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.
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 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.
For AICHO's first in-person event of the Indigenous Writer Series, Thomas (Tom) Peacock (Fond du Lac Ojibwe tribal member) and Elizabeth (Betsy) Albert-Peacock (Red Cliff Ojibwe tribal member) of Black Bears and Blueberries Publishing.
Tom and Betsy read passages from their books, shared about their writing processes and influences, working with Indigenous illustrators, and Tom shared a beautiful excerpt from his new book in progress.
The event ended with a book signing and sale. The community came out to support these Indigenous writers with us.
The session was moderated by Dr. Jill Doerfler (White Earth Ojibwe direct descendant), Department Director of UMD Department of American Indian Studies who co-hosted the event.
Miigwech to McKnight Foundation for funding AICHO’s Indigenous Writers Series.
Our Giinawiind and Gimaajii kids participated in the Fond du Lac Band Gitigaan’s Gitigaan Wiikondiyag Garden Feast today. We played traditional lacrosse for a couple hours, went swimming at Kiwenz Campground, then toured the Gitigaan garden and ate food from the Feast. It was a full eventful day.
Miigwech to Giinawiind and Gimaajii Youth program staff Kayla Jackson for bringing these youth to this event where they got to learn about and reconnect with culture, traditions, Indigenous food and to the land. The youth also volunteered and helped at the event as well.
Photos by Ivy Vainio
Artist Shaun Chosa led art class with Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin: Together We Grow program youth and Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin youth. Shaun Chosa is a Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe tribal member. Photos by Ivy Vainio.
Youth learned to make traditional Anishinaabe wild rice poles through AICHO’s Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin: Together We Grow Youth Program.
Through this hands-on workshop, guided by Michaa Aubid (East Lake Anishinaabe) and Veronica Skinaway (Sandy Lake Anishinaabe), program participants learned the importance of treaty rights, how to operate power tools and how to knock rice with rice knockers. This knowledge is important when participating in the wild rice harvest, called manoominike in Anishinaabemowin.
If we are to preserve culture, we must continue to create it.” - Johan Huizing, historian
Last year, the program youth learned how to make wild rice knockers in a workshop taught by 1854 Treaty Authority, passing harvesting knowledge to the youth. In September, the Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin program will participate in the annual manoominike with Ron Willis, under the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College CYFAR Grant activity.
AICHO says miigwech to Michaa Aubid and Veronica Skinaway for teaching our program youth and staff about manoominike, the Anishinaabe words connected to harvesting rice and for allowing our youth to make ricing poles.
Miigwech to AICHO staff Ivy Vainio for coordinating this cultural activity with assistance from Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin program coordinator Kayla Jackson, Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin Children’s Program coordinator Mia Menendez and Cheryl Stone and AICHO’s property caretaker Scott Thompson.
This event was funded in part by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division.
To learn about medicinal properties of various Indigenous plant infusions, Anishinaabe food and traditions, AICHO youth visited the Native Wise LLC farm on the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe Reservation on June 30, 2022
David and Patra Wise fo Native Wise LLC guided youth from both the Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin: Together We Grow Youth Program and Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin Children’s Program came together in making a salve. Youth chose two Indigenous plant infusions to make into salves.
David took the group on a nature walk and introduced numerous Indigenous plants they walked past and explained the traditional uses of the plants.
After the walk, the group ate smoked moose sausage with jalepeño and cheese, all made on the farm, wild rice hotdish made with moose meat and home processed beef burger.
Such a wonderful time for everyone, especially our youth who were connected to Anishinaabeg cultural foods, plants, traditions, stories, and wisdom. We are grateful.
Miigwech to Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin program coordinator Kayla Jackson and AICHO staff Ivy Vainio for organizing the field trip, and miigwech to Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin Children’s Program coordinators Mia Menendez and Cheryl Stone and intern Ellie Waring for assisting. Photo by Channing Powers, 10 year-old Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin program participant.
Programs are funded in part by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division, Northland Foundation, United Way, Sheltering Arms Child Development and Family Support, and Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.
Keep tabs on some of the exciting things happening at AICHO! Blog posts managed by volunteers as they are available.