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Leech Lake Band and Morrison County receive award from U of M

Leech Lake Band officials who accepted an award the Dec. 13 presentation at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs included Executive Director Robert Budreau (left), Chairman Faron Jackson and his wife, Laurel, and Deputy Director Gordon Fineday. Photo courtesy of Steve Foley

Two of the four local governments the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs recognized at a Dec. 13 ceremony for 2018 top innovation and collaboration are from central Minnesota.

Leech Lake Reservation and Morrison County were those recipients.

Morrison County will receive a $5,000 grant and Leech Lake Reservation, a $10,000 grant to further their initiatives.

Leech Lake's award came for its six-year-old memorandum of understanding with Cass County to provide "a framework for multi-level communication and cooperation between the county and the band for natural resource management, community development, economic development and maintenance of Ojibwe cultural life-ways," according to a news release from the Humphrey school.

That notice further states the county-tribal agreement "has returned humanity to this demographically diverse community and serves as a model that can be replicated in other Native nations across the country for widespread impact."

The Morrison County award cited its work with Region Five counties and beyond to combine the child care licensing duties in seven counties into three regional licensers.

"This collaborative effort addressed a workforce shortage, created consistency in the application of regulations across the counties and eliminated the duplication of efforts within its counties at a crucial time when the availability of family child care is hitting a crisis point," the news release stated.