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 February 15, 2022.

Maada'ookiing Round 2
Grants Awarded

Congratulations & Miigwech to the September 2021 Grantees!

Collette Pederson ($2,500): To capture Elders' stories of their lives and knowledge to share the history of Grand Portage community. 

Rebecca Gawboy ($2,500): To host a weekend gathering of Native women to make their own hand drums, ribbon skirts, bond, pray, and be in ceremony. 

Muriel Deegan ($2,500): To offer weekly evening sessions for community members to bead, hear traditional winter stories, and learn cultural teachings at Vermilion Social Center. 

Briand Morrison ($2,500): To create and perform original music, Anishinaabe Blues, with three live performances in Grand Portage at the Elders Powwow, on a live radio show, and at Wabaan, a healing circle. 

Billy Blackwell ($2,500): To capture and retain the stories of the history and culture of the Grand Portage Anishinaabe before the stories are lost. This project will record stories on video and digitally so they can be made available to all people who want to learn. 

Janis Fairbanks ($2,500): To create a book that highlights traditional Ojibwe beadwork design and techniques featuring the life work of Ralph Fairbanks, a traditional Ojibwe Elder (1948 - 2020), with pictures of his work and commentary on the artistic, spiritual, and cultural importance of his legacy to pass this knowledge to future generations. 

Alexander Kmett ($2,500): To create an informational video that highlights the importance of both food sovereignty and language revitalization, and how they are both relevant in developing our way of relating to the natural world as Indigenous peoples. 

Linda Newman ($2,500): To educate, support, and empower young women (ages 12+) of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa through opportunities to work with traditional sled dogs, paddle into the BWCA, learn to make beeswax candles, and immerse themselves in off-grid activities. 

Brian Stillday ($2,500): To teach children in the Duluth area traditional singing basics, back-up singing, and the responsibility of handling a drum. 

Maija Stillday ($2,500): To teach ribbon skirt and regalia making to youth in Duluth and host a fashion show in a round dance style to display the youths’ work. 

Tashia Hart ($2,500): To make narratives of healthy, healing portrayals of love, body, and relationships easily accessible to uplift Native communities of Minnesota and beyond. Free copies of the novel Native Love Jams will be distributed to tribal libraries, women's shelters, and other locations. 

Patra Wise ($2,500): To host a workshop to teach Native youth the art of preserving culturally significant herbs, in partnership with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Community Center and American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). 

Jordan Gawboy ($2,500): To offer drumming and regalia making classes for youth ages 8-18 years old at Bois Forte Tribal Nation communities of Lake Vermilion and Nett Lake in a community center setting. 

Ryan Bajan ($2,500): To hold drum circle once a week in after-school programming on the Bois Forte Tribal Nation with youth 6-18 years old. 

Airlea DeFoe ($2,500): To host an event to raise awareness, funds, and resources for Indigenous peoples who are unhoused, in emergency shelter, and spotlight issues that cause Native homelessness. 

Ashley Ammesmaki ($2,500): To create a MMIW (missing murdered indigenous women)-MMIS (missing murdered indigenous survivors) Beaded Mural to educate on these movements to help MMIW and MMIS families and survivors, raise awareness, and generate more resources. 

October Allen ($2,500): To add cultural components to a successful recovery/wellness group within a housing support program and bring awareness to the needs of Indigenous women and the importance of cultural activities. 

Danielle Pieratos ($2,500): To create a Farmers Market Manager for the Ode-imini Giizhis (Strawberry Moon) Farmers Market on Bois Forte Tribal Nation to increase healthy, local, fresh food access. 

Next Maada'ookiing Grant Round Open for Applications

Do you have a great community project idea? Round 3 is open now. You cat your application today!

Applications due by February 15, 2022. 
Maada'ookiing Grantee Spotlight
Cloquet Mural Project

Naakiiyaa (Carla Kitto) is a Round 1 Maada’ookiing Grantee and has a project to create Indigenous murals within the Cloquet Public Schools. As an active volunteer and cultural advocate, Naakiiyaa (Tribal Citizen Anishinaabe and Rainy River/Red Lake/Powhatan/Oji-Cree) has been working with the Cloquet Public School District for the past two years and other schools, including Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, and programs for ten years. Naakiiyaa said the idea for the mural project was to help create safe space for students and to show that they are an important part of the school community. 

Naakiiyaa said, “By including the students, it would make it more real to them.” Over 50 students have helped create the mural in process now. The mural features traditional teachings and stories, conveyed by the images of a turtle (representing land and Turtle Island), a gold finch (spirit keeper of Anishinaabe language), and the spider (a story involving Nanaboozhoo and the sun). The mural increases Indigenous visibility within the school and is a teaching tool that will help educate all students for many years to come. Naakiiyaa has asked students to engage in research by asking an elder or family member to share an Anishinaabe story. The students will share the stories and together they will decide on the next mural project.

Naakiyaa stated: “These are root teachings and this is about cultural continuation. Our people learn more through stories. The students are the next generation and they are going to carry these stories.”

This project engages the community to be involved. Waabanangagokwe (Michelle DeFoe), a professor and an Indigenous artist, who is a mother of three and a small business owner, has been practicing her medium for several years and has been an active leader in the process. Waabanangagokwe helped shape and create the vision of safe Indigenous spaces and Indigenous inclusion. Another strong advocate, Julian Kitto, the licensed Indigenous language teacher at Cloquet Schools is helping make the murals a part of ongoing learning. The principal and other staff have been included in the process. The mural project illustrates the importance of traditional stories to convey valuable information. As an exciting update, the Cloquet School District will host traditional storytelling this winter for all students. 

Miigwech, Naakiiyaa, for bringing this incredible community and cultural project to life! 
Maada'ookiing Board Spotlight
Meet Maada’ookiing Board member Shane Drift! As a Maada’ookiing Board member, Shane Drift (Bois Forte Tribal Council District 1 Representative) believes serving on the Maada’ookiing board helps keep the connection with Tribal band members who are working to keep the language and culture alive, which is vital. Shane said, “There’s been a wide variety of people doing projects that keep the language and culture alive from all the reservations.” Shane strongly encourages people to apply for the Maada’ookiing grant. 

Shane said that his own life has been deeply impacted by those who offered words of wisdom, teachings, and guidance: his Grandma Jessie who raised him, his partner Christina, elders like Gene Goodsky, Gary Strong, and Karen Drift, and community members like Brandon Benner and Karlene Chosa, and all the Bois Forte band members who have shared ideas and insights over the years. Shane is thankful for the grantees who took the time and effort to apply, people who will apply in the future, and for the people who teach and share Ojibwe language chi-miigwech! The community keeps the culture alive and our culture keeps our people strong. 

As a Maada’ookiing Board member, Shane offered these words: “Thank you to the Northland Foundation for giving me this unique opportunity to serve on the board. I would like to say a special thank you to the people who donate to the Northland Foundation. It’s because of their generosity that the various projects are happening! Also thank you to the fellow board members for serving on the board!”

Ojibwemowin-Ojibwe Language


They give (something) to each other.
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.
Farewell from Maada'ookiing Senior Program Officer

LeAnn Littlewolf (she/her)

Ahneen & Boozhoo!

I would like to thank the community and Northland Foundation for a great past year, working together to launch the Maada'ookiing grassroots grant program. It has been such a joy to see so many incredible applications come in and see the diverse projects from so many committed, creative community members. While we had health and safety in mind with the pandemic, I was still able to attend some outdoor events, powwows and Tribal Nation community annual events, to share more about Northland Foundation and Maada'ookiing.

The best part of being in this role was talking with potential applicants who shared their project ideas. It meant so much to hear about the work happening in the community and the real commitment to keep our Indigenous culture front and center in our communities. As with any great endeavor, it takes a full team to accomplish a higher level of success and I have been fortunate to have learned so much from the Northland staff team, the Maada'ookiing Board, and Tribal & Indigenous community members.

I am transitioning to a new leadership role with the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) and look forward to helping Maada'ookiing continue to bring resources and people together in other ways – by sharing with others what a great opportunity this is to give life to your ideas and to encourage people to apply!

Miigwech & see you in the community!


Thank you, LeAnn!

The Northland Foundation is grateful to LeAnn Littlewolf for her excellent work during this past year. We wish her much success in her new role.

Watch for news in the coming weeks of a Program Officer joining our team working closely with Maada'ookiing.

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.