Grand Rapids, Minn. — Twenty-eight residents of the Mille Lacs Reservation, and Shakopee, Lower Sioux and Upper Sioux Indian Communities returned August 10 from a two-day leadership workshop. This was the final segment of an intense seven-day training provided by the Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program (BRCLP) which included a five-day retreat held earlier this year.
A program of the Grand Rapids-based Blandin Foundation, BRCLP has provided experiential leadership training for more than 500 community leaders from 11 Minnesota American Indian Reservations since 2001. This is the sixth time these communities have participated together in the BRCLP leadership program.
The goal of the Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program is to strengthen leadership capacity through cultural strengths and assets to build and sustain healthy tribal communities. Topics covered during the retreat included: acknowledging and drawing upon leadership strengths, recognizing and tapping into sources of personal and community resilience, framing community issues and opportunities, building social capital, and mobilizing community resources.
“A healthy community depends on leadership engagement of many community members,” said Valerie Shangreaux, director of Blandin leadership programs. “The leadership demonstrated by these participants reflects their deep commitment to their communities, their reservations, and the people living there. .”
BRCLP training programs are funded entirely by the Blandin Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.
Photo caption: Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program – Mille Lacs Reservation, Shakopee, Lower Sioux and Upper Sioux Indian Communities
Members of the most recent BRCLP training group learned about the 9 dimensions of a healthy community, and how to use the 9 dimensions to create a holistic vision of healthy reservation communities. BRCLP uses a culturally-focused, asset-based approach to training community leaders. Nearly 30 residents from four reservation communities participated in the most recently training, which concluded August 10.