Native Lights is a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce — a.k.a. Minnesota — to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community.
On today’s show, part one of Leah and Cole’s rich conversation with the visionary leader Robert Lilligren (White Earth Ojibwe Nation) who is the President and CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute, and who serves the 7th District (South Minneapolis, downtown, North Minneapolis and Robbinsdale) on the Metropolitan Council.
Robert Lilligren shares stories and wisdom from his extensive experience in local government (he was the first tribal member to serve on the Minneapolis City Council), he has served on numerous boards for non-profit organizations, and his expertise and impact spans from housing, transportation, community development, and community engagement. Robert Lilligren is an avid reader, a classically trained singer, a year-round bike commuter, and he lives in south Minneapolis with his husband, Steve.
Please enjoy this deep conversation with this thoughtful public leader, who has done so much to bring Indigenous perspectives about leadership, community, and collaboration to everything he does.
Next week we will present part two of our conversation, and learn more about the elders and mentors who influenced Robert Lilligren’s early years, how he overcame his natural shyness and burst into politics, so he could fully embrace his life’s purpose of service.
Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.
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More from Native Lights
- Thomasina TopBear: Empowering Community Through ArtShe specializes in large-scale murals; her work can be seen on the sides of buildings throughout the Twin Cities and the country.
- Tabitha Chilton’s Gift for Building Access & Trust in Healthcare SystemsLeah and Cole chat with Tabitha Chilton, a White Earth Nation member who serves as Sanford Health’s Native American patient advocate in Bemidji, Minnesota. Tabitha’s focus on outpatient care at the Joe Lueken Cancer Center helps Native communities access healthcare throughout Northern Minnesota
- Jewell Arcoren: Healing With Language and The Next GenerationJewell is a community activist and the Executive Director for Wicoie Nandagikendan, an Ojibwe and Dakota language immersion preschool in Minneapolis. There, she pursues her commitments to early childhood education, language revitalization and addressing intergenerational historical trauma.
- Sasheen Goslin & Deanna Reder Bring Their Distinct Abilities to the Team at AICHOSasheen Goslin and Deanna Reder from the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) in Duluth. They are two members of the small team at AICHO that is dedicated to all aspects of wellness for the Indigenous communities in Duluth.
- Annie Humphrey’s Gift for Living With Care and EmpathyAnnie talks about her latest album Eat What You Kill, building a hemp house, and the upcoming benefit show for the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO)’s Dabinoo’Igan Domestic Violence Shelter expansion.