Anishinaabe Naasaabwaabamidiyang Nakweshkodadiyang
Seeing Everyone As Equal Meeting
- Community partnerships, collaboration, and coalition building across the Anishinaabe Nation, Great Lakes Native American, and First Nations communities.
- Strengthening the Anishinaabe Nation through racial justice efforts and initiatives.
- Community organizing, advocacy, awareness, empowerment, and healing.
- Native-led racial justice which is critical and linked to all global justice and healing.
- Hosting our annual conference in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community or another Anishinaabe community
- Connecting the community to our work through post-conference events and year-round initiatives, including coalition gatherings, Healing Stories, talking circles, and other community-based projects and events.
Our annual Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference offers workshops, presentations, and coalition building on racial justice. The conference is unique in the Anishinaabe Nation and serves as a place of transformation, collaboration, organizing advocacy, and healing. Cultural work is connected to justice as well as building new community collaborations. Through the conference, we strengthen our communities while reclaiming our culture and empowering future generations. The ripple effects of this work span the Great Lakes and the Midwest, making it the only conference of its kind within the Anishinaabe Nation. However, we honor all the work that our communities, our elders, and the generations before us have done to address racism and pave the path of racial justice.
We hosted our inaugural Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Baraga, MI) in April 2018. The first conference was organized in four and a half months and was a phenomenal success! We brought together 32 speakers and panelists who addressed more than 200 participants on topics ranging from environmental racism, mascot justice, youth voices in racial justice, healing justice, storytelling in Anishinaabe culture, as well as boarding schools, and intergenerational trauma. We also had some very inspiring elder and youth panel discussions. The youth panel was comprised of youth from the Hannahville Indian Community. We collaborated with local universities including Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Keep in mind there was a spring snowstorm that covered the entire Great Lakes during this weekend. Despite treacherous weather conditions, Anishinaabe people and allies made their way to the conference. Many of our attendees came from tribal communities within a 200-mile radius, such as the Lac View Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Additionally, we had attendees come from Anishinaabe communities in the lower peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. One thing that makes our conference special is that we provide space for walk-in attendees and emphasize creating a truly safe and supportive environment for everyone. We had 60 walk-ins during the weekend, mostly from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
We hosted our 2nd annual Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in May 2019. We had 35 speakers and panelists as well as 130 attendees throughout the weekend. We built new relationships with community partnerships such as We the People of Detroit, Great Lakes Peace Center, and the Michigan Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Sobriety panel was profound and transformative. We were able to connect attendees with our Anishinaabe Healing Stories on Racial Justice panel to support and uplift the strength of the panelists. Some of our presentations included: Intergenerational Family Trauma and Bullying Experiences, Integrating Culture as a Key Component of Healing to Wellness Courts, and the Lateral Violence Survey Project in Bahweting.
We held our 3rd annual Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference from September 30–October 2, 2022, in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. After postponing the conference for two years due to the pandemic, we were finally able to host it. The Michigan Native community had different protections in place during the pandemic since the last conference. While there were often outdoor activities in the summer and some cultural events from March 2020–April 2022, our organization had minimal events. With the Michigan Native community opening in April 2022, we began organizing the conference in May in an amazing feat of 5 months. We had a total of 25 presenters and panelists engage in discussions on resistance, decolonial art, mascot work, peacemaking, boarding school healing, and advocacy work. Anishinaabe musicians Waawiyeyaa and Annie Humphrey delivered stunning performances. Over 120 people attended our conference from across Michigan and the Midwest. We built new relationships with community partners such as We the People of Michigan and had some amazing new vendors, including Quw’utsun’ Made and SHIMA’ of Navajoland!
Feedback & Presenter Quotes
“I was honored to partake in such a significant event. An array of topics was presented addressing issues that Native people face today. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with professionals of various backgrounds and have a sharing of ideas to take back to our communities.” – Linda R. Cobe – Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
“It was such an amazing experience to bring knowledge to Native and Non-Native alike. Being able to speak at an event like this was such an amazing opportunity and being able to see so many people gather to bring awareness to and to learn about Native Justice was so wonderful. It reminded me that there is good in the world. I loved being able to bring what I do to a conference that stands for justice and equality.” – Heather Bruegl – Oneida Nation of Wisconsin/Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohicans
“I loved experiencing our people coming together for racial justice, our youth seeing positive representation of Indigenous people working for a better future. We usually come together for powwows, but this meeting brought us together for justice. The protest is happening at home, and we are a movement,” – Kristy Phillips – Bodewadmi ndependages/Potawatomi Nation