Native News

Oneida and Ojibwe health leader among winners of 2024 Bush Foundation fellowships

Antony Stately
Antony Stately, Native American Community Clinic executive officer in Minneapolis and Oneida and Ojibwe, was one of 24 recipients of the 2024 Bush Foundation fellowship.
By Caroline Yang via Bush Foundation.

By Renata Birkenbuel, ICT

This story comes to you from ICT through a partnership with MPR News.

Unusually bold, visionary leaders have captured 24 prestigious 2024 Bush Foundation community fellowships.

Antony Stately, Oneida and Ojibwe, of Prior Lake, Minnesota, is among those who beat out 558 other applicants for the esteemed award. So it’s no small feat to win.

Often recipients must apply more than once to win. But Stately, Native American Community Clinic executive officer in Minneapolis, said he was stunned when he heard he won a $150,000 scholarship.

“Oh my gosh,” he said. “I was like over the moon because I know many people in my field of work and I come across quite a few people who have been Bush fellows,” he told ICT. “So I've been around them and orbiting them for quite a while. And I’ve always been really impressed with who they are and the work they do and the impact they're making in their field of expertise.”

Applicants must hail from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Plus, they must proactively shape their communities somewhere in those areas.

Stately plans to use his fellowship for professional development and self-care, as the foundation requires.

A child psychologist with a doctorate, his long wish list includes turning his attention to his own health and spiritual well-being so that he, in turn, can better serve his community at the Native American Community Clinic. The nonprofit’s mission is to promote health and wellness of Native American families, including mind, body and spirit.

The clinic offers a full array of health-care services and substance abuse programs while holistically addressing the root causes of health disparities, such as lack of access to food, housing and medical insurance.

Winners of the fellowships have the luxury of determining their project priorities. Flexibility for accomplished leaders allows them to take their honed skills to the next level for their communities.

Stately is known for developing innovative approaches to culturally integrated care – such as new models of street medicine and harm reduction for unsheltered people.

Humorously, he said his staff refers to him as “Dr. Long Wind.”

“It’s a nice little joke 'cause I think I talk, I speak in story, right? Which I think I've always done my whole entire life and what a lot of Native people do. And so, you know, I was a little loquacious in the application first, a couple iterations of the application and paring it down was really hard.”

The Bush Foundation has awarded over 2,000 fellowships in the last 60 years.

“They invest in really great people,” Bush Foundation spokeswoman Kathyrn Gallo told ICT.

The Bush Foundation choses as many as 24 fellowship recipients each year. The selection committee looks at an applicant’s record of success, character traits – such as integrity and generosity of spirit – and the extent one is an active learner with an endlessly inquiring mind. Potential for leadership growth also ranks high on the list.

"This year's Fellows represent transformational leaders with deep love for their communities,” said Adora Land, grants director at Bush Foundation. “We are excited to be a part of their leadership journey as they continue to have greater influence and change within our region.”

Stately’s biography reads like a work in progress because of the great strides he has made from learning about the injustices working against his White Earth Indian Reservation. He was raised by a single mother who was relocated from the reservation during the federal government’s relocation program.

The selection committee describes him as “a transformative leader dedicated to health equity in Indigenous communities.” He explains his identity.

“I'm an enrolled citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, which is where my grandmother was from,” Stately told ICT. “ And I'm a descendant of the Red Lake and White Earth Nations, which are both Ojibwe nations of Minnesota. My mother was White Earth. My father was from Red Lake.”

Furthermore, he drew inspiration from American Indian Movement leaders to fight against injustice.

Stately overcame an alcohol addiction, earned his doctorate in clinical psychology and built a career combining the natural ties of health care, cultural healing and spiritual care.

As Native American Community Clinic head, he is known for developing innovative approaches to culturally integrated care, including new models of street medicine and harm reduction for unsheltered people.

He will use his Bush Fellowship to deepen his understanding of Indigenous leadership practices, build connections with Indigenous thinkers, elders and changemakers, and learn about innovative models in health and wellbeing in Native communities.

For example, he will continue engaging with a men’s group that recently built a sweat lodge and set up a drum group in order to experience traditional healing ways.