The community came to support 22 Indigenous, BIPOC, and LGBTQ2S+ vendors and 2 musicians at AICHO’s love-themed market Zaagi’idiwn Tour 2024 on January 27, 2024 in the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center.
This pop-up market event was intended to make Valentine's Day gift shopping less stressful and more meaningful. Community members were able to connect with diverse entrepreneurs while live music was performed by James Harvin and Laura Hugo.
On stage, AICHO had live musical performances by James Harvin and Laura Hugo. In addition, AICHO staff invited the community to participate in a traditional Ojibwe round dance song led by AICHO staff member Brian Stillday Jr. and two of his sons. The musical performances and the round dance were well recieved.
Community members were also encouraged to take photos with the free photo booth complete with props to use and volunteer photographers.
A huge miigwech to our AICHO staff for making this event possible. It was a great event jam-packed full of love, laughter, and life!
In early January, AICHO partnered with several community agencies to kick off the 12th Annual Twin Port January Trafficking Awareness Month. Following, AICHO hosted the annual Brave Art Youth Exhibition.
The event began at 5 p.m. with 19 agencies tabling as a resource fair, followed by an Opening Ceremony led by Ricky Defoe (Fond du Lac Ojibwe Tribal member) and Julian Kitto and the Little Horse Singers from the Cloquet Schools. Mel Alvar, PAVSA’s Safe Harbor Regional Navigator, gave opening remarks on this years’ theme ‘Protection through Connection’ along with the calendar of events in January on Trafficking Awareness. Following, other community leaders spoke in solidarity on the subject.
With over 15 artists, we had the opening gallery with guest speaker and local artist Jonathan Thunder (Red Lake Nation Tribal member) shared his story on becoming an artist. Jonathan gave insight on what it meant for him to become an artist and spoke to youth on finding their inner bravery. AICHO’s Food Sovereignty Director and Children’s Program Manager, Kayla Jackson (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal member) spoke on the meaning of Brave Art as well, sharing with the audience the importance of our youth. Both assisted in awarding each artist with their certificate.
Miigwech for all partners in piecing together a beautiful ceremony and reception that brought such a deep feeling of unity that not only spread awareness on human trafficking, but also held space to celebrate the wonderful creativity of the youth in the Duluth area.
Date: January 10, 2024
Time: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. CST
Register by Monday, January 8 before 5:00 p.m.
About the event:
Sharon Day is a Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe tribal member and has been leading water walks for years. She will discuss the 2023 Lake Superior Water Walk and talk about the healing of the water and ourselves. Nibi Walks are a spiritual practice in which Sharon and others carry water along a river or lake to speak to the nibi water spirits and pray for the health and future of the waterways. The word nibi means water in Ojibwe. Nibi Walks involve carrying water along the river and serve as an extended prayer.Lake Superior Water Walk commemorated Josephine-ba Mandamin's walk around the lake in 2013 which began the contemporary water walks. Josephine-ba said, "The water has to move to be healthy."
This event is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division via our Waaseyaa Traditional Healing Grant.
AICHO’s Food Sovereignty Director, Kayla Jackson attended the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) Conference this December representing AICHO. IAC was founded in 1987 to pursue and promote the conservation, development, and use of our agricultural resources for the betterment of our people. IAC serves as the nation’s leading voice on Native agricultural policies and programs that revitalize and advance Native food systems and economic development throughout Indian Country. IAC’s programmatic offerings include the following: Legal and policy development, USDA technical assistance, Natural resources management, Domestic and international marketing support, Regenerative financing assistance, and Native youth in food and agriculture leadership development. This three day conference was full of networking and learning about new resources and opportunities AICHO can benefit from. The panels, sessions and discussions were essential and influential on the development of AICHO’s future projects and establishments.
AICHO’s 2024 13-month calendar features photography by and about the Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin: Together We Grow program. Throughout 2023, the youth program participants learned to capture and document cultural stories tied to Anishinaabe and Indigenous traditions, elders, and intertribal foodways from AICHO’s long-time community partner Kristine Sorensen and In-Progress. The calendars are $15.00 at Indigenous First: Art & Gift Shop (in-store and online).
AICHO offers COVID vaccine clinics onsite and can provide a one-time-per-person $100 VISA gift card (while funding lasts). Some important changes to the vaccine clinics:
Must register to secure appointment
Thank you Minnesota Department of Health for the continued support and partnership to keep our State as healthy as possible. Please check out our Facebook page for upcoming clinics!
Meet our COVID team: Paula Morton, COVID Coordinator, Brian Stillday, Jr., COVID Resource Outreach, and Reanelle Houle, COVID Testing Outreach
AICHO Executive Director LeAnn Littlewolf received the Minnesota Housing Partnership Outstanding Advocate Award and was recognized along with statewide housing advocate champions, including Governor Walz, key legislators including Representative Liish Kozlowski, and long-time housing champion Henry Banks, Duluth School Board member. LeAnn has worked in building a response to housing needs since 2000, working directly with youth on the streets living in housing crisis, as a Tribal housing organizer, and policy advocate. She has served on different statewide and local policy groups throughout the years. This past year, LeAnn joined the political committee for the Our Future Starts At Home, a campaign to ensure dedicated housing funding secured through a constitutional amendment. On receiving the award, LeAnn had this to say: “It is an honor to stand in a field of advocates in Minnesota who work their hearts out to move policies and resources to create housing in Minnesota. We are building a Minnesota that speaks through our actions that we will not rest until everyone has a home.”
The Ordean Foundation celebrated their 90th Anniversary with a generous gift of $90,000 to support the expansion of the Dabinoo’igan Shelter, which provides emergency shelter, safety, and resources to survivors of violence. Ordean President Don Ness spoke at the press conference on December 19th sharing their celebration by acknowledging the vision of Albert and Louis Ordean, who spent their lives investing in Duluth and built a legacy of care for all community members. In the pursuit of their mission, the Ordean Foundation has been a steadfast and true partner with many great Duluth community organizations. AICHO is so honored to work in partnership with the Ordean Foundation, who has invested significantly and ongoing in the Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin program and the Children’s Program. This unexpected gift will support the construction costs of the expanded shelter, increasing the number of beds from 10 to 23, doubling the current capacity. Miigwech to Ordean President Don Ness and staff team, the Ordean Board of Directors (past and present), and the past AICHO community leaders, who worked to create and sustain the Dabinoo’igan Shelter throughout the past 25 years. Miigwech to Cedar Creek Drum for the flag song and traveling song!
First photo by Brian Barber. Remaining photos by Ivy Vainio.
AICHO has started two new groups, Oshki (youth 11-17) and Abinoojiiyag (10 and under), to offer core cultural teachings. The Oshki group meets weekly and the Abinoojiiyag group meets every other week to bring youth and children together with traditional cultural teachers. Children and youth are learning traditional stories, hands-on traditional activities, how to use traditional medicines, and the meaning of our drum, pipe, feathers, eagle staff and more. Carrying cultural knowledge strengthens us and helps us go through life strong and in a good way. We do this by bringing our generations together to learn and grow together. Carrying the teachings forward! Miigwech to the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs for support for innovative solutions to end community violence and create community well-being & safety.
Keep tabs on some of the exciting things happening at AICHO! Blog posts managed by volunteers as they are available.