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Gimaajii honors Dr. Powless

Dr. Robert Powless at the Gimaajii building's fifth anniversary ceremony. (Photo by Richard Thomas)

The American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO) celebrated the fifth year of its building, Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin at 212 W. Second St., on March 24. Trepanier Hall, which is part of the building, was renamed the Dr. Robert Powless Cultural Center. Dr. Powless is professor emeritus of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth.  

The Gimaajii Building includes 29-units of permanent, supportive housing. Trepanier Hall is the auditorium and art gallery space. Dr. Powless, 84, an elder of the Oneida Nation of Indians in Wisconsin, served as an advisor on the AICHO development committee. He and his wife, Linda, donated $50,000 of their retirement funds to help establish Gimaajii. Dr. Powless still visits the place every week. The renaming of Trepanier Hall was a surprise announcement for him during the March 24 event.

Addressing the crowd, Dr. Powless said, “I care for so many people, everyone in this room, because you are such special people, and this community that we live in, it deserves every one of you, because you are the kind of people that make life worth living. And you can’t say that about everybody in this world, can you, in this room, they’re all here. And I trust that you will continue to be the kind of folks that make each other’s lives, and the lives of all other people in our area, the kind of lives that they feel are worth living.”