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.
Onigaaminsing, Duluth, was the location of this year’s Minnesota Council of Nonprofits annual conference on September 20 – 21 at the DECC. It was an honor to serve on the planning committee with several other dedicated individuals who are working throughout the state of Minnesota to create better systems and partnerships “to meet the increasing information needs of nonprofits” and work on common issues that concern everyone.
I have been to countless conferences in my thirty year career. In the first twenty years, there was never really any meaningful inclusion of Native or BIPOC representation at any of the non-diverse themed conferences that I attended which means there were no diverse inclusion or representation considered in the planning of those conferences. In the past 10 years, organizations and conference planning committees are doing a better job at making everyone who attends their events feel valued and included. It’s important to have a diverse planning committee, diverse representation in the speakers and activity leads with any project that is meant for the community. Diverse speakers bring rich histories and lived experiences, unseen and seen connections, and values that everyone can learn from and be inspired by.
As a planning committee member, I helped to ensure a strong Anishinaabeg participation, representation and presence at the conference. I worked closely with the Courtney Gerber, and the planning committee, to invite Fond du Lac Ojibwe elder and tribal member Ricky DeFoe to provide a cultural Anishinaabeg ceremony to open the conference in a good way, Co-Director of John Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health Melissa Walls (Bois Forte Ojibwe descendant) who gave the keynote on the first day, AICHO Executive Director LeAnn Littlewolf (Leech Lake Ojibwe tribal member) presented on a workshop panel, musician Briand Morrison (Grand Portage Ojibwe tribal member) to provide free-style jazz guitar music during opening day’s evening session, and artist Moira Villiard (Fond du Lac Ojibwe direct descendant) who provided a tour of the Chief Buffalo Mural Project and designed the conference’s beautiful logo that symbolized the conference’s theme of “Making Waves & Breaking Barriers.”
For people who know me well, they know that I don’t like speaking in public. Even so, I made the decision to open the conference on the first day as Ricky and Melissa were part of the opening program. There were over 600 people in attendance. I walked up to the podium on the stage and began my welcome in my Ojibwe language (with translation) with a formal introduction of who I am. I shared about AICHO’s mission and all of our amazing programs, and I then got to share how important one of my cultural heroes, Ricky DeFoe, is to me and to everyone. People don’t always get to hear what people mean to the community. It’s nice and healing when it happens. I invited Ricky to come up to the stage and share his ceremony. His ceremony preceded Melissa Walls’ keynote entitled, “Indigenous Health & Well-Being: Lessons for Partnerships and Equity.” Everything flowed smoothly together like ripples of water for that opening session and I was, and still am, proud that I was fortunate enough to be a part of it. Many people came up to all three of us after the opening to thank us for our words and work within the Indigenous and greater community. It was one of the most uplifting moments of my life. Miigwech to Minnesota Council of Nonprofits for this opportunity and for a strong racial and gender inclusion and representation before and during this state-wide conference. My hats off to you all.
Grand Portage Ojibwe direct descendant
AICHO’s Arts and Culture Coordinator
It's National American Indian Heritage Month. AICHO asked some questions to our Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin: Together We Grow Youth Program participants to share their perspectives of what it means for them to be American Indian and what they would want to share with others about their Indigenous experience. Miigwech to these youth for their leadership, bravery and knowledge in sharing their Indigenous worldview with all of us. Let's listen to their Nibwaakaawin - their wisdom.
Date: October 1, 2022
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Location: Gichi Ode' Akiing Park on 214 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN
Dr. Robert Powless (Oneida Nation tribal member) was one of AICHO’s biggest supporters. He strongly advocated and even gave his own money to make sure Gimajii Mino Bimaadizimin would be a reality. His family is having a Celebration of Life Ceremony on Oct. 1 at noon at Gichi Ode Akiing Park.
The last two years of his life, he would sit at the table in the Gimaajii Lobby and visit with children, family members and staff a couple days week.
Our arts gallery/events center is named after him, and about 5 years ago we held an honoring ceremony for him in the Gimaajii Gym. Hundreds of people attended.
Join AICHO and our community partners Mashkawisen and St. Louis County, Minnesota Public Health for a session with Sharyl Whitehawk recovery programs with culturally based teachings, ceremonies, and curriculum help Native American struggling with addiction.
Date: October 5, 2022
Time: 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. CT
Virtually on Zoom
Register by Friday, September 30, 2022 at 5pm.
Registrants will receive the Zoom link on Oct. 3
Whitehawk is a Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe tribal member and is a Level III Addictions Counselor & LADC at the Khunsi Onikan Native Women’s Treatment Program at the American Indian Family Center in St. Paul, MN.
This webinar/zoom is part 1 of a 3 part Indigenous Health Series that AICHO is putting together in partnership with St. Louis County Public Health.
Free and open to the public, but know that this will center on the American Indian/First Nations experience.
Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division via our Waaseyaa Healing Grant and St. Louis County Public Health.
Flyer: Moira Villiard
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
AICHO held our first Tenant Dinner last night since the pandemic started. Tenant dinners are fun gatherings for AICHO housing families and AICHO staff to join together and share a meal at the same table and socialize. We held it on the Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin rooftop gardens.
Miigwech to AICHO Property Management, Children’s Program staff and Case Managers for this uplifting and beautiful gathering.
Gathering funded in part by St. Louis County, Minnesota.
Photo by Ivy Vainio
AICHO youth participants learn how food is medicine by making vegan kimchi with food sovereignty activists Luke and Linda Black Elk. Both Giinawiind Giginitaawigi’gomin: Together We Grow and Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin youth participants came together at AICHO’s rooftop garden to learn about the traditional and popular Korean fermented food called kimchi and the nutritious values associated with fermentation. They chopped up cabbage, ginger
AICHO says miigwech to Luke and Linda Black Elk for teaching us to look at food as medicine and for the plant walk in downtown Duluth. We learned to value the medicine growing in the concrete jungle of Duluth all around us.
Miigwech to AICHO Staff Ivy Vainio, Kayla Jackson, Cheryl Stone and Mia Menendez for organizing this cultural experience for our program youth. Miigwech Avery Makes Room For Them for making us such a delicious meal.
This activity was funded in part by Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Division, Northland Foundation, Ordean Foundation, United Way of Northeastern Minnesota, and Sheltering Arms Early Education & Family Centers.
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.
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.
Keep tabs on some of the exciting things happening at AICHO! Blog posts managed by volunteers as they are available.