indigenous peoples, women played a central, important role
in their communities. As life givers, women looked after the
well being of the community. Women addressed unmet community
needs and were viewed as the heart of indigenous societies.
The American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO)
is a Duluth, Minnesota nonprofit organization
established in 1993. AICHO grew out of a collective vision
of Native American women in the Duluth community who saw a
need for having a culturally specific organization to
respond to social issues impacting American Indians, such as
violence against women, poverty, and homelessness. Today,
AICHO is the only provider of culturally specific housing
and services in Northeast Minnesota.
Since its inception, AICHO has developed a range of
programming, including a domestic violence shelter,
transitional housing, scattered-site supportive housing,
advocacy, and cultural activities. Although traditional
Native American culture and practices are incorporated in
all programs, AICHO serves all persons in need.
AICHO’s operating philosophy is that every American Indian
woman and child deserves to live in a safe, non-threatening
environment and should be treated with dignity and respect.
has developed strong partnerships within the local
communities as well as throughout the state.
partners & supporters.
Board of Directors
AICHO currently has a five member governing Board that meets
monthly, members include:
John Day (Board Chair)
enrolled Leech Lake Band member
Les Gibbs (Vice Chair)
enrolled Red Lake Band member
enrolled Red Cliff Band member Kathy Lichterman
(Secretary) enrolled Fond du Lac Band member
Michael LeGarde, enrolled
Grand Portage Band member
AICHO is currently fully staffed with 21 full-time positions
Michelle LeBeau, Interim
Patty Larsen, Shelter
Penny Wait, Giiwe
Deb CrowDog, Transitional
Tracy Howg, Gimaajii
Barry Skye, Children’s
Nicole Olson; Gimaajii
Front Desk Administrator
Anna DeFoe, Financial
Cheryl Stone & Kurt
Hutchineson, On-site Caretakers;
and additional staff who
provide case management; advocacy; 24-hour front
desk/security; and maintenance.
Of the 22 full-time employees, 18 or 86% are Native and
14 are enrolled Band members (Grand Portage, Leech Lake,
Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du
Flambeau, Red Cliff, Red Lake, White Earth, and Mille