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Indian leaders to meet with KQRS over remarks

American Indian leaders, including from Red Lake, plan to discuss Monday with corporate officials remarks made on a Twin Cities radio station that alleged incest may be a cause of high suicide rates in Beltrami County.

American Indian leaders, including from Red Lake, plan to discuss Monday with corporate officials remarks made on a Twin Cities radio station that alleged incest may be a cause of high suicide rates in Beltrami County.

Officials from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, American Indian Movement and the Metropolitan Urban Indian Council will meet at 10 a.m. Monday with officials from Citadel Broadcasting Co. in the offices of KQRS in southeast Minneapolis.

Citadel, with corporate offices in Las Vegas and New York, owns KQRS, a classic rock station in the Twin Cities.

"Red Lake maintains that Shock Jock Tom Barnard, and other KQRS Morning Show staff suggested in their morning show broadcast that incest and genetics were contributor to high rates of teen suicide in northwest Minnesota's Beltrami County of which the Red Lake Indian Reservation is located," according to a statement issued late Friday night from Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd "Buck" Jourdain Jr.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community was also included in the broadcast, and portrayed as a rich Indian tribe that does nothing to help northern Minnesota tribes curb issues such as teen suicide, and sexual misconduct, Jourdain's statement said.

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While the formal statement from Jourdain is the first public complaint against KQRS, which has not as yet issued a response, transcripts and audio recordings of the broadcast have been circulating in Indian Country, and to local legislators, since first broadcast Sept. 18. Also, several other Minnesota tribes have reportedly sent letters of protest to KQRS.

Program host Barnard and several in-studio personnel talked of the state Health Department report showing Beltrami County having the highest rate of suicide among the age group of 5 years to 34 years old, a rate twice the state average.

During the course of banter between the radio personalities, a comparison was made between the level of poverty at Red Lake and of the "zillionaires at Mistake Lake," a reference to Mystic Lake Casino operated by the Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and questioned why one tribe doesn't help another.

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians has received nearly $4 million in grants from the Shakopee tribe since 2004 to build a new Boys & Girls Club on the reservation, start a sexual assault center in Bemidji, and to assist in the start-up of the Red Lake walleye fishing industry, Jourdain said in his statement.

Information on the Community's Web site says over the past several years it has donated more than $96 million to charitable organizations and other Indian tribes.

It was uncertain Saturday what tribal leaders would ask of Citadel when they meet Monday.

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