Well-known indigenous Minnesota activists have turned to growing hemp and cannabis in an effort to reclaim a centuries-old harvesting practice and promote environmental sustainability.
The Anishinaabe Agricultural Institute is an activist group headed up by Minnesota native, environmentalist and writer Winona LaDuke. Recently, the AAI won a $25,000 grant from a Minnesota agency to pursue its hemp cultivation efforts.
According to the West Central Tribune, a division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture awarded the AAI nonprofit with the $25,000 to help the group with a program to promote hemp usage across the state. 
The group, started by the Anishinaabe band of White Earth, aims to promote sustainability and indigenous empowerment through education about crop-growing and other agricultural endeavors.
“We globalized our economy and shifted our manufacturing overseas,” LaDuke told Twin Cities Business Magazine. “We need to reindustrialize—appropriately.” 
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program which awarded AAI the money gave out as much as $200,000 to 2019 applicants. 
The grant applies to projects dedicated to “farm diversification using traditional and non-traditional crops and livestock,” “on-farm energy production, such as wind, methane, or biomass,” and other projects like the one by AAI. 
Nicolette Slagle works with LaDuke at AAI, according to the WCT. 
"Our big goal is promoting hemp," Slagle told the WCT. "To try and use hemp as a tool for community and economic development.”
Reports show the team at AAI is particularly interested in manufacturing and textile uses for industrial hemp plants.  
In those areas, hemp has been used for centuries in rope-making, ship-building and clothes production, but more recently bioplastics and construction materials have also attracted hemp engineers.
“It represents the next economy,” LaDuke told Twin Cities Business Magazine. “On a worldwide scale, and particularly in North America, increasing numbers of people are buying organic. I’m interested in having my community be part of the organic industry. Hemp is definitely a crop of the future—and it’s been grown for 10,000 years.”