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Division of Indian Work celebrates 70 years serving Native community

The south Minneapolis nonprofit will celebrate its anniversary at a fundraiser Monday.

MINNEAPOLIS — For at least 25 years, Division of Indian Work has been located on 10th Ave and E. Lake Street but its programming dates back even longer. This year, the nonprofit is celebrating 70 years of service to the Native community. 

"We were only supposed to be a temporary food shelf back in 1952," executive director Louis Matson said. "We still have our food shelf 70 years later but we've expanded into many different program areas."

Women of traditional birthing, grandparents as caregivers, and domestic violence and anger management are just a few of the programs.

"The youth programs are near and dear to my heart," Matson said. "We work on [school] attendance with young people and we also have a youth leadership council that works with young adults that have been in the foster care system."

Division of Indian Work will soon celebrate its anniversary with a fundraiser. Due to the pandemic, the event will be the first large gathering staff and board members have hosted in several years.

"We're very honored that Sen. Mary Kunesh will be giving the welcome," Matson said. "We also have a special proclamation that will be read that night by the Lt. Gov. Peggy Flannigan … in honor of our 70 years of service."

Matson says a large drum group will perform and the Sampson Brothers will demonstrate hoop dancing. To ensure at least 70 more years of work, there will also be a "fund the need" portion of the event as well as a live auction. A silent auction has already started and will continue through Tuesday.

"Anita Lovelace, who teaches our quilting to our community, she made and donated this," Matson said, holding a large, multicolor patchwork quilt. "A generous native author is donating her book series, Marcie Rendon."

The fundraiser is Monday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Golden Valley. Tickets are still available.

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