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Historic Change
Kevin Killer
Kevin Killer (Photo Line Break Media)

South Dakota State Rep. and 2015 Bush Fellow Kevin Killer (Rebuilder Cohort 1) won re-election to serve District 27 for a fourth-term in November—and a second victory at the polls he values just as highly. By a four-to-one margin, the community he represents in Shannon County voted in favor of adopting a new name: Oglala Lakota County.

Located entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where 93 percent of the population is Native American, the county was originally named for a chief justice of the Dakota Territory Supreme Court who worked to wrest the Black Hills from Lakota tribes and place Native people on reservations. When Killer and other Native leaders learned of those origins, changing the name became an urgent cause. “We don’t want to be branded,” says Killer, one of four Native American members of the legislature. “This is a significant step: Half of our population is under 18 years old, and we want to leave them a better legacy.”

Anna Takes the Shield
Anna Takes the Shield (Photo Bruce Silcox)

Rebuilder Anna Takes the Shield (Cohort 5), a member of the county commission, also played a leadership role in the historic effort to rename the county in recognition of the people who live there. The change received formal recognition by the South Dakota Legislature on March 5.

Killer hopes the new name will remove the stigma that was associated with Shannon County and its high poverty rates, and replace it with a name reflecting the pride and heritage of the Oglala Lakota people.

“This is a declaration saying, ‘Hey, we are still around—the policy to stomp out our language and our ways failed,’” Killer says. “All you’ll have to do is look at the map in 2015 and see we are still here. That’s something to build on, and inspire our young people, and all of our partners who invest in our community. It is setting us up for success.” —Nick Coleman


Laura MacKenzie
Laura MacKenzie (Photo Pat O'Laughlin)
Fellowship: Five Year Out

A classically trained performer heading toward a recital career, Northfield, Minnesota native Laura MacKenzie (BF'09) was gobsmacked by a college term abroad that introduced her to the airs and ancient musical traditions of her Celtic ancestors in the British Isles. “That’s when I turned the corner,” says MacKenzie, a multitalented musician regarded as one of the most knowledgeable proponents of Celtic music. “I never looked back. I was totally changed after that.”

A recipient of numerous honors, including a Master Folk Artist Award from the Minnesota State Arts Board, MacKenzie spent part of her 2009 Bush Fellowship shadowing Martin McHugh, a legendary Irish accordionist living in Saint Paul who has inspired traditional Minnesota musicians for decades. The result was The Master’s Choice, a 2013 release featuring McHugh’s seminal Irish musicianship. The CD was produced by MacKenzie, who also plays flute, concertina and tin whistle on the recording, and assisted by Irish musician Dáithí Sproule, himself a 2009 Bush Artist Fellow.

In November, the Irish Music and Dance Association paid tribute to MacKenzie’s contributions to traditional music with an event and a city-wide “Laura MacKenzie Day” proclamation from Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “The true font of traditional music is learning from the elders,” MacKenzie says. “I’m just so lucky to be part of this fantastic community, and proud to be doing this legacy-building work.  That’s more important than trying to get gigs and have people clap for me. The music will never die.” —Nick Coleman

Fellowship: 20 Years Out
Rita Kelly
Rita Kelly (Photo Tom Roster)

What’s the biggest obstacle to opportunity students in North Dakota’s public schools face? “Poverty,” says Rita Kelly (BF’94), a former high school principal in Bismarck. “I can’t think of anything bigger.”

Twenty years ago, Kelly won a Bush Fellowship that allowed her to earn a Ph.D. in school administration, writing her doctoral dissertation about the experiences of Native American students in urban schools. One lesson she took away: Teachers need more training when it comes to understanding the daily challenges faced by low-income kids. “Things look very different, depending on where you’re standing,” Kelly says, adding that it was once a “revelation” to her that schools had to send food packages home with many students to ensure they had enough to eat over the weekends. “You have to be an extraordinary child to overcome the effects of poverty, but not everyone can be that extraordinary.”

Now retired from her role overseeing gender and race issues in North Dakota’s Department of Instruction, Kelly hasn’t stopped advocating for Native American and minority students in her state:  “If these problems were simple we’d have solved them a long time ago. But they’re not simple. The deeper you go, the more layers you find. It’s humbling.” —Nick Coleman

Don Ardell (BF‘72) was honored as one of two founding fathers of the wellness movement at the 2014 Global Spa & Wellness Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco in September. Ardell is the current U.S. champion for his age division in both triathlon and duathlon.

Rebuilder Twyla Baker-Demaray (Cohort 2) was named president of Fort Berthold Community College in October. She previously served as director of the National Resource Center on Native American Aging at the University of North Dakota.

Bounxou Chanthrapone
Bounxou Chanthraphone

Dan Bergin (BF'01) received a special Emmy as producer of Make It OK, a documentary in which Minnesotans from all walks of life talk with candor and humor about mental illness.

Rebuilder Shawn Bordeaux (Cohort 3) was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in November, serving District 26A.

Traditional Lao weaver  and 2010 Bush Foundation Enduring Vision Award recipient Bounxou Chanthraphone (BF’02) is one of 26 international artists whose work is on exhibit through April 2015 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport. The exhibit, called “Flight Patterns,” hangs in the T-North Concourse. To see a short film the Bush Foundation created to honor Chanthraphone’s Enduring Vision Award in 2010, visit

The Kri Foundation granted Ananya Chatterjea (BF’02) a residency with Guru Sadashiv Pradhan in Bhubaneshwar, India, to study the Mayurbhanj style of Chhau, the martial arts form that is part of Ananya Dance Theatre’s Yorchha technique. The Theatre’s latest work, Aahvan: Invoking the Cities, opened the new Ordway Concert Hall in February in downtown Saint Paul. Find film excerpts at

Gary Cunningham (BF’91) became president and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association in August. "If we're going to impact poverty, and if we're going to impact these deep issues of equity, we really have to focus on how we build an entrepreneurial class within communities of color,” says Cunningham, who had been the chief program officer of the Northwest Area Foundation.

The Argus Leader named Melissa Goodwin (BF’12) as one of “15 to watch in ’15” for her contributions to the Sioux Falls creative community.  She is working with others to bring a community “maker” space to town: “A place where those crazy ideas you've had clattering around in your head can come to life. It's a place where dentists and designer machinists can mingle and exchange ideas. Maker events for families encourage parents to learn alongside their children. That's the magic of these spaces. It's economic development. It's workforce development. It's community development."  

The Hmong American Farmers Association, led by executive director Pakou Hang (BF’11), hosted an open house of its new farm in Vermillion Township, Minnesota, in September. HAFA earned a Bush Foundation Community Innovation grant for its effort to create a land cooperative ownership model to help Hmong farmers find new markets for their produce. To see a short video about the project, visit

John Hildebrand (BF’94) has a new book, The Heart of Things: A Midwestern Almanac, published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Rebuilder Mindy Iverson (Cohort 4) was promoted to assistant general manager of Shooting Star Casino, Hotel and Event Center in Mahnomen, Minnesota. An enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, Iverson also holds Advanced Tribal Human Resource Professional Certification from the Falmouth Institute.

Visual artist Seitu Jones (BF’92 & ’04) has won the 2015 McKnight Project Grant from Forecast Public Art. He’ll use it to build ARTARK, a floating platform for artistic and scientific experiences that will document Saint Paul’s 13-mile-long Mississippi River watershed segment with writing, visual art and performance. ARTARK will be built during a six-month residency in a public exhibition space; youth from the Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center and Urban Boatbuilders will collaborate in its design and construction.

Syl Jones’ (BF‘14) Stars and Stripes is being performed at high school assemblies across Minneapolis by actors from Mixed Blood Theatre. Commissioned by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the half-hour drama takes on everything from gossip to gun violence. Read the Star Tribune’s take on it at

<table class="float-right" style="width: 200px;" border="0"><tbody><tr><td><img src="/sites/default/files/public/images/story/tenthousandthings1.jpg" alt="" /></td></tr><tr class="caption"><td><em>Ten Thousand Waves</em>, a collection of poems by Wang Ping</td></tr></tbody></table>

Nicole Marie Kelby's (BF'99) new book, The Pink Suit, was published by Little, Brown in April. The novel focuses on the Irish immigrant who sewed the iconic pink bouclé suit Jackie Kennedy wore on the day JFK was assassinated.

Janice LaFloe (BF’12) launched the American Indian Montessori School on Saint Paul’s East Side in October, a first-of-its-kind child care center focused on embedding the Ojibwe and Lakota languages in early childhood education. "That knowledge is there, but we have to transfer it and share it with our children, and we have to hurry up because once it's gone, it's gone," says LaFloe, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Hear about her plans at

Larry Long (BF'96) talked to the Star Tribune in April about the connection between song-writing and activism, and his friendship with Pete Seeger, who died in 2014. Read the profile at

Muralist Jimmy Longoria (BF’10) and a team of 30 teenagers transformed a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, freeway wall marred by gang graffiti into a 1,600 foot mural in July. Longoria is the founder of Mentoring Peace, a nonprofit arts group. See their work at

Theater artist David Mann (BF’06) performed his original one-man show Bottle Rockets and Soda Pop, a nostalgic journey of growing up in Minnesota, at The Dreamery Rural Arts Initiative of Wykoff, Minnesota, in June.

Shanai Matteson (BF’13), collaborative director of the art and design studio Works Progress, was invited to Arkansas’ Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to deliver the keynote address about the power of collaborative public art at the State of the Art Symposium. In December, Matteson and her husband and collaborator Colin Kloecker were also honored with the Emerging Leaders Award from the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation in recognition of their work as “river stewards” for the Mississippi.

“Theater for me is not about playing, but about life,” Marion McClinton (BF’93) told the Star Tribune in August in an in-depth profile of the Tony-nominated director. Read the full story at

Rebuilder Tina Merdanian (Cohort 1) is now director of research and assessment at Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota.

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation CEO Mark Mishek (BF’85) spoke with the Star Tribune in July about the launch of new digital platforms to expand the reach of Hazelden’s publishing division. Read more at

Susan Neidlinger (BF’79) received the Homeless Mental Health Advocate Award from the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center, which provides homeless services in Fort Bragg, California.

Michael Osterholm (BF‘82), director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, gave the keynote  about the global response to the Ebola virus at a symposium sponsored by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in October.

Rebuilder Crystal Owen (Cohort 4) was elected secretary of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.

Matt Rasmussen (BF'09) is a poetry mentor for the 2014-15 Loft Mentor Series, which offers 12 emerging Minnesota writers the opportunity to work intensively with six nationally acclaimed writers of prose and poetry.

Writer Mary Rockcastle (BF’83) is winner of the 2015 Kay Sexton Award, an annual honor given by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library that recognizes “long-standing dedication and outstanding work in fostering books, reading, and literary activity.” She will be feted on April 18 at the Minnesota Book Awards.

Bush Fellow Lori Saroya (’14) received the Governor's Distinguished Service Award and has been named to the national board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.

Twin Cities dancer, choreographer and artist Patrick Scully (BF’92) performed Leaves of Grass—Uncut, a dance-theater work inspired by the life and work of Walt Whitman at the Illusion Theater in June. “Whitman’s language is so body-based, so physical, it begs you to press your body up against his words,” Scully said.

Prairie Rose Seminole
Prairie Rose Seminole, new member of the Great Plains Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Great Plains

Puppet master Sandy Spieler (BF’86 & ’02) was honored with the prestigious McKnight Distinguished Artist Award in 2014. Spieler is the artistic director of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, as well as the founder of the annual May Day Parade.

Rebuilder Prairie Rose Seminole (Cohort 5) has been invited to sit on the Great Plains Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. During her three-year term, she and other Council members will provide anecdotal information and additional perspectives on economic information and reactions to district and federal economic policy.

In February, The Roseville, a composition by Irish musician Dáithí Sproule (BF’09), debuted at Aisling Gheal (Irish Gaelic for “bright vision”), a joint concert of Sproule’s band Altan and the East Metro Symphony Orchestra that explores the intersections of traditional Irish and classical orchestral music.

Erik Takeshita (BF’05), deputy director of Twin Cities LISC, is leading a new national initiative to support creative placemaking in low-income areas. Supported through a partnership between the Local Initiative Support Corporation and the Kresge Foundation, the effort will invest in economic development and cultural activities that create jobs, attract patrons and build a strong sense of community among residents.

Anton Treuer (BF'08) will leave his position as executive director of Bemidji State University’s American Indian Resource Center to return to BSU’s faculty and work directly with students. “My primary passion is teaching our students and working with our culture.”

Prudence, a new novel by David Treuer (BF’03), was published by Riverhead in February 2015.

Roman Verostko (BF’69), a pioneer in code-generated imagery, reprised his 1982 computer-coded light show “The Magic Hand of Chance” for a special showing as part of the 2014 Northern Spark celebration. A former Benedictine priest and professor emeritus at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Verostko also discussed his lifetime of work at the sold-out Eyeo Festival, a creative-coding and data-design event that attracted guests from 14 countries to Walker Art Center in June. Learn more about his work at

Ten Thousand Waves, a collection of poems by Wang Ping

Erma Vizenor (BF’88), chairwoman of the White Earth Nation, spoke at the unveiling of a new memorial to Native American veterans at the Minnesota State Capitol in May. “For once, we want the facts stated and the truth known,” said Vizenor, who began pushing the state to recognize its Native warriors nearly a decade ago. “Our American Indian veterans have served this country honorably and well.”

Poet and Macalester College professor Wang Ping (BF’03) published Ten Thousand Waves, a collection of poems from Wings Press. A film inspired by the title poem was featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2014.

Composer Judith Lange Zaimont’s (BF’05) new Symphony No. 4, PURE, COOL, (Water) had its premiere in Vienna, Austria, in November.  Performed by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava under Niels Muus, the new five-movement symphony was conceived as an exploration of the various states of water.

(Edgar, Barry, Anthony, Macavity)

Ordinary Grace CoverWilliam Kent Krueger (BF’88) won all four major awards for mystery writing for his novel Ordinary Grace, a grand slam known in the genre as “the full EBAM.” Those are the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, the Barry Award, the Anthony Award, and the Macavity Award. Krueger also won his fifth Minnesota Book Award in 2014 for Tamarack County.


Chuck Waibel
Chuck Waibel (Photo Brian DeVore, Land Stewardship Project)

As a new 2013 Bush Fellow, Chuck Waibel of Milan, Minnesota, hoped to work on an initiative to relieve rural food deserts with winter-grown produce. He died of colon cancer in August 2013, just weeks after his Fellowship began.

Before his death, Waibel told his wife and greenhouse partner, Carol Ford, of his hopes for his memorial: “I would like to see all the people I’ve worked with on local foods come together to say goodbye to me but also hello to each other. I can imagine them meeting and greeting, finding common cause and pondering new collaborations. So invite them in and, you know, let them be sad for a while, but then bring them together to share food and conversation and just watch what happens! It’s always been about building community. All of it has. Putting all those dedicated minds together—it’s bound to make great things grow.”

Ford is carrying on their shared work by establishing a greenhouse growers network with a memorial grant the Bush Foundation made to the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership in 2014. —Nick Coleman

Five facts about Foundation Board member Jennifer Alstad
  1. Jen AlstadMulticultural, multilingual: Adopted as an infant from Korea, Alstad was raised in a Norwegian-American family on a “century farm” near Granite Falls, Minnesota—the same town where Archibald G. Bush grew up. In addition to Norwegian and French, she is fluent in Mandarin and moved to Taiwan to study the language.
  2. Baked to perfection: To improve her award-winning entry in the Minnesota State Fair’s 4-H baking competition, Alstad baked 200 practice loaves of pineapple bread with a cinnamon-and-coconut topping at the age of 13.
  3. Community contributor: “My belief system stems from growing up in a place where you can’t just pick things to do because you’re good at them—you have to do them because they need to get done. Alstad served as president of her class from seventh to tenth grades, and earned varsity letters in tennis, basketball and track for the Granite Falls Kilowatts. “I was a terrible athlete, but they needed everyone so they had enough kids for practice.”
  4. Early riser: After tenth grade, Alstad earned a scholarship for the University of Minnesota, becoming the first high-school-age student to enroll under the state’s new postsecondary options. (Her parents made sure she lived in a dorm on the farm campus in Saint Paul.) After graduating with a degree in political science in 1992, she considered becoming a lawyer before she cofounded bswing, a digital design and consulting firm based in Minneapolis.
  5. Force for the future: The mother of a first-grader and a preschooler, Alstad was named Minnesota’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 and made Minnesota Business Magazine's "(Real) Power 50 List" in 2013. She joined the Foundation’s Board in 2010 and believes passionately that the Foundation is “an important force for good and innovation” in the region. She likes to ask questions to help decide what work needs to be done: Why does it matter? What difference does it make? How will it make things better in the future? “I think we are true to what Archibald Bush envisioned—to ask how your gifts and challenges can be used in the world, to make it a better and stronger place. We have to hold those things up.”

The Board welcomes two new members: Kathy Annette is president of the Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Paul Batcheller is partner at PrairieGold Venture Partners in Sioux Falls.

Allison Barmann, the Foundation’s vice president of strategy and learning, was chosen as a 2014 Cross Sector Leadership Fellow, a program of the Presidio Institute.

Communications Program Manager Julie Cohen will take part in the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, a year-long personal and professional renewal experience for leaders of philanthropic, civic and community service organizations. In spring, she'll leave the Foundation to become the communications and engagement director at Pollen.

Duchesne Drew
Duchesne Drew

Duchesne Drew joined the Foundation in March as the community network vice president. He was with the Star Tribune for 22 years, most recently as managing editor for operations.

Mandy Ellerton and Molly Matheson Gruen were promoted to co-directors of the Foundation’s Community Innovation work.

Native Nations Program Manager John Fetzer will be part of the inaugural cohort of a new Leadership Institute launched by the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities.

Board member Tony Heredia gave the keynote at the 2014 Torch Award for Ethics hosted by the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Board member Curtis W. Johnson wrote about the challenges posed by explosive growth of North Dakota’s oil industry in Voices, a publication of the Governing Institute in June.

Robert Jones Tim Mathern Peter Pennekamp
Robert Jones Tim Mathern  Peter Pennekamp

Directors Robert Jones, Tim Mathern (BF’98) and Peter Pennekamp ended their Board terms in February 2015. 

Bush Fellowship Director Lars Leafblad left in June 2014 to launch Ballinger | Leafblad, an executive search firm focused exclusively on civic sector clients.

Board member Jan Malcolm received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Leaders in Health Care event sponsored by Minnesota Business magazine.

Board members Jan Malcolm and Wendy Nelson, former president Anita Pampusch and current president Jen Ford Reedy were among the 84 local women honored by The George Family Foundation’s Celebrating Twin Cities Women Leaders event at the Guthrie Theater in September.

Beth Norris transitioned from a part-time office assistant position to a new role as full-time grants administration assistant in November. She’s been with the Foundation since 2008.

Community Innovation Associate Rachel Orville left the Foundation in January to farm on a CSA in Maine.

Twin Cities Business’s editorial staff named Foundation President Jen Ford Reedy as one of the 100 People to Know in 2015.

Dameun Strange and his band Shiro Dame
Dameun Strange and his band Shiro Dame

Board member Michael Solberg is the new CEO of Bell State Bank, headquartered in Fargo.

Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow and Community Innovation staff member Dameun Strange and his band Shiro Dame opened for Macy Gray in September at the Fine Line Music Café.

Board member Dee Thomas received the MAAP Exemplary Award from the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs for outstanding dedication, service and commitment to alternative education.

After more than 11 years with the Foundation, Communications Manager Victoria Tirrel will leave in spring 2015 to launch a consulting practice and pursue publication of her novel. She is the editor of b magazine and worked extensively on Giving Strength, the Foundation’s previous magazine.

Ron McKinley Philanthropy Fellow and Community Innovation staff member Coya H. White Hat-Artichoker was named among “The Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2014” by editors of Velvetpark, a lesbian and feminist arts and culture platform based in New York City. Born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, White Hat-Artichoker is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and a founding member of the First Nations Two Spirit Collective; she has worked as an activist since she was 15 years old.

Martha Lee
Martha Lee (Photo Bruce Silcox)

Deciding when a person is ready for a Bush Fellowship is “an art, not a science,” according to Martha Lee, who served as manager of the Bush Fellowship Program before leaving in December 2014 to start her own consulting practice. “I think it starts with a person who has some scars. A person who’s been knocked down and had to pick themselves up—people who know what they don’t know, who are at the point where the investment in them could really make a difference.”

Hired in 1994 by Foundation President Humphrey Doermann and Bush Leadership Fellowship Director John Archabal, Lee started in a part-time role that required some heavy lifting. Literally. “It was my job to send out the application forms, sort out the information, request the references…there were bags of mail. And it was my job to open them up.

“There were so many bright, accomplished people who were Fellowship applicants or were working at the Foundation—I was just praying I wouldn’t sound stupid,” Lee remembers, laughing. But by the time her mentor Archabal retired in 2009, she had a firm grounding in the Foundation’s long legacy of investing in individuals.

During her 20 years at the Foundation, she says, she learned two things. “I found out that the Foundation needed the grantees as much as the grantees needed the Foundation, because we learned so much from them. Second, this idea of providing an invitation to people to step outside their comfort zone in the service of their own learning and growth is crucial. Not a lot of other foundations do it, so my hope is that the Bush Foundation will continue to invest in bright, accomplished individuals with great potential.” —Nick Coleman

June Noronha at 17, just before leaving Kenya to study in Saint Paul.

“I want to figure out how to make this world a place where people feel they belong,” June Noronha, senior manager on the Native Nations Team, says in a video for Green Card Voices, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit that shares first-person immigration stories from foreign-born Americans.

A Macalester College graduate, Noronha was born in Kenya to Indian parents and was nearly deported from the U.S. when Kenya revoked her right of entry after Kenyan independence and the United Kingdom did not honor her citizenship. Hear the story of how Sen. Hubert Humphrey—a former Macalester professor of Noronha’s—helped find her a path to U.S. citizenship at—Nick Coleman

Here's the buzz from the 2014 issue


Margaret Miles & Cathy ten Broeke with their son Louie
Photo Max Haynes

Bush Fellows Margaret Miles (’91) and Cathy ten Broeke (’04) became the first same-sex couple to marry in Minnesota on August 1, 2013, when the marriage equality act became law in the state. “We knew this really wasn’t about us—it was about representing a moment in history for our state,” says ten Broeke, the State of Minnesota’s director to prevent and end homelessness, who had married Miles, an artist and development director at Saint Stephen’s Human Services, in a private ceremony with friends and family back in 2001. At the stroke of midnight at Minneapolis’s City Hall, Mayor R.T. Rybak made their 13-year union official as they held hands with their son Louie, now six, in front of more than a thousand cheering supporters. “Margaret is a self-described major introvert, so it was a big stretch for her, but it was such a moving thing to take this vow as a family,” says ten Broeke. “We are the beneficiaries of the work of so many people who devoted their lives and careers to this cause, and being the recipients of that moment of justice was just incredible.”

William Kent Krueger (BF’88) won the 2014 Minnesota Book Award for his novel Tamarack County. Three Bush Fellows won 2013 Minnesota Books Award honors: poet Patricia Kirkpatrick (’90) for Odessa and novelist David Treuer (’03) for Rez Life. Robert Hedin (’97) received the Kay Sexton Award for lifelong contributions to the literary community.

Tamarack County Book Odessa Book Cover Rez Life bookcover

Bush Fellows gathering

Saint Paul artist Ta-coumba Aiken (center) with Bush staff

Saint Paul artist Ta-coumba Aiken (BF’92) earned a Guinness World Record for building the largest Lite-Brite installation ever with the 12-by-24 foot mural he created for the kick-off of the Forever Saint Paul Challenge. His creation required more than 596,000 Lite Brite pegs, and help from more than 600 volunteers (including some Bush Foundation staff, below)., an online shop for conservative women’s clothing launched by Zahra Aljabri (BF’12), turned heads in 2013 with features on Minnesota Public Radio, the line, TechCrunch, the gloss, FashioNotes and other media outlets.

The National Council on Family Relations elected William D. Allen (BF’95) as its president-elect. Allen is the owner of Healing Bonds, a family therapy practice in Minneapolis.

Lakota artist and art historian Arthur Amiotte (BF’80 & ’02), recipient of the Foundation’s 2012 Enduring Vision Award, worked with the South Dakota State Historical Society in 2013 to gather 31 of his original collages on loan from private collectors and museum collections throughout the United States. The result is Transformation and Continuity in Lakota Culture: The Collages of Arthur Amiotte, an exhibition that opened at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre on April 19.

Twin Cities Business named Margaret Anderson Kelliher (BF’03) one of “100 people to know in Minnesota.” The former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives is now the president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association.

Terri Barreiro (BF’79) co-wrote Social Entrepreneurship: From Issue to Viable Plan. She is the first director of the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in central Minnesota.

Dan Bergin (BF’01) was nominated for a 2013 regional Emmy Award for Asian Flavors, a documentary he produced about how food connects immigrants with their homeland and culture.

Fast Company magazine talked to Finnegans’ CEO and founder Jacquie Berglund (BF’14) about her efforts to teach other social entrepreneurs how to bring mission-driven businesses to scale. Read the story at  bfdn/xJBerg.

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Cole appointed Eyenga Bokamba (BF’06) as the director of Sprockets, a City initiative aimed at creating more learning opportunities for the 80 percent of time youth spend outside of school.

“Everybody is an educator—regardless of status, position, title or bank account. We all have gifts we can offer our youth,” says Mary K. Boyd (BF’86), who created the Every Body’s In coalition, a three-day community-wide conference in October 2013 aimed at connecting the dots between classroom time and community-based education.

Karen Cadigan (BF’02) joined the Bloomington (Minnesota) Public Schools to lead its early childhood development initiative. She was previously the director of the Minnesota Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning.

Ellen Chaffee (BF’77) was appointed to the Des Moines University Board of Trustees in August 2013. She is a senior fellow at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and is the past president of two universities in North Dakota.

The McKnight Foundation honored Sunny Chanthanouvong (BF’12), executive director of the Lao Assistance Center, with the 2013 Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Service. Chanthanouvong is only the second Lao Minnesotan to receive the distinction, which recognizes Minnesotans who have demonstrated “an exceptional personal commitment to helping others in their communities but who have received little or no public recognition.”

C. Scott Cooper (BF’07) was named CEO of RE-AMP, a network of nearly 160 nonprofits and foundations across eight Midwestern states working on climate change and energy policy with the goal of reducing global warming pollution economy-wide 80 percent by 2050. He served as the Bush Foundation’s director of communication and engagement from 2009 to 2013.

Garu Cunningham and wife     Gary Cunningham, with Betsy Hodges

Gary Cunningham (BF’91), vice president of programs and chief program officer at the Northwest Area Foundation, stepped into the role of First Man with the November 2013 election of his wife, Betsy Hodges, as mayor of Minneapolis.

Loretta DeLong (BF’90) coordinated the first-ever Weaving Warriors: North Dakota Women in Educational Leadership conference in September 2013. She is an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of North Dakota.

Bob Derus (BF’88) was named interim city administrator of Dayton, Minnesota, in June 2013. Derus retired as city administrator of Saint Michael, Minnesota, in 2012.

Mark Dienhart (BF’89), recently named president and CEO of the Schulze Family Foundation, spoke with former Bush Foundation Program Officer Sarah Lutman of Twin Cities Business magazine about the future plans of the philanthropy created by Best Buy’s Dick Schulze. Read the story at

President Obama appointed Karen Diver (BF’02) to serve on the Climate Control Task Force. She is the first woman to chair the tribal council for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis hired Angie Eilers (BF’08) as director, regional outreach and education. She also serves on the board of SciMathMN, a nonprofit, statewide education and business coalition advocating for quality preK-16 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education based on research, national standards and effective practices.

Filmmaker Chris Eyre (BF’07), chairman of The Film School at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, spoke with Indian Country Today Media Network about the Robert Redford Milagro Initiative, which is providing scholarships to indigenous filmmakers. “I am really glad that more Native people are working in film and music—the way we are progressing. It takes a whole group of people, with various points of view, to show that there is not just one Native America, but a whole spectrum of places, and people.”

Paul Fate (BF’99) retired from CommonBond, where’s he’s been CEO since 2007. “Paul Fate has been a torch bearer for the affordable housing and community development industry for years,” says Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal (BF’84). “He has greatly influenced policy and priorities locally and nationally, and because of his leadership, CommonBond has provided the security and dignity of a home to thousands who otherwise would be left behind.” CommonBond is the Midwest’s largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing with services.

Photographer Wing Young Huie (BF’96) chronicled the businesses, residents, street life and cultural diversity of Minneapolis’s Chicago Avenue corridor for his We Are the Other project in 2013, displaying more than 100 photos in store windows between 32nd and 42nd Avenues.

Rebuilder Pamela Johns (Cohort 5) and four Bush Fellows— Tracine Asberry (’07), Tane Danger (’14), Nimo Farah (’14) and Gülgün Kayim (’04)—were named by the  Creative Community Leadership Institute as 2014 fellows.

Carol Johnson (BF’92) retired as superintendent of the Boston Public Schools in 2013. A former superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, Johnson serves as visiting professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations.

Retired Hennepin County District Judge Franklin Knoll (BF’77) was featured in the Star Tribune in February 2013 for the poetry he writes based on the detailed journals he kept during his years on the bench. Read the story at

Rebuilder Jennifer Kolden (Cohort 4) started a new job as director of development at the Native American Community Development Institute in Minneapolis.  Her relocation to the Twin Cities will allow her to organize the urban citizens of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, where she is a citizen, around their constitutional revision engagement process.

Media artist Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson (BF’07) collaborated with dancer and choreographer Young Sun Lee and composer Evelyn Ficarra to create soul/soul, an experimental film that debuted at the Ansan Art Center in Seoul, South Korea, in September. Kristjansson-Nelson is chair of Minnesota State University Moorhead’s cinema arts and digital technologies department. Watch soul/soul at

In May 2013, Patrice Kunesh (BF’09) became the deputy undersecretary of rural development at the United States Department of Agriculture. She is of Standing Rock Lakota descent and formerly served as the deputy solicitor for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Former Clinton Administration adviser Paul Legler (BF’90) published his first novel, Song of Destiny, a 1960s-era coming-of-age story set near his family’s Jamestown, North Dakota, farm.

Muralist Jimmy Longoria (BF’10) received the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s 2013 Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award and the Ordway’s Sally Award for commitment to the arts. Longoria is the co-founder of Mentoring Peace Through Art, a teen-driven nonprofit arts group that replaces gang graffiti with vibrant murals.

Marion McClinton (BF’93) directed the Guthrie Theater’s production of Othello in early 2014. Given the chance, here’s the question he’d ask Shakespeare about the play: Why does Othello believe Iago?

Kristine Miller (BF’12) received the 2013 University of Minnesota Outstanding Community Service Award for faculty members who have made significant, demonstrable contributions to the public good through research, teaching and/or public service. Miller heads the landscape architecture department at the University’s College of Design.

The role of Hazelden’s CEO Mark Mishek (BF’85) expanded in 2013 with approved plans to merge with the Betty Ford Center. Mishek will lead the new Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation as president and CEO. Read the interview with Mishek in the Los Angeles Times at

Jeff Freeland Nelson (BF’04) invented Yoxo, sustainable creative toys that hit it big over the 2013 holiday season with media coverage from the Pioneer Press to the Today Show. A former technical director at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Nelson is CEO and founder of Play from Scratch.

Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas (BF ’07), who is the manager of social responsibility at The Mosaic Company, was named to “The (Real) Power 50” in Minnesota Business.

Writer and South Dakota bison rancher Dan O’Brien (BF’01) made the keynote address at the Museum of the American Bison in Rapid City on the first National Bison Day, established in 2013 by a U.S. Senate resolution officially designating the first Thursday of November as a national day of recognition for North America’s iconic herd.

Irish traditional musician Paddy O’Brien (BF’06) published his memoir, The Road from Castelbarnagh: Growing Up in Irish Music.

Gregory A. Plotnikoff (BF’02) co-authored Trust Your Gut for people who suffer from gastrointestinal distress and disease. He is an integrative medicine physician at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing and serves as a senior consultant to the Center for Health Care Innovation.

Frank Pommersheim (BF’83) presented the 2013 Constitution Day lecture at the University of South Dakota. He is a nationally recognized Indian law expert and a professor at the USD Law School.

Sharon Radd (BF’06) accepted a position as assistant professor in organizational leadership at Saint Catherine University.

President Obama appointed Ranee Ramaswamy (BF’96) to the National Council on the Arts. She is the founder and artistic director of Ragamala Dance and will serve a five-year term.

The National Rural Health Association honored Rugby, North Dakota, physician Hubert Seiler (BF’94) with its 2014 Practitioner of the Year Award. “I’ve been a rural health physician for my entire career, over 40 years,” Seiler told The Pierce County Tribune. “I knew that I wanted to be in a place where I could practice all types of family medicine, and rural health allows for that.”

Minneapolis-based photographer Alec Soth (BF’08) captured North Dakota’s oil boom for a New York Times Magazine cover story, “The Luckiest Place on Earth.” Watch a slideshow he narrated about the experience at

Alyce Spotted Bear (BF’88), who led the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations from 1982 to 1987, passed away on August 13, 2013. In 2010, President Obama appointed her to the National Advisory Committee on Indian Education.

Mihailo “Mike” Temali (BF’98) received the 2013 E Pluribus Unum Prize from the Migration Policy Institute. He is founder and CEO of the Neighborhood Development Center in Minneapolis.

Anton Treuer (BF’08), executive director of Bemidji State University’s American Indian Resource Center, won the 2012 Ken Hale Prize for linguistics, in recognition of his academic and community work with the Ojibwe language. His most recent book, The Assassination of Hole in the Day, won the Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History.

Robert Vanasek (BF’85) was recognized by Sokol Minnesota in 2013 for his service since 2008 as honorary consul for the Czech Republic in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. He is former Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives and runs his own consulting business.

Sandra Vargas (BF’95) was named to the board of Independent Sector, a leadership network for nonprofits, foundations and corporations committed to advancing the common good. She is president of the Minneapolis Foundation.

Sean M. Virnig (BF’06) was named a 2013 Rising Alumni by the University of Minnesota for his leadership of the California School for the Deaf, an internationally renowned bilingual school in Danville.


Heid Erdrich
Heid Erdrich
Heid Erdrich

When poet Heid Erdrich (BF’01) set out to write a cookbook of indigenous culture for the Minnesota Historical Society Press, “First I thought I knew everything, then I realized I knew nothing, then I was surprised by how much knowledge there was in my own family. It was a beautiful thing to deepen my understanding of my culture and my family, and I’m so happy to have done this for my children.”

Erdrich’s large family (including sister and 2007 Bush Fellow Lise Erdrich) all had a hand in shaping the meals that made the final cut, “and my husband washed every dish.”

Erdrich credits her Bush Fellowship with giving her the skills she needed to do a deep dive on indigenous food culture (“harder than a dissertation,” she says), and credits “Famous Dave” Anderson (BF’85) for putting the kick in her recipe for Cowboy Kicker Beans.

Cowboy Kicker Beans and Wiiyaas*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained
1.75 ounces bison jerky, cut into bite-size pieces
(optional for pacifists — kick wiiyass)
1 cup stock
1/2 cup hot or mild Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauce
(Devil’s Spit for hotheads)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

In a medium saucepan, set over low heat, warm olive oil and fry red onion until very soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in beans, jerky, and stock, increase heat to medium, and let mixture bubble for 1 minute. Stir in barbecue sauce and maple, turn heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in sundried tomatoes and simmer 30 minutes, adding stock if mixture seems dry. This dish is done when jerky is softened (which can vary with the type of jerky) and sauce is thick. Serve hot or cold.

From Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013). Used with permission.                

*dried meat