About Us

Mino-bimaadiziwin.*

*Live well, have good health, and lead a good life.

Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigaming provides Anishinaabe-led maternal child health and family wellness services to community members in northern Minnesota.
  • Culturally Safe Care​ – We provide health services that are representative and reflective of the journey and stories of our community members and our strength as Anishinaabe.
  • Honor Choice​ – While we offer both culturally-relevant and western health services, we honor all practices and prioritize a person’s right to choose their own healthcare.
  • Commitment to Lifelong Learning​ – We create space where we learn from each other, as well as from our Elders and Knowledge Keepers. And, we have fun in the process.
  • Wellness​ – We strive for wellness within ourselves and for our communities. We do this by honoring each person’s needs and supporting the ways we each need care respectfully.

Mewinzha Staff

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Millicent Simenson
Arikara/Anishinaabe
Traditional Midwife

Millicent has dedicated her time and passion to projects addressing long standing birth disparities in her community through improving access to Mino-Bimaadiziwin, the Anishinaabe Way of Life. Through these projects and work, she facilitates and supports others by promoting diversity in education, healthcare, and social support services. She is a life learner and participates in women’s circles and Midewiwin ceremonies.
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Natalie Nicholson
Arikara/Ojibwe
Doctorate in Nursing Practice, Family Nurse Practitioner & Indigenous Lactation Counselor

Natalie is honored to have the opportunity to work with an all female, Native led organization with Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigaming. My spirit is so happy to be able to co-create our own maternal-child community health clinic: Gaa-giigishkaakaawasowaad “A Place Where Pregnant Women Gather”. I believe it is our time to lead our own health initiatives and I am inspired to do this collectively with our community.

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Mewinzha Board

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Michelle Walton-Hawthorne, Consultant

Michelle is passionate about community-led initiatives that lead with strength and resiliency. Michelle’s role at Mewinzha means that she is a helper in finding resources that advance the organization’s mission and vision. She brings a unique set of experiences, including a background working in nonprofit administration, business and finance. In the past, Michelle has worked with several non-profits to secure new funding and resources to support racial, economic, and social equity. She contributes these skills and knowledge to the Mewinzha board.
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Bernadette Gotchie

Asiniiyobiikwe (Bernadette Gotchie) is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe, and a lifelong learner of the Anishinaabe culture and traditions. She’s a Knowledge keeper, sister, aunt, elder and grandmother. She has her masters in tribal administrative governance, and a bachelors in the of science of nursing. She has worked in public health nursing for many years. Bernadette enjoys being in the woods and working with medicines.
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Lisa Johnson, BA

Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous & Native Nations Studies and is an Indigenous doula. She is passionate about learning the Anishinaabe Culture, creating works of art through her sewing and beadwork, and living the good life. Lisa loves the family atmosphere at Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigaming.
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Pearl Walker-Swaney, MPH, Doula

Pearl is from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and White Earth Nation. She values Indigenous birth work as a way to rebuild communities and nations. She brings her background as a birth worker, yoga instructor, and organizer to the board. Pearl deeply believes the work of Mewinzha is rebuilding family and community wellness and looks forward to the work ahead.
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Cherylee Sherry, MPH, MCHES

Cherylee brings 40 years of program development and leadership experience in community health and health care to the board. Her strong background in public health contributes to the growth of Mewinzha. Cherylee enjoys supporting the mission of Mewinzha and looks forward to seeing the positive impacts its services have on families.