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 9 months
BEMIDJI—AmeriCorps VISTA workers are worried about the future of their program in Bemidji and beyond on two fronts.
LEECH LAKE—Spencer Whitefeather jolted the crowd to attention. The boisterous U.S. Marine veteran was one of several speakers who celebrated on Thursday a new cemetery for tribal veterans in Leech Lake, but he was easily the most charged-up about the yearslong project. "To see it come to fruition today—hoo-rah!" Whitefeather, whose father was wounded in the D-Day landings in Normandy exactly 75 years prior, belted to a crowd of about 150 people. "Leech Lake veterans, Leech Lake people: be proud of this, because I am."
RED LAKE—Jalen Kelly is multifaceted. He's Red Lake High School's valedictorian who'll take his 3.7 GPA to Minnesota State University Moorhead to study, at least for the moment, biology. But the 18-year-old is also a multi-position football star and basketball player for the Warriors. "I'm a pretty mixed dude, I can be a jock if I want. I can be a nerd, too, every now and then," Kelly, wearing a Dragonball Z T-shirt, said. "I like to get jiggy with some anime." Biology comes easily to Kelly, he said, and it's a subject that's long held his interest.
CASS LAKE—Jared Brown has been playing basketball since he was five years old, and he's set to take his game—and his studies—to the next level. The 18-year-old all-conference guard is set to be one of 70-75 students who'll graduate Friday from Cass Lake-Bena High School. Brown, a Red Lake Nation member, plans to complete his generals at Leech Lake Tribal College, where he'll also play basketball, and, after that, he plans to head to a four-year school to earn a degree in sports management.
BEMIDJI—Cam Eberline wants to be a champion for children. After she graduates from Voyageurs Expeditionary School on Friday, the 17-year-old is set to head to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to study for a social work degree. Then, she thinks, move to Chicago to earn a master's and become a guardian ad litem—a court-appointed advocate for children caught up in cases of abuse, neglect, and other legal proceedings.
ST. PAUL—A group of tribal, health, advocacy and law enforcement leaders are set to study why so many Indigenous women are murdered or go missing. An omnibus public safety bill presented to Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday would set aside $150,000 over the next two years to create a task force on missing and murdered Indigenous women. The task force will study systemic causes behind the disproportionately large amount of violence Indigenous women and girls face, appropriate ways to track and collect data about that violence, plus ways to address and reduce it, among other measures.
BEMIDJI—Joseph Benjamin Campbell passed away Aug. 24, 2017. He was one of dozens of people honored Monday at another kind of Memorial Day march—one for those lost to addiction, which Campbell reportedly struggled with before his death. "He went to treatment, and he got out and he was really happy to be sober," said Michael Fasthorse, Campbell's cousin and a founder of Sober Squad Bemidjigamaag, an activity-based recovery group whose members organized the march. "But he relapsed and he died. It took his life."
BEMIDJI — A new scholarship at Bemidji State University could pave the way to a new major there. The Bezhigoogahbow Ojibwemowin Scholarship is named after Larry P. Aitken, a trailblazing American Indian educator who passed away in October 2018, and it will pay one student $1,000 each year while they study the Ojibwe language, “follow”ing them as they advance through the university. Money for the new scholarship comes from an anonymous $26,000 donation to the school’s nonprofit fundraising arm that was finalized on Friday.
BEMIDJI—Rumer Flatness is very good at basketball—the do-it-all guard scored her 1,000th point as a sophomore, and is near the top of Bemidji High School's all-time leaderboard in points, rebounds and assists.
BEMIDJI—Lily Walker wants to be a doctor of psychology. She's one of about 24 students set to graduate Friday from TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School, a grades 6-12 charter school on Paul Bunyan Drive in Bemidji. Walker is a National Honor Society member, writes "positivity articles" for the school's newspaper, and regularly meets other members of a "girl's group" there to talk about body image issues, stress management and dealing with hostile or aggressive men. Walker said she's only received about two B grades at Trek—the rest are As.