Boozhoo! (Hello & Welcome!)
Welcome to the quarterly Maada’ookiing News & Updates! Find information from the Northland Foundation about the Maada’ookiing grant program, Indigenous community, and other upcoming opportunities.

We will highlight Maada’ookiing grantees and their projects and share what cultural and community activities they are leading, with a focus on how these projects strengthen people and communities in our shared region. The Maada’ookiing initiative is Indigenous-led, and each newsletter will feature one of the nine board members.

We hope you will enjoy hearing about the good work happening!

Maada'ookiing (“the distribution” in Ojibwe) is a Northland Foundation effort to strengthen relationships with Indigenous community, build partnerships with Native nations, and offer support for community members to expand capacity in northeastern Minnesota. A grant opportunity will be offered three times per year, awarding up to $2,500 per grant for Tribal citizens, descendants, or those have kinship ties or affiliation to Indigenous communities within the foundation’s geographic service area.

Grant applications are accepted anytime on the online grant portal. The next application deadline is September 15, 2021.

Maada'ookiing Round 1
Grants Awarded

Congratulations & Miigwech to the June 2021 Grantees!

Laura Winter ($2,500) - Wiigwaas Revitilization: This project focuses on a series of classes on wiigwaas (birchbark) and working with youth interested in learning the traditional arts of wiigwaas, including respectfully and safely harvesting birch bark and how to use the bark in multiple ways. 

Jeffrey Boshey ($2,500) - Duluth Area Drum & Dance Troop: This project will provide youth access to cultural teachings on traditional singing at the drum, hand drum singing, making drumsticks, creating regalia, and opportunities to learn cultural practices and traditional language with these activities.

Jacob Dunlap ($2,400) - Digital Storytelling Library: The project intends to record Ojibwe elders and Native people’s stories in a digital format. The objective of these stories is to highlight the resilience and fortitude identified as traditional strengths. Ojibwe people are some of the most advantageous woodsman, vibrant storytellers, and refined artists of North America. Creating a library of digital stories preserves the history and allows for sharing in various formats.

John Daniel ($2,500) - Curriculum and Assessment Building for Ojibwe Language Immersion Programs: This project is for building monolingual Ojibwe language curriculum and assessments for use in Ojibwe language immersion schools. A shortage of materials exists for all Ojibwe immersion programs, and the project will enable the building of curriculum and assessments for use in each program.

Ivy Vainio ($2,400) - Niigaanii: Leading The Way Billboard Banner: This project will create an inspiring cultural message for young Indigenous and BIPOC Youth in Duluth’s Hillside community, especially Indigenous girls, that they can become a Native medical student, and eventually a Native physician, through a billboard banner that features a portrait of an Indigenous medical student. This project increases Indigenous visibility.

Carla DaRonco ($2,500) - Cloquet Murals: This project will create Indigenous community murals in educational spaces. Youth and families will engage in the mural process and design art that is culturally inviting and inclusive. This project will reintroduce indigenous safe spaces in school settings and increase Native visibility.

Khayman Goodsky ($2,500) - Indigenous in the Media: This project is a podcast series focused on the importance of having authentic Indigenous voices, viewpoints, and experiences in different forms of media and will feature Indigenous artists in various fields of media: film, music, comic books, clothing designs, and other fields that accurately represent Indigenous culture. The goal is to bring more awareness and support to Indigenous artists.

Teresa Knife Chief ($2,500) - Diversity Leadership Project: The project is designed to create leaders among our Native American youth and provide diversity training for teachers. The project begins with a weeklong camp at Camp Northern Lights. The goal is for the students to be able to talk about culture, diversity, and leadership. In the end, they will return with the necessary tools and confidence to bring lasting changes to their schools, communities, and relationships.

Shayna Clark ($2,500) - Sisters of Substance: This project provides a culturally based support group, Sisters of Substance, that brings Indigenous women together who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Sisters of Substance will share resources/services and build connections through educational activities that promote culture.

Jason Goward ($2,500) - H.O.W.A.H. Talking Circle: This project offers a Talking Circle recovery support group, with traditional drum ceremony and feast. Traditional cultural activities and teachings will be offered for community members who wish to support one another.

Frank Goodwin ($2,500) - The Cultural Therapeutic Art and Wellness Project: The project will be implemented within a Native American residential halfway house. It is designed to allow participants to reconnect with their creativity through cultural art and wellness activities. This project aims to help them gain an understanding of their feelings, thoughts, and identity through cultural art projects.

Natalie Smith ($2,500) - Sober Squad Talking Circle: Duluth/Cloquet Sober Squad Talking Circle is an ongoing recovery talking circle that focuses primarily on the Indigenous community. While the talking circle is open to all people, the focus of the group is to provide a culturally relevant space to support recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The mission of the Sober Squad is to empower and support individuals in recovery to build healthier communities.

Cheryl Edwards ($2,500) - Constitution Education Activity: This project will provide fun yet educational activities for our community members on Constitutional Awareness, information on the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Constitution, and its current reform process. Community-based games and engagement activities will be implemented in Fond du Lac.

Next Maada'ookiing Grant Round Open for Applications

Do you have a great community project idea? Round 2 is open now. You can submit your application today!

Applications due by September 15, 2021. 
Maada'ookiing Grantee Spotlight
Duluth Area Drum & Dance Troop

A first round grantee of Maada’ookiing, Jeffrey Boshey will share his traditional knowledge with youth in Duluth. His project focuses on teaching youth to sing at the traditional drum and how to make hand drums and traditional ribbon skirts.

Jeffrey has been a traditional singer for over 30 years and started going to powwows with his grandmother when he was 5 years old. By age 10, he was singing at the drum. Harold Lightfeather Sr. would travel to Lake Vermilion to teach singing and showed Jeffrey how to make drums. Since then, he has continued singing with the Lake Vermilion drum group. Jeff is excited to connect with Native youth and help lead them into an understanding of our drum and back into our traditions.

"There's a powerful meaning behind every song we sing," Jeff shared.

When asked what is important to know about the traditional drum, he offered this: “To always be respectful around the drum. There is a spirit in every drum and that needs to be respected. Living the good life, mino-bimaadiziwin, means respecting all that makes the drum possible, the wood from the trees, materials that make the drum sticks, the animal that sacrificed its life, the earth, Aki, that allows the drum to carry the heartbeat for the people. There’s a lot to be thankful for.”

Jeffrey will be sharing these teachings with Native youth and keeping the traditions alive for the next generations.
Maada'ookiing Board Spotlight
Meet Maada’ookiing Board member Alexandera Houchin! Alexandera is a Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa citizen. Currently, Alexandera is a LEAD Fellow with the Fond du Lac Planning Department. When Alexandera first heard about the Maada’ookiing initiative, she said what resonated for her is the focus on grassroots grants. Maada’ookiing is designed for people who have great ideas and aren’t necessarily affiliated with a nonprofit or other formal organization. For Alexandera, she feels this is a direct way to help people get their dreams off the ground. Also, for people who might be thinking about starting a nonprofit organization, the Maada’ookiing grant is a way to start a smaller project while they get ready to launch a formal entity. 

"This is Native people giving funding to other Native people. For so long, it's been people from outside of our communities who decide. With Maada'ookiing, we get to say where we invest in our communities." -- Alexandera Houchin

Maada’ookiing has board representatives from the five Tribal Nations and both rural & urban areas of the Northland Foundation service area. As a Maada’ookiing board member, Alexandera hopes people “feel loved and supported in chasing their goals and dreams.” She said that we all need to feel supported in that process of dreaming. 

When asked what else she would like people to know about her, she said “I ride bikes and I like bikes!” She is humble beyond belief, and check out this article about her passion for bikes and her accomplishments as a bicyclist … she won two Tour Divide races! Alexandera would like everyone to be healthy and happy, and she actively works to create more opportunities for people to experience the outdoors, be active, have healthy food, and be in community with one another.

We are grateful to have her leadership in action on the Maada’ookiing Board.

Ojibwemowin-Ojibwe Language

Dream of it.
Who Can Apply?
Individuals or small groups who are citizens, descendants, or have kinship ties or affiliation to Indigenous communities for projects of activities within the geographic service area below.
Maada'ookiing Senior Program Officer

LeAnn Littlewolf (she/her)


Miigwech! (Thank you)

Please contact me if you have any questions! I am here to help, and I am excited to see Maada'ookiing projects come to life.

Land Acknowledgement
The Northland Foundation’s geographic service area rests on ceded territory established by the Treaties of 1837, 1854, 1855, and 1866 between the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe Nations and the United States government. This region is the traditional homelands of the Ojibwe, Dakota, Northern Cheyenne, and other Native nations, and Indigenous people continue to live here. We humbly acknowledge that we are on traditional Indigenous land that holds a long history that continues to grow. Our relationships today shape and define our ongoing shared history. Together, we are actively building mutual respect based on trust and understanding. See a more detailed acknowledgement of this land and its history.