Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/15

Dear Friends,

November is Native American Heritage Month. The 7th District has a strong presence of tribal nations, including White Earth, Red Lake, The Upper Sioux Indian Community and The Lower Sioux Indian Community. This week, White Earth Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor presented me with a flag from the White Earth Nation. I had the honor to welcome Redwood County Veterans Service Officer Marty Caraway to my office to discuss how we can better serve veterans throughout the district. The VA recently announced that they will be offering a Dental Insurance Plan for all eligible Veterans beginning November 15th, and more information can be found below. Finally, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and I are continuing our focus to complete funding for the Roseau Flood Control Project.


Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

White Earth Tribal Nation

Ron Valiant (Fmr. Exec. Dir.) and White Earth Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor

Chairwoman Vizenor presented me with a Tribal Nation flag that is now on display in my Washington, D.C. office. White Earth Reservation is located in Becker, Clearwater, and Mahnomen counties in north-central Minnesota. Created in 1867 by a treaty between the United States and the Mississippi Band of Chippewa Indians, it is one of seven Chippewa reservations in Minnesota. I proudly represent the White Earth Nation and all other sovereign nations located in the Seventh District.

National Native American Heritage Month

In 1990 President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution from Congress designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” With Thanksgiving approaching it is important to recognize the significant contributions that the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States. Similar proclamations, under various names including "Native American Heritage Month" and "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month," have been issued each year since 1994.

The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. is only a few blocks away from my Washington office. The museum has one of the world’s largest and diverse collections with approximately 825,000 items representing 12,000 years of history of indigenous cultures throughout America. Tribes from all over the Western Hemisphere have contributed to the landscaping around the museum and the exhibitions within giving visitors a sense of the spirit of Native America. Admission to the museum is free, and is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (closed on December 25th.)

Click here to visit the website for the American Indian Museum.

Each of the tribes in the 7th District has a rich cultural history that preserves their indigenous roots throughout Minnesota.

Red Lake Nation is located in Beltrami and Clearwater Counties in heavily wooded lands in northern Minnesota. Red Lake Band of Ojibwe has established a tribal holiday to recognize the “Old Crossing Treaty Day” on October 2nd of every year. This day commemorates the treaty where the Red Lake Band ceded 11,000,000 acres to the U.S. in 1863. Today, Red Lake Nation has four reservation communities: Little Rock, Ponemah, Redby, and Red Lake.

One hundred forty-five families live on Lower Sioux’s 1,743 acres of tribal land in south central Minnesota. The Lower Sioux name was given to the Band after signing treaties with the United States in 1851, but they are originally a part of the Mdewakanton Band of Dakota. Today the Band continues to survive and prosper in the land of their origin. The Lower Sioux Indian Community was honored by Lutheran Social Services this summer as community advocates because they offer free financial counseling services to all their tribal members.

The Upper Sioux Indian Community came into existence in 1938 when 746 acres of original Dakota lands in Minnesota were returned to them near the Minnesota River Valley. They call the lands “Pejuhutazizi Kapi,” or yellow medicine. The Upper Sioux are expanding their economic vitality by constructing new enterprises throughout their region. The Upper Sioux continue to strengthen their culture and traditions so it will be preserved for generations to come.

Visit from Veterans Service Officer

Veterans Service Officer Marty Caraway (REDWOOD COUNTY)

On Wednesday I met with Redwood County Veterans Service Officer Marty Caraway. We discussed the possible placement of a state veteran cemetery in the county as well as other issues important to veterans in the 7th District. Marty was named the 2013 Post 38 American Legionnaire of the year.

Veteran County Service Officers play an important role as a local and primary point of contact for veterans and their families throughout the state. VSOs work with state and federal agencies to help secure benefits for eligible veterans, and can help veterans apply for benefits and to obtain military records.

Military Matters

Beginning Friday, November 15th, the VA will allow eligible Veterans, along with their family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to buy dental insurance. The three-year pilot program is designed for Veterans with no dental coverage or Veterans who would like to buy additional coverage. The VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife so Veterans can voluntarily enroll in the Dental Insurance Plan. Coverage begins January 1st, 2014, and each provider will offer multiple dental plans to meet the dental needs of many Veterans.

For more information regarding the VA’s new Dental Insurance Program, please click here.

Roseau Flood Control Project update

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and I have been working on a Water & Resources Development Act (WRDA) reauthorization for the Roseau flood control project. The City of Roseau has secured funding for the non-federal share of the Army Corps of Engineers project, but without an increase in the authorization level the project will be delayed indefinitely.

In a letter to the members of Congress who are serving on the WRDA conference committee, we asked that the final bill include an authorization to increase the level of federal funding necessary to finish the project in Roseau. An excerpt of the letter follows:

"In 2002, devastating flood waters inundated Roseau, destroying homes, businesses, and county and city buildings. The massive damage necessitated years of recovery to safeguard the community from further flood threats. Without this critical flood protection project, the city will remain vulnerable to another flood event.

"The City of Roseau has secured their local match requirements but without an increase in authorization this project will be delayed indefinitely…The project is around 75% complete, yet it will provide no protection to Roseau until it is finished, and the community continues to live in fear of another disaster," we wrote in our letter. "We commend you for your commitment to passing strong water resources legislation. We urge you to give the Army Corps the authority to finish the Roseau River Flood Control Project."

A Day in the Life of Diabetes

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to come together and raise awareness of this ever-growing epidemic that is facing our nation. The American Diabetes Association would like to show you what an extraordinary effort it takes to live a day in the life of diabetes. During the month of November, the Association is collecting individual and personal stories of what it is like to live with diabetes each and every day. These stories are amazing and I would encourage everyone to hear and read about their stories.

If you would like to add your own story or hear the stories of others please visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

In 1984 President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week to recognize the critical role adoptive families play in raising a foster child. President Clinton later expanded the awareness week to the entire month of November. There are over 100,000 children and youth in foster care who are waiting for a permanent family to go home with, and November is dedicated to raising awareness for the need for adoptive families. It is incredibly important for young kids to find loving homes early in their childhood so they will receive the support they need as they develop into young adults.

If you are a parent who is considering adopting a child from foster care, click here for more information.

This Week in American History

Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal reached the top of Mount Suribachi and snapped a picture of five U.S. Marines and one Navy corpsman raising an American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. Three of the six soldiers were killed in action a few days later. The photograph became an instant sensation back in the United States. Sculptor Felix de Weldon was so moved by the photograph that he decided to create a giant statue recreating the scene. He was able to sculpt the faces of the three surviving soldiers after they returned to U.S. soil, and he resorted to photographs of the three soldiers who were killed. It took de Weldon three years to finish the bronze statue and President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the memorial on November 10, 1954.

Thirty-two foot high figures are raising a 60-foot flagpole, and the flag at the top flies full mast 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The soldiers are in the exact position of Rosenthal’s photograph, and the memorial stands just outside Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

“Downhill Skier Rush”

Claire Ripley (FERGUS FALLS)

2013 Congressional Art Competition