Our Beginning 1982-1985

Moving from a need to a community-driven solution for American Indian women.

In 1982, a report written by First Phoenix American Corporation identified a need for treatment centers focusing on care for American Indian Women in Minnesota. Conversations resulting from this document lead to the creation of The Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC). MIWRC was incorporated on September 16, 1984 by Becky Childs, Linda Welch, Elgie Raymond, and Brenda St. Germaine. It started operating as a non-profit on July 1, 1985 when the assets of First Phoenix American Corporation were donated to MIWRC.

The agency offered out-patient treatment for women so their children would not be removed and placed in out-of-home care. The program was built on the idea that the path to recovery is within all women and that each woman carries within herself two medicines for healing: the ability to laugh and the ability to share.


Expanding Services

Treatment staff were hired in August 1985 and MIWRC moved into the basement of a two-story building at 1900 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. MIWRC was the only licensed treatment facility for women until 1993. Programs were added to address grief, stress management, assertiveness, relationships, women's issues, and spirituality. MIWRC's commitment to a holistic approach toward healing has guided and informed the agency's growth. 

The training programs that First Phoenix American Corporation had started which turned into MIWRC were expanded to offer workshops and educational opportunities to social service providers. Leadership skills, effective communications, family dysfunction, single parenting, sexual assault, and domestic violence programs have been served to employees of federal, state, county, local municipalities, private businesses, and non-profits.

Many of the women entering treatment at MIWRC had children in foster care; their families faced critical issues beyond chemical dependency. MIWRC introduced Family Services in 1987 in response to the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. The program's goal was family reunification. It was based on traditional social work practices. Family Services had a reunification rate of ninety percent. In 1989 Family Services won two awards, one from NIWA, and one from Hennepin County.


New Building

In 1990, generous support from over 40 private sources and many foundations and agencies gave MIWRC the ability to buy and renovate the building that is its current home. This allowed MIWRC to have room for the library, training rooms, out patient treatment, family services, child care, housing for 14 families, and administrative offices.