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Minnesota National Guard
Camp Ripley hosts Nation to Nation event

"There is a federal mandate that calls on us as stewards of the land to maintain contact with the federally recognized tribes throughout the state We have been doing what is required by the law but now we want to build on that even more and really develop a relationship with the tribes"said Marty Skoglund, Environmental Supervisor at Camp Ripley

The Minnesota National Guard hosted a Nation to Nation visit with eleven different tribal nations at Camp Ripley on October 11 and 12 The goal of the event was to develop an agreement and have it signed by the Guard and each of the tribal representatives that were in attendance The agreement would set forth a policy on how the land would be developed and used at Camp Ripley so that it would not harm areas that were of cultural significance to the Native American population

Dennis Gill, a representative of the Sisseton Wahpeton, Dakota Nation said, "I think they are doing things out of the goodness of their hearts, it makes me feel good to get the responses that I got from the representatives of the guard There is a real sincere effort"

"During the Indian population represented one half of one percent of the nation but in the armed forces they were over three percent" Gill added

Part of the days events included talks about what Camp Ripley's role has been to preserve the cultural significant areas of the camp and plans for the future and possible construction projects The representatives viewed a demonstration of fire power as they were taken out to one of Camp Ripley's ranges they saw a M109A6 155mm Paladin, a M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, and a M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle

"Today has been a very positive and productive day for the Minnesota National Guard Bottom line is about building relationships, we talked about a lot of things, but it is about building relationships and I am very proud of that"said Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, The Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Story by Staff Sgt Kenneth Toole, Oct 11, 2006

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