Oyate Hotanin Microgrant

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Oyate Hotanin
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
December 2019
End Date
May 2020
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview

We will add to the number of American Indians presenting artistic work and ideas, and expand our audiences to promote a vibrant, honest American Indian world view in Minnesota by supporting 3 short term projects led by artists in our coalition: The January Buffalo Show, RedTalk Symposium, and Live At the Buffalo Show CD Audio Mastering and short run printing. In collaboration with Bryant Lake Bowl, Pangea World Theater and our ever-expanding network of artists we are building a community around authentic and unusual material, with this micro grant we will deliver 3 new, treasured projects in a short timeframe.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications

John Day (St. Paul, MN) – John Day was a part of the Why Treaties Matter selection team, is very familiar with MHC ways of working. He is American Indian.

Nanette Missaghi (Eden Prairie, MN) Nanette Missaghi was part of the community work group that developed the educator guides for Why Treaties Matter and instrumental with piloting the guides/exhibit in Eden Prairie schools. She is American Indian.

John Bobolink (Minneapolis, MN) was recommended to the panel by the group that created the original Indigenous Arts bill. He is American Indian.

Colleena Bibeau (Grand Rapids, MN) – Colleena Bibeau was an American Indian Museum Fellow (partnership w MHS), participated in MHC K-12 professional development. She is American Indian.

Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Laura Benson

Minnesota Humanities Center



Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minn. State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d)
Appropriation Language

$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.

2020 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

The goal of our Micro Grant project is to jump-start our new year, add to the number of American Indians presenting artistic work and ideas, and expand our audiences to promote a vibrant, honest American Indian world view in Minnesota. We are achieving this goal by using grant funding to support three short term projects led by artists in our coalition: The Buffalo Show; a RedTalk Symposium; the videotaping and dissemination of both of these events; and final mastering of “Live at the Buffalo Show” CD.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Outcomes from our project were strong, based on counts of artist and audience numbers; feedback from those who participated, and written reflections from the RedTalk Symposium.


Buffalo Show

Thanks to support from the MHC Micro Grant, we were able to offer a strong lineup of 10 artists for the January 28 Buffalo Show and had 80 people in the audience – an almost entirely sold out show. The show was a metro area release party for the full-length CD “Better Days” by our featured artist Corey Medina (Dine, Bemidji) and Brothers (Eric Sundeen and Gary Broste).


Our headliner was joined by:

• Joe Savage (Fond du Lac), steel guitar;

• Strong Buffalo (Dakota, St. Paul), poet;

• Al Gross (Leech Lake, St. Paul), storyteller;

• Micah Nickey, (Sicangu Lakota), traditional singer

• Naomi Berglund, (Northern Cheyenne & Oglala Lakota, Minneapolis), back up singer

• Crystal Norcross, (Dakota, St. Paul) back up singer; and

• Judd Rappe, guitar.


Special segments of the January Buffalo Show included a RedTalk by Micah Nickey, an artist interview of

Angela Two Stars, and a Strong Buffalo poem for murdered and missing indigenous women (MMIW). Micah spoke of the intersection between neuroscience and all he has learned from his elders and traditional practices. Angela helped us understand how she has woven language revitalization into her sculptures and her visual arts. Strong Buffalo led all the performers in a special presentation of his poem “Dear Miss Long Gone,” with a backdrop of projections of many drawing, paintings, installments and posters created by artists across the country in honor of MMIW.


Someone once said, “if you’re working on a revolution, make it a party.” With MHC’s support, we have added to both the revolution and the party with our January Buffalo Show and provided a great start to our year and the next five Buffalo Shows scheduled in 2020.


RedTalk Symposium February 10

On February 10, more than 110 Metro State students and faculty joined our inaugural launch of RedTalk Symposium. The event included four insightful talks that highlighted Native American people on a wide range of topics such as strategic solutions, visions for the future, health and wellness, spirituality, and art. Four speakers were invited for the RedTalk as well as the leaders at Oyate Hotanin. The speakers were Bella Dawson, a spoken word artist. Jane Harstad, a member of the Red Cliff of Lake Superior Anishinaabe and serving as the state Director of Indian Education and Tribal Liaison to Minnesota’s eleven Tribal Nations at MD of Education. Graci Horne, a multi-disciplinary artist in painting, print making, puppet making, photography, films, and poetry. And Micah Nickey, a Sicangu Lakota and member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The thoughtful reflections shared by students on the impact of the event speak for themselves:

“…they highlighted the strengths and challenges the Native community are facing.”

“Throughout the speakers, I have learned that their pain has traveled through generations. The different generations that were speaking during the RedTalk, they all showed their pain differently, whether it was words or art or data.”

“One meaningful insight I took away from this event is that it doesn’t matter what backgrounds you come from, healing and resistance play an importance role in the health and well-being of all individuals.”

“The speaker that I enjoyed the most was Bella Dawson. I appreciated the healing tool that she shared with us and how she made everyone participate in exercising this tool. Bella did a wonderful job in expressing her poem, as she spoke her voice and expression told such a painful story. It was as if one could hear the pain and heartache that the trauma caused, to me it was something very powerful. In her poem Bella stated, “What kind of ancestor do you want to be?” this was something that left me thinking. Seeing the trauma that was caused in her family it made me think have I caused any pain myself and how can I be a better ancestor for the following generations.”

“The most meaningful information that I took from this event was presented by Dr. Jane Harstad. Dr Jane spoke about the Indian education in Minnesota and this is a topic that I had not heard about as in detail as she explained it. Knowing that she is not only talking to the department of education but also listening to tribes I thought was something very important.”

“I enjoyed all the speakers; each enlightened my knowledge of American Indians place in society. I particularly enjoyed the singing. In the moment, I could feel a sense of oneness, calm. The moment was inspiriting; a desire to want to know more. I enjoyed Micah Nickey and his stance on wellness. I would welcome an opportunity to hear more from him.”

“The Red Talk started with a short clip of an American Indian man who is a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Through this small clip I learned about the pride that the man felt to belong to the American Indian Movement. The clip demonstrated the feel that many American Indians experience till this day. I immediately caught on to the preference in what American Indians like to be called. Through my early years in school I was taught to call this population; “Native Americans”. However, during this Red Talk presentation all the speakers referred to themselves and the population as American Indians. This is important, because no one better to show us what to call a group or population than that specific group.”

“Most if not all the speakers shared a same similar worldview when it comes to education. Education is a bit contradicting to their “indigenous worldview” as Professor Nick described. The type of knowledge that Indigenous people carry is much different and can be said to be more “old” than white American knowledge.”

“My two favorite speakers were Bella and Micah, I went home that day reflecting on my own traumas and how I will continually work to heal those before assisting others to heal. Both speakers made me reflect on my self-awareness of my own culture as well as valuing and respecting what we learn from others. Everything that was shared in the Red Talk is useful information and a great reminder to continually work on gaining more cultural competence. I believe it would be great to have more trainers like Micah Nickey that could possibly expand in other cultures that professionals need more learning on.”


Videotaping, CD Creation, and Distribution

Both the January Buffalo Show and the RedTalk Symposium were fully videotaped by Lucas Reynolds (Fond du Lac) and are now available on the Oyate Hotanin YouTube channel. In addition, the entire Buffalo show was broadcast live on Facebook.


In addition, we are producing and in the process of distributing a CD from the 2018 recording “Live at the Buffalo Show.” Twelve tracks from the show have been mastered, a contract has been signed for the production of the CD, and distribution of the CD is set to begin July 2020.


The CD features lead artist Strong Buffalo (Dakota, St. Paul), poet and storyteller, as well as:

• Spoken word with top local and statewide talent including Corey Medina (Dine, Bemidji);

• Joe Savage, Fond du Lac, steel guitar;

• Dakota Blue (Dakota, Minneapolis), flute, guitar and harmonica;

• Myron Thorne (Leech Lake), guitar;

• David Huckfelt, vocals and guitar;

• Ben Weaver, vocals, guitar and banjo;

• and others.


Proceeds from the sale of the CD will fund future Oyate Hotanin projects highlighting American Indian thought, music, and talent.

Proposed Outcomes Achieved
achieved proposed outcomes
Recipient Board Members
Crystal Norcross, Mat Pendleton, Laura LaBlanc, Tom LaBlanc, Al Gross, Dipankar Mukherjee, Damon Drake, Cindy Killion, Nick Metcalf
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Oyate Hotanin
Street Address
807 St. Clair Ave
St. Paul
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

987 Ivy Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106

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