Takoda GED student, Jennifer, shared her stories and led a book discussion to volunteers at the Navigation Center
“Aaniin niiji, Hello Friends, Nii baa wii sii ikwe, Jennifer Goggleye-Thomson, niin nindizhinikaz. Gaa-zagaskwaaji me kaag, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cha Cha banig Inger.
I am a Pueblo/ Ojibwe from Leech Lake, a mother of 6 children and also a grandmother of 4. I have been advocating for my 6 children in different school systems including Special Education. I have been working with Amaze Works for about 4 years as a Persona Doll Producer as well as an office assistant. I am also enrolled as a student at the American Indian OIC to pursue my educational goals.”
This is how Jennifer introduced herself to an audience eager to learn about the Native perspective. Through her dedication and work with Takoda GED staff, Jennifer gained the confidence to present to a public audience.
Jennifer’s GED teacher, Sára, helped her prepare and arrange this presentation. “I arranged this speaking engagement for Jennifer to talk to the volunteers serving at the Navigation Center in order to represent the Native perspective. We prepared for weeks to give birth to her project that she presented to 20 people. She was wonderful; she is an engaging story-teller. I am extremely proud of her as I know how difficult it was for her to talk to a non-Native audience about Native struggles of drug use, homelessness, alcoholism, and suicide. She was able to contextualize it in the framework of Ignitia Broker’s novel ‘Night Flying Woman’ as well as through the lens of genocide, ethno
cide, and ecocide that had devastated Indian Country. She addressed historical, complex trauma, racism, and ethnocentrism that Native/Indigenous people still face on a regular basis.”
The story below was written by a client of Takoda Work’s SOAR program, which helps individuals with criminal histories gain skills and employment.
The client’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.
My name is Linda, I am 22 years old. I had gotten myself into a little bit of a phase as I was dealing with depression and hopelessness. I was in a dark place in my life and ended up getting myself arrested. With my charges it became harder for me to get a job.
I heard about the Takoda Works at American Indian OIC and that they may be able to help me with some of my problems. So one day I built up the courage, put my pride aside, and went in to ask for help. I was referred to an agency program that works with Minneapolis Youth at Takoda. The case manager I met with explained to me what the program was about and listed what would be expected of me. The case manager contacted me and referred me to the SOAR Program. At first I was cautious and uncertain if this was the step I wanted to take.
I met with staff that truly goes above and beyond to help. Everything was at my pace and communication was regular which I appreciated very much. The program was interesting and very helpful. The incentives were definitely a plus. My rent was a huge stressor and I got help with that. I needed some help with my cell phone as I could not afford minutes but how was I going to stay in touch with the SOAR team or employers?
The SOAR program helped me with one month cell minutes. They really supported me in my ups and downs. Whenever I came in but did not have an appointment staff took time to see me. I recommend this program to family, friends, and complete strangers because it was really helpful for me and I’m happy I took the time to do something positive for myself. I’m grateful for the strong, positive, genuine, and caring staff I worked with and continue to work with.