Red Lake Celebrates Elders & Breaks Ground On Four Projects
Today will go down in history for Red Lake Nation. Not only did they kick off their 8th annual Elders Summit, they also started four big projects.
“We anticipate a nine-month construction schedule and we’re looking forward to, again, improving the health safety and welfare of the citizens of Red Lake with these four facilities,” says Erik Wedge, the architect for the four projects.
Each of the four buildings will provide a much needed service to the reservation. The new Red Lake Chemical Dependency Center will provide help to tribal members with alcohol or drug addiction problems. It will also provide education and work on developing addiction prevention techniques.
“The treatment center that we have here today has been a long time coming because we were basically using old residents houses, and we’ve added new additions on to them but overtime, they’ve just taken a lot of abuse,” says Darwin Sumner, appointed tribal secretary for Red Lake.
Both Red Lake and Ponemah will also each be getting a new fire department.
“They have, for their safety, a new fire department. Their buildings are old and they’ll have new buildings and they’re going to get some fire trucks in the near future,” says Kathy Luepke, an area specialist with USDA Rural Development.
Roman Stately Jr., district representative for Red Lake, adds about the new fire departments, “They’ll have a lot more room and probably a lot more employees.”
The next new building being added to Red Lake is a new dialysis center that will be constructed as an additional part to the Red Lake Hospital.
“A dialysis center is needed, so – a lot of our dialysis patients go off the reservation and they can do their process back here on our reservation,” says Red Lake Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki, Sr.
Before each of the groundbreakings happened in Red Lake and Ponemah, Red Lake paid thanks to their elders with their annual Elders Gathering that was held at the Seven Clans Casino.
“The Indian word for is Gigichi-aya. That translates into someone who has done great things and lived a long time, and we revere these elders,” says David Manuel, foods coordinator for Red Lake nation.
An elder in Red Lake is described as anyone who is 55 and up. For this summit, the main goal is to let the elders know they are appreciated and inform them about everything going on with the reservation. The Elders Conference will go on until tomorrow. Then, the reservation will switch gears to a youth conference that starts Wednesday. Overall, with an action-packed day like this one, Chairman Seki, Sr. says Red Lake’s future is looking bright.
Seki, Sr. says, “These are needed for our people here in the reservation and also will create jobs for them.”
The four groundbreakings in Red Lake and Ponemah have been in the planning stages for the past three years.