UNI students partner with Meskwaki nonprofit

Three UNI students have partnered with the Fox Alliance Nonprofit Organization to help increase inclusivity for members of the Meskwaki tribe.

CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, News Editor

The Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi, or the Meskwaki, is the only federally recognized Native American tribe in the state of Iowa. Christina Blackcloud, a member of the Meskwaki Nation, has created the first nonprofit organization for the Meskwaki tribe called the Fox Alliance Nonprofit (FAN).

UNI students Nicole Iradukunda, Khya Burton and Kaylee Johnson have partnered up with FAN in their entrepreneurial class in order to help the nonprofit get on its feet.

“Fox Alliance Nonprofit’s mission is to create resources that promote inclusivity for Meskwaki people by maintaining and supporting Meskwaki tribal tradition and art,” said Iradukanda.

She continued, “They are trying to become a unique source for providing education and funeral services for maintaining Meskwaki tribal tradition.”

FAN’s mission is also to be as inclusive and educational as possible.

“We wanted to be inclusive because some members of their tribe don’t get benefits because they are not completely 100% Native American, so we wanted to be inclusive about that. We don’t want to erase their identity,” Iradukunda explained.

Although working on a new business has been difficult, Iradukanda acknowledges the importance of the work FAN is doing.

“It’s been quite interesting and challenging sometimes because (FAN) is brand new,” Iradukanda said. “Other teammates have an advantage because they are working with clients who are already established, but for us it’s an opportunity to work with something that is getting started.”

She continued, “We were kind of confused at first, but we are getting a lot of experience and learning why this nonprofit is so important to the (Meskwaki) community.”

Iradukunda, Burton and Johnson are trying to establish FAN on social media and in the community so they can continue to grow. Currently they are working on getting the organization legally accepted as a nonprofit.

“We are just really trying to help (FAN) brand their name so they can be known so they can get volunteers and get donors,” Iradukanda said. “Overall it is just a very unique opportunity for people to get to know (the Meskwaki).”

FAN hopes to also partner up with UNI in the future so students can learn about the Meskwaki tradition, history and culture. To support FAN, follow their “Fox Alliance Nonprofit” Facebook page. For more information about the Meskwaki Nation, visit https://www.meskwaki.org/.