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Minnesota Native News

181 EpisodesProduced by Minnesota Native NewsWebsite

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


Growing the Phillips Community

Marie: This week on Minnesota Native News, we check in with two promising developments.
I’m Marie Rock
First, there’s  a new urban farm with a focus on indigenous food and medicine. 
And second, and update on  housing in the American Indian Cultural Corridor.
 Laurie Stern has both stories.

Sound of blessing
When we think of Mother Earth we think of the forces that created her and  all the creative forces inside of her  
That’s Hope Flanagan blessing a strip of land that will soon become a place of nourishment and healing. 
Hi, my name is Elizabeth Day. I'm from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. And I worked at Native American Community Development Institute, NACDI. And one of the programs that we run is the Four Sisters Farmers Market and the Four Sisters Urban Farm.
Today is indigenous peoples day. And today, we are out here celebrating the community and the launch of the Four Sisters urban farm. 
The farm will run along the Midtown Greenway, a block north of Lake Street, between Bloomington and 18th Avenues. It’s not much to look at now, but there are vision boards posted and  visitors from the neighborhood are asked what they’d like to see. Among the choices: a rain garden, perennial grasses, medicinal herbs, walking paths, raised beds, produce to harvest,  and gathering spaces of various shapes and sizes. This is Four Sister’s Farm Manager Mel Anderson:
Why here? Wonderful question. Um, historically, this has been a site that has seen a lot of crime and unfortunately, some trafficking in the past. And so we were actually approached by the Hennepin County railroad authority about utilizing this space and trying to do something positive with it. And so we wanted to have a farm site with the four sisters farmers market, and this seemed like the perfect location.
Hennepin County, in partnership with Midtown Community Works in partnership with knack D came together with community and this this land, the sacred land to say what is it that we want to see here? How can we give back? What about food access? How can we make this a space for community to come together and heal.
That’s Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley, who grew up in this neighborhood. As you heard, the project is a partnership between the county and the Native American Community Development Institute. The partners are eager to hear from neighbors this fall and winter, so they can plant the first seeds and build what needs building next spring.
(singing and applause)
A mile north of the farm site, on the corner of Franklin and Cedar, hundreds of people lived in tents in what was called the Wall of Forgotten Natives. That was two years ago.  Last year, Red Lake Nation broke ground on a new housing development there. 
Groundbreaking sounds
The 110-unit complex is called mnobimadizin or good life.. Applications are now being accepted, with the first residents expected to move in at the end of this year. This is Red Lake Secretary Sam Strong.
we're gonna not only serve their housing needs, but we're also going to serve their health care needs and may be mental health or physical health. Those services will be provided on the ground floor, we'll have a wellness center, that will be providing all of those necessary services for not only the people that live in the building for the entire community, as well.

we've worked with hundreds of people since the wall, and hundreds of them are currently housed in long term housing, because we work with these individuals, and found out what was going on in their lives. And not just getting them into an apartment, but thinking about their mental health issues, their chemical dependency issues, whatever it is, that prevented them from being sustainably housed, we've learned how to deal with it, we've gotten many people off the streets. And our housing development is just a piece of that whole puzzle.
Staff at the Red Lake Embassy on Franklin Avenue are helping process applications and addressing other needs that applicants may have. As that day-to-day-work continues, Sam and other tribal leaders are trying to change the policy that has left so many community members with unmet needs. 
tell me how it's fair, that native people are the most disadvantaged, when it comes to housing, tell me it's fair, that our relatives have to be on the streets. It's not. And so we need to take a good serious look at how we form good housing policy that serves the most disadvantaged, and if it's not doing that, then we should revisit it.
Mnobinidizin is on schedule to be finished by the end of this year and will welcome new residents early in 2021. For MNN I’m LS.

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