WADENA -- The annual meeting of the Wadena Historical and Environmental Learning Project will be 1 p.m. Sunday at T. Maxwell's Restaurant in Staples.
Bob Zosel, longtime Wadena County resident, businessman and historian, will be honored with the second annual Founders Award given each year to a citizen who has made extraordinary achievement in teaching, understanding and preserving the history and environment of the region. Last year's inaugural award went to Carl Peltoneimi.
Featured speaker will be American Indian writer and educator Larry P. Aitken, who will speak about the culture and language of his people, the Leech Lake Ojibwe. Aitken teaches Ojibwe language and culture at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, and lives with his wife and three children in Cass Lake.
He has been active in Indian education all of his life, including teaching at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and founding the Leech Lake Tribal College in Cass Lake. He is the author of several books, most recently three children's books about Ojibwe culture and language, which are illustrated by his eldest daughters, Athena and Ann.
Admission is free.
Leech Lake Gaming receives Minnesota Literacy Award
CASS LAKE -- Leech Lake Gaming received the Minnesota Literacy Council's Community Partnership Award, the first American Indian casino in the nation to earn the honor.
The tribe's adult education programs offer the 1,200 employees at Leech Lake's Northern Lights Casino & Hotel, Palace Casino & Hotel and White Oak Casino various programs to further their education and enhance their life skills.
The Leech Lake Gaming Training Department has implemented a General Education Development program that helps employees develop basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. To date, more than 60 team members have earned their GED diploma through the program. All employees are assessed and then offered enrollment in the program, which is held during their shift, allowing participants to receive their regular hourly wage while attending. Anyone who successfully completes the GED program receives a monetary bonus.
Leech Lake Gaming also has the Succession Program, a two-year mid-level management program offered by the Training Department. Participants learn management and communication skills in addition to improving math and writing skills. Leech Lake Gaming will use graduates from this program to fill future mid-management positions at all three casinos.
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe makes donations
ONAMIA -- The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe donated nearly $30,000 to organizations in March, including $10,000 to the American Diabetes Association and $2,500 to the League of Women Voters Minnesota Education Fund.
Every month, the band contributes to a variety of community-based organizations in Minnesota and beyond.
The Mille Lacs Band's other donations in March included Aitkin High School Class of 2005, McGregor Food Shelf, Crosby-Ironton High School Class of 2005, Crow Wing County Foster Care Association, Onamia Civic Booster Scholarship, Onamia Elementary School Library, Onamia High School's Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center trip, Voices of Unity on Mille Lacs and the Staples-Motley High School Class of 2005.
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