Meet Our 2021 Apprentices

We are delighted to introduce Zani Otuwe‘s 2021 Apprentices. Realizing it is essential to begin to train the next generation of leaders, Makoce Ikikcupi solicited applications to a four-month apprenticeship centered around earthlodge building and community development. We were looking for young adults interested in all aspects of cultural revitalization, including traditional housing and teachings, language, ceremony, food-sovereignty, and simple-living. In addition to earthlodge building, during their time with us, these apprentices will be learning about permaculture design and implementation, how to make garden sunlodges, about traditional plants, foods,  and medicines, history, language, land justice, and traditional governance practices in today’s world. In June 2021, we selected four outstanding young people who are now living on-site at Zani Otunwe. After completing the apprenticeship, it is our hope that these young people will be the earthlodge builders and sustainable living advocates of the future.

Jodi Gregerson

Haŋ mitákuyepi, čhaŋté waštéya napé chiyúzapi! 

My name is Jodi Gregerson and I’m from Standing Rock, though I currently live on Anishinaabe land near Detroit, Michigan. 

In addition to language reclamation and traditional ethnobotany, I love taking pictures, reading, traveling, movie and game nights with friends, and hanging out with my siblings.

I’m so grateful for this apprenticeship opportunity, and I’m looking forward to learning and experiencing everything that I can and helping to provide more opportunities to future generations of Očhéthi Šakówiŋ people.

James Jones

Hello, I’m James Allen Jones. I’m 19 years old. I am both Hunkpapa Lakota and Santee Dakota. I’m proud to say I’m a part of Makoce Ikikcupi or Land Recovery. The reason I’m here at Zani Otunwe is to try and reconnect in a way to those who came before, reconnect to my ancestors. Coming from Standing Rock, I was always taught two things: how to identify and use plants because of my mom, and how my people lived. This opportunity to be at Zani Otunwe is to reconnect to my people in a way. Some of my interests are art (all kinds), traveling, napping, and having all the fun I can.

Justin Barse

Hau. I am Justin Barse, currently enrolled on the Lake Traverse Reservation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. I was born in Wheaton, Minnesota and am of Wahpekute descent. I was raised in large families and through the years have done a lot of moving around. I am 25 years old and I know I have so much more yet to learn. I hope to learn, understand, and pass on the ways and culture as they were passed on the countless years before me. Tunkasina k’a Wakantanka, wopida!

Mikey Weston

Hau mitakuyapi, Mikey emakiyapi!
The biggest gain I have from the first couple weeks at Zani Otunwe is realizing how artificial life is. People live so close to nature everyday but never walk in the grass barefoot. Standing on mother earth is different than standing with Unci Maka. Walking down a sidewalk feels foreign to me now. Houses with electricity and air conditioning makes me feel very disconnected from my ancestors. I feel like I don’t belong in the towns. Too many conflicting emotions are present in daily lives when we should all just breathe and listen to the zintkada oyate

Wopida!!

Oceti Sakowin Apprenticeship Opportunity

Makoce Ikikcupi (Land Recovery) is looking for four (4) hard-working Oceti Sakowin young adults for a four-month summer apprenticeship centered around earthlodge building and community development. We are looking for people interested in all aspects of cultural revitalization, including traditional housing and teachings, language, ceremony, food-sovereignty, and simple-living. If you are interested in helping to revive being Dakota/Lakota/Nakota as a way of life, this apprenticeship is for you. 

Zani Otunwe (Village of Wellness) is located in Granite Falls, Minnesota in the Minnesota River Valley. We have three earthlodges under construction with plans for four more at this site. It would be a summer of rustic living, in tipis and tents, with a compost outhouse, and solar shower. The village site is drug and alcohol-free. We would provide meals and a monthly stipend. 

In addition to earthlodge building, you would learn about permaculture design and implementation, how to make garden sunlodges, about traditional plants, foods,  and medicines, history, language, land justice, and traditional governance practices in today’s world. After completing the apprenticeship, it is our hope that with your newly acquired skills you might eventually be interested in living in one of our villages, and that you would commit to helping build future earthlodges for our land recovery project.

To find out more and request to be considered for this apprenticeship, let us know of your interest at: makoce.ikikcupi@gmail.com

Makoce Ikikcupi is a land recovery project. As beneficiaries of Minnesota’s policies of land theft, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, settlers occupying our traditional territory have contributed to a land buy-back project as personal acts of reparative justice. Our nonprofit uses those donations to buy back parts of our homeland where we can revive our relationship with our ancestral territory and recover Oceti Sakowin ways of being.

Applications due by May 31, 2021. Send to makoce.ikikcupi@gmail.com.

This may be submitted in writing or through a short video. 

Include your name, age, contact information, Oceti Sakowin blood tie/lineage, and tell us who you are and why you would like to apprentice with us.