What's New In the Community: July 2014
Monday, July 07 2014
Written by The Circle Staff,
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The Tiwahe Foundation is honored to announce that at its June 10 board meeting, 15 grants were awarded to Native American individuals in the Twin Cities seven county metro area through its American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund. This program awards $70,000-$80,000 annually to American Indian individuals and families seeking financial resources to achieve their goals, shape their future and make positive contributions to their community through three priority areas: Economic Self-sufficiency; Education and Cultural Connections.

Grants range from $500 to $2,500, enough to make a significant impact on grantees and the community and contributing to the self-determination of individuals. Individuals received awards in the following focus areas:

Goal 1: Preserving and Renewing Native Cultural Connections (Learning Native languages, developing kinship ties, traditional and cultural practices). The grantees include: Nancy Cain-Kouri, Melissa Davis and Cleone Thompson.

Goal 2: Educational Achievement (Expenses related to college degrees, certificates, vocational training, GED, and college entrance exams). Grantees for this goal were: Travis Earth-Werner, Savanna Elmquist, John Fairbanks, Miigis Gonzalez, Kevin Head, Mia Mikel, Cynthia Pawlitschek, James Smith, Shantelle Stately, Kelly Suzick and Aaron Thomson.

Linda Lucero was the grantee for Goal 3, which includes economic self-sufficiency through employment, business, entrepreneurial opportunities and expenses related to home-ownership.

AIFEP strives to reverse the social, educational, and economic challenges facing American Indians by investing in human capital, skills, resources and cultural strengths that people possess that allow them to live healthy and productive lives, build strong relationships, and make meaningful contributions to their communities. To learn more, visit



LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. Lac du Flambeau's new Living Arts and Culture Center received a major boost when the USDA announced that the project will receive $88,000 in funds to promote economic growth, support rural business development and create jobs.

The center was one of 48 projects selected for the award, which provides training and technical assistance to program managers for artistic program planning and development. Project planners will use the funds for a unique "train-the-trainers" initiative. Patricia O'Neil, Executive Director of Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, said the money will be used to conduct eight planning workshops to build capacity for artistic programming, business planning and other needed training. An estimated 100 individuals are expected to participate.

"This funding provides the community with a unique opportunity to build the capacity needed to create an artistic center of excellence, that both preserves an endangered culture and provides a regional tourism draw," O'Neil said. "Nothing like this has been developed in this Tribal community in the past, so operational staff and the new Board of Directors for the Tribal corporation will be seeking training."

"We see this as another endorsement of the community's vision for the future," said Georgine Brown, President of the WaasWaaGaning Indian Bowl Board of Directors. "This is going to build momentum for the project," she added.

In his June 12 announcement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that the grants "will bring increased economic opportunities to rural residents and communities by strengthening the capacity of regional organizations to help small and emerging businesses." He added, "They also will help organizations experienced in economic development create more job opportunities for rural residents across the country."

"On behalf of the Indian Bowl Board of Directors, we are happy to participate in this opportunity to rebuild the Indian Bowl," Brown stated. "We think it can enhance not only our local community but also the surrounding areas and enable us all to draw more visitors to the Northwoods."

The Lac du Flambeau Living Arts and Culture Center will be attached to and expand the George W. Brown Ojibwe Museum. The ambitious $3.1 million project includes space for performing arts, theater and dance, artist business incubation, and education and preservation of endangered arts and practices. More than $778,000 has been raised to date.




WALKER, Minn. Cass County/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Wellness Court held a graduation ceremony on June 12.


The graduation celebrated the successful completion of the program by two of its participants, Troy Forrest and Allen Dahlberg.


Wellness Court is a joint jurisdictional DWI court program designed to increase public safety and reduce long-term costs to the criminal justice system and the community through intense supervision utilizing a multi-disciplinary team effort and is jointly funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, Cass County and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, according to Shirley Smith, Wellness Court coordinator.


The goal of Wellness Court is to break the cycle of addiction and reduce repeat DWI offenses with treatment and rehabilitation of participants through a process of accountability, frequent drug testing, education, substance abuse treatment, sanctions, and incentives designed to promote long-term sobriety, accountability, and productive lifestyles, she explained.


The program is overseen by Leech Lake Tribal Court Judge Megan Treuer and Judge Jana Austad from Cass County District Court. There have been 38 graduates from the program since it began in June 2006.


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