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Community Development

Working towards a just and sustainable community by changing underlying systems. 

While quick fixes keep our heads above water in the short-term, they do not address the root causes of our problems. We are in it for the long-haul: going to county and state planning meetings, disrupting the status quo, and putting a stop to harmful policies and practices that keep us from living Mino-Bimaadiziwin. 

Zagaswe'iwe 

Council to Address Holy Childhood Indian Boarding School

The Holy Childhood Indian Boarding School in Harbor Springs was the last Indian boarding school in operation in the United States, closing in 1986 (last boarders in 1983). Survivors and their families, in the Harbor Springs area and throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, carry traumatic memories of intense assimilation, physical and sexual abuse, and cultural erasure. It is unknown how many children lost their lives to the school.

After laying semma and speaking to Elders in our community, we have convened a council for all those who would like to make an action plan on awareness, advocacy, healing and rights, and representation during this time in our community. Through Zagaswe'iwe, we facilitate gatherings and discussions about what we would like our next steps to be on a local and national scale.​

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See our full program page for our list of action items, awareness events, policy initiatives, programming, and more. 

Promote the Vote

Michigan State Redistricting Commission

The Michigan Nonprofit Association invited us to represent Indigenous Peoples during the State of Michigan's redistricting process. 

We participated in making 3 Community of Interest Maps to represent the lower part of Michigan where the majority of the Indigenous population lives. These maps were then vetted by Indigenous community citizens who lived in those areas to ensure that the data we received from tribal governments was correct. We had maps with concentrations in Northern Michigan, Grand Rapids, and Detroit. These maps were loaded into the independent redistricting commission database for comment.

We have received very positive feedback from the Indigenous communities we worked with through Michigan on the redistricting project. For many, it 

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was their first time being active in the Michigan governmental operations. We had 38 people from 16 tribal nations provide in person public comments in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Gaylord, and one online. The communities represented included 12 federally recognized (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa, Saginaw Chippewa Band, Sault Ste Marie Chippewa, Pokagan, San Carlos Apache, Apache, Dine, Pueblo, Arapaho and Western Cherokee Nation) and 4 tribally recognized bands (Burt Lake Band, Swan Creek Wabinsieibinniwak, Nahuatl, and displaced Ojibwa). Our representation for public comment included all ages; elders and youth. We had community representation from all walks of life including veterans, teachers, artisans, parents, pregnant mothers and grandparents.

More information on this program is coming soon.