24 months
Bemidji, MN—In recognition of winning a 2018 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, this grant will advance the organization’s charitable mission to provide culturally-specific, Native-led interdisciplinary services

2018 Bush Prize Winner | Northwest Indian Community Development Center

2018 Bush Prize Winner | Northwest Indian Community Development Center (Film by Passenger Productions)


Northwest Indian Community Development Center
Photographer: Wes Eisenhauer

The Big Idea

Northwest Indian Community Development Center's (NWICDC) transformative, culture-first model challenges structural oppression, institutional racism and opportunity gaps for American Indians in the Bemidji area. Grounded in the Anishinaabe values of humility, kindness, love, respect, bravery and honesty, NWICDC advances healing and equity for American Indians and tribal nations in a region with a long history of racial tension and disparities.

NWICDC acknowledges the historical termination and trauma of Native people in all of its culturally-centered and community-driven programs. As a backbone organization in a community of Native-led organizations, and as a model for how communities can solve problems through Indigenous culture, NWICDC looks to the people it serves to own the answers, valuing collective input and the lived experience. The result is services that are personal, visionary and trusted.

NWICDC's responsive workforce development programs and innovative social enterprises not only create jobs but also promote self-actualization and choice, key elements in what NWICDC defines as a healthy life. NWICDC also partners with state agencies to advocate for equity and inclusion in funding and change policies and practices that perpetuate disparities. To accommodate significant growth in participation, NWICDC recently moved to a spacious new center in Bemidji, located centrally among the three largest Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota.