Franklin Avenue, a Past and Future Native Home: An Interview with NACDI’s Andy Hestness

[Image at right: Rendering of the coming Anpetu Was’te cultural market on Franklin Avenue.] Franklin Avenue was once the border of Minneapolis, marking the edge of the city. Before that it was home to the Dakota people, and since the 1950’s post-“relocation era”, it is the site of the Little Earth community, the country’s only Indian-preference affordable housing site. But Franklin Avenue, which is controlled by Hennepin County, is also one of the most danerously designed streets in the city, home to a disproportionate amount of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. In particular, the corner of Franklin, Riverside, and Hiawatha, around the light rail station, has long been a dark, unpleasant place for people to walk and divded communities around. Transforming Franklin from a dangerous eyesore into a welcoming home for the surrounding Native community is one of the top priorities for Andy Hestness, vice president of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), which runs the All My Relations gallery on Franklin Avenue and works as an intermediary for the Twin Cities Native Amerian people. We caught up with him last week to talk about how Native American’s are starting to challenge and transform how sideawlks, buses, and bikes work in and around Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis’ most neglected busy street. Continue Reading

Baby’s Space takes a big step forward in Minneapolis

The room is baby friendly. It has carpeted ramps for babies to crawl on and explore. It has lots of toys and a small pit filled with soft, brightly colored balls to roll in. The lower walls are lined with mirrors to gaze at; the upper walls have murals of birds and stars. Most important, there are plenty of adults playing at kid level. Continue Reading