“Tiny home communities” for the homeless, better school security at the Circle of Life Academy, and enhanced health and drug prevention programs are among action items passed by the White Earth Tribal Council at its regular meeting Dec. 20, and at a special meeting Dec. 23. Here is a summary from the tribal public relations office:

‘Tiny homes’ for the homeless

The Tribal Council continues its work to battle homelessness on the reservation, passing a resolution approving $250,000 to develop and build tiny home communities. Through a partnership with the White Earth Tribal and Community College, the White Earth Workforce Development Center and White Earth Builders, the Tiny Homes initiative will begin work in the first quarter of 2020.

Workforce Center gets $460,000 grant

The Tribal Council approved a $460,000 grant award for Minnesota Family Investment Program employment services to the Maadaadizi Workforce Center. Services are designed to increase financial independence and work towards self-sufficiency for White Earth members.

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Circle of Life Academy

In order to ensure the highest level of safety for students, staff and visitors, the Tribal Council will spend $400,000 to repair and rebuild aging infrastructure at Circle of Life Academy.

Outdated video surveillance systems will be replaced, metal detectors will be added, the entire facility will be re-keyed, and a new key fob entry system will be installed. Other action will include the replacement and rebuilding of the educational technology classroom to enhance student experience and academic growth.

Investing in the community councils

The council also reaffirmed its support and providing funds to community councils across the reservation and urban areas. The grassroots community councils maintain direct relations with the Tribal Council on the needs and concerns of their communities. The tribe is providing $5,000 to assist each community council with expenses -- including local councils in White Earth Village, Pine Point, Naytahwaush, Rice Lake, Callaway, Mahnomen, Waubun, Elbow Lake, Cass Lake, the Iron Range and Urban Community Councils.

Tribal and community college partnership

In ongoing efforts to empower students of the White Earth Tribal and Community College, tribal programs and entities will now provide “on the job” training to tribal college students. This partnership invests in students getting hands-on training at a college level to become part of the workforce across the reservation.

Free firewood for spirit fires

To help tribal members during their time of need due to the passing of loved ones, free firewood will be provided for Spirit Fire ceremonies. Firewood will be purchased and distributed by the White Earth Forestry program while supplies last.

Public Health gets a $2.4 million grant

The White Earth Health Division will implement a $2.4 million grant to continue their commitment to the health and welfare of enrolled members. The Substance Abuse Prevention Framework-Partnership for Success grant will help the White Earth Public Health division address the importance of prevention infrastructure enhancement and substance abuse prevention with youth and caregivers across the reservation.

A $50,000 grant to prevent substance abuse

The council also passed a resolution authorizing the White Earth Public Health Division to apply for the Saving Lives Project grant, which will aid in the council's continued efforts to reduce and prevent chronic substance abuse amongst tribal members. Grant awards will be made by Jan. 15.

$84,000 for early HIV intervention

The Tribal Council authorized an $84,000 award to develop, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate an outreach and early intervention services program to reduce the risk of HIV transmission on the White Earth Reservation. The grant also allows the White Earth Integration Program to provide outreach services within reservation communities to provide care for individuals testing positive for HIV.

Harm Reduction Summit returns in 2020

The council met with White Earth Health Integration Manager Clinton Alexander to finalize and approve details of the 9th annual Harm Reduction Summit in 2020. The annual Harm Reduction Summit provides an opportunity for health, social service providers and community members to focus on the problems of Hepatitis C, HIV and drug use in Tribal communities.

Indian Child Welfare grant

In ongoing efforts to maintain exemplary service to White Earth’s youth, The council approved a $97,000 state grant to help pay for mental health screenings, diagnostic assessments and treatment for children within the White Earth Indian Child Welfare system for 2020.