Our staff at MIGIZI are dedicated to the success and well-being of our young Native people. We work hard for our community with years of experience and innovative ideas.
Danielle is a citizen of Red Lake Nation and was born in Minneapolis, MN. Also known as Zequan Equay (Spring Lady), Danielle is a mother of four boys and a grandmother of six.
Currently serving as MIGIZI's administrative assistant, Danielle is the first point of contact for any and all inquiries about our organization. She graduated from Normandale College with a degree in Human Services and is continuing her education, working towards a Master's Degree in Social Work. She is a certified Suicide Prevention Counselor with a passion for helping others. Danielle's interests are in education, equity, and inclusion.
She currently resides in Minneapolis and loves to travel, try new foods, and meet new people. Her favorite activities include spending time with her grandchildren and being a connoisseur of films.
Lead Media Instructor
Binesikwe Means was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is an enrolled citizen of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and a descendant of the White Earth Nation . Her name Binesikwe (Bi-Nay-See-Kway) is from the Ojibwe language meaning “Thunderbird Woman ''. Binesikwe has a deep love of storytelling because it is who we are as indigenous peoples, it's how we passed on our traditions and languages for generations. She is passionate about creating the next generation of storytellers. She has worked for MIGIZI for five years as Lead Media Instructor for First Person Productions, a youth led social enterprise that produces videos, design work and social media campaigns for small businesses and nonprofits.
Binesikwe was recognized for her hard work, dedication, and mentorship as Step Up's Supervisor of the Year for 2022. This prestigious award is given to supervisors who have gone above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience for their Step Up interns, who nominate deserving supervisors. Binesikwe’s mentorship and dedication shows her commitment to being youth-centered and equity driven. She develops incredible relationships and creates safer spaces for these talented students. She is committed to connecting the students to the community and fostering the next generation of storytellers. Binesikwe empowers these students by allowing them the space and opportunity to become their authentic selves. She has continually nurtured the development of American Indian youth.
Academic Support Specialist
Lupe (they/them) was born and raised in the Twin Cities and is an enrolled tribal member of Red Lake Nation. As a cultural liaison for Roseville School District and numerous other Indigenous nonprofits in Minnesota, Lupe brings invaluable experience to MIGIZI.
We are thrilled to welcome them to our team, where they will play a vital role connecting with our youth, further developing our CLAW after school program, and supporting our students at Harding High School!
They have a certificate in herbal studies from Minneapolis College as well as receiving mentorship from herbalists in Minneapolis. Lupe is very passionate about LGBTQIA2S+ advocacy and disability justice. In their free time they are an avid reader, horror movie fan, and dedicated cat parent.
Tedi Grey Owl
Cultural Support Specialist
Tedi Grey Owl is a citizen of the Haudensaunee Seneca Nation - Heron Clan. Tedi is currently the Academic Intern Specialist for MIGIZI. Tedi has worked to provide academic and cultural support for Indigenous students in urban and suburban school districts in the Greater-Minneapolis & St. Paul area for three decades.
Development & Operations Manager
Abby (she/her/hers) graduated from Iowa State University in 2015 with her bachelor's degree in psychology and is currently working on her Master's Degree in Applied Analytics from Columbia University. Prior to joining MIGIZI, Abby worked as a database manager and prospect researcher for organizations like Prairie Rivers of Iowa, Ball State University Foundation, and Fairview Foundation. While living in Indiana, Abby co-founded a county chapter of Indivisible and served as an advisory board member for an LGBTQ+ youth group. She is passionate about philanthropy and social justice.
Abby lives in East Saint Paul with her spouse, 3 fur babies, and 5 chickens. She loves gardening, crafting, traveling, and reading. Abby has a black belt in taekwondo, adores elephants, and dreams of visiting Egypt.
Green Tech Instructor
Antavia descends from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and grew up in South Minneapolis. She attended South High School and earned her associates degree at Minneapolis College as a Power of You scholar. She continued her studies in chemistry at Metro State University as an Increasing Diversity in Environmental Careers Fellow, as well as abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico as a Gilman International Scholar. Antavia has been a PhD student of chemistry at the University of Minnesota where she helped teach undergraduate analytical chemistry labs and spent time researching and synthesizing porous nanoparticles for PFAS phytoremediation as a 3M Science and Technology Fellow.
“Growing up I rarely, if ever, saw myself represented in STEM as a low-income Indigenous girl. Being raised by a single parent on welfare, and then being a single mother myself while studying chemistry, I have spent my life navigating barriers on behalf of myself and others in the pursuit of knowledge and stability. While the barriers we all face as individuals do not have to define us, they alter how our goals and needs can be met. As an Indigenous woman and scientist, I look forward to the opportunity to join the circle of support MIGIZI offers youth to help them navigate their goals and dreams according to their specific needs.”
Prior to joining MIGIZI in November 2018, Kelly served as founding President and CEO of the Tiwahe Foundation for seven years, Tiwahe is an American Indian community foundation which focuses on providing micro grants to American Indian communities, strengthening leadership initiatives and network building. During her 20 years of philanthropy and non-profit work, Kelly has worked with the Jewish Community Foundation, The Family Partnership, Headwaters Foundation for Justice, and New Foundations – a Project for Pride in Living program. Kelly currently serves on the Saint Paul Foundation Community Impact Grants Committee, The Family Partnership Board of Directors and other projects that benefit American Indian Woman and youth. She holds a M.A. degree in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Kelly currently lives in NE Minneapolis with her husband and two children.
Program & Projects Manager
Jenelle is originally from Colorado, and part of a large family. She is the second youngest of five kids and is a triplet! She came to the midwest to attend the University of Minnesota, where she graduated in 2021 with her bachelor's in Business Marketing and Education. While at the U of M, Jenelle competed as a collegiate diver on the University’s swimming and diving team! Jenelle has always been deeply passionate about environmental endeavors and climate justice. In particular, she strives to honor the planet by improving her understanding of environmental inequality, biodiversity and climate issues, social justice, and the ecological impacts humans have on the Earth. If you join our MIGIZI circle, you can expect a lot of emails from Jenelle!
Marketing & Communications Manager
Mishaila Bowman was born and raised in South Minneapolis and is a descendant of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota). She got her B.A from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in American Indian Studies and Environmental Sustainability. For a number of years, she served as the Communications & Cultural Programs Coordinator for Lower Phalen Creek Project where she was responsible for developing the style guide, brand identity, social media presence and cultural storytelling for the newly turned Native-led environmental nonprofit.
In Mishaila's free time she is passionate about environmental justice, protecting our local sacred sites, working with plant medicines, and storytelling through art and graphic design.
Lisa, Red Lake Nation Anishinaabe, joined MIGIZI in April of 2023 as our new Deputy Director. She was formerly the Vice President of Community Engagement and Impact at the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC). Prior to her work at MIWRC, Lisa worked at Children’s Minnesota where she specialized in systems change by partnering with and leading efforts to institutionalize health equity. While at Children's Minnesota she co-created with the community two separate community and patient experience initiatives, The First Gift and the American Indian Volunteer Cohort. Lisa is also the co-founder of KWESTRONG, a grassroots movement centered around an annual Native Women’s Triathlon (RUN BIKE CANOE) at Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Minnesota, and is currently finishing up her Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Minnesota.