Tiwahe Announces New American Indian Family Empowerment Program Grantees

Eleven grants were awarded to Native American individuals in the Twin Cities through Tiwahe Foundation’s American Indian Family Empowerment Program Fund (AIFEP). These grants are made in partnership with the Two Feathers Fund of The Saint Paul Foundation. AIFEP strives to reverse the social, educational and economic challenges facing American Indians by investing in human capital, skills and cultural strengths through three priority areas: cultural connections, educational achievement and economic self-sufficiency. Over the past 20 years, the AIFEP fund has awarded over 800 individuals close to $1.5 million.

During the January 2017 grant round, the following individuals received awards:

Goal 2: Educational Achievement
Brittany Austin, Standing Rock, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Brittany is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Education.
Jolene Chestnut, White Earth, to support her education at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Jolene is in her final year of the Master of Tribal Administration and Governance Program.
Akikwe Cornell, Sault Saint Marie, to support her education at the University of Minnesota. Akikwe is completing a doctoral program in the Department of American Studies.
Honor Lamont, Ogalala Sioux, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Honor is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Human Services.
Amber Leger, Leech Lake, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Amber is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Business Management.
Anne O’Keefe-Jackson, Lower Sioux, to support her education at Augsburg College. Anne is pursuing a Masters of Business Administration.
Jason Poitra, Turtle Mountain, to support his education at Dunwoody College of Technology. Jason is pursuing a one year welding certificate.
Samora Redding, White Earth, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Samora is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Human Services.
Sasina Samreth, White Earth, to support her education at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Sasina is pursuing a certificate in Accounting.

Goal 3: Economic Self-Sufficiency
David Bernie,Yankton Sioux, to bring Indigemojis, an Indigenous Sticket Emoji app, to the Android market. Indigemojis launched for iOS August of 2016 and includes categories such as Women Warriors, Francis Frybread, Indian Love, Pow Wow and Activism.
Benjamin Spears, Red Lake, to upgrade business equipment for Spears Tree Care. Benjamin has worked as a Certified Arborist for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board for over a decade and runs his own business providing consultation and diagnosis, trimming, removal and disease control.

New Program & Community Network Director Making Connections

Boozhoo, Relatives! Mii’gwech for a warm welcome to my new position as the Program and Community Network Director here at Tiwahe Foundation. My community has been very supportive in my transition into my new role in the philanthropic world. It is truly an honor to be a part of such a wonderful organization.

I started on February 1st and hit the ground running to make great connections in my work. I will be spearheading much of the work with the American Indian Family Empowerment Program, as well as connecting Native leaders statewide to the Minnesota Native Alumni Network. My vision moving forward is to support our Native communities across the state. All too often, we are not able to have the space to work through our Indigenous cultural lens when working towards advancing our communities. Through this network, we will collaboratively work together, sharing opportunities, information and resources. These practices are more Indigenous, therefore, often more natural to our work. I also see our Native communities throughout Minnesota becoming a best practice model for Native Leadership networking in Indian Country.

We are evolving as Indigenous people, so the time is now to take on leadership roles to carry our cultural values into the future. I look forward to working together to create positive changes in our communities! Mii’gwech & Pidamiyaye, Deanna StandingCloud

Ojibwe Leader Expands His Network

A member of the Network Weavers cohort #2, Mille Lacs Ojibwe band member Bradley Harrington works diligently every day to preserve Ojibwe culture, history, and language. In the Ojibwe language, he is known as “Nazhike-awaasang” meaning “Lone Shining Star.”

A father to 8 children, Bradley began learning about the Ojibwe culture as a way to bring wellness to his family. Having experienced incarceration and drug addiction, he understands the importance of culture and language as a way of bringing life to his community. He has been sober for over 8 years and his work in his community has had many positive effects. Recently, he helped organize a summit around opiate abuse, opening up conversations of the drug epidemic in Native communities. He is also currently a Native Recovery Coach with the Minnesota Department of Human Services at the Four Winds Treatment Facility. As an Ojibwe Language Apprentice with the Mille Lacs Band, Bradley is the President of “Ojibwe Ozhichiganan” which provides Ojibwe language products to promote fun and practical ways to learn the language.

After completing the Network Weavers cohort, Bradley reflected on the experience saying, “I was able to connect with other Native leaders that are interested in doing work that greatly benefits our communities.” He is also enthusiastic about collaborating with others, noting, “The Network Weavers cohort put me at the table with others whom I wouldn’t have otherwise connected with.” You can connect with Bradley on LinkedIn.