Homelessness Values Statement to assess congruence between policies and key cultural values<br />Improve communication between leaders and service providers as well as between departments and between services providers and Band members<br />Commitment by formal and informal decision makers<br />Develop, align, coordinate and interpret programs serving homeless persons<br />Create jobs to move Band members who are homeless or at risk for homelessness to permanent housing.<br />14<br />
Recommendations<br />Create a Homelessness Commission – to serve as a working group of senior decision makers appointed by the Chief Executive (including Health and Human Services, Administration, Housing and Education<br />Create a Homelessness Work Group – to continue the current work group add stakeholders to implement the plan and advise the Homelessness Commission<br />Hire a Full-Time Coordinator – to lead the Band’s efforts to end homelessness. The position would report to Housing and Health and Human Services and/or Administration<br />Hire an External Evaluator – to track the progress of the plan, help decision makers implement course corrections as needed and provide transparency to the Band. This would be a consultant, not a full-time person.<br />15<br />
Recommendations con’t.<br />Continue Longitudinal Data Collection – to continue providing longitudinal demographic information and comparison data with other tribes and statewide populations (partner with Wilder Research)<br />Create Communication & Public Education Plans – to educate Band members and others about this plan as well as effective prevention and interventions for persons experiencing homelessness<br />Finance the Plan – to provide necessary financial resources, submit grants to hire staff, build housing, create and maintain programs and other supports e.g. research, data gathering, education, training<br />16<br />
Contact Information<br />Donald R. Eubanks, Commissioner<br />Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe <br />Health and Human Services<br />43500 Migizi Drive<br />Onamia, MN 56359<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />320-532-4163 extension 2503<br />320-532-7495 (fax)<br />Web: millelacsband.com<br />17<br />