Early development and nutrition programs for Native American children and families around Minnesota will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and partner organizations announced in late June.

The Mdewakanton community, the Better Way Foundation and the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundations awarded $220,000 from the Healthy Children, Healthy Nations fund to help improve and expand community gardens, language programs and other projects.

"We were astonished by the overwhelming response to this program and the many impressive applications we received," Andreas Hipple, executive director of the Better Way Foundation, said in a statement.

The fund launched in January and is the first of its kind committed to Native American early childhood development and nutrition, according to the Mdewakanton community. It supports work that provides healthy early nutrition for kids and seeks to build whole, healthy Native families and communities.

Recipients are:

  • American Indian Community Housing Organization — $25,000 to identify a strategy to provide early intervention to Native American families dealing with historical trauma
  • American Indian Family Center — $25,000 to develop an urban intergenerational healing garden
  • Indigenous Breastfeeding Coalition of Minnesota — $25,000 to hire a part-time staff member for a community coalition workshop
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe — $15,000 toward developing a Native American language summit
  • Lower Sioux Indian Community — $25,000 to support a Dakota language program for teachers at the tribe’s Early Head Start and Head Start facilities
  • Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center — $24,965 grant to support the organization’s GroShed Food and Medicine Project to provide plant medicine and cooking lessons to families and children
  • Montessori American Indian Childcare Center — $25,000 to the organization’s Ojibwe language revitalization program for children.
  • Native American Community Clinic — $15,000 for the organization’s 10-week Indigenous healthy eating and child care program for young children and families
  • Prairie Island Indian Community — $15,000 to develop a youth-focused program within the tribe’s existing Dakota language education initiative
  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians — $25,000 to establish a garden and develop educational materials for the tribe’s early childhood immersion school program

"There are many tribal governments and Native-led organizations working to improve early childhood development and nutrition in our state, yet there is a critical shortage of financial resources available to them," said community Chairman Charles Vig. "We believe that these grants can provide some of the support they need to continue their most important efforts."

The community and Better Way Foundation each gave $100,000 to the fund, and Casey Family Programs contributed $20,000. The Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundations administer it and receive research support from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis' Center for Indian Country Development.


Recommended for you