In 2009, Lorraine Davis arrived on the campus of United Tribes Technical College with her son, one bag and a hope for a better future outside of poverty. Before that moment, Lorraine explained that she was “running from herself, running from addiction, and not taking ownership of her life.” Childhood adversity, alcohol, drugs, and other hardships defined her past, but her future has been filled with health, hope, and cultural significance. This transformation in Lorraine’s life led to the start of NADC, the Native American Development Center, in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Lorraine Davis is the founder and current Executive Director of the Native American Development Center. Currently, Davis is enrolled in the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate (SWDO) of South Dakota and is a descendant of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Arikara). Lorraine dreamed of starting a community center to help Native Americans thrive in all aspects of life, especially in the transition from a reservation to an urban city. In processing what a new cultural center would accomplish, Lorraine asked herself the question, “What would have helped me in my journey in the transition from the reservation to the urban city?”
Dreams Become Reality.
In late 2013, Davis recruited board members and by January 2014, NADC was in operation providing support and resources to Native Americans. Along with her story of hopeless to healthy and thriving, Lorraine also researched the experience of other Native Americans and documented them with the assistance of Prairie Public Radio. In 2015, Lorraine interviewed and recorded the stories of over 30 Native Americans that can still be listened to today. From these stories, Lorraine gathered similar themes and hardships that these individuals shared. Davis described that the Native American Development Center is committed to developing programs, resources, and events that, “meet the physical, social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual needs of Native Americans.”
Over the last two years, NADC has received recognition from the local and state government for its work with the Native American population in North Dakota. The successful work of the NADC is seen in relationships that build community through collaborating with others to improve the overall health of Native Americans. In September 2016, local support was awarded from Otto Bremer Foundation in the form of a $50,000 grant to serve Native American men and women in the Bismarck area. Then later that month, a grant of $150,000 was award to NADC from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to serve Native Americans in North Dakota.
Overall, the NADC desires to, “catch Native Americans before they fall through the cracks,” shared Lorraine. “We offer strong, long-term support focused on building people back up in their Native American culture.”
Learn more from Lorraine Davis and the Native American Development Center as she speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.