What's New In The Community: April 2015




LEECH LAKE, Minn. – The Leech Lake

Band of Ojibwe was awarded the $25,000 Greater Minnesota Housing Fund

Grant for the its Homeless Shelter.

The Leech Lake Reservation Business

Committee Tribal Council renovated a building to address the homeless

crisis. The homeless shelter will have 30 beds available and one

handicapped unit for those clients that qualify for the services of

the shelter. It will also have a commercial kitchen, laundry

facilities, around-the-clock administrative services, transportation

and case management for clients.

The RBC Tribal Council has also

secured funding from the Open Your Heart Foundation in the amount of

$10,000 for a van and the Mardag Foundation is in the final process

of determining if they will fund the shelter with a $18,000 grant. In

addition, the tribal council will apply for funding through the

Minnesota Office of Economic Opportunity Homeless Assistance Grants

that will provide operational sustainability for the shelter.

The Greater Minnesota Housing Fund was

launched in April 1996 in a joint effort of the McKnight Foundation

and Blandin Foundation to address the urgent need for decent,

affordable housing in greater Minnesota.



LEECH LAKE, Minn. – The Leech Lake

Tribal College received the 2015 Outstanding Nonprofit Initiative

Award by the Initiative Foundation of Little Falls, Minn.

The award resulted from the work that

the Leech Lake Tribal College did through a grant awarded for the

Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise (FRSE) program. The

program is designed to assist central Minnesota Non-Profit

organizations to gain awareness and skills in earned-income, social

enterprise and social entrepreneurism to benefit the long term

achievement of financial resiliency.

The result of the grant is a new and

improved Bakitebii’iganiiwigamig (The Print Shop) capable of

designing and producing a variety of products such as business

stationery, books and binding, as well as a wide array of marketing

and advertising essentials.

The Leech Lake Tribal College received

only one of only four regional awards for excellence in leadership

and community service. Leech Lake Tribal College President Dr. Donald

Day spoke about its importance. “The award validates the work being

done in building a business plan for our Print Shop,” Day said.

“The Print Shop will benefit not only the college, but the

community as well.”


MINNEAPOLIS – The Global Worship 8

Concert will present its 2015 BridgeBuilder Award to Sheila and

Gordon Thayer on April 19.

The award is given each year to

outstanding Twin Cities leaders, chosen for their efforts in bringing

together people of various cultures through ministry work. The

Thayers founded Overcomers Ministry, a non-denominational Native-led

ministry in 1991 in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis;

both are ordained ministers, focusing on serving people with chemical


From the start of their ministry the Thayers reached

out to the numerous homeless chronic alcoholic Native people living

on the streets; The location of their initial work was in the South

Minneapolis site where homeless camps were once located and now is

the site of Anishinabe Wakiagun, (“The Peoples Home”) a

supportive housing facility for forty late-stage chronic alcoholic

men and women. Wakiagun was opened in September 1996 under Gordon’s

leadership at the American Indian Community Development Corporation

(AICDC) where he served as the Executive Director and co-founder for

15 years, helping to rebuild the Franklin Avenue community. He

resigned in August 2007 to help launch the First Nations Recovery


Since 1992 they have either

administered or served as chaplains for the Hennepin County Detox

Center. Throughout the year Overcomers Ministry sponsors support

weekly groups, provides affordable housing at the “On Eagles Wings”

apartments for Native people in recovery and the First Nations

Recovery Center, an outpatient treatment program contracted by

Hennepin County. Overcomers also provides a youth hockey program to

Native kids, a week-long summer Native family camp in northern

Minnesota, outreach ministry to the Mishkeegogamang Ojibwe Reserve in

northern Ontario and the monthly Sobriety Friday events in

Minneapolis and on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe reservation in


Both Sheila and Gordon Thayer

struggled with addictions in the past; they now devote their lives to

helping others through their ministry. Sheila Thayer was instrumental

in building the capacity of Overcomers Ministry and was the lead

person in applying for the State Minnesota license to operate the

First Nations Recovery Center where she serves as the Executive

Director and holds her credentials as a licensed Alcohol and Drug

Counselor and a graduate of Northwestern University.

Gordon Thayer was elected in June 2011

to a four-year term on the Governing Board for the Lac Courte

Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe in Wisconsin and continues as a board member of

Overcomers Outreach Ministries, Inc. and an elder advisor to the

First Nations Recovery Center. Both have worked to build bridges

between the Native community and other cultures in South Minneapolis

and the Upper Midwest.

Global Worship 8 will begin at 6 p.m.,

April 19 at St. Paul’s Church in downtown Minneapolis. Musicians

from many cultures will share an evening of unique and exciting

worship. Music will include Latino, Oromo-Ethiopian,

Amharic-Ethiopian, Karen-Burmese, Hmong, Native American,

African-American, the Choir from Hope Academy and a couple of

multi-cultural groups.

The church is located at 1901 Portland Avenue in Minneapolis. For

more information visit www.GlobalWorship.net or call 612-874-0133. A

free-will offering will be received.



PRIOR LAKE, Minn. – The Shakopee

Mdewakanton Sioux Community, along with three national partners,

announced on March 24 a $5 million campaign to improve nutrition for

Native American communities across the country with its Seeds of

Native Health.

According to a press release, SMSC

will work with First Nations Development Institute, the Notah Begay

III Foundation and the University of Minnesota to improve awareness

of nutrition problems, promote the wider application of proven best

practices and encourage additional work related to food access,

education and research.

“Nutrition is very poor among many of

our fellow Native Americans,” SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig said in the

release. “The SMSC is committed to making a major contribution, and

bringing others together to help develop permanent solutions to this

serious problem.”

“Many tribes, nonprofits, public

health experts, researchers, and advocates have already been working

on solutions,” said SMSC Vice-Chairman Keith Anderson. “We hope

this campaign will bring more attention to their work.”

First Nations Development Institute

has longstanding expertise in efforts to eliminate food insecurity,

build the health of communities, and support entrepreneurship and

economic development. It is receiving $1.4 million from the SMSC for

re-granting to projects relating to food access, food sovereignty,

and capacity building.

The Notah Begay III Foundation is

dedicated to promoting wellness among Indian children. It is

receiving $1.1 million from the SMSC for re-granting to projects

relating to childhood nutrition.

Chairman Vig said that selecting the

University of Minnesota as a strategic partner in this initiative was

natural. “The University is a world-class research and teaching

institution in the fields of agriculture, food science, nutrition,

and public health. We are fortunate to have a strategic partner in

our own backyard.”

The University’s campaign role will

include serving as the convening partner for a new series of annual

conferences on Native American nutrition, developing appropriate

cultural interfaces between academic research and its application by

Native communities, and creating a repository of best practices and

national expertise.

“The University of Minnesota and the

SMSC have a remarkable partnership, which includes, among others the

tribe’s support of scholarships of our Native American students and

support for our athletics programs. We are thrilled to lend our

expertise and leadership to this crucial campaign,” said University

of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler.

For more information about Seeds of

Native Health, visit www.SeedsOfNativeHealth.org.