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WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag Blog:

Moving forward, slow and steady, Pt 2

This is Part Two of a two-part post sharing the work of a two-day WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag/They Help Each (THEO) gathering which took place March 29 and 30, 2019. This work will shape what is to come as the THEO project moves forward to include members of the public and philanthropic sectors, and the larger community – both Native and non-Native. Part One of this series can he found here.

The central challenge of the March 29/30 WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag/They Help Each convening was to synthesize the information and data gathered thus far at the grassroots level and use it to form a community vision and two-year action plan to realize that vision. The community vision, which began with a February 2019 gathering to ‘harvest’ information and brainstorm with Navigation Center residents included grassroots-identified visions and priorities for health, healing, housing and support services. (You can read more about this gathering here)  

After creating the vision and identifying obstacles to reaching identified goals the group set to work weaving these elements into a set of actionable strategies. From there, the final goal was to create concise “consensus statements” that describe the approach to the work moving forward. These five statements are:

Organize coalitions of stakeholders and trusted partners to revisit priorities and advance the vision of the community.

Develop formal and informal education plans to address need for an accurate understanding of Native American history.

Create and promote sustainable outreach to invite public awareness of community vision.

Create and designate opportunities for new Native leadership at decision-making tables.

Define and strengthen the relationships between Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID) and Tribal leadership to better meet the needs of our shared populations.

From there the group attempted to prioritize the strategies to create new opportunities, involvement and momentum, an exercise that resulted in the infographic below. The front of the arrow represents what we considered the breakthrough opportunity; at the center are those which would produce critical mass to support strategic efforts, and the last are strategies that would create lift and stability to assure broad involvement and a long and steady trajectory for the work.

As the March 29/30 gathering ended our facilitators reminded us that “Achieving meaningful change is a long-term effort that requires the coordinated and persistent involvement of many stakeholders to launch the work that brings the support and resources necessary to deliver the Vision to the community.”

As promised in the recent post, Rising Towards Challenge Together, this is where YOU will come in.

Post by Camille.

This is Part 2 of a Two Part Post; you can read Part 1 here.

Please note that much of the language in this post was taken from or inspired by an overview document created by THEO facilitators, Paul, Lesley and Sidney Kabotie, of Indigenous Collaboration.

Photo of the February gathering at the Navigation Center. Here Lesley Kabotie facilitates one of five groups meeting simultaneously at the Center dining hall.

Participants at the March 2nd gathering discuss the past 50 years of Native history in the Twin Cities and beyond.

The March 2 discussion led to a wall filled with landmark moments in contemporary Native history.

During the exercise to identify obstacles participants were not allowed to use the words "lack of", but instead had to find other ways of naming the challenges before us.

A light hearted moment. L - R, Mike Goze of American Indian Community Development Corporation, Robert Lilligren of Native American Community Development Institute, and Carrie Day Aspinwall, the project manager for WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag/They Help Each Other (THEO). THEO is a project of Native American Community Development Institute.

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