Native American Commission

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Native American Commission - May 4, 2017 Minutes

Regular Meeting: Thursday: May 4, 2017

The Regular Meeting of the Board of Native American Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the City Commission Room at City Hall at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017.

The Native American Commissioners present or absent were as follows:

Present: Connie Longie, Rebecca Knutson, Guy Fox, Sharon White Bear, Lenore King

Absent: John Strand, Clinton Alexander, Maylynn Warne

Also Present: Willard YellowBird, Vince Kempf

Item 1. Welcome and Introductions
Chair Fox welcomed Members to the meeting and introductions were made.

Item 2. Approval of Agenda and Minutes
A quorum was reached and in review of the minutes, Ms. White Bear made a motion to change spelling of Jared Pign’s name on page 3. Rebecca Knutson seconded a move to approve as revised. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Item 3. Committee Updates & Announcements
Health and Wellness Committee – Ms. White Bear presented updates from the Health and Wellness Committee’s most recent meeting.
• Mr. Alexander provided the committee with a new agenda layout that he’d like to use for all meetings going forward.
• Ms. White Bear has been in contact with the Fargo Marathon in regards to where the Native American Commission’s spot will be. Mr. Fox stated that the Native Center will get food and there will be grilling. Mr. Yellow Bird stated that there will be three drums groups and all three will need canopies. Mr. Fox agreed to take the lead on the drum groups, pointing out two of the groups are sponsored by the Native American Commission and one is sponsored by the Native Center. Ms. King stated that Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate donate 50lbs of bison, which will be mixed up the night before. Ms. White Bear stated that other potluck items are welcome and that she’d be there early to make coffee. Ms. White Bear commits to tracking down the location and disseminating it. People should plan to be at the site at 6:30/7am to be set up for the first runners.
• The Round Dance on New Year’s Day will be held at the Civic Center.
• One of the Health and Wellness Committee’s goals is to have a health fair, and they hope to coordinate with Sanford and Essentia. They will check with Carl Ben regarding using their lunch area to host the fair.
• The community picnic will be held at Oak Grove on August 26th. NAC will be hosting activities. The Health and Wellness Committee will be contacting Jared Pign to see if NDSU Bridge students would be willing to help. Mr. Yellow Bird stated that the prices for the bouncy house rental has gone up – this year it will be about $200.
• Health and Wellness Committee is interested in getting some community dialogue started with city leadership regarding health disparities.
• The Health and Wellness Committee is working on organizing the curriculum for the cultural competency training and figuring out who should all receive the course.
o Mr. Kempf recommended developing a list of goals and working together to develop the curriculum, as he will most likely be teaching the class. He recommended breaking the curriculum into three parts, which would mean people get a new training once per year for three years.
o Ms. White Bear updated on the practicum Mr. Alexander is creating for his MPH program. Ms. White Bear requested Mr. Kempf poll the officers for what their expectations from this curriculum. Mr. Kempf agreed.
o Mr. Fox asked Mr. Kempf to meet before the June meeting to decide who the players would be in developing the curriculum and Mr. Kempf agreed. Ms. White Bear agreed to reach out to Mr. Alexander and coordinate the meeting.
o Mr. Yellow Bird stated that the City of Fargo plans to add the Cultural Competency Training their new employee orientation, as well.
• The Health and Wellness Committee talked about developing a public relations campaign that reaches out into the community for volunteer participation amongst the committees and events, i.e. Indigenous Peoples Day

Sweat Lodge Committee – Mr. Fox gave updates for this committee.
• The Sweat Lodge Facebook site has about 400 followers. Discussion regarding being mindful about the public relations/image that site presents is important. The Sweat Lodge Committee members are unclear who the administrator of that page is. The Sweat Lodge Committee has set a goal to use the site to announce dates/times of scheduled sweats and clean up the comments.
• Dumpster and porta potties need regular cleaning. Scheduled monthly pick up is sometimes impossible due to mud. Resettlement of the Sweat Lodge is perhaps five years out with fundraising, so solving the mud problem is a priority. Mr. Fox met with Joe Little from Fargo Parks to discuss ways the NAC can work with their board to find a location -- using the NAC’s money, donations, and resources to create a Native theme park that also has a sweat lodge on it. Mr. Little agreed to talk to his board about the idea.
• At the next meeting, the Sweat Lodge Committee intends to review the rules/policies for and the sponsorship of a sweat and create an explanation that can be shared with the community. The Sweat Lodge Committee is interested in creating an advisory committee of elected persons who would take reservations, update social media, and work with Mr. Yellow Bird. NAC would remain the point of contact, collaborate with the police department and fire department, schedule emergency sweats, and ensure city ordinances are being maintained.
• Goals of the Sweat Committee include: Find out what is happening with Cultural Competency training, review rules for regular and emergency sweats, designate who has the authority to sponsor the sweats/pour the water, create advisory committee to streamline the reservation process.
• Mr. Yellow Bird stated he believes Lisa started the Facebook page and might still be the administrator. He also stated that he talked with the City regarding the dumpster and they’d be out tomorrow and the porta potty company would have someone out there this evening or tomorrow. Mr. Fox stated that someone has been stealing the wood.

Item 4. Rachel Aselson – The Fargo Project
Ms. Asleon gave some brief background on the Fargo Project, including that the Native American Commission helped selected their site, Rabanus Park. She stated that they are looking for partners to help create a summer series, called The Big Experiment. Specifically they are looking for groups that have been partners in the past. They have identified ten Sunday afternoons between June 11 and August 21 to invite these partners to host an event at the site between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The event should be free and open to the public to encourage the neighbors surrounding the site to interact with the partnering groups. They offer an incentive -- $1,000 to cover event expenses, plus an additional $1,000 as a thank you for participating. She requested the Native American Commission choose a Sunday afternoon and host an event. Their measure of success is getting people from the neighborhood to attend the events. Ms. Knutson asked what other groups will be participating and which Sundays are already booked. Ms. Aselson stated that River Keepers, New American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment, Plains Art Museum, Buzz Lab, and they are hoping to get grazers in the space one Sunday through the Audobon Society, but didn’t have the dates on hand. NAC assigned picking a Sunday and working on the event to the public relations committee. Ms. White Bear agreed to coordinate with the public relations committee to pick out a date and get back to Ms. Aselson.

Item 5. Scott Satermo – Crossroads Powwow
Crossroads Powwow started last year and is an international event. It was rated #5 in the nation last year, which was its first year. Mr. Satermo expects the numbers of participants to double this year, to reach a goal of 8,000-10,000 people in attendance. Mr. Satermo stated that the budget for Crossroads is about $116,000 and they have raised about $80,000 – mostly from Fargo-Moorhead. Last year, they raised about $19,000 at the door with vendor fees and admission fees. Mr. Fox requested Mr. Satermo talk about the cultural experience. Mr. Satermo talked about strong reservation families, but noted how fragmented the Native American family is in this urban environment. Mr. Satermo talked about how hosting a big event like the Crossroads Powwow will build that family for the Native American community in Fargo-Moorhead and will also help build up the image of the Native community in the broader community. He also talked about how growing this event, helps grow all other events and facilitates bigger partnerships. Mr. Satermo stated they need about $40,000 to be fully funded. Mr. Fox asked the NAC to reach out to community members and ask them to donate to fund this event. Ms. Knutson asked where people who want to donate can go. Mr. Satermo stated they can go to the facebook page, their Go Fund Me ( or send a check to:
FM Crossroads
PO Box 715
West Fargo, ND 58078.

Mr. Fox stated that the NAC Executive Committee met to discuss reallocating previously committed money to further support Crossroads Powwow. They thought money from the Round Dance, Indigenous Peoples Day (Indigenous People will have an opportunity to talk at the powwow), the Sweat Lodge, and Health and Wellness Committee could be reallocated to support Crossroads Powwow, for a total of $9200. A motion to move the $9200 to supporting the powwow fund from the reallocation of funds, so that we can be of service to the community and the powwow that is going to grow and prove to be very important for all of our people was made by Connie Longie. A second was made my Ms. Knutson. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Mr. Fox requested Mr. Satermo’s help recruiting three drum groups for the Fargo Marathon. Mr. Satermo agreed. Mr. Fox also noted that in lieu of the reallocation of funds from the Round Dance fund, Mr. Fox and Mr. Satermo would be spearheading the Round Dance this year at the Civic Center.

Item 6. Unfinished Business
Sweat Lodge Incident and working with the City -- Mr. Fox stated that this is ongoing and is related to the Cultural Competency.

Item 7. New Business
Ms. Knutson stated that she’s been attending planning meetings for Native American Awareness Week in early November, which would include events throughout the week such as, documentaries, crafting, speakers, etc. Ms. Knutson stated that the planning committee would like to report out to the NAC to ensure they are planning appropriately. Ms. Knutson stated that the planning committee requests funding from NAC. Ms. White Bear stated that the NAC recommended the planning committee reach out the universities for their support. Mr. Fox stated that he’d send an email to Mr. Alexander to see if there’s any funding available.

Mr. Fox reiterated the goals for June meeting:
• Identify the players for Cultural Competency
• Pick a Sunday with the Fargo Project
• Organize at the Fargo Marathon
• Follow up with an email to the finance committee regarding Native American Awareness week planning committee.

Item 8. Public Comment
No public comment.

Item 9. Adjourn
Ms. Knutson moved the meeting be adjourned. Second by Ms. White Bear. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.