American Indian Nonprofits « Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce

American Indian Nonprofits

American Indian Community Development Corp.
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The Mission
The American Indian Community Development Corporation’s mission is to provide culturally unique initiatives, housing and entrepreneurial programs that will strengthen American Indian communities.

Goals and Objectives

– Provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing within a primarily American Indian community to homeless persons and provide permanent affordable housing for low and moderate income persons.
– Provide training and technical assistance to persons within a primarily American Indian community in the areas of housing, rehabilitation, upkeep and maintenance, and management of residential housing units.
– Conduct research, and gather data to be analyzed to formulate policy in the area of housing. Serve as an information clearing house by providing quality technical assistance and advice to other organizations and persons with similar goals.
– Engage in demonstration projects which will develop experimental and creative approaches to provide housing within a primarily American Indian community for homeless and low and moderate income per sons with special needs such as chemical dependency, mental health problems, HIV/AIDS-afflicted, and other debilitating conditions.
– Combat community deterioration in an area primarily populated by American Indian persons by rehabilitating poorly-maintained residential housing units occupied by low- and moderate-income persons.
– Provide information and advice to homeless, low- and moderate-income persons as to their rights and responsibilities under applicable housing law.
– Work in cooperation with American Indian tribal governments in social, educational and housing projects which are designed to inform homeless and low- and moderate-income persons about the availability of such programs on or off Indian reservations.


Anishinabe Wakiagun
Anishinabe Wakiagun is a culturally specific permanent supportive housing program for late stage chronic inebriates. It is a wet/dry facility that does not require residents to be sober in order to maintain their housing.
The philosophy of Anishinabe Wakiagun is to reduce the public cost of providing services while at the same time providing a more stable living environment for it’s residents. The program goal is to minimize the negative consequences of the residents’ drinking patterns, while providing a stable, culturally appropriate living environment that encourages a reduction in alcohol consumption.
Anishinabe Wakiagun is not a shelter, but provides permanent housing that encourages long-term residency to maximize stability in the individual’s life.

Founded in 1999, KOLA’s mission is to provide culturally specific supportive services to chronically inebriated homeless American Indians. KOLA provides case management, healthcare outreach, daytime activities, health screening and referral services to many of the homeless American Indians who are chronic late stage inebriates.
Characteristics of a typical KOLA Client:
– Majority are male with an average age of 35.
– May suffer from depression and other mental illness along with severe chemical addictions.
– Is distrustful and suspicious of drop-in centers, shelters, and medical clinics.
– Show extreme loyalty to one another.
– Most are gifted and talented people.
– Many have served their country.

Housing Advocacy
AICDC staff is constantly growing to meet the capacity demands for housing and supportive services to the American Indian community.
The housing advocacy program is designed to strengthen the American Indian community by offering opportunities to better the quality of life and health of Native Americans. Through an intake process, clients are interviewed to determine the services needed.

Many Rivers – Niibiwa Siibin
Located on East Franklin Avenue between the Minneapolis Public Library (Franklin Branch) and the Minneapolis American Indian Center, AICDC developed 78 units of affordable housing in two new buildings. Many Rivers buildings feature three floors of housing and one story of commercial space and underground heated parking. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has partnered with AICDC to provide affordable housing to some of its urban members though a master lease of a number of units.

Tribal Initiatives
AICDC, in partnership with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, developed affordable homeownership housing for the Mille Lacs urban members living in the Ventura Village neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Under the “Self-Sufficiency in Urban Indian Communities Initiative,” this project is the first phase of the creation of more affordable homeownership opportunities for American Indian families living in the Ventura Village and Phillips communities. In this unique partnership the Mille Lacs Band, through their bank, provided low interest (2%) loans to enhance affordablillity for participating families. AICDC provided development and construction managment services to the project. The six scattered-site units are high quality single-family homes constructed using Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction which allows for energy savings of up to 60%.

Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC)
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
White Earth Investment Initiative
Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI)
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Mission driven and community focused, we are…

The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), an American Indian community development intermediary organization – the first of its kind in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The organization is configured as an alliance of the major Indian nonprofits and several Indian businesses in the metropolitan area committed to community-building through sector economic development and large-scale development. Foremost in our transformation plan to develop a new community infrastructure is to build community capacity and assets within high growth economic sectors.

Currently, no alignment and capacity-building structure exists in the American Indian community for social or economic change. To begin to develop a community-based strategy for social and economic change, NACDI will first work with American Indian nonprofits to rebuild their community-driven structure that responds to the demands and opportunities of the economy. Specifically, we will work with American Indian nonprofits on sector strategy development in Land and Housing, Entertainment and Media and Health and Wellness. These three “sectors” share the characteristics of high job growth potential; opportunities for asset development; and sustainability as a part of longer-term American and global industry growth.


Over the past three years, American Indian community leaders have been working to strategically transform the American Indian community for the 21st century.

NACDI was created because leaders in the American Indian community realized that the knowledge economy, coupled with a younger American Indian community on average, increased private surrounding development and opening global markets, presented an opportunity to develop significant economic growth and take advantage of other community improvement opportunities.

The Indian community thus created NACDI to take a new direction toward innovative community development approaches that broker cross-sector partnerships and alliances and mobilize investment. American Indian nonprofits are ready for change, but need an innovative intermediary to re-direct them to asset development through greater entrepreneurial activity. The work needs the energy and alignment of the group and not the solo process to succeed.

NACDI grew out of the work of the Hennepin County American Indian Families Project (AIFP), a partnership project between Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors organization.  Through this community-driven initiative, the idea of focusing on American Indian community through community economic development came about.  The result was the formation of the NACDI Taskforce, a coalition of more than 60 individuals — including representatives from American Indian nonprofits, American Indian businesses, Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Minneapolis Public Schools, as well as community-based and philanthropic organizations. A strategic plan for NACDI was completed in October 2006 after a 10-month, community-engaged, strategic-planning process. At the heart of this strategic plan is a community commitment to work together.



NACDI is undertaking a variety projects in our four sector areas to build human capacity and increase economic development in the urban American Indian community.

Arts and Culture Projects

Land and Housing Projects

Entertainment and Media Projects

Health and Wellness Projects



American Indian Community Blueprint
Building a 21st Century American Indian Community

The American Indian Community Blueprint is a comprehensive document that defines a vision for the future of the urban American Indian community of the Twin Cities.  This document was developed by the community, for the community, and provides a central place for community improvement strategies.  The document is the first of its kind in the country, and represents an important step in the community defining its future direction.  NACDI compiled the document from extensive engagement and study within the community, and presents it here as a resource for the community.  The document was released on April 30th, 2010.  It is also available for download as a pdf file.

Table of Contents







Community Wholeness

Community Economic Vitality

Community Prosperity



Cedar Box/Ambles


MNDOT Retaining Wall


Minneapolis American Indian Center

Franklin Business Center

West Gateway


APPENDIX A – Background Documents

Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Finance Corporation (MCTFC)
MIGIZI Communications
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About Us

MIGIZI Communications celebrated its 30th year of service to the Twin Cities American Indian community in November 2007. MIGIZI’s founding work was to train Indian journalists, who produced the first nationally distributed Indian news magazine in the country, First Person Radio. First Person Productions continued with this program over the next 17 years. The next iteration of MIGIZI’s work was to put the tools of communication in the hands of Indian youth. This effort gave rise to the first American Indian summer computer camp and Achievement Through Communications, that worked with high school students.

Today, MIGIZI works in three intersecting areas to improve the future for the community: The Native Academy working in math, science, technology and post-secondary education planning; First Person Productions working on new media production and working with tribes to develop their telecom infrastructure; and educational equity work that will help to empower communities as they reclaim a primary role in the education of their children.


MIGIZI Board of Directors adopted the following strategic directives/goals in 2005: 1) to continue to deliver high quality programming that strengthens Indian families and improves the life chances of Indian children; 2) to use our position as a local and national Indian nonprofit leader to model and promote cultural assets-based approaches in organizational operations and program delivery; and 3) to retool and enhance MIGIZI’s media infrastructure to take advantage of 21st century new media opportunities.

These Strategic Directives and MIGIZI’s mission are carried out through two major program divisions: First Person Productions (media/communications), Native Academy® (academic and wholistic youth development). In addition to our programmatic work, MIGIZI contributes to community leadership and policy initiatives that further our mission.

Native Academy

Through First Person Productions (FPP), we provide service and programming in telecommunications, and New Media including training students in entrepreneurism and multi-media production in order to prepare them for 21st century careers. MIGIZI is also part of a larger national network of Native media organizations, the Native Media and Telecommunications Network (NMTN). The Network focuses on telecommunications training and content development from a Native perspective.

Native Academy (NAC) is a middle and high school program focusing on science, technology, and math that has developed into a nationally recognized model for Indian student success. The program currently works with 250 students in middle and high school and has a primary goal of increasing the academic performance, graduation rates, and postsecondary enrollment rates of Indian students. NAC works in partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Achieve Minneapolis’ Step-Up Youth Employment Program and several other community-based organizations. The program has been in operation since 1995, and has demonstrated success in improving Indian student attendance rates and academic performance based on comparative data compiled and reported by the Minneapolis Public Schools Research, Evaluation, and Assessment Department.

First Person Productions

First Person Productions ™ is a program of MIGIZI Communications that consists of multi media production (film, video, radio) and a New Media Pathway Program to train American Indian youth to produce and distribute content via conventional and virtual media. First Person Productions (FPP) provides multi-media production training to approximately 50 Minneapolis Indian youth each year.

FPP specializes in promotional videos, training and educational media, public service announcements, documentaries, radio programs and podcasts, and other forms of audiovisual production including advertising and brand promotion. Our media products have received over 20,000 channel views on YouTube.

We can work with almost any budget. Let our team of media-savvy youth produce your next video or new media product.

Sample Reel

Production Package Rates



Native Youth Futures

Native Youth Futures – Financially Independent is a teen asset building project is designed to present permanent and sustainable solutions to intergenerational poverty and lack of economic opportunities. MIGIZI Communications will recruit 150 low-income American Indian youth from across Minneapolis, ages 14-21, providing them with the asset-generating opportunities and supports needed to prepare them to become financially-independent adults. 

These students will:

  • Undergo work readiness training and be placed in paid internship opportunities in high-growth, high-demand careers;
  • Save earnings for college in an Individual Development Account which will be matched 4:1 through program funds;
  • Receive financial literacy training, mentorship and 21st Century Skills development opportunities;

The project’s main partners include:

  • AchieveMpls, who will provide workforce training and internship placement for American Indian youth participants through the STEP-UP Achieve youth employment program over the five year course of the project; and
  • Woodlands National Bank, owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, who will administer youth IDA savings accounts, wherein students will have their savings matched 4:1 to be used for higher education expenses. Woodlands is the primary banking institution serving the urban American Indian community in Minneapolis.

Native Youth Futures – Financially Independent responds directly to the needs identified and vision created out of a two-year strategic planning process facilitated by the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) and involving hundreds of Minneapolis American Indian community members of all ages.  The document created from this process: American Indian Community Blueprint: Building a 21st Century American Indian Community, articulates a vision of a vibrant healthy and balanced community where there are economic opportunities for American Indian people.

For more information about this project, contact John Gwinn, Project Director at 612-721-6631 x 222. Inquiries via e-mail can be sent to

Links About previous Native Youth Futures Programming:

Little Earth
Division of Indian Work
Indian Health Board of Minneapolis
Minnesota Indian Gaming Association
American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (AIOIC)
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Mission & History

The mission of the American Indian OIC is to empower American Indians to pursue career opportunities by providing individualized education, training, and employment services in a culturally rich environment. The organization was founded in 1979 as a practical resource to respond to the considerable education and employment disparities faced by American Indians living in and around South Minneapolis. In the years since its founding, the AIOIC has built a workforce of over 20,000 people from the entire Twin City area and tribal nations across the country and is a nationally recognized leader in the workforce development field. Although it was founded to support people of Native descent, the American Indian OIC’s resources and programs are available to all persons regardless of race, creed, age, gender, or sexual orientation.


The goal of the American Indian OIC is to not only help people in poverty, unemployment or seeking advancement obtain a job, but to provide an educational foundation that secures employment in positions that have opportunities for professional and financial growth. The organization achieves this by educating people from all academic levels and moving them forward to a more stable and thriving future. Most participants in our training programs have the ability to acquire hands on experience in their field by working with local businesses and nonprofits while others are able to secure experience by working with our entrepreneurial programs such as Takoda Creative.


Contribute to building a stronger community and workforce by connecting with the American Indian OIC.  Support from individuals, local businesses, and foundations are critical to the success of the organization. Get involved in the following ways:


AIOIC relies on the generous support of individuals and teams to help out in a variety of ways.  Administrative support, helping clients seek employment in our opportunities center, and grounds clean up at season change are just a few. Please contact Katie Fitzpatrick to discuss available opportunities: or call 612/341-3358 ext.128


If you or your company needs a new employee, consider the graduates and skilled participants in our programs.  Each hold unique educational or professional histories that range from recent graduates to seasoned professionals that can fill entry level to higher qualified positions. Many employers also provide students with valuable hands-on work experience by hosting them for internships. Simultaneously, employers receive additional help in information technology and healthcare or administrative or social media support.  Internships can be schedule for a short project or ongoing.


All gifts, great or small, make a difference. Annual gifts allow key leaders at American Indian OIC to react to immediate priorities or to assist in accomplishing their strategic objectives. Your gift today can impact programming, outreach efforts and financial aid for students and program participants. Financial donations from individuals and companies are used to support the activities and daily operations of the organization as well as program needs such as text books, equipment, field trips, and workshops.

Northwest Area Foundation
Dakota Futures, Inc.