Circle News - Community News
What's New In The Community: February 2015
Friday, February 06 2015
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MINNEAPOLIS – Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College are pleased to announce the fifth annual Ojibwe Immersion Academy to be held June 14-July 3, 2015 at the Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Cloquet, Minn.

The Ojibwe Immersion Academy is a rare opportunity for intermediate and advanced language learners to study one-on-one and in small groups with Ojibwe elders and faculty speakers for a three-week complete immersion experience.

For more information or another application packet, email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with subject "Application Request.” All applications are due before 4 p.m. March 24.



RAPID CITY, S.D. – Rural America Initiatives is $500,000 closer to attaining a new Head Start building, thanks to a $250,000 matching grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

In December 2013 the SMSC committed a quarter of a million dollar grant dependent on RAI raising matching funds and in December 2014, after a $100,000 donation from an anonymous donor, RAI met that goal.

“We will always be grateful to the Shakopee Tribe. They recognized early on the benefit this facility would be to our people and they stepped up to help. It was their gift that raised awareness in our community, generated additional support, and allowed us to launch our campaign,” said Bruce Long Fox, Executive Director of Rural America Initiatives.

In addition to an anonymous donor, the following companies are among the individuals and businesses that helped RAI meet its matching goal: Black Hills Corp/Black Hills Power; Jim Scull of J. Scull Construction; First Interstate Bank; US Bank; SD Community Foundation; Beverly M./Lloyd W. Paulson Charitable Gift Fund; and Casey Peterson and Associates
Using these funds as momentum, RAI, a long-standing nonprofit organization serving Native American families in Rapid City, plans to raise an additional $6 million to build a new Head Start/Community Center building. Its current buildings, originally meant to be temporary, have exceeded their intended lifespan by a dozen years and are fully depreciated. The new building is expected to serve 150 children and their families each year, helping children below poverty level gain the skills they need to be ready to learn on par with their peers when they enter kindergarten.

Rural America Initiatives seeks to create community change by role modeling positive, healthy, alcohol and drug free lifestyles incorporating Lakota/Dakota values. Family and children taught by the organization will have a lasting impact on future generations. RAI seeks to strengthen individuals, families and the Native community in Rapid City.

RAI is the largest, non-profit, continuously operating Native American organization in Rapid City. Founded in 1986 to partner with Native American families to strengthen the development of healthy, sober, self-sufficient lifestyles, it has been the service provider for the most at-risk Rapid City families for close to 30 years.

What's New In The Community: January 2015
Tuesday, January 13 2015
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Board of Directors of the Notah Begay III Foundation announced on Jan. 6, it selected Justin Kii Huenemann to be the Foundation’s next Executive Director. Huenemann, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, brings 20 years of experience providing executive leadership in the nonprofit, government and higher education sectors.

His professional career has focused on community economic development in low-income communities, Native American communities and communities of color. He has spent his career working to advance American Indian self-determination, believing strongly in the strength, knowledge and resiliency of Indigenous people.Mr. Huenemann replaces Crystal Echo Hawk, who stepped down on Dec. 31 after heading the NB3 Foundation for nearly six years.

“It is a privilege to welcome Justin Huenemann to the NB3 Foundation team,” Notah Begay III, Foundation Founder, said. “Justin brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience that will truly make an impact on the communities we serve. I look forward to working closely with Justin to strengthen and improve the wonderful platform established by his predecessor. It is our hope that Mr. Huenemann’s leadership can enhance the quality and effectiveness of the NB3 Foundation, staff and programs.”

“It is with great enthusiasm and humility that I accept the Executive Director position of the Notah Begay III Foundation,” Huenemann said. “There is no doubt in my mind that sound health and wellness are essential to any thriving future we desire for our tribal nations and the generations to come. To realize this future, we must address together the epidemics of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes that plague our Native youth. I look forward to working hand-in-hand with Native youth, tribal leaders, and our allies in this fight to eliminate this reality.”

Prior to joining the NB3 Foundation, Huenemann served as a Senior Program Officer for the Northwest Area Foundation. With a mission to reduce poverty and build sustainable prosperity, Huenemann supported champions of change who were building assets, wealth and opportunity in rural, urban and Native American communities across eight states and 75 tribal nations. He also served as the founding President and CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), an award-winning community development organization located in Minneapolis, MN. Here he led numerous community development projects, including establishing the American Indian Cultural Corridor.

Huenemann currently serves on the boards of Woodlands National Bank, Indian Health Board and the Tiwahe Foundation. Over the years he has received several notable awards, including the “Mayor’s Healthy City Award” from the City of Minneapolis and Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation and the Bear Award from the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Huenemann holds a bachelor of arts degree in Architecture and a M.A. degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Minnesota.

“We are excited to have a professional of Justin’s caliber join the Foundation as our Executive Director,” Wilson Pipestem, Chairman of the NB3 Foundation Board of Directors said. “He has the right experience, background, and passion to help win the fight against diabetes and obesity in our Native young people.”

What's New In The Community: December 2014
Friday, January 09 2015
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ST. PAUL, MN – In recognition of winning a 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, the Native American Community Development Institute of Minneapolis and First Peoples Fund of Rapid City, S.D. have received continued funding from the Bush Foundation in the amounts of $157,201 and $313,068, respectively.

NACDI grew out of research that showed outcomes for American Indians in Hennepin County had not improved substantially in the past 40 years. NACDI spent three years asking Native people what they wanted for their future, as opposed to what they needed to meet their basic needs. The gatherings resulted in a rich and bold vision for a vibrant, resilient community that celebrates Native identity.

This work has spawned numerous efforts, from homeownership opportunities to youth entrepreneurship training to the building of the American Indian Cultural Corridor, a half-mile physical manifestation along Franklin Avenue of the community's vision for a prosperous home in Minneapolis.

The only entity of its kind in the country, NACDI has employed an asset-building approach to reposition the American Indian community as an engine of economic growth. It works from the premise that comprehensive, asset-centered strategies and cross-sector partnerships embracing technology, entrepreneurship and community development will promote innovative ideas. (2014 Bush Prize winner)

First Peoples Fund set out nearly 20 years ago to devise an approach that empowers Native artists to be culture bearers and leaders of social change in their communities.

Today, First Peoples Fund empowers Lakota, Dakota, Nakota and Ojibwe artists through a combination of financial support, mentoring and entrepreneurship opportunities. The program helps revitalize cultures while providing artists with tools to grow as creative leaders and financially support themselves, their families and their communities.

Recognized nationally as a leader in its field, First Peoples Fund is sharing its model across the country, working with other Native communities to provide artists with access to knowledge, materials, networks, capital and markets.

What's New In The Community: November 2014
Saturday, November 01 2014
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Migizi Communications receives $1.2 million grant

MINNEAPOLIS Migizi Communications, Inc. has received a $1.2 million federal grant to launch Native Youth Financially Independent. This five-year demonstration project is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Community Services and the Administration for Native Americans.

The Native Youth Financially Independent project is designed to present permanent and sustainable solutions to the intergenerational poverty and lack of economic opportunity that have plagued the Minneapolis Indian community since its formation in the 1950s. Migizi Communications will recruit 150 low-income Native youth from across Minneapolis, ages 14-21, providing them with opportunities and support needed to prepare them to become financially-independent adults.
These students will undergo work readiness training, be placed in paid internship opportunities in high-growth, high-demand careers; save earnings for college in an Individual Development Account which will be matched four-to-one through program funds; and receive financial literacy training, mentorship and 21st century skills development opportunities.

The project’s main partners include AchieveMpls, which will provide workforce training and internship placement for participants through the STEP-UP Achieve youth employment program over the five year course of the project. One of the country's premiere youth employment programs, STEP-UP Achieve – part of the City of Minneapolis STEP-UP program – places 800 Minneapolis youth each year in paid internships with Twin Cities companies, non-profits and public agencies.
NYFI's second partner is Woodlands National Bank, owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, which will administer youth IDA savings accounts. The students will have their savings matched four-to-one to be used for higher education expenses. Woodlands is the primary banking institution serving the urban American Indian community in Minneapolis.
NYFI responds directly to the needs identified and vision created out of a two-year strategic planning process (2008-2010) initiated by the Native American Community Development Institute and involves hundreds of Minneapolis American Indian community members of all ages.

The document created from this process and published in 2011, “American Indian Community Blueprint: Building a 21st Century American Indian Community,” articulates a 20-year vision for a “vibrant, healthy, and balanced community where American Indian people have living-wage jobs that build wealth and assets and eliminate barriers to success, creating economic self-sufficiency.”
Migizi Communications has been in existence for over 37 years and advances a message of success, well-being and justice for the American Indian community.


What's New In The Community: October 2014
Saturday, October 11 2014
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CLOQUET, Minn. – The Environmental Institute at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has been awarded more than $1,150,000 in total grant project funding through the United States Department of Agriculture to continue innovative projects and expand capacity in science, technology, engineering, and math programming.

The Environmental Institute, along with project partner Fond du Lac Band Resource Management, will work together to accomplish the objectives established in the grant projects. Grant were made possible because of the partnership agreement between the Fond du Lac Band and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

The Environmental Institute promotes educational and cultural growth in studies related to natural resources and the environment. Programs fulfill the college’s role as a Land Grant Institution through extension programs covering research, education, and community outreach.

Three USDA Land Grant Extension grants totaling around $740,000 will support ongoing extension programs beginning in September 2014 and continuing through August of 2016 and September 2018, depending on the project. A new USDA Capacity Building grant of approximately $410,000 also begins in September and ends in August 2018.

The grants are intended to support three major projects. The first includes the college's Seed Library (The Bimaaji'idiwin Ojibwe Garden), is a research and demonstration garden that preserves traditional Ojibwe cropping systems. It also incorporates modern strategies for organic food and medicinal plant production.

The second project for development is the St. Louis River Watch Program, which is an annual water quality monitoring program of the St. Louis River watershed and western Lake Superior basin.

The third and final project that was awarded a grant was the Thirteen Moons Program, connecting people to natural resources. The tribe describes the program as providing nine-to-12 seasonal content workshops on natural resource activities such as a Sugarbush Tour, Wild Berry Camp, and Manoomin Camp.

"Our Thirteen Moons program reaches around 2,000 community members each year and is a leader in connecting people with natural resources and Ojibwe culture. Our River Watch program is almost 20 years-old and continues to teach over 400 students a year about our local rivers. The Bimaaji'idiwin Ojibwe Garden is continuing its great work in promoting local, fresh foods and is helping more people see that they can garden,” FDLTCC Environmental Institute director Courtney Kowalczak said.

Depending on the grant project, support completion is expected between August 2016 and September 2018.


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