Native American Commission

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Native American Commission - November 8, 2017 Minutes

Regular Meeting:Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A regular meeting of the Board of Native American Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held at the City Commission Room at City Hall at 12:00 o’clock p.m., Wednesday, November 8, 2017.

The Native American Commissioners present or absent were as follows:

Present: John Strand, Rebecca Knutson, Maylynn Warne, Ruth Buffalo, Sharon White Bear, Francis Oak Grove, Clinton Alexander, and Willard Yellow Bird

Absent: Guy Fox and Lenore King

Item 1. Welcome and Introductions
Vice Chair White Bear welcomed Members to the meeting and introductions were made.

Item 2. Approval of Agenda and Minutes
Mr. Alexander moved to add a discussion of meeting times to the agenda. Mr. Strand moved to approve agenda as amended. Ms. Knutson seconded. All members affirmed aye and the motion passed.

Ms. Warne made a correction to last month’s minutes. She stated the City of Fargo did not officially celebrate acknowledge Columbus Day, but did adopt Indigenous Peoples Day. Ms. Knutson made a motion to approve minutes as updated. Ms. Warne seconded. All members affirmed aye and the motion passed.

Item 3. Public Art Master Plan Presentation: Brittany Rakowitz
Planning Director Nicole Crutchfield introduced new staff member Brittany Rakowitz. Ms. Crutchfield stated that she wanted to take this opportunity to introduce the work of the Arts and Culture Commission. She further stated that what is in the packet is an executive summary, but anyone wishing to view the full document could contact the Planning Department.

The Go 2030 Plan done in 2011 called to attention the need for more public art. Ms. Crutchfield stated that the goal of the Public Arts Master Plan is to have a city wide policy for public art and one of the roles is to be a networker for artists. Ms. Crutchfield defined public art as art that is accessible to everyone and can be funded with public or private money. The Public Arts Master Plan contains 10 goals including: 1. Continue developing current projects. 2. Build the capacity of the Arts and Culture Commission and the effectiveness of the Public Art Program. 3. Provide appropriate care and maintenance for City-owned public art. 4. Establish a clear, easily accessible process for artists. 5. Identify and secure permanent funding and support systems for public art. 6. Ensure that public art is citywide. 7. Pursue artistic excellence. 8. Cultivate partnerships. 9. Establish incentives for developers. 10. Focus on sites of opportunities in this plan. Ms. Crutchfield stated that the themes included in the Public Arts Master Plan include: 1. Embrace Winter and Seasonality. 2. Celebrate the River. 3. Water Appreciation. 4. Emerging Cultural Diversity. 5. The City on the Great Plains.

Mr. Alexander stated that he feels the art themes lacked representation of Indigenous cultures and suggested that might be an area to explore. Ms. Crutchfield agreed. Ms. White Bear stated that working at the hospital, visiting professionals have often asked her about Indigenous museums. She went to state that there is a need for such organizations and focusing on the Natives that were here would be good.

Maylynn Warne asked how the art is approved, how will they ensure art is representative of all diverse peoples in the community, and does the Arts and Culture Commission have members that are representative of the diverse community in Fargo? Ms. Crutchfield said that part of the plan is to expand the definition of art. The second part of the plan is helping to envision as a community what it can mean for Fargo. The third part of the plan is the “how to,” which will serve as a guiding policy on how to approve art, as it will often change based on project. The Arts and Culture Commission will also help oversee how things are approved to ensure it is fair and equitable. Ms. Crutchfield stated that the ordinance that established the Arts and Culture Commission requested representation from different parts of the City, as well as different areas of expertise. She further stated that the Arts and Culture Commission has worked with consultants to ensure best practices to ensure art is not offensive and not censored. Ms. Crutchfield stated that the Arts & Culture Commission could be more diverse, but the initial goal was to ensure the knowledge was captured.

Mr. Oakgrove asked what guidelines are established for accepting art and what is the process for feedback for artists regarding acceptance. Ms. Crutchfield stated that the Arts and Culture Commission are drafting those guidelines now.

Ms. Buffalo stated that the Arts and Culture Commission needs good representation, and suggested looking at existing structures, i.e. The Plains Arts Museum is doing great work showcasing Native American Culture. Ms. Buffalo asked if there is opportunity for collaboration or to be kept informed of the progress being made. Ms. Crutchfield stated that the Arts and Culture Commission is always looking for ways to collaborate. Ms. Buffalo asked the Arts and Culture Commission consider doing a tribute to Savannah Greywind, as she grew up in Fargo.

Mr. Alexander asked if the funding by self-initiated groups and/or does the Arts and Culture Commission have the ability to give funding to certain groups. Ms. Crutchfield stated the funding is somewhat limited and one of the goals is working on finding permanent funding. Mr. Alexander stated that the perhaps the Native American Commission could work with the Arts and Culture Commission to make some recommendations.

Ms. Buffalo asked Mr. Strand what his role is with the Arts & Culture Commission and if he can play an integral role in ensuring the Native American voice is represented at the table. Mr. Strand suggested that the Native American Commission get the word out about the Arts and Culture Commission, get folks to apply, let Mr. Strand know who is applying, and then lobby for appointment. He further suggested that we could explore adding members based on ex-officio status, so they can be brought to the table. Ms. White Bear asked Ms. Crutchfield to let Mr. Strand know if that would be a possibility.

Ms. White Bear asked how the Arts and Culture Commission will get the word out. Ms. Crutchfield stated that she will work with Mr. Yellow Bird and others to find the best ways to get an email out. Ms. White Bear suggested that the Arts and Culture commission connect with the United Tribes Powwow art shows and Historical Society. Mr. Oakgrove suggested that the Woodlands and High Plains Powwow which would be another good group to connect with to get the word out.

Mr. Alexander suggested checking with Audra Stonefish, as he and she have been working on art project that Steven Paul Judd helped them get started with, and she is looking for partnerships to take that forward.

Ms. Warne asked when the due date for public comment is. Ms. Crutchfield stated they are hoping to take the plan to the City Commission by December 14, so receiving comments by December 1 would be ideal. She also stated that the plan will be a living document, so comments can always be taken. Ms. Warne further inquired where the outreach document can be found. Ms. Crutchfield stated they have a website:

Ms. White Bear asked if there is a Native American member of the Arts and Culture Commission. Ms. Crutchfield said she was not aware of that.

Ms. Alexander suggested the Native American Commission draft a statement in response to support the Arts and Culture Commission’s Public Art plan and offering recommendations important to the Native American Commission. Ms. Warne suggested the ex-officio member be part of the recommendation. Mr. Strand asked Ms. Crutchfield to put the ex-officio position on a future agenda of the Arts and Culture Commission. Ms. Crutchfield agreed.

Item 4. Committee Updates & Announcements
Indigenous Peoples Day Update: Ms. Warne stated the Education committee that helped develop activities is in the evaluation/closing phase. Next meeting in a few weeks.

Parent Indian Education: Ms. Warne stated the next meeting is Monday, November 13 at 6 p.m. at the Agassiz building, doing ongoing work with Fargo/West Fargo Indian Education program.

Finance: Mr. Alexander stated that we are getting down to the end of the year and that he believes the Native American Commission has done a great job of adjusting where needed. He further stated the need to work with Mr. Yellow Bird in regards to administrative balances on contract services and administration for meeting supplies. He stated that he believes committees with extra money in their budgets have the ability to apply it to the mini powwow at the end of the year. Mr. Yellow Bird stated his agreement and that the Native American Commission has approximately $1100 left in the account with a few bills coming in from the Native American Heritage month and sweat lodge service. Mr. Alexander stated that he believes the budget is on track.

Health and Wellness Committee: Mr. Alexander stated that the committee will be meeting the next week or so to talk about some of the next steps with Community Health Needs Assessment. He pointed out that American Indian health needs are often not included in the public health assessment. He stated that Ms. Warne and he are meeting with representatives from Essentia and Sanford Health who are charged with collecting this data for ACA and IRS. They worked on making a request to include an addendum included in the public health survey to talk about the special needs of American Indians. They have asked to do over sampling as part of the IRB to ensure the compatibility of survey results. They also drafted questions specific to addressing the needs of American Indians and were able to get them included in the IRB.

Ms. Warne asked for the link to the survey. Mr. Alexander stated he would send the link to the Native American Commission members to go through. He stated that the questions are not live, but he went through them a few times, and they were easy understandable.

Mr. Alexander finished his practicum as part of the Community Health and Wellness support. He stated that he drafted a social justice public health statement that he will find tune with the public health director, Dr. Warne. Mr. Alexander stated he would share the document with the Native American Commission.

Native STAND: Mr. Alexander stated that he is working with Vanessa Tibbets at the Native American Public Health Resource Center. Ms. Tibbets and Mr. Alexander did an introduction to the Native STAND curriculum, which is an evidence-based intervention for making healthy decisions. They will do it as a curriculum and working on drafting registration information and consent forms.

Mr. Knutson stated she did attend some of the activities at the Fargo Public Library for Native American Education Week and hopes to go the movie tonight.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force: Ms. Buffalo stated that the task force had a meeting with the Mayor. She stated that they are working on refining the goal of the task force, brainstorming who are the community stakeholders, and getting the letter to the Mayor.

Item 5. Old Business
Ms. Knutson asked if the letter of support to United Tribes was sent out. Ms. White Bear stated she believed Ms. Buffalo had a good letter that could be finalized, however it has not yet been sent out. Ms. Knutson suggested that the Native American Commission receive a copy of the letter for the next meeting.

Ms. Knutson asked if the Native American Commission had found people to attend the sessions in Grand Forks. Ms. White Bear stated that no decisions were made and asked if anyone is interested is attending. Ms. Buffalo suggested that a member of the Indian Ed parent committee be invited to attend. Ms. Warne stated that Ms. Snyder (in the audience) could put it on the next agenda. Ms. White Bear stated she’s willing to attend the session on December 15.

Ms. White Bear asked Mr. Yellow Bird about the presentation Dan Mahli was scheduled to give in October. Mr. Yellow Bird stated that the City of Fargo has not made any decision regarding Mr. Yellow Bird’s position.

Ms. Warne moved that the description of the role of City Liaison to the Native American Commission be handled by the Executive Committee. Mr. Oakgrove seconded. All members affirmed aye and the motion passed.

Ms. Buffalo asked what the turnaround time is for getting the description to the City of Fargo. Mr. Yellow Bird stated that Mr. Mahli is done at the end of November, and Mr. Yellow Bird is done December 21. Mr. Yellow Bird suggested it be done next week.

Item 6. New Business
Ms. Knutson moved that the Native American Commission provide up to $200 in registration fees for the conferences on November 15-16, providing the opportunity for two people to attend, plus the mileage there and back, based on the formula the City of Fargo uses. Ms. Warne seconded. All members affirmed aye and the motion passed.

Mr. Yellow Bird stated that he could pay the registration fees online if he knows who is attending, and then folks would need to fill out the City of Fargo’s mileage form. Ms. White Bear stated that it would be her and Chalsey Snyder attending and they would bring back a presentation.

Item 7. Meeting Times
Mr. Alexander stated that previously in the year there was discussion around moving the dates of the meetings, possibly going to full commission meetings every other month, and doing work via the committees. Mr. Alexander further stated he recognizes that people are very busy, feels that afternoons are more conducive, and reminded the Native American Commission that during the strategic planning session, the committees were going to be the next evolution regarding how the Native American Commission moves and becomes more structured around committee work.

Mr. Strand stated that Wednesdays are awful for him, he likes the idea of noon meetings, and sometime in the third week of the month would be ideal for him. He also stated that going to every other month and bolstering the committees is fine with him.

Ms. Knutson reminded the members that folks are able to call in to meetings. She further stated that she is fine to adjust the schedule.

Ms. Warne stated that an afternoon meeting is more conducive to her personal schedule, but she would continue to try to be flexible. She stated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays work best for her.

Mr. Alexander asked for clarification if there is a quorum at a committee meeting if the committee would be required to bring an item back to the full commission. Ms. White Bear agreed that she would find that out and discuss at the next meeting. Ms. Warne stated that the votes need to be recorded and then the minutes are shared as an update to the whole commission, so all committees should have an official secretary. Mr. Alexander stated that the Executive Committee can decide what the policies are for officially recording votes.

Ms. Buffalo requested a copy of the strategic plan. Mr. Alexander said he would have a copy for the next meeting, along with his practicum.

Ms. Knutson stated that any committee with a quorum needs public notice for school board and any votes are recorded and brought back as an update. Mr. Alexander stated that public notice is a two day notice with a written agenda sent out through Mr. Yellow Bird.

Ms. Buffalo requested a copy of the rules and bylaws. Mr. Alexander stated that the Executive Committee can bring that to the December meeting for the new members.

Mr. Yellow Bird stated that new officers needed to be elected soon. Mr. Alexander pointed out that Ms. White Bear will become the Chair at the December meeting and Vice President and Treasurer will be elected by nomination.

Item 8. Public Comment
Chalsey Snyder, Vice President of the Indian Ed Parent Committee stated the need for Native American mentors. She requested that the Native American Commission send her contact information for anyone who might be interested in mentoring. Ms. Warne asked if mentors will receive official training and if the mentoring program is an evidence-based program. Ms. Snyder stated that the reason she is going through the Boys and Girls Club is because the program is evidence-based and Native-based. She further stated that training is mandatory and Native-based. Ms. Snyder agreed to send all information to the Native American Commission.

Ms. Snyder asked if there is a comprehensive contact list for Native American services. Mr. Alexander stated that we have FM Smoke Signals and the Native American Commission is reviewing the way they utilize it. He further stated that some of the lists are already populated.

Ms. Snyder asked for an update of need for the Native Center. Mr. Alexander stated that it is back to project status as they are looking for a new structure, more volunteers, more partners, etc.

Ms. Snyder stated that she is looking for a Thanksgiving speaker for her daughter’s second grade class and/or ideas for curriculum. She further requested the Indian Education Parent Committee’s role as part of the education board, goals, and minutes. She further asked if there is an office supply fund available for the Indian Ed parent committee.

Ms. Snyder thanked Ms. Warne for all her work with the Indian Education Parent Committee and asked if she could be officially recognized. Ms. White Bear said that is something the Native American Commission can do.

Item 9. August Goals
Ms. Buffalo stated that the Native American Commission’s Facebook page is ready to go live. Mr. Yellow Bird agreed to set up the final meeting with the City of Fargo.

Item 10. Adjourn
The next Native American Commission Meeting will be held December 7.