AICHO recieved yet another grant from the McKnight Foundation for the art program at Gimaajii which will help support the capacity of Native artists through November 2020. Miigwech!
Congratulations to Gimaajii Youth Patience for being nominated for the Duluth Branch NAACP’s 2019 Martin Luther King, Jr. “Drum Major For Peace” Award (Youth category). The award is given to those who actively work towards social justice and peace in our communities. Patience is respectful, and is always helping others. She was awarded an award for these attributes last year at her school. She also was part of an anti-bullying club, is a member of the World Beat Drummers, recently spoke at the Duluth School Board Education Committee, participated in a weeklong photography class this summer at AICHO and now represents that art exhibit, and she is active within the AICHO- Gimaajii Children’s programming. She is a treasure in our community, as are all of our youth. The awards will be announced at the MLK Rally at the DECC on January 21. Program starts at noon. Free and open to the public. Congratulations again to Patience and her family on this nomination.
Lyz Jaakola, Fond du Lac Ojibwe tribal member, has been spending time with the Gimaajii Youth and families to teach them cultural hand drum songs. One in particular had to do with thanking the water, which will be sung at the Akawe Nibi Community Pop-Up session on January 31 with our youth! Chi miigwech, Lyz for teaching us, and we are looking forward to having you come back for the second lesson. There was even exercises in between the songs led by Lyz, and the kids!
What a way to bring in the new year! By installing our newest Indigenous themed mural on our business building at 2301 W. Superior Street. This mural was painted and designed by Red Lake Nation artist Jonathan Thunder in collaboration with Sarah Brokke Erickson, Paul LaJeunesse, AICHO, College of St. Scholastica students and Gimaajii families who helped paint the mural this past summer.
The artist statement:
"When burned for healing or ritual purposes, the smoke from braided sweetgrass is thought to attract good spirits and positive energies. It is used as a smudging tool to purify people’s auras, cleanse objects, and clear ceremonial areas or healing spaces of negative energy. When I was asked to create the design for this mural I was given the idea for the sweetgrass braid by the staff at AICHO. They mentioned it was a good metaphor for AICHO’s 3 main focuses in the pursuit of cultural resilience: housing, culture and indigenous food systems.
In the image you see a figure known in Ojibwe stories as “Deer Woman”. This figure has taken on the role of symbolizing strength to Indigenous Women in books and artworks produced by contemporary artists in our community. Deer woman sings to a little yellow bird, a Goldfinch - the spirit of the Anishinaabe language.Through this element of identity, strength and knowledge of one’s self can be obtained. Meanwhile, corn and squash are two of the many natural foods used in Indigenous cooking. Food is medicine and another means through which, through gardening and youth empowerment, AICHO has been revitalizing Indigenous culture."
This building is one of AICHO's buildings under development which currently hosts gallery/gift shop community pop-ups on Saturdays and a wash & fold laundry.
Chi miigwech to Jonathan Thunder and everyone in making this mural and Indigenous representation possible.
Installation: Lakehead Signs
Photos by Scott Thompson