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Minnesota Native News

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Minnesota Native News is a weekly radio segment covering ideas and events relevant to Minnesota’s Native American communities. Made possible by the Minnesota Art's and Cultural Heritage fund


Racial Justice Mini Grants

This week on Minnesota Native News, the Science Museum of Minnesota is funding mini-projects for Native Community members… We’ll tell you how you can get involved.
Here’s Diego Luke with the story…

DL: Have you ever wanted to create a project that would accurately reflect you, your tribe and your culture? 

As the Science Museum of Minnesota works to“create an inclusive, equity-based institution that empowers people to change the world through STEM,” They are currently accepting applications for one of their newer initiatives- the Design for Racial Justice Mini Grant. 

I sat down with Robby Callahan Schreiber to learn more about these grants

RCS: My name’s Robby Callahan Schreiber, I used he/him/his pronouns, I’m the director of the Museums Access and Equity Department.

Um, and in short, our department does work across the museum to create more accessible and inclusive experiences. We do that through a variety of financial access points. Um, recognizing that we want to remove financial barriers for folks to engage with our museum experiences and recognize that we continue to have disparities in representation of who, you know, sees themselves as being able to come to the Science Museum.

DL:: The goal of the Racial Justice Mini Grants is to provide funding to support creative and innovative work that is going on within our local communities. This is the second year of these mini grants, and this year is focused on projects done by and/or focused on Native Americans.

RCS: In the first year we really did a wide call, had about 60 applicants and we funded um, I believe, about 10 projects.

DL: An example from last year's projects is a group of young African American girls that threw a summer program exploring their racial identity, focusing on health care and more specifically mental health. 

RCS: One of the decisions we made this year was to take a more focused approach in who we’re inviting to apply for, um, projects and keeping with intentional work we said we needed to do and wanted to do as an organization over the course of this year which was develop more focused relationships and focus um, you know, resources that we have within our local indigenous communities.

DL: So what kind of project is the Science Museum looking for?

RCS: So beyond just focusing and really specifically sharing the invitation with folks of indigenous identities is to say that through the lens of our Race exhibit and the topics and the topics that are brought up within our Race exhibit, inviting people to develop projects that are around racial justice but that are important to you as a Native person or an Indigenous person within our communities.

RCS: The projects could really take any number of formats from being artistic to theatrical to inviting people into dialogue to more direct action and when we think about our Race exhibit our topics are really wide and vast when we think about how race shows up. They could address everything from the health care system to our educational systems to housing, wealth, generation and our criminal justice systems.

DL: Projects can be done in any language as well.  

The Science Museum has set aside $20,000 for the Mini Grants. Both Individuals as well as collaborations of two or more individuals can apply for up to a $3,000 mini grant, depending on the size of the project.

RCS: Information about the Mini Grants is available on the Museum website, and so people can apply directly through there. If you search Design for Racial Justice Mini Grants, Science Museum of Minnesota, you’ll find a landing page for those grants. Um, people can apply online and, uh, also download the application materials and apply by doing a handwritten application. We also recognize that some people may be more comfortable sharing an audio version or a video application and so we’re trying to make the application process really as accessible as possible. 

DL: The application deadline is Friday, May 20th. Applicants will be notified the following Monday if their project has been chosen to be funded.

RCS: We’re really excited to see the variety of ideas that people generate. We see these as making an investment in, you know, real practical work and action that young people within our community can do. I think adults often say, “oh young people are our future.” But through this mini granting process we want to be making an investment in young people in our present, because young people have amazing ideas that we should be taking action around, today. 

DL: For Minnesota Native News, I’m Diego Luke

Marie: Minnesota Native News is produced by Ampers- diverse radio for Minnesota's communities. Made possible by funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.

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