Leech Lake Indian Reservation (VERY abbreviated)

For those of you who have been out of the loop, I am spending my summer at Leech Lake Reservation in Cass Lake, MN.  I’m currently in the Minneapolis airport waiting to be picked up at 4pm and I’ll return to Nashville around lunchtime on August 10.  So, clearly I’m out of town.

Today has been a whirlwind of emotions: excitement, anxiety, sadness, tearful goodbye, and tired-ness.  Being here in Minneapolis is nothing short of God’s hand…well this blog will be continued….they YouthWorks people are here to pick me up early

from YW website:

The Cass Lake area of north central Minnesota is surrounded by the natural beauty of the water and the woods. A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, some of Minnesota’s largest lakes are located in this region. Cass Lake is the tribal headquarters for the Leech Lake Reservation, and like many Native American communities, the tribe struggles to overcome the pervasive issues of addiction and poverty. As the hands and feet of Christ, your group can help preserve the hope and spirit of this community. Your group will serve through home improvement and children’s programs.


The Leech Lake Reservation is one of six reservations affiliated with the federally recognized Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The reservation is made up of 11 communities, Cass Lake being the largest. Its population of 10,205 makes it the largest Indian reservation in the state in terms of population, but not in size. While its original boundaries contained 677,099 acres, today less than 7 percent of that land remains in Indian hands. The bulk of the reservation land is now Chippewa National Forest, which attracts about 1.5 million tourists a year. Also within the original reservation boundary is Itasca State Park, where you’ll find the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Tourism and casinos are important tribal revenue sources, and reservation land is open to non-members of the tribe. Many youth on the reservation struggle with dysfunctional families and substance abuse. The high school dropout rate among American Indians in the state is 34 percent. Nearly 22 percent of individuals in this community live in poverty, including 28 percent of Leech Lake’s youth. Although members struggle in this community, they are proud people. Your participation in ministering to these residents is important to restoring community pride.

About the Ministry

We focus on two primary areas of ministry: children and home improvement. Our work with children consists of a hands-on program led by your youth, known as Kids Club. Kids Club offers high-energy games, crafts, skits, songs and interactive lessons all designed to help kids learn about Jesus. Also during the week, your group will have the opportunity to do home improvement. Your group’s willingness to refresh a worn out exterior of a house with a new coat of paint brings real hope and an opportunity to share the love of Christ. Adult leaders will separate youth into ministry groups, and the youth in your group will be mixed with the youth from other groups for their week of service. We ask that you come with a willing and flexible spirit.


Evening activities during a YouthWorks week are designed to give participants an insight into the lives of local residents and the culture of the area. A list of evening/cultural activities we have done in the past include: learning about American Indian History at Spirit of the Living Forest; take part in an educational activity; attend a community cookout; and spend an evening at the beach. These are examples of what your group might partake in during your mission week. These examples are subject to change due to weather or availability. In case of change, suitable substitutes will be provided. We try to arrange for free evening activities, but from time to time, an additional cost may be required for an activity. Please plan to bring an additional $10 per person to cover any extra costs. We will confirm the details closer to your trip


2 comments on “Leech Lake Indian Reservation (VERY abbreviated)

  1. You have done it once more! Superb read.

  2. If I had a nickel for each time I came here… Incredible read.

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