On a hot Wednesday evening, a team made up of AICHO staff and Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin families came together to collectively run and walk 20 miles. Each step they took was a prayer to heal themselves as Indigenous people and stand in solidarity against racism and hatred directed towards Ojibwe people throughout Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Their steps contributed towards the solidarity relay called The Healing Circle Run organized by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
The Healing Circle Run began in 1989 as a response to the escalated animosity towards Ojibwe people brought on by protests against tribes reasserting hunting, fishing, and gathering rights in the Ojibwe ceded territories of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The seven-day relay is a collective prayer to bring healing to participants, their families, reservations, the communities they pass through, the nation and the earth. Runners endure the long journey under the summer sun and heat, persevering through exhaustion. It is a sacrifice runners make to heal their loved ones and communities suffering from addiction, violence and untreated intergenerational, historical trauma.
The relay route connects 10 Ojibwe nations including Lac Du Flambeau, Mole Lake, Lac Vieux Desert, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Bad River, Red Cliff, Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs, St. Croix, and Lac Courte Oreilles, covering 600 miles. AICHO pledged and completed 20 miles on July 13, 2022, the fifth day of the relay in South Superior.
The Native Americans into Medicine summer program took a tour at AICHO to learn more about AICHO’s missions, priorities and community initiatives to address and advocate for health justice and access in our communities on July 13, 2022
The Native Americans into Medicine summer program is a six-week summer enrichment program for undergraduate students pursing careers in health and medicine through the University of Minnesota.
The students learned about AICHO programming from Co-Executive Director LeAnn Littlewolf, the Indigenous First Gift Shop from Khayman Goodsky, and AICHO Galleries and Cultural Arts programming from Ivy Vainio. Miigwech NAM for visiting AICHO!
AICHO awarded Transformation Fund
Photo courtesy of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice
Headwaters Foundation for Justice (HFJ) is deeply investing in 22 organizations or coalitions that are led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. We, at the American Indian Community Housing Organization, are proud and grateful to be included!
The group of grantees are on the front lines of organizing for systems change across Minnesota. Each $75,000 grant gives $25,000 of general operating support per year for three years—an HFJ first.
“This is our mission in action,” program director Melissa Rudnick said. “Organizations need and deserve flexible grant dollars to support their work towards justice, self-determination, and collective liberation. Philanthropy’s responsibility is to do more than just listen. We must respond, which is why I’m proud to see the community help Headwaters move this money exactly where it’s needed.”
Visit their website for a full list of grant recipients to learn more about the Transformation Fund, the grant recipients, and the community grant makers who powered this grant-making process.
Photo courtesy of the McKnight Foundation
The American Indian Community Housing Organization are proud and humbled to be recognized as a "Regional Cultural Treasure" by the McKnight Foundation. and their generosity given to us.
Minnesota is home to incredible Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-led arts organizations! The McKnight Foundation is recognizing and investing in Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American-Led Arts Organizations meeting this moment in time with imagination, persistence, and creativity.
“We use the term ‘Cultural Treasures’ with intention, to honor the diversity of expression and artistic excellence that these organizations contribute to the cultural vitality of our state, despite having historically experienced under-investment ,” said Tonya Allen, President of the McKnight Foundation. “As our arts institutions prepare to safely re-open after the pandemic, we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on these remarkable organizations.”
AICHO strives to honor our ancestors, to reclaim our traditional art and support Indigenous People, and empower our community and the future generations to come. Miigwech, thank you, for the hard work that we collectively do to bring Indigenous arts - the first art of this land - into the forefront, into the light, and into the eyes, minds, and hearts of our communities. We are PROUD to stand with, and we congratulate, the 9 other organizations who received this funding. AICHO is grateful for the vision and leadership of our AICHO Board and the dedication of our AICHO staff, who not only provide services and support to our community, but also their work behind the scenes to support our art programming. Chi miigwech! Big thanks!
Chi miigwech to our contract staff/former Cultural Arts Coordinator Moira Villiard for nominating our organization for this funding, to all the brilliant and ah-mazing artists who have worked with AICHO since 2012 to transform Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin into the arts and cultural center it is today. And a special acknowledgement for our Arts and Cultural Arts Coordinator Ivy Vainio for her creative vision and keeping our Cultural Arts Programming alive and thriving especially during this past year.
Miigwech to the funding partners: McKnight Foundation, The Bush Foundation, Ford Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, The Minneapolis Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Propel Nonprofits.
Highlighting AICHO: "St. Louis County strives to vaccinate all groups of people"
Daryl Olson, AICHO's Director of Programming, has organized several public health events at AICHO such as providing free saliva testing for the community. At AICHO's vaccination clinic, Olson has helped numerous elders including Portia Johnson. Photo by Ivy Vainio
Except from the Duluth News Tribune:
Groups most vulnerable to poor health outcomes are being prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations by the local public health department.
St. Louis County Public Health is directing 20% of its COVID-19 vaccination allotments to people in minority and marginalized populations. The county is reaching underserved populations by partnering with community organizations aimed at serving those people.
It’s meant vaccination clinics at board and lodges, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and places such as the American Indian Community Housing Organization, which hosted a vaccination clinic earlier this month for its housing and shelter residents, and communities of color.
AICHO was featured on FOX21 for our Giwiidookoodaadimin "We help each other" COVID-19 Emergency Food Distribution.
The program provides food food boxes to the Duluth community. In addition to food boxes, households received disposable masks and cloth masks for adults and children, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, cleaning supplies and thermometers. We also provided families with baby essentials. Over the past month, AICHO has continued to distribute PPE to tribal communities, local non-profits, individuals and families across St. Louis County and Carlton County.
Read "AICHO Gives 400 Bags of Food to Those in Need" by FOX21
Highlighting AICHO: Art and Indigenous representation integrated in public health messaging
AICHO staff member Ivy Vainio was interviewed by the Minnesota Department of Health, discussing AICHO’s work in “Amplifying the Message” of COVID-19 safety measures to American Indians and beyond.
Vainio, a Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe direct descendant, leads AICHO's social media and community public health messaging. She has worked with Indigenous artists in helping AICHO provide artfully crafted messages that our Indigenous communities can connect with in partnerships with tribal, state, and county public health departments.
Read more of “Amplifying the Message: Integrating Art and Public Health to Protect the American Indian Community”
For more artwork created by AICHO-affiliated artists, visit the AICHO Artists' Response page.
Artwork by NSGRTS
Deanna Reder is the legal advocate for the American Indian Community Housing Organization. She shares her journey in advocating for victims of domestic violence.
This video was produced by WDSE WRPT.
Keep tabs on some of the exciting things happening at AICHO! Blog posts managed by volunteers as they are available.