U.S. Alumni TIES Minneapolis Small Grant Projects

Alumni TIES
6 min readJul 20, 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the U.S. Alumni TIES Minneapolis small grant competition! The winning teams reflect a diverse range of exchange programs and communities in the United States. Their community projects focus on topics discussed during the March 2022 Alumni TIES seminar on “American Identity: Exploring Our Collective Memory, Heritages, and Histories.”

White People’s Stake in Opposing Racism through the Lens of Franco-American Experiences showcases the stories of New England’s Franco-Americans who were targeted by white supremacy groups in the 1920s as New England’s Franco-Americans were not assimilating into the American way of life as other immigrants were, when striving to preserve their French language. Using a film tour, the project team hopes to reach 400+ people. The project team is aiming to connect Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois Franco-Americans with their heritage and with each other, sharing their stories and developing a sense of belonging to undo a legacy of forced isolation. For students of French and other humanities disciplines, the project team wants to increase the students’ ability to collect oral histories ethically and use storytelling to advance goals related to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Furthermore, the team wants anti-racist white people to gain a deeper understanding of the differences in how European groups were onboarded into white supremacy; to comprehend how white supremacy and Protestant Christian supremacy interact today; and to use their personal relationship to this history to divest from white supremacy and inspire anti-racist action. The project team plans to offer in-person workshops throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, using selections from Ben Levine’s “Waking Up French” documentary and the project leader’s resource guide for the film. Project Leader: Eileen Angelini, Fulbright Specialist Program, Canada, 2016

Documenting Language Revitalization and Storytelling for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, & Siuslaw Indians aims to document and archive current early stages of language revitalization efforts for the Miluk, Hanis, and Sha’yushtl’a ul Quuiich in Coos Bay, Oregon. Interview questions will include how reconnecting to traditional language has spurred emotions, changed their perspectives, and made connections to their ancestors. Participants will be asked to provide written entries on their day-to-day experiences practicing and developing their language skills or share audio recordings describing their experiences. The project will be enhanced with the creation of an anthology of traditional Indigenous stories and myths written in all the Tribal languages. Recording this historical endeavor will provide a blueprint for future language revitalization programs. Project Leader: Jade Fong, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, South Korea, 2019

Sounds and Voices of the Venezuelan Diaspora intends to document the current situation, experiences, and artistic activities of a group of musicians who are part of the recent wave of Venezuelan immigrants in South Florida, through fully produced musical and video documentaries. Participant interviews will be combined with audio and video arrangements and the recording of the shared musical performance. The selection of the music or song will be taken from the Venezuelan folk tradition. Its musical treatment will continue Pablo Gil’s contemporary exploration of Latin American Music which has been featured on PBS’ Great Performances series. This project has the potential to benefit the whole community of Venezuelan immigrants and artists in South Florida through exposure, coverage, and opportunities. Project Leader: Pablo Gil, Fulbright Specialist Program, Venezuela, 2013–2014

Buried Memories: Documenting and Teaching Stories from Unprotected African American Burial Grounds seeks to raise public awareness about unpreserved African American burial sites across the U.S. and share community-led ways to protect them by extensively documenting their stories through photography and archival research. This project will provide students and teachers access to high-quality lessons about these burial sites and underrepresented stories by building a repository of resources and connect them to other communities’ stories. The project team will document two burial sites, Flatbush Burial Grounds in Queens, New York and Potter’s Field at Arthur W. Christopher Community Center in Charleston, South Carolina. The team will comprehensively document the two burial sites with varied histories, including ongoing preservation efforts by community leaders and descendants, with 15+ publishable photographs per site. The team will then publish a selection of the photographs in at least one local or national news story. Following these publications, the team will create two collections of sixth to twelfth grade educational resources, including lesson plans, primary source sets, recorded interviews, images, and inquiry-based project plans for teachers and students to explore the stories from these burial sites. Project Leader: Caroline Gutman, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, China, 2016

Black Rochester Narratives: A Community Focused Healing & Preservation Pilot Initiative promotes individual and community healing from trauma and reinforces resilience among Rochester’s Black community. The project will begin by recruiting 16 Black Rochester community members to be community curators who are accustomed to sharing stories about their lives. After the community curators have been selected, they will engage in discussions with one another on documenting and preserving narratives of trauma, healing, and reconciliation. The project team will facilitate an intensive, two-day program for the community curators to discuss local and national events that created trauma in their lives, using the Long Table method to sustain storytelling as a healing device. Each community curator will record two videos — one describing the experience of trauma, and later a video narrative of hope and resilience. Project Leader: Irma McClaurin, Fulbright Specialist Program, India, 2018

Training Library Catalogers on Creating Culturally Sensitive Subject Headings for Indigenous Tribal Names and Related Topics aims to empower Indigenous librarians and others to improve retrieval of information resources about the Indigenous peoples of the United States and elsewhere. The project team will conduct a one-day training workshop in Eastern Oklahoma on the campus of a tribal college for 25 participants. The project aims to train librarians, especially Indigenous librarians, to create subject heading authority records for Indigenous tribes and other Indigenous topics, mentor librarians through SACO’s subject heading proposal process, increase library-based community engagement from an Indigenous perspective, gather feedback on obstacles to performing this work, and devise a set of best practices for creating subject heading authority records for Indigenous tribes and other Indigenous topics. Project Leader: Richard Sapon-White, Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, Poland, 2012–2013

Learning Framework to Inspire Educational and Regenerative Experiences to Preserve the Coast Salish Tribes & Puget Sound Habitat addresses the environmental injustices that the Coast Salish peoples of Washington State face from a myriad of policies made during the early settlement of the region. Through community-based interviews with representatives of local tribes, nonprofit organizations, public entities, and museums in Washington’s Coast Salish region, the team intends to gather research and learn from educational and travel experiences that both share the cultural heritage of the Coast Salish communities and that help to regenerate the natural environment. These interviews will be conducted by University of Washington student interns from the School of Indian Studies. In addition to interviews, the team intends to offer a day-long workshop for educators and travel industry members on Bainbridge Island at the Kiana Lodge managed by the Suquamish Tribe, near the Suquamish Museum. Speakers at the workshop will include tribal elders, educators, regenerative travel specialists, and members of the project team who will share the regenerative framework and philosophy, research approach, and data. Project Leader: Jennifer Spatz, Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Fellowship Program, Peru, 2021

The Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by World Learning and State’s Office of Alumni Affairs, in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).



Alumni TIES

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) are regionally focused seminars for alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.