What's New in The Community

August What's New in the Community
Tuesday, August 08 2017
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Dream of Wild Health awarded grant for Teaching Kitchen

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund has awarded Dream of Wild Health, a 10-acre organic farm in Hugo, a $50,000 grant to implement a Teaching Kitchen. The kitchen will allow the farm to offer new programs centered on reconnecting Native American youth and families with Indigenous plants’ culinary, spiritual and medicinal uses. Dream of Wild Health will offer training and certifications on sustainable, healthy food preparation and farming. The kitchen also supports its mission to address issues related to systemic poverty and disease and promote positive economic and self-sufficient food preparation and sourcing options for Native American families.  

The grant is part of the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program, which is made possible each year by a $1 million contribution courtesy of the NFL Foundation and is complemented by the Super Bowl Host Committee.

Dream of Wild Health is a Native-led nonprofit that has owned and operated the 10-acre organic farm since 2005, in addition to providing community-based educational programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul from the urban office.

MDA grants help increase healthy food access

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) awarded more than $165,000 in grants to ten food hub projects that will help Minnesotans gain access to locally grown and raised foods. The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Food Hub Grants were awarded to food hubs and other alternative community-based food distribution businesses throughout the state of Minnesota.

Awardees will use AGRI Food Hub Grant funds to develop their business plans, conduct feasibility studies, or create marketing plans; other projects will use funds to purchase equipment, or make physical improvements to their businesses that will allow them to purchase, process and distribute more Minnesota agricultural products.

Two Native organizations that were awarded the AGRI Food Hub Grant funds include the Waite House Community Center in Minneapolis, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Cass Lake. For more information about the MDA’s AGRI Program, see: .

White Earth receives $100,000 Legacy funding for new skate park

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund awarded the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council a $100,000 grant to build the reservation’s first skate park. The goal of the state park is to improve the long-term health of children and families on the reservation by providing a place for outdoor recreation in a community with few nearby parks and resources. The new skate park will be located next to Pine Point School’s playground.

Target donated 100 skateboards. Additional ones were purchased by the White Earth Boys and Girls Club and the White Earth Tribal Police Department,

The White Earth Reservation Tribal Council will collaborate with the local Boys and Girls Club and other project partners to teach kids proper skating, biking and blading techniques. The skate park will be designed with traditional Native American culture and art to reflect the local community’s Anishinaabeg heritage.

Blandin Foundation awards $4.4 million in grants

The Blandin Foundation trustees have awarded grants totaling nearly $4.4 million. Following is a list of Native American organizations that received grants:  
• Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School, $500: Donation in support of youth activities at Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school in rural Minnesota.
• Dakota Wicohan, $2,500: Project support for a master-apprentice art program as part of the Blandin Leadership Grants Program in rural Minnesota.
• Family Safety Network of Cass County Inc, $500: Donation for a symposium called “One Load at a Time” focusing on raising awareness and combating sex trafficking and sexual violence on the Leech Lake Reservation in rural Minnesota.
• White Earth Tribal Council, $25,000: Project support for the White Earth Broadband Initiative as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota.

For more info on the Blandin Foundation, see: .

July What's New in the Community
Monday, July 03 2017
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Students win raffles for school attendance

whats_new_school_attendance_1.jpgThe Attendance Workgroup, a subgroup of PIE (Phillips Indian Educators),  has been sponsoring a raffle every quarter for Native students who attend school at a 95% rate or better (for the quarter). Four schools in Minneapolis are involved. Every student from Anishinabe, All Nations, Nawayee Center, and Takoda Prep with this level of attendance receives a certificate and is entered in a raffle for a $250.00 gift card. The gift cards have been provided through generous donations from Migizi, Division of Indain Work (DIW) and Little Earth. The third quarter raffle winners are Luis Manzanares, 2nd grader at Anishinabe, and Jamison Hart, 9th grader at All Nations.

AIOIC recognized for closing the achievement gap

Takoda Prep, the alternative high school located at the American Indian OIC, has been selected as a site of best practice in a national report on indigenized education for Urban Indians. Commissioned by the National Urban Indian Family Coalition in Seattle, Takoda Prep will be one of seven programs located in five different urban centers to be examined for harnessing culturally contextualized education and alternative learning methodologies to close the achievement gap between Native students and their white counterparts.

Takoda Prep of AIOIC enrolls students who have fallen behind in the traditional educational setting and are at risk of dropping out. Located within the Little Earth neighborhood of Minneapolis, most students are Native American whose elders did not complete school. The graduation rate for American Indian students in Minneapolis is 36 percent. Through individualized education plans and culturally relevant programming, students at Takoda Prep graduation at a rate of 85 percent.
The mission of the American Indian OIC is to empower American Indians to pursue career opportunities by providing individualized education, training, and employment services in a culturally rich environment.

Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota receive MRAC grant

The Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community has received a $10,000.00 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC). The grant will go to Fund the 18th Annual Traditional Wacipi, a three-day Native American celebration and social gathering. Activities will take place on the St. Peters Church grounds in Mendota in September. MRAC has awarded a total of $740,272 to 77 organizations/projects in the second round of the FY 2017 Arts Activities Support grant program. For more info on the MMDT Community, see .

Prairie Island breaks ground on elder living center

The Prairie Island Indian Community broke ground in June on their new elder assisted living center in Welch, Minn. The 38,000-square-foot center is located on 18 acres of tribal land and will serve tribal elders.

The single story structure will house 24 one-bedroom apartments, which will have full kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, in-unit laundry and private patios. Residents will allow the elders to live in their own apartments but still have access to professional staff 24 hours a day.

June What's New in the Community
Thursday, June 01 2017
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Grand Opening Held for New Redby Community Center


(By Michael Meuers) – The new Redby Community on the Red Lake Indian Reservation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Community Center on May 23. Even though the center is officially open, there is still more work to be done, including adding artwork to the exterior, a playground, and landscaping. Redby’s Community Center is the third center to open thus far. The fourth and final community center will be located at Red Lake. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community provided funds for the large gym.

Artists selected for Bde Maka Ska public art project

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the City of Minneapolis’ Art in Public Places program are collaborating on a public art project in conjunction with construction improvements for Bde Maka Ska. The project focuses on creating a gathering space and public art to honor Mahpiya Wicasta/Cloud Man, and celebrate the history of Heyata Otunwe, a village located on Bde Maka Ska from 1829-1839.

The project was selected by a panel comprised of community members, arts and architecture professionals and the project’s design team. Artists will be working with the project design team on concepts which will be shared with the public in fall 2017. Selected artists include:
• Angela Two Stars (Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux) is a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI with a BFA in Drawing and Printmaking.
• Mona Smith is a visual and multimedia artist of Dakota heritage, co-founder of Healing Place Collaborative, and owner of Allies: Media/Art.
• Sandy Spieler is a visual artist, and founder and director of the annual May Day Parade and Ceremony at Powderhorn Park.

National Sports Center to create new basketball event: Native American Basketball Games

The Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission (MASC) and the National Sports Center (NSC) will create a new basketball tournament that will bring together basketball teams from Native American tribes.

The first annual Native American Basketball Games will be held October 19-22, 2017 at Cass Lake-Bena High School in Cass Lake, Minn. The tournament will be open to 12U, 14U and 18U boys’ and girls’ teams. Players must be Native American, with proof of tribal membership.
Tournament director George Ellis thinks about 25-30 teams will play in the inaugural event. He expects most of the teams will come from Minnesota and the Dakotas, although Ellis is attending the North American Indigenous Games this June in Toronto, and hopes to attract teams from a wider circle after recruiting at that event. The event welcomes teams from all over the US and Canada.

Plans also include a free youth basketball clinic and powow. For more info, see: .

$15,000 grant for White Earth Food Sovereignty Assessment

Ogema Organics has received a $15,000 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colorado. The award will support their White Earth Food Sovereignty Assessment, which will be instrumental in providing critical data of community health and economic needs of tribal membership within th boundaries of the reservation.

The grant will support food sovereignty within the White Earth Reservation through the collection of community information, building transparency, strengthening ties, and targeting community health and economic needs, and ultimately encouraging health and well-being in all aspects of life on the reservation. For more info, see:

May What's New in the Community
Tuesday, May 09 2017
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NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship winners

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) has awarded its first Mentor Artist Fellowship to 12 artists in three regions of the United States: the Pacific Northwest, Southwest and Upper Midwest. The awardees reside in Alaska, Arizona, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. Beginning in July, each artist will mentor an emerging American Indian or Alaska Native artist apprentice for one year.

The awardees are accomplished Native artists of 10 years or more in Traditional Arts or Contemporary Visual Arts, and are enrolled in an American Indian tribe or Alaska Native corporation. The Fellowship includes a monetary award of $30,000 per artist for a total of $360,000 awarded in fellowships.

Midwest artists who were awarded Fellowships include:
In Contemporary Visual Arts: Dyani White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota, mixed media. In Traditional Arts: Wayne Valliere, Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe, birch bark canoe making; and Delina White, Leech Lake Ojibwe, regalia/apparel, accessory making.

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation’s mission is to promote the revitalization, appreciation and perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures through grant making, convening and advocacy. NACF has supported a total of 251 awards for Native artists, organizations, and advocacy efforts in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. For info about the Fellows, visit:

NAP announces first round of #GenIndigenous Response Fund  

Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) has announced the first round of #GenIndigenous Response Fund grantees. The Fund provides grants to selected groups of up to $5,000. Grant focus on strategic communications, education, workforce development, juvenile justice, resiliency, traditional knowledge, sustainability, environmental justice, health, and trauma and healing. The #GenIndigenous Response Fund was established in December 2016 in support of youth organizing and activism responding to current movements.

Grantees include Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Dream of Wild Health , Little Colorado River Watershed Chapters Association, Lummi Youth Canoe Family, Native Nations Institute, Nature Rights Council, Sacred Pipe Resource Center, Selfridge High School Student Government & Missouri River Education Cooperative collaboration, Standing Rock Community High School Close Up program and Spark*San Francisco Public Schools.
For info, see: for more information.

Leech Lake competing in U.S. Dept. of Energy solar challenge

Leech Lake Financial Services has been selected to participate in the Solar in Your Community Challenge from the United States Department of Energy. The challenge includes a prize of $5 million and is a competition’s goal to expand solar electricity access to low and moderate income families.

Over the next 18 months, Leech Lake’s Team Wasaya (Power of the sunshine in Ojibwe) will be researching and developing innovative approaches that enable low and moderate income families, non-profits and non-federal governments in Leech Lake and Cass Lake to access solar power. The Leech Lake team is comprised of multiple agencies including tribal, state, county and city as well as educational programs, financial foundations and other private sector members.

Mystic Lake and Little Six Casinos receive award for responsible alcohol training program

 The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Enterprise, which includes Mystic Lake Casino Hotel and Little Six Casino, has been awarded the 2017 TIPS Award of Excellence from Health Communications, Inc., the providers of the TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) Program. Since 2012, Mystic Lake and Little Six have provided the TIPS responsible alcohol training program to team members, helping them build positive prevention and intervention skills.

The SMSC Gaming Enterprise is one of four award recipients nationally in the casino and gaming category for its successful TIPS responsible alcohol training program. Since the SMSC Gaming Enterprise began using the TIPS program, it has provided 473 classes and certified 3,380 team members. Eight Gaming Enterprise staff are currently certified TIPS program trainers.

Leech Lake received DOT grant

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has been awarded more than $900,000 from the Department of Transportation to improve tribal roads.

The $950,175 grant will address transportation safety issues on tribal lands, and will be put toward safety planning, engineering improvements, enforcement and emergency services and education for tribal communities.

April What's New in the Community
Tuesday, April 04 2017
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Five Natives selected for Bush Fellowships

Five Native Americans were named 2017 Bush Fellows. In total, twenty-four  leaders were chosen for their records of achievement and their potential to make significant contributions in Minn., No. Dakota, So. Dakota and 23 Native Nations.

• Melissa Boyd (Mille Lacs Indian Reservation, MN) will finish her bachelor degree in elementary education, complete a certificate of contemporary indigenous multilingualism at the University of Hawaii and study behavior design through Stanford School of Medicine.

• Heather Dawn Thompson (Rapid City, SD) will pursue corporate finance training, combining it with a focus on Lakota values of leadership, language and self-sufficiency.

• Vaughn Vargas (Rapid City, SD) will develop new methods to recruit and retain Native American police officers.

• Karina Perkins (Robbinsdale, MN) will build the leadership skills necessary to champion a systemic change to treat addiction with a disease management approach.

• Tomi Phillips (Fort Yates, ND) will pursue a doctorate degree in educational leadership.

The Bush Fellowship provides people with up to $100,000 over 12 to 24 months to pursue learning experiences that help them develop leadership skills and attributes. For more info, see: .


Heid Erdrich wins McKnight Artist Fellowship

The Loft Literary Center announced the winners of the 2017 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers, Loft Awards in Creative Prose and Loft Award in Children’s Literature.  Heid E. Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) was one of the recpients of the creative proses writers’ award.

Erdrich is the author of the memoir-in-recipes Original Local, which tells indigenous foods stories from her family and from tribes in the Upper Midwest. An interdisciplinary artist, she regularly publishes nonfiction essays and collaborates to create performances and poem films as well as prose on visual artists. Erdrich has authored five collections of poetry.  She is working on a book of short prose and cross-genre writing on race, art, and Native Nations.  

The McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers provide Minnesota writers of demonstrated ability with an opportunity to work on their writing for a concentrated period of time. For more info, see: .


Louise Erdrich’s LaRose Wins National Book Critics Circle Award

Louise Erdrich has won the 2017 National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction for her 15th novel, “LaRose,”. This is the second time the Minneapolis author has won the NBCC award. Her debut novel, “Love Medicine,” won in 1984.

Erdrich said about the award. “I’d like to thank my mother, a strong Native woman. And my 91-year-old father, the son of immigrants. We are all in this together. It is so important right now, as truth is being assaulted not just in this country, but all over the world. Let us dig into the truth. Let us be fierce and dangerous about the truth.”


AIFEP annouces awardees

Eleven grants were awarded to Native American individuals in Minnesota through Tiwahe Foundation’s American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund (AIFEP) from its January grant round.

In the Economic Self-Sufficiency category: 
David Bernie’s grant will help him take his Indigemojis into the Android market (see cover story). And Benjamin Spears’ (Red Lake Ojibwe) grant  will assist in upgrading business equipment for Spears Tree Care of Bloomington.

In the Educational Achievement category:
Brittany Austin (Standing Rock Sioux) will pursue an associate’s degree in Education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College; Jolene Chestnut (White Earth Ojibwe) is pursuing a Master of Tribal Administration and Governance at the University of Minnesota-Duluth; Akikwe Cornell (Sault Sainte Marie) is completing a doctorate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota; Honor Lamont (Oglala Lakota) will pursue an associate’s degree in Human Services at Minneapolis Community and Technical College; Amber Leger (Leech Lake Ojibwe) is pursuing an associate’s degree in Business Management at Minneapolis Community and Technical College; Anne O’Keefe-Jackson (Lower Sioux) is pursuing a master’s degree in Business Administration at Augsburg College; Jason Poitra (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) will pursue a welding certificate at Dunwoody College of Technology; Samora Redding (White Earth Ojibwe) is pursuing an associate’s degree in Human Services at Minneapolis Community and Technical College; and Sasina Samreth (White Earth Ojibwe) is pursuing a certificate in Accounting at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

More info can be found at: // .


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