Keynote Sessions

Anton Treuer

Author, Trainer, Speaker, Professor
Keynote: Cause for Hope: Intervention with Connection and Culture

Join celebrated racial equity advocate, author, and Native American culture revitalizer Anton Treuer for a look at what really drives addiction and what we can do to help one another through the darkness. By examining not just the science of addiction, but also the importance of connection, community, and culture, we can find powerful tools for healthy living.


Dr. Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 19 books. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language. Dr. Treuer has presented all over the U.S. and Canada and in several foreign countries on Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Cultural Competence & Equity, Strategies for Addressing the “Achievement” Gap, and Tribal Sovereignty, History, Language, and Culture. He has sat on many organizational boards and has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships, including ones from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His published works include Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, The Language Warrior’s Manifesto: How to Keep Our Languages Alive No Matter the Odds, Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe (Winner of Caroline Bancroft History Prize and the American Association of State and Local History Award of Merit), Ojibwe in Minnesota (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2010” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), The Assassination of Hole in the Day (Award of Merit Winner from the American Association for State and Local History), Atlas of Indian Nations, The Indian Wars: Battles, Bloodshed, and the Fight for Freedom on the American Frontier, and Awesiinyensag (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress). Treuer is on the governing board for the Minnesota State Historical Society. In 2018, he was named Guardian of Culture and Lifeways and recipient of the Pathfinder Award by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. 


Sharon M. Day

Executive Director, Indigenous Peoples Task Force
Keynote: Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble uses theater as an Alcohol and Drug Prevention Strategy

For Thirty years, the Indigenous Peoples Task Force has been working with Native American Adolescents to prevent alcohol, drug and commercial tobacco abuse and to promote well-being among this population with some success. A short excerpt from a play will be presented followed by a formal presentation of the program's strategies and activities.


Sharon M. Day, Ojibwe is enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. She is a second degree M’dewin. She has served as the Executive Director of Indigenous Peoples Task Force since 1990. Ms. Day is also a grandmother, artist, musician, and writer.

She is one of the founders of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force, formerly known as the Minnesota American Indian AIDS Task Force. IPTF began as a volunteer organization (1987) with all of the work performed by the Board of Directors. In September of 1988, IPTF hired its first staff. Ms. Day was hired as the Executive Director, May 1990 and has served in this capacity since then.

In 1998, the M’dewin were called to help the Mendota Dakota people save a spring that is sacred to the Dakota. The road was built 200 feet from the spring but the spring still flows. In 2003, when Grandmother Josephine Mandamin walked Lake Superior, Sharon walked two days on the eastern shore near Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario. Since then, she has led 20 water walks, leading several each year.

She is an editor of the anthology, Sing! Whisper! Shout! Pray! Feminist Visions for a Just World; Edgework Books, 2000. She has written several plays for Ikidowin Acting Ensemble and Pangea World Theater. Some of her music is recorded on the CD Nibi Walk River Songs. Ms. Day has received numerous awards, including the Resourceful Woman Award, the Gisela Knopka Award, BIHA’s Women of Color Award, The National Native American AIDS Prevention Resource Center’s Red Ribbon Award, the Alston Bannerman Sabbatical Award, and the Spirit Aligned Legacy Fellowship for three years. She as been named as one of the 100 best loved women by Yes! Magazine. The Governor of the State of Minnesota, and the mayors of both St. Paul and Minneapolis named November 10, 1998 Sharon M. Day, day.

Keynote Sessions

Shaun Floerke

President and CEO, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation
Keynote: The Actionable Pursuit of Resilience as People and Community

We live in a time of tremendous stress and pressure. Pandemic, Masks, Climate, Strife, Violence, Urban v. Rural, Isolation, Sadness and Despair. Throw in a war in Europe, inflation (Is it? Isn’t it?) and huge supply chain challenges. It can be overwhelming.

Do you ever ask yourself whether we will make it as a community and as a people? Do you ask whether you can survive your prevention work? Do you wonder if you can continue to rise to the challenge, get everything done, stay engaged? Are you sometimes tempted to drop the mic and peace out, just walk away? You aren’t alone!!!!!

Let’s delve into the nature of trauma and adverse childhood (and adult) experiences so we can understand what prolonged stress, exposure and challenge does to us and our community. But just as importantly, let’s explore research-based practices and solutions that we can implement to meet the challenges for ongoing health, satisfaction and quality.

The answer is that building and embracing connection and resilience is the way forward and that we can grow stronger and rise to the challenge. It is not easy - it takes focus, attention and courage - but it is doable together and individually.


Shaun Floerke is president and CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

The Board of Trustees named him as the foundation’s leader in January 2021 after he had served 16 years as a Duluth-based judge in Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District, where he became a national leader in trauma-informed practice and strove to model and hold space for respect and dignity.

As a judge, Floerke worked with other stakeholders to develop more thoughtful resources that considered equity as well as sustainable solutions for people and communities. He founded and presided over the South St. Louis DWI Court, a national academy court with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals; the South St. Louis County Safe Babies Court; and the Duluth Domestic Violence Restorative Circles Process.

He has been a national leader and trainer in how courts handle cases involving substance abuse disorder, mental health and domestic violence. He has trained across the nation and internationally on recovery and resilience for individuals, systems and communities.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife, Sara, have five children and live in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.