Northland State Employees Take Tribal Relations Training

In the future UMD wants to visit Red Lake and Grand Portage for more training.

Two thousand Northland employees are better equipped to handle tribal relations after taking a special training course.

In just a day and a half state employees from more than 20 agencies learned about building better relationships with Native Americans and the tribal government.

The training is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota Duluth Continuing Education, Department of American Indian Studies and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“It’s an opportunity for state agency employees to interact with tribal staff, to have an opportunity to ask questions to tribal leaders and to hear from tribal leaders; that’s an important piece in the program,” said Roxanne Richards. “They also get an opportunity to talk with or interact with their tribal liaisons.”

Minnesota has 11 sovereign tribal nations. There are different laws for tribal nations. The laws of states don’t apply on reservations.

“They found that they can not only avoid conflicts by going to this training and maybe some lawsuits, but also do constructive things together,” said American Indian Studies Professor Tadd Johnson. “Tribal governments and state governments can work together for the betterment of the entire community and that’s what we’re trying to achieve in this training.”

The training happens at tribal locations throughout out the state and the tribal state relations program received a state government innovation award in 2016.

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