Partner Spotlight: Minneapolis American Indian Center
Interviewed: Laura Newton from the Minneapolis American Indian Center
Interviewed By: MNPQC Intern Palak Dhiman
Partner Spotlight Interview
The mission is to serve the metro American Indian community with social services, recreation, and opportunities for people of all ages, including programs for elders to families with infants.
Minneapolis American Indian Centers provides family services, early intervention services, the children’s child welfare act, and programming for individuals who experience domestic violence. Throughout the center, we have nutrition programs, cultural programs, dances, drum groups, art activities, and a teaching cafe to learn culinary skills.
The Minneapolis American Indian Center is the largest American Indian organization in the metro area. The center hosts many activities that reach larger communities. The community utilizes the center for pow-pows, health days, and American Indian month proclamation celebrations. Several tribes have urban offices, so they use our vast center.
I worked at the center for 17 years; I interned there before and enjoyed working with the American Indian community. I also worked with families from tribes outside Minnesota doing child welfare work. I was very excited about the opportunity to continue engaging with different families.
The Minneapolis American Indian Center is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, the center will be gearing up for donations from all places, from federal to state donations. Renovation occurs from top to bottom of the building to expand the layout and insides. One way health professionals could support the Minneapolis American Indian Center would be by interacting and helping with the American Indian center.
Our center is hoping for more interaction with Fairview, HCMC, and Blue Cross. We are looking for more connections with larger healthcare industries. The larger companies are very beneficial in expanding programs that help in training. For example, there is a high number of mothers with exposure to opioids and working with these companies can provide us with the correct resources to help.
Minnesota has provided adequate funds and is involved in this community. We would love more freedom with funds and be able to expand various organizations and opportunities. There needs to be more capacity to do things like mobile clinics. There is lots of space at the Minneapolis American Indian Center but not enough funding to run as many events as we would desire successfully.
The Bright Beginnings Initiative is a culturally specific program for American Indian women who are pregnant or recently delivered and at risk for substance abuse. This initiative helps support transportation to doctor’s appointments, culturally particular teachings, and preparation for what a family can expect. Workers are trained to know about child welfare systems. We try to ensure kids are placed in their mother’s care. Workers take on smaller caseload sizes to put a lot of attention towards specific cases and have more one-on-one focus. Some workers will spend up to 2 years working with particular families.
I hope to see more opportunities to expand and reach beyond metro area counties. I would love more workers and an increase in funding to expand the reach. I hope for more success in out-of-home placement and getting moms in need into treatment. The Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Bright Beginnings is a trusted organization doing all of its work out of care, creating a trusted connection with the American Indian community.