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NWICDC: Creating Pathways of Opportunity and Wellness Steeped in Ojibwe Culture

Round Dance Poster.jpg

All are invited to The Round Dance Friday, 11/25 from 4-10pm at the Bemidji Armory!

We started out as a technical assistance and training model. .. And…diversified into the current model, which is a community development corporation or center...we're really expanding our programming… it's really about creating opportunities and pathways for Native citizens … - Martin Jennings, Executive Director NWICDC

The Northwest Indian Community Development Center in Bemidji provides a wide range of stabilizing supports for the region’s native community. Housing and parenting resources, employment counseling and trainings, youth programming, educational assistance, cultural experiences and community events are all part of the holistic approach to wellness steeped in Ojibwe culture.

It's really about maintaining our own identity, our culture, our language, and our family structures…We're doing things in a way that leads to the outcomes that are important and are desired by our community... We call it mino-bimaaduziwin. And it's really a balanced way of life where we're thinking more about wellness in terms of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. And when we have those things, we have a good life…You need some level of financial security, but that isn't the whole picture of wellness and community wellness. – Martin Jennings, NWICDC

In this Area Voices, Executive Director Martin Jennings, Family Services Lead Jennifer Greenleaf, and Youth Programming Assistant Sedrick Hindsley discuss the ways NWIDCD creates pathways for native people. They also discuss a community event The Round Dance happening Friday night at the Bemidji Armory from 4-10pm.

The Round Dance is a… ceremony based on connecting to… ancestors… it is kind of spiritual healing. It's really hard to explain the feeling you get when you get there and when you leave. And… You catch a vibe…. We're really trying to focus on our youth being the driving force of keeping our culture alive.

This Round Dance will feature wisdom, song, drumming, dancing and ultimately healing, led by many area youth, including 15 year old pipe carrier Kordae Kingbird and 5 year old singer and drummer Opie Day, Jr.

A lot of honoring the kids because that's our next generation. I encourage them. I'm just really glad that the kids get the opportunity to show what they got… when we already know what they got! – Sedrick Hindsley, Youth Programming Assistant, NWICDC

Everyone is welcome to the Round Dance. It’s a come and go event, so everyone Everyone is encouraged to come when they can. A community meal will happen at 6pm with songs, dancing, and healing after.

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.