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Minneapolis plans to transfer city property to Native American tribe for treatment center

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Sept. 22, 2023
WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Sept. 22, 2023 01:23

Minneapolis officials intend to transfer two city-owned properties to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, which plans to build an addiction treatment center at the site.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced the plan Thursday to sell the two parcels to the Red Lake Band for $1 each, noting the Native American community is disproportionately affected by addiction.

"We're partnering directly with a community that has been disproportionately harmed," Frey said. "This is not about providing some land, doing a deal and then walking away from a very serious problem."

The proposal will be presented to the City Council next week, and the council is expected to take action on Oct. 5.

The action comes after the Minnesota Legislature voted earlier this year to transfer a state park to a Dakota tribe. The move to transfer ownership of the park in western Minnesota to the Upper Sioux Community was made in part to make amends for fighting between settlers and a faction of Dakota people that resulted in the mass hanging of Dakota men.

In Minneapolis, Red Lake leaders said renovations have started on a building on one parcel, and plans call for an adjacent parcel to become a garden that can host sacred ceremonies. The planned opioid treatment center may also include housing.

"We are going to drop our disparities, smash our disparities, once and for all," Cheri Goodwin, executive director of the Red Lake Nation, said. "We'll have food. We're going to have a kitchen. We're going to have showers. We're going to have washers and dryers. We're going to have cultural services to start and these plots of land will be our culture community garden. … We could have whatever we dream here."

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