Jennifer Bendickson is from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. She is one of the Native American Leadership Circle members and helped in the formation of the Wicoie Nandagikendan Immersion Project. She worked with Margaret Boyer on some of the early Legislative efforts to secure funding for immersion in the state of Minnesota. . Jennifer has always wanted young preschool native children to have the opportunity to learn their language. She hopes someday that all native children in Minnesota will learn their language.
Jewell Arcoren- Wicoie Nandagikendan Program Director
Described as a “Change Agent” and community activist, Jewell Arcoren has been in non-profit arts for over 20 years in the Twin Cities area. She brings a passion and love for the community she comes from and believes in giving back to that community. Jewell has worked as a curator at Two Rivers Gallery, and has done video work specific to the Dakota Oyate of Minnesota and telling their story with media Artist Mona Smith of Allies media art. Currently she is a core partner through Wicoie Nandagikendan with Healing Place Collaborative – a multidisciplinary Indigenous artist led project that explores and expresses the connections among people and place as it relates to Healing, Place and Water. She is a board member and program director for Wicoie Nandagikendan and is committed to language revitalization. She is also looking more closely at the correlations between language revitalization and community well being. Jewell has a BA in Psychology from Augsburg College and a MA in Counseling and Psychology from St Mary’s University.
Aaniin! Hope Flanagan zhaaganaazhimowin igaye Noodinesikwe Anishinaabewiinikaazowin, Naadawe-awi dash. Mikinok indoodem. Tonawanda ishkoniganing indoonjibaa.
Since August of 2009, Hope has works as an Ojibwe immersion teacher at the Four Directions/Family Partnership Program and currently works with Francis Benjamin, a first language speaker. Their students are from 16 months to 5 years old. She is a Storyteller/Alcohol,Tobacco and Other Drugs Prevention Specialist Hope is Curriculum Coordinator for the Golden Eagles Youth Program at the Minneapolis American Indian Center and the Youth Leadership Development Program Coordinator at the Division of Indian Work. Hope received her teaching degree from the University of Minnesota in 1982 and has a teaching certification in Minnesota in Secondary Social Sciences and American Indian Language and Culture. In the 1990’s Hope’s Florida teaching certificates included: Social Sciences, Elementary Ed., Pre-Kindergarten and English as a Second Language. Hope’s graduate work was in Environmental Education. She presents at the Fond du Lac Language Camp, and has three years of Ojibwe f the University of Minnesota. Hope enjoys teaching and learning about plants, birchbark work, fishing, camping, craftwork and traveling.
Justin Kurta- Dakhóta Immersion Teacher
Graduated from the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in the Dakhota language. Justin is an enthusiastic individual with great respect and passion for the Dakhota language and life ways. While studying at the University, he worked with Joe Bendickson as his Teaching assistant in the 1st and 2nd year Dakhota language classrooms. Since graduating and beginning work at Wicoie, Justin has been mentoring under Velma Little eagle and Brenda whiteface.
Classroom first language speakers-
Velma Little eagle-