Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.
He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.
- Member for
- 2 years 5 months
RED LAKE—In a packed room in the Seven Clans Casino at Red Lake Nation, tribal leaders talked about problems facing the band—and plans in the works to improve members' lives. Like the drug epidemic that's "inundated" the Ojibwe band's court system and prompted tribal leaders in 2017 to adopt a protocol to banish drug dealers. Chairman Darrell Seki, Sr., said it's difficult to banish a tribal member. "But it needs to be done because they're poisoning you," he said. Or children who only get regular meals at school or at the Boys and Girls Club there.
LEECH LAKE—Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School leaders met Friday with U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., to talk about the band and tribal school's concerns and ambitions as Congress gears up for another round of budget battles like the one that resulted in the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history. Minnesota's junior senator and a few employees toured the tribal school, where they spoke with higher-level administrators about student homelessness, funding concerns and more, according to Principal Michael Underwood.
BEMIDJI—What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be an American Indian man? How do you overcome personal or historical traumas? Those are the sort of weighty questions more than 100 American Indian men have pondered this week at an Indigenous Men's Summit in Bemidji.
BEMIDJI—Recipes for jello cake and corn soup are two of Dee Roberts' favorites. The Voyageurs Expeditionary School junior and 11 other students in the school's book club have handed out more than 100 cookbooks filled with homemade favorites at Bemidji-area grocery stores this week. They hope to run out of their supply of 250 by the weekend.
BEMIDJI—A Minnesota Ojibwe band has codified a piece of its culture, which could strengthen a potential challenge to a controversial oil pipeline project. White Earth Nation leaders unanimously approved in late December a new ordinance granting legal rights to manoomin—"wild rice"—which is a traditional staple of Ojibwe spirituality and diets. Manoomin itself, the ordinance reads, has inherent rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve, as well as rights to pure water and a healthy environment that's unaffected by climate change and human emissions.
BEMIDJI—Consolidated courses and an uptick in enrollment means three new employees at Northwest Technical College. Tyler Peterson, a Bemidji State University graduate, will head the college's Student Success Center; Tia Miles, another BSU alum with a master's degree from Mankato State University, is a new admissions representative; and Sarah Behrens, a doctorate student at St. Cloud State University with bachelor's and a master's degrees from schools in Colorado, will coordinate school and industry partnerships.
BEMIDJI—More than 100 people are expected to march Thursday to draw attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and people across the U.S. and Canada. The annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Peoples March is scheduled for Valentine's Day morning in a host of North American cities, including Bemidji. Marchers here are set to head along Bemidji Avenue from the Northwest Indian Community Development Center to the Beaux Arts Ballroom at Bemidji State University for prayers, honor songs and a jingle dress healing dance.
BEMIDJI—Payton Erickson was 16 when he first tried a vaporizer. He switched to cigarettes for a year or two, then went back to vaping midway through his senior year of high school, he said. Erickson, now 19 and a recent Bemidji High School graduate, said he grew to hate cigarettes: the burn, the taste, the stigma, and the smell that lingered on his clothes. Vaping is cheaper, simpler, and gives him the same nicotine buzz, Erickson said.
RED LAKE—U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., who serves on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, is scheduled to attend Red Lake Nation's State of the Band Address later this month. Darrell Seki, Sr., the band's chairman, is scheduled to deliver the annual address at 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at the Seven Clans Casino Event Center. All are welcome to attend the address, band staff said. Here's the agenda: • Flag song • Honor Guard and Red Lake Nation Royalty • Welcome and State of the Band Address
REDBY—Deb Glynn first started working at Redby's One Stop when she was a child, and, she said, reluctantly so. Now, decades later, she and boyfriend Doug Montgomery own the shop with Glynn's mom, Judy Lussier, and, this week, they're celebrating 50 years in business. Lussier, then in her early 20s, and her now-ex husband moved from California to open the business, she said. They split up, and her children—plus generation after generation of teenagers—started working there to pick up the slack.