This week on Minnesota Native News, new leadership at the MIWRC and plans for a new shelter in the Phillips neighborhood.
The Coronavirus pandemic has made a lot of problems worse, but one of the biggest is the housing crisis. That’s why the state, the city of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County are partnering with the American Indian Community Development Corporation to build a new shelter. AICDC runs another culturally specific shelter, but it’s just for overnights. The new one will be different.
Mike Goze is the CEO of the AICDC
“This will be a 24 hour facility. So people will, in fact, almost live there. We’re hoping that people will get signed up for 30 days. And so they have a place that they can go to and as this as their apartment or their their home.
People will have to apply to live at the new shelter, and sign up for 30 days at a time,” said Mike Goze, CEO of AICDC.
“We’re putting in real beds, there’ll be a locking wardrobe and a chair for folks. We also are doing locking footlockers. So there will be some storage for folks.” he said.
The shelter will replace a box factory that’s on the site now. That site is between Cedar and Hiawatha Avenues, just south of Franklin. It’s where the large encampment set up last year.
The Red Lake Nation is building an affordable apartment building next door to where the new shelter will be.
“For this part of the population, sometimes it’s hard to go from homeless to an apartment without any steps in between, you know, and so we look at how we can get people in to maybe a harm reduction type living situation, to help them stabilize to get into a position where they can have an apartment and meet all the expectations.” said Goze
Both developments hope to open later in the fall
The Minneapolis Indian Women’s Resource Center has a new leader. Former executive director Patina Park is now director of Tribal State Relations. Reporter Laurie Stern has more about the woman who’s taking her place.
Marissa Miakonda Cummings is introducing herself in her language, Omaha,
“Our language actually is both Algonquin and Souxian. So we have a long history and tradition of being connected and close to those two communities. So I feel very thankful to be welcomed into the Minneapolis area and what is now called the state of Minnesota.” said Miakonda Cummings.
Miakonda Cummings explains she is the oldest of seven siblings, the matriarch of her family since her parents passed away. She has four children, the youngest will be a senior in high school this fall.
“My partner and I also have four little Omaha relatives ages 60 1—in our home,” said Miakonda Cummings.
Cummings is from Sioux City. She went to college at the University of Iowa and for a while, worked for the Omaha Tribe. She helped found the Office of Violence Against Women at the University of South Dakota, and became the director of Native American Student Services there.
“There was one where students could merge both cultural identity into mainstream Western education. And I felt like that was so important for us to be able to make ribbon skirts and do programming around things that are important to our students culturally, as well as be able to, you know, learn about other things that you learn about in college. So we really had a strong network at the Native American cultural center there.” she said.
While at South Dakota, Cummings got her Master’s Degree in Tribal Administration from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. There she learned about nation and community building and about indigenous practices from sustainable food to healing from patriarchy in both the community and from colonialism. Now she can’t wait to put that experience to work.
“I’m really excited to better understand the programming that they’re doing. To meet the community. I mean, it’s just kind of difficult in this time where normally we would do things around food and community building and interpersonal contact. And right now we kind of have to put that on hold for the safety of our community.” said Miakonda Cummings.
Cummings and her family moved to Minnesota at the beginning of August. She started her new job August 5th.