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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday May 19th 2024

The Minneapolis American Indian Center Reopens May 1st!

All are welcome to a grand reopening and powwow celebrating the historic renovation

By NATALIE RADEMACHER, Communications Coordinator, MAIC

Courtesy Full Circle Planning and Design

This May, the Minneapolis American Indian Center (MAIC) will open its doors again after nearly 2 years of renovation. The community is invited to celebrate the completion of this historic project at a powwow and open house on Wednesday, May 1.

The festivities will kick off with a parade marking the start of Minnesota American Indian Month. The parade will begin at the Cedar Avenue Field Park (2500 Cedar Ave.) at 10 am and conclude at the Center (1530 East Franklin Ave.) followed by a public ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 am, with food available afterwards from local food trucks and the center’s Gatherings Cafe.

From noon to 2, the Center will be open for the community to explore the new and updated spaces. Staff will distribute T-shirts and swag and be on hand to answer questions. At 5 pm, the space will reopen for a powwow hosted by our Culture Language Arts Network. Get details, including vendor information, on our website,

Preserving and Expanding Vital Resources for the Urban Native Community

Center staff are grateful for the community’s continued support during our temporary relocation and historic capitol campaign. As of mid-March, we’ve raised $29.25 million of our $32.54 million goal. The support allows us to continue as a vital resource to the Native community.

Since 1975, the Minneapolis American Indian Center has been a central gathering place for the urban Native community and a staple in the Ventura Village neighborhood. The renovations allow us to continue and expand our programs and resources.

“From head to toe, the community’s historic home has been updated to function at peak efficiency, while expanding our spaces to nourish head, heart, body, and spirit,” said MAIC Operations Manager Andy Newton. “Our new heating, cooling, lighting, and security systems are designed to help the entire community, especially children and elders, feel comfortable, safe, and secure.”

Despite major changes, key features of the Center have been retained. Great care went into preserving the mural by the late Grand Portage Ojibwe artist George Morrison. The mural was carefully taken apart and shipped in pieces to Montana where each piece was restored and cleaned before being reassembled on an exterior wall of the center.

Doubling in size, the Center has expanded its community resources. The first level of the building is dedicated to community services, including the Two Rivers Art Gallery, Woodlands Indian Craft Gift Shop, and Gatherings Cafe, which will serve healthy Indigenous meals to the public. The new second floor hosts staff offices, along with coworking and meeting spaces available for reservation. An art studio for Native artists is also housed on the second floor.

The Center’s longstanding Ginew Golden Eagles program recently moved under the Boys and Girls Club Native Services umbrella, increasing the resources and opportunities available for the Native youth we support. The new Best Buy Teen Tech Center will be a space for youth to develop and hone digital skills and pursue creative avenues, such as podcasting and video production.

The fitness center, gym, and multifunctional gathering spaces have all been improved, and a large gathering room overlooking the gym will house programming for Native elders and be available for use during community events and funerals.

“The community was at the center of the entire renovation process. Community members, staff, and partners created a shared vision that guided the design and updates,” said MAIC Executive Director Mary LaGarde. “This is the community’s facility and has been since it opened almost 50 years ago. This historic renovation lets us continue to be a neighborhood and community resource for years to come.”

The renovated Center has also been designated as one of Xcel Energy’s three Resilient Minneapolis Project sites. Designed as emergency energy centers, sites will provide backup power for critical services during power outages. Under the project plan, the center will operate separately from the larger power grid and will include rooftop solar and battery storage that can continue providing electricity in the event of a community outage.

“Being a resiliency hub helps reduce our footprint while expanding the services we provide,” LaGarde said. “As we’ve continuously evolved to meet community needs over the years, this project ensures we continue to do so now and in the future.”

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