Tribal consultations continue Camp Ripley on positive path for the future

May 31, 2016 (CAMP RIPLEY, Minnesota) — Leaders from Camp Ripley met with tribal representatives for a nation-to-nation consultation meeting May 18, 2016, on the Bois Forte Reservation near Tower.

“The purpose of our meeting was to discuss projects and developments of the Minnesota National Guard as it pertains to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act,” said Patrick Neumann, cultural resources manager for the Minnesota National Guard.

The tribal consultation, which was facilitated by Commonwealth Heritage Group and hosted by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, is an annual meeting with tribal representatives from federally-recognized Native American tribes (Grand Portage, Bois Forte, Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs, Shakopee Mdewankton, Prairie Island, Lower Sioux and Upper Sioux), as well as tribal-interested parties with historic connections to Minnesota National Guard lands.

“I am very appreciative of the organization that this group has worked to create,” said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley garrison commander. “We have come a long way over the past several years, and continue to be mutually-beneficial for each other.”

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and afford the advisory council on historic preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment.

The regulations also place major emphasis on consultation with American Indian tribes, in keeping with the 1992 amendments to NHPA. Consultation with an American Indian tribe must respect tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship between the federal government and American Indian tribes.

“I’m pleased to see our relationships with the Minnesota National Guard continuing to move forward, they have lived up to the details of this agreement very well,” said Bill Latady of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. “This is a welcome environment for the various tribes to have their questions heard.”

The consultation meeting began with an Ojibwa prayer by Vern Adams, spiritual advisor for the Bois Forte band of Chippewa, who asked for good health and good discussions for everyone involved.

“I appreciate the men and women of our Armed Forces, they are our warriors, they protect us and this land we all share,” said Adams.

In addition to the presentation about Camp Ripley and the activities of the Minnesota National Guard, several topics ranging from military training to forest and wildlife management, as well as conservation and future projects were presented to the tribes.

Sgt. 1st Class Lowell Laudert of the Minnesota National Guard’s American Indian/Native American Heritage Special Emphasis Council was also in attendance to share the adjutant general‘s priorities of highlighting Minnesota’s diversity as a positive way ahead for the many cultures within our state.

The consultation concluded with a discussion on how to facilitate consultation requirements in the future as well as a tour of the Bois Forte Heritage Center and Museum.

Due to a growing number of new representatives, the 2017 consultation will be held at Camp Ripley to allow for the consulting tribes to get a better feel for the location and resources it holds.

“This isn’t a one-directional program, our relationship is a resource to benefit each other and our communities,” concluded St. Sauver.

by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs