We are an Anishinaabe, Two-Spirit, and sober led grassroots organization. We are a two year old organization and currently Cecelia is our only staff member. Since 2017 we have been able to bring on Interns for various projects and our conference. Our staff and core volunteers all walk a sober road. We emphasize healing and sobriety in our leadership as a true form of decolonization. The Native Justice Coalition is also Two-Spirit led. We have an old time but bold approach that is needed to challenge internalized colonization, internalized oppression, lateral violence, addiction, and community brokenness across Anishinaabe Aki With this strong foundation we can bring greater healing to our people and communities.
Cecelia Rose LaPointe - FOUNDER & Director
Cecelia is Ojibway/Métis and is Mashkiziibi (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibway or LaPointe Band of Ojibway) and Kchiwiikwedong (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community). They are enrolled in Mashkiziibi and maintain a strong community affiliation to Kchiwiikwedong. Cecelia is ajijaak dodem (crane clan). They identify as Two-Spirit based in their culture. Cecelia has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a Master of Arts in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. They have survived settler colonial racism on numerous occasions as a form of every day resistance.
Cecelia is the Founder and Owner of Red Circle Consulting and Waub Ajijaak Press. The Native Justice Coalition is currently a project under Red Circle Consulting. They are a Consultant, Poet, Writer, and Author. Learn more about their work, writing, and poetry on their website.
leora lancaster - two-spirit project coordinator
Meskwa’aa-Opwaagan-Ikwe - Leora L Lancaster, is a contingent special instructor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University and MA candidate in Education Administration: American Indian Education Administration and Supervision. Her research involves Postcolonial Indigenous Theory, Tribal Critical Race Theory, and Indigenous pedagogy with an emphasis of teachings from the Great Lakes Anishinaabeg, Three Fires Confederacy. In addition to education, Lancaster works predominantly in the medium of photography. Through her postmodern Indigenous approach, she advocates the Indigenous Cultural and Linguistic Revitalization Movement. She is represented in the permanent collection of the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University. Leora is working on the launch of the Native Justice Coalition’s Two-Spirit Project. She will conduct community outreach and organizing across Anishinaabe Aki in 2019 as we build new relationships, focus on decolonization, health, and healing in our communities.
Sophia michels - CONFERENCE INTERN
Sophia (Memengwaakwe) Michels is an enrolled member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and a descendant of both the Oneida and Menominee Nations. She was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and made the trip home to Keweenaw Bay in February of 2018 to pursue an education at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, connect with her community, and learn Anishinaabemowin. Sophia is deeply grateful to have been raised by a supportive family of justice seekers; including her grandmother Delores Marie Petite, her mother Sharon Skenandore, her sister Santera Michels, and father David Michels, among many aunties, uncles, cousins, and ancestors that instilled a drive for justice and humility within her. It is her goal to help create inclusive spaces for Anishinaabeg of all identities and ages (especially those disenfranchised by the colonized system) who seek healing, recovery, comfort, peace, love and connection. When not doing homework, Sophia can be found growing plants for food and fun, cooking, and hiking. She hopes to help foster the Native pride and health of our young Anishinaabeg as she continues on in life.
Philomena Kebec - harm reduction Project volunteer
Philomena is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a 2008 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. She currently serves as the Co-Coordinator of Gwayakobimaadiziwin Bad River Harm Reduction, along with Aurora Conley. Gwayakobimaadizin is an all-volunteer tribal harm reduction program offering syringe exchange and overdose prevention services since 2015. The program serves people who inject drugs, their friends and family members who live in and around the Bad River Indian Reservation with respect and dignity, access to sterile injection equipment, overdose prevention services, food and other services. Philomena enjoys living in Ojibwe traditional territory and spends free time harvesting wild food and medicine with her two children.
Jazz McKinney - Two-Spirit Project Volunteer
Jazz is a Black and Indigenous (Cherokee and Ojibwe) Two-Spirit individual that currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They received their Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University and their bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Women and Gender Studies from Grand Valley State University. They currently work as a LGBTQ+ Domestic and Sexual Violence Outreach Therapist at YWCA West Central Michigan. Jazz has been involved with advocacy and activism in the LGBTQ+ community for over 15 years as well as racial justice work. Also, they serve on the boards of the Grand Rapids Pride Center and GVSU’s Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center. Jazz is passionate about working to decolonize gender roles and identities as well as discussing the impact that harmful gender binaries can cause within our communities.
Board of Directors
Updated information on its way neebin (summer) 2019. Stayed tuned.