Impact Stories

Impact Stories

We are often asked what impact we are having in Native communities. We can provide statistics, reports and formal findings, of course, but sometimes the words of our grantees speak loudest.  Here are some of their stories taken from our Indian Giver newsletter.


Social Value, Greater Healing: Art for the Upper Sioux 

When the Upper Sioux Community in Granite Falls, Minnesota, sought funding from First Nations through the Native Arts Initiative, its goal was clear: increase access, awareness and inter-generational transfer of Dakota arts. Throughout its year-long arts project, the organization met its objective. And in doing so, it showed how the arts can unite people, strengthen community and foster healing. Read the full story here.


Passing Down Art & History at the Tulalip Tribes 

Generations ago, art was everywhere in the Tulalip culture, represented in its tools, clothing, food and ceremony. After years of outside stressors chipping away at the tribes’ artistic soul, the Hibulb Cultural Center is working to bring art back. Since 2011, the center has invested in culturally-significant educational programming. And now with funding from First Nations’ Native Arts Initiative, it is bolstering its classes, reaching more people and fostering even more pride in the craftsmanship and elegance of Tulalip art. Read the full story here.


Strategically Investing in the Hopi Ways 

“Helping the Hopi stay Hopi.” While the statement is simplistic, it is the prevailing motive behind The Hopi School and its efforts to increase capacity, incorporate strategic planning, and bolster arts programming. With the help of funding from First Nations’ Native Arts Initiative, this Native-led school in Northern Arizona is taking steps to both solidify and strengthen its infrastructure. And it’s doing it at a critical time when Hopi culture is becoming increasingly diminished. Read the full story here.


Akwesasne Project Benefits Hungry Kids 

The Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club has been dedicated to the youth of its community since 2001. It provides many services through after-school programming. One service it is committed to is its food and nutrition program. The “Iawekon Nutrition for Kids” program received support from First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) under its “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future” Project that was generously supported by the Walmart Foundation.Read the full story here.


First Nations Reaches Northernmost Alaska by way of Ilisagvik College

Barrow, Alaska, is a very long way from Longmont, Colorado, where First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is headquartered. Nonetheless, one of First Nations’ grant programs is having a positive effect in the northernmost point of Alaska. Read the full story here.


Bishop Paiute Tribe Expands Nutrition Education

The Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Food Sovereignty Program has been working to expand its garden-based nutrition education projects to encourage healthy food and lifestyle choices. With funding provided by First Nations Development Institute and the Walmart Foundation, the program greatly expanded its community outreach ... to both children and parents. Read the full story here.


Boys With Braids & REDCO Make a Healthy Foods Connection

One of First Nations Development Institute's grantees under its recent “Nutrition Education for Native American Communities” grant program is the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), a tribally-chartered corporation of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. REDCO's Community Food Sovereignty Initiative received the funding from First Nations as part of First Nations’ Nourishing Native Foods and Health program area. The nutrition education program was generously supported by the Walmart Foundation. Read the full story here.


Ag Training Brings ‘Ah Ha Moment’ for Navajo Sheep Producer

TahNibaa Naataanii of the Navajo Nation lives on the land where her family has raised sheep as part of their traditional life and culture for hundreds of years. Just south of Shiprock, New Mexico, and the Four Corners area, about half an hour away, is Table Mesa. That’s where you'll find Naataanii tending to her sheep. She takes pride in being able to raise her Navajo churro sheep and use the wool in both traditional and new ways to provide a living for her and her daughter. Read the full story here.


California Native Youth Share Legacy, Build Knowledge

In Santa Rosa, California, Indian culture is being cultivated and shared, thanks to the business savvy of a new generation, and a project with the motto “Selling education and creating opportunity.” Teens at the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center are taking part in Tribal Ambassadors Through Business, an initiative that teaches young people business skills through both online courses and the opportunity to open and run a museum store, showcasing and selling Native arts and crafts. Read the full story here.


Sustaining Culture and Livelihood in Remote Igiugig Village

In Igiugig, a small village of only 69 people on the Kvichak River in southwestern Alaska, resources are scarce. Food must be flown in, and strategies to keep the village – and the culture of the Yup’ik Eskimos, Aleuts, and Athabascan Indians – flourishing must be seized. Here, with the support of First Nations Development Institute, this close-knit tribe is finding new ways to develop sustainable food sources, and creating opportunities for young people to succeed. Read the full story here.


CRITFC Buoys Tribal Fishers & Columbia River Salmon Culture

A resource for fishers and a respect for salmon have been at the heart of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) in Portland, Oregon, for close to 40 years. Formed by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Nez Perce Tribe, CRITFC provides a unified voice in managing fishery resources and exercising the inherent sovereign powers of the tribes. Read the full story here.


Hawaii Organization Farms Farmers and Drives Change

Something amazing is happening in Waimea, Hawaii. Native Hawaiians are returning to farming, and driving long-term change for society. Families are coming together, and children are being raised in a culture people take pride in. It’s all part of a vision of Mike Hodson, president of the Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders’ Association. Read the full story here.


Cultivating Food & Culture at Nambé Pueblo

“If we didn’t have our culture, we wouldn’t be a pueblo. We would just be another town.” This is why the Pueblo of Nambé in New Mexico is ingraining its rich heritage in every crop, and growing pride with every harvest. “It’s an investment in not only food sovereignty, but in the future of our people,” said Nambé Farm Manager George Toya. Read the full story here.


Thunder Valley is Helping Transform Pine Ridge

The people of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate are undergoing a revolution. After surviving generations of colonization, the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people are rising up from the weight of colonial legacies and building upon the work of their Indigenous ancestors to create a brighter future. On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home to the Oglala Lakota, the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation is helping lead this transformation. Read the full story here.


Cochiti's Return to Native Foods Brings Better Health, Stronger Economy

In Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, young people are returning to farming and reigniting a passion for their Pueblo ancestry. Thanks to the Cochiti Youth Experience, they are embracing quality food and what it means to their culture, sustainability and future. Read the full story here.


Spotlight on Impact: Zuni Youth Enrichment Project

In Zuni, New Mexico, Zuni children and teens are getting opportunities to explore their heritage, an experience that is increasing their self-esteem and helping them see new opportunities for the future. Read the full story here.


Office of Communications


July 25, 2014

White House and USDA to Honor Champions of Change for Agriculture

Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative

The goal of the Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative (NACBI) is to increase the organizational, managerial and programmatic capacity of Native-controlled nonprofit organizations and tribal government programs supporting the field of Native arts and artists

Advancing Positive Paths for Native American Boys & Young Men

The “Advancing Positive Paths for Native American Boys and Young Men” program is aimed at improving education and employment outcomes for middle school and high school Native boys and young men.

Training: "Building Native Communities: Financial Coaching with Families"

December 11-13, 2018
Denver, Colorado


Employment opportunties at First Nations Development Institute.  
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