The new Red Lake Nation Capitol complex is an “extraordinary achievement that reflects the wisdom, determination and commitment” of the Red Lake people themselves, according to U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson, one of more than 200 dignitaries and guests attending the grand opening of the complex on Monday.
Tribal Chairman Darrell Seki, Sr., said Peterson was instrumental in helping the tribe secure the USDA Rural Development loan that funded much of the complex, which includes two spectacular eagle-shaped buildings, a new pow-wow arena, and an impressive veterans memorial. Last year, Peterson fought and won a battle to preserve funding for rural development loans in the 2014 Farm Bill. despite Republican efforts to eliminate that program. “Congressman Peterson is always there for us,” Seki said.
Governor Mark Dayton also was on hand to dedicate the veterans memorial, which he described as a “fitting tribute” to the warrior spirit. “We see that same spirit in this effort, which puts such a strong emphasis on education, community values and unity,” Dayton said. He commended Red Lake for demonstrating its commitment to education with the new tribal college facility.
Red Lake Nation Tribal College President Dan King paid tribute to the Tribal Council, hereditary chiefs and community members who gave their unqualified support to the project at every stage. He also recognized the architects and builders responsible for the unique design of the buildings. The design team was guided by input from the Red Lake community, he noted.
“Red Lake tribal members said they didn’t want to just build a couple of big boxes on this beautiful spot,” King said. “They wanted the design to reflect the culture and traditions of the Red Lake Nation. They wanted it to be unique, and that’s exactly what we have now in these two beautiful buildings.”
The highlight of the event was the sudden appearance of a large eagle, which soared over the dedication ceremony while an honor song was played. The appearance of an eagle is considered a blessing in Native culture.
Grand opening festivities continue through Thursday with tours of the new facilities and educational presentations at the new college.
A complete photo scrapbook of the event is available here.