On Nov. 30, AICHO hosted the "Through Our Eyes: Growing Our Way" Indigenous Youth Exhibition Artists' Reception which featured the photography of Gimaajii Housing Youth and Duluth Indigenous Youth. They all represented so well at the reception! We recognized each of them on stage and they got a chance to say a few words about their experience in the photography class and exhibition. Their families and community members were beaming!
One of the Gimaajii Youth, Patience, was interviewed by Minnesota Native News and she also spoke with the Isd 709 Duluth Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Jeff Horton about her photos and he invited her to speak at the next Duluth Public Schools School Board Meeting! She is 9 years old.
Our Indigenous youth are important and they need to be recognized. Thanks to all who came out to the reception for them. The exhibit will be up until the end of December so stop by. The calendar featuring their photos is for sale at Indigenous First: Art & Gift Shop. Thanks to Kristine Sorensen from In Progress for speaking at the event and for facilitating the week long summer photography class with the students. Thanks also to the amazing 7 student volunteers from The College of St. Scholastica's Native American Club!
The Gimaajii Healthy Families Initiative received support from the following foundations in 2018: Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation, United Way, Ordean Foundation, The Sheltering Arms Foundation, Center for Prevention Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Essentia Health.
Photos by Ivy Vainio and Patience Thompson
AICHO is hosting the Creative Startups Duluth Lab Module sessions in the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center. AICHO's Economic Development Director LeAnn Littlewolf, who is a part of this year's Creative Startups Cohort, helped facilitate last night's session. Creative Startups LABS Duluth mentors are educators, non-profit leaders and entrepreneurs. More about Creative Startups Duluth (via their website):
"Creative Startups was brought to Duluth through a dynamic cooperationbetween the University of Minnesota’s Duluth (UMD) and Minneapolis (UMTC) campuses and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Dedicated to the vision of becoming a hub of creative and cultural entrepreneurship that drives economic development across Minnesota and the Midwest, the mission of the leadership team is to launch creative businesses that strengthen the economic diversity of Minnesota's community.
Community partners include the American Indian Community Housing Organization, the Family Freedom Center, Fathers Rise Together, Integrative Re-Sources, and the Northland Foundation and the McKnight Foundation."
Click here to learn more...
Photos by Olaf Kuhlke
Our Annual Biboon Bimaadizimin - Winter Good Life Market brought in hundreds of shoppers looking to get unique holidays items. We brought in thousands of dollars in sales to support local and Indigenous vendors who sold everything from handmade soaps, candles, ornaments, and jewelry to fine art, glass work, pottery, sculptures, feather pine cones, candles, and more. Traffic stayed steady through the whole event, and the Gimajii Youth Market sold fry bread and wild rice soup.
Photos by Michelle LeBeau
Gimaajii Garden Clean Up! The Youth had a day off of school and some of them were a great help in the garden! Thanks to residents Victor and Sherry for helping too! AICHO staff Katie and Ivy helped lead, and participated, in the clean up as well. We only got to the back lot garden. So there will be another day for the rooftop garden clean up. The sun was out, it was warm, and we had lots of water on hand to refresh us. A great day!
Photos by: Ivy Vainio and Katie Schmitz
Gimaajii, AICHO housing families, and AICHO staff participated in the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation's fit week in an effort to engage 12,000 Native American youth across the country in physical activity.There was a different activity each day to encourage people to get up and get active! #NB3 #HealthyKidsHealthyFutures
Chi miigwech to the over 200 community members that showed up, and to all the speakers/leaders that were part of the Opening Ceremonies. We are grateful for all the volunteers, the activity leaders, the drum group, and the vendors who made this community event a true success.
The new name was revealed for the 4th Street Market and it is now called "Niiwin Indigenous Foods Market" which was settled on by the AICHO Board of Directors.
Special miigwech to our current funders - and all of them had representatives at the event - White Earth Investment Initiative, Northland Foundation, Entrepreneur Fund, LeBeau Development, LLC, and Duluth LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation). Also to our event supporters - American Lung Association in Minnesota, Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundationand St. Louis County.
Thanks to Stephan Witherspoon for cooking the Red Lake Nation Fishery walleye, Katie Schmitz for making the wild rice kale salad that everyone wants the recipe for, Wendy Savage for the wild rice cupcakes, and Marisa Ring for making the Indigenous teas!
Again, thanks to AICHO Staff Cheryl Stone and Scott Thompson and their restoration crew from Thunderbird/Wren Half-Way House that got the Market looking so nice!
Lastly, thanks to Executive Director Michelle LeBeau and Economic Development Director LeAnn Littlewolf for this vision for the future for our community in terms of access to healthy and Indigenous Foods. Also to Ivy Vainio for taking the lead on organizing this Open House, and all the AICHO staff members who helped back at the office and during the event. AICHO has the BEST team ever!
Photos by Ivy Vainio.
Join us on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. for AICHO’s “4th Street Market Open House: Envisioning the Future.” The event will begin with an opening ceremony which will include an Anishinaabe traditional blessing, a vision statement from the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), welcomes from city leaders, community partners/leaders, tribal leaders, and entertainment. From 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., we will have art and educational activities on healthy and Indigenous foods, vendors, community interactive feedback activities to allow us to be informed on what the community would like to see happen with the Market, family fun games, and more.
Note: this is JUST an open house and NOT the opening of the market. This event is FREE and is co-sponsored by AICHO and the American Lung Association.
RSVP on Facebook
& open to the public
Hear from community, tribal & state leaders
Experience traditional Indigenous foods, beverages & artwork
Bring your ideas
Background: The 4th Street Market had served the Hillside for decades as a food market/deli, and when it closed down two years ago, it created a food desert in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. AICHO plans to renovate the building creating 4 units of housing on the second floor (2 currently exist) and on the main level will be an Indigenous Food Market, Coffee Shop/Deli and Gift Shop. The lower level will house our new Coffee Roasting Business.
The purchase of this building holds a lot of significance for our region’s Indigenous population. Duluth is in the heart of Indigenous territory and holds strong spiritual and cultural significance to our people. While the land ceded in the treaty process (the northern half of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota) built immense wealth for others, including the agricultural, timber, mining and shipping industries that propelled Minnesota to economic prosperity, the Indigenous community in Duluth is at ground zero with high poverty.
AICHO is changing the narrative in our community, by asserting our political and cultural ties to the land and forging a commitment to build sustainable, community-owned practices. AICHO’s goal is to become economically self-sufficient. To reach this level of social impact, AICHO is engaged in new and exciting economic development activities. Our philosophy of economic development is embedded in the values driven by collective health and vitality, sovereignty, and sustainable solutions that start at home and also speak to the whole world.Special thanks to our current 4th Street Market funding partners:
Halloween at Gimaajii! Cute and scary costumes, painting pumpkins, and trick or treating in the AICHO and Mending The Sacred Hoop offices. There were healthier options but, of course, candy. Miigwech to the tenants who helped decorate the haunted Gimaajii gardens and inside the building, especially Gerry, Eric, Mila, and others. Miigwech to the staff who helped with the day's activities! It was a great and thrilling experience!
Photos by Ivy Vainio
It was HARVEST day in the Gimaajii Gardens on Sunday, Sept. 28! Families helped harvest the vegetables, herbs, sage, tobacco, and melons. Each family got to bring some items home and the rest went to the Gimaajii kitchen. Everyone, from kids to elders, had fun. One parent said she wants to be in the garden more next year as she learned so much. One resident gave an offering of tobacco and spoke Ojibwe as she thanked the sage plants before she harvested them. It was a great day! Miigwech to AICHO staff Katie Schmitz, and Deb Smith, for their gardening and harvesting knowledge.
Photos by Ivy Vainio and Katie Schmitz