2024 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows

In 2019, First Nations, in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation, launched the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship to honor and support a select cohort of fellows as they work to further Indigenous knowledge creation, dissemination and change in Indigenous communities.

The Fellowship continues with the selection of 11 new Fellows for the 2024 Cohort – each one chosen for their work in their knowledge fields, as well as their contribution to this growing Fellowship.

Selected fellows receive a monetary award of $75,000 and access to additional resources for training and professional development. They also commit to convening three times during the first year of the two-year Fellowship to share and grow their knowledge, projects, and drive to achieve their personal and community goals.

The 2024 cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows was selected by an Indigenous advisory committee. Eleven candidates were selected from over 314 applicants in a competitive, two-phase application, peer-reviewed process.

Learn more about the fellows below, and check back for updates as we share news of their Fellowship projects, accomplishments, and impact they’re making on the health and futures of their Native communities.

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2024 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows

Rose Bear Don’t Walk, Bitterroot Salish/Crow/LonePine Shoshone Paiute

Rose Bear Don’t Walk
Knowledge field: Salish Ethnobotany

Bear Don’t Walk will work hands-on with her Salish community looking into aspects of what it means to be “healthy and well” from a Salish perspective in regard to traditional food plants, as well as collaborating on an ethnobotanical resource together to bolster community learning and knowing of these plants.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

This fellowship has the capacity to change my life and make my dreams a reality! I have learned so much about the many gifts that traditional food plants offer us and we are lucky to still have them around. I’m grateful to build on the work of my ancestors loving, cherishing, sharing, respecting, and maintaining healthy relationships with our first foods.

Warlance Chee, Diné

Warlance Chee
Knowledge field: Language and Culture Advocate

Chee will continue to build a strong and sustainable foundation for Saad K’idilyé. He will also build on his cultural knowledge and share it with his urban community so they can carry on cultural ceremonies and traditions.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

Being selected for this fellowship means that we can continue our language and cultural sustainability and revitalization work with our urban relatives.

Audré Etsitty, Diné

Audré Etsitty
Knowledge field: Diné Horsewoman

Etsitty will research traditional ecological knowledge centered around Diné traditional horsemanship. Utilizing her traditional knowledge and western education in equine science, she will work to enhance the bicultural and bilingual education of horses within her Diné community.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

As a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow, I am equally humbled and honored to have the opportunity, support, and resources to further my knowledge in Navajo traditional horsemanship. No other fellowship like the Henry Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship exists. This award is a testament to the importance of my work that I am deeply passionate about, as well as my dedication to perpetuating knowledge for future generations.

Cara Flores, Chamoru and Micronesian

Cara Flores
Knowledge field: Filmmaker, Community Organizer

Flores will draft and share a guide to Indigenous filmmaking that centers Indigenous Pacific values and is reflective of practices that she has adapted over 15 years of filmmaking in island communities. She will share the guide as a resource that Indigenous filmmakers can use and modify to equip themselves and to build capacity and community in their filmmaking practices.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

I am honored to represent my people and to be selected for this fellowship. I am so grateful to be supported and acknowledged in this way after so many years of doing under-resourced media work with my community. I’m excited to begin work on a critical resource to support the work of other Indigenous filmmakers from my community and other Indigenous communities all across the world. Saina ma’åse’ for this opportunity.

Ernestine Hayes, Tlingit

Ernestine Hayes
 field: Writer, Teacher          

Hayes will write about ancient stories that tell of ancient events, and will examine how histories told since time immemorial shed light on our shared, common future. 

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

This fellowship will allow me to draw close to ancient stories. My understanding of our shared human history will be enriched beyond measure by this fellowship community. I will learn new ways to tell old truths.

Jamie Jacobs, Tonawanda Seneca Nation

Jamie Jacobs
Knowledge field: Seneca Language Teacher, Traditional Quill Worker, Ceremonial Custodian, Museum Curator

Jacobs will research Jesuit history among the Haudenosaunee and their persistence of documenting Iroquoian languages. He will travel to view writings and collections of dictionaries, gather statistical data, and begin the transcription process to rematriate information back to his home community.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

The fellowship means a chance to expand my horizons and reach to higher levels of traditional language acquisition. I hope to restore words and phrases that have become obsolete due to the heavy use and forceful actions of the boarding school system to eradicate the language of our ancestors. I plan to accomplish this by researching, transcribing, and publishing such words and phrases that were collected and organized into dictionaries by the Society of Jesuits that infiltrated my ancestral homelands in the early 17th century.

Ivan MacDonald, Blackfeet

Ivan MacDonald
Knowledge field: Filmmaker

MacDonald will develop Indigenous-centered, non-extracted filmmaking practices. He will also create short-form media content made in collaboration with Indigenous communities.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

To be selected for the fellowship is such an honor. It means that my work has meaningful impact for not only my community, but all Indigenous communities. It’s important that Indigenous people tell our own stories.

Kekaiokalani Naone, Native Hawaiian

Kekaiokalani Naone
Knowledge field: Kumu Hula

Naone’s efforts will make hula accessible to Naone’s community. Participants will have the opportunity for hands-on learning and immersion through hula (traditional dance), place-based learning, and ceremony. Through this knowledge, the traditional practice of hula will be a vehicle for modern Native Hawaiian liberation.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

Cultural knowledge preservation and innovation is more important than ever. This fellowship will allow me to expand upon the foundation of hula provided to me by my teacher and that of his teachers, and increase accessibility to our community. It is an honor to be selected for this fellowship and to carry hula into the next generation.

Bertha Peters, Yurok


Bertha Peters
Knowledge field: Traditional Food and Basket Weaver

Peters will teach two cohorts how to gather and process traditional foods, such as acorns, salmon, and sturgeon. She will also facilitate a net-making workshop so people can make their own nets for fishing. Lastly, she will teach two cohorts of students how to gather and process basketry materials and weave materials into baskets.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

This means that more people in our community will have knowledge in traditional food processing and basketry to be able to pass it onto the next generation so that our traditions will be strong and continue on.

Matthew Vestuto, Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians

Matthew Vestuto
Knowledge field: Language Educator

Vestuto will further his work on the archival record crucial to mitsqanaqan̓ (Ventureño Chumash) language and cultural revitalization. He will transcribe and organize the voluminous ethnolinguistic notes of John Peabody Harrington, the grammar of Juan Estevan Pico, and other recorders of mitsqanaqan̓ language and culture. His work centers on language revitalization and fostering renewal and living culture in his community.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

The Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship signals recognition and support for this crucial work in Chumash country. It is an answer to a prayer that uplifts our community, assuring health through culture and language. The opportunity to work with, and learn from, our cohort is also a blessing.

TJ Sgwaayaans Young, Haida

TJ Sgwaayaans Young
Knowledge field: Carver

Young will focus on building a carving shed and Haida Healing House, starting construction of the foundation in spring 2024. He will begin to execute design plans, hire a contractor and lock in design plans, expediting the building of this necessary carving shed and community gathering space.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

Being selected for this fellowship is a tremendous honor as it provides funds toward building a carving shed in my hometown of Hydaburg, Alaska. I am committed to serving my community and am passionate about keeping this art form alive and thriving for future generations. My goal is to not only maintain the strict standards of our art form but to also pass it on to future generations by offering apprenticeships and mentoring others and hope to foster a community of like-minded individuals who share this sophisticated and timeless expression of art. The fellowship signifies a commitment to culture and community engagement through the transformative power of art.