Happy New Year from First Nations Development Institute

Happy New Year!

2019 was a great year for First Nations Development Institute! We were pleased to partner with multiple Native nations and organiazations to produce trainings and convenings on Building Native Communities, the Business of Indian Agriculture, fundraising, ecological stewardship, and many other areas. We released reports on ecological stewardship usingTribal models and how Native-youth programs are severely underfunded, as well as grantmaking trends in Native Youth. We embarked on a “Salish Sojourn” with twenty of our supporters to experience the impact of investments made by you in the Pacific Northwest. We partnered with the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin to host the 2019 Food Sovereignty Summit, which brought together Native food practitioners to collaborate on building healthy food systems. The U.S. Mint issued a $1 coin to honor the brave and tenacious Elizabeth Peratrovich, a civil rights leader we have long celebrated at First Nations. We celebrated Native American Heritage Month by sharing many educational news stories, publications and opinions. We facilitated a series of articles from Native American leaders about philanthropy and working in Indian Country. And finally, we launched the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship, a unique fellowship that will support individuals wo are working to create, perpetuate, and disseminate Indigenous knowledge.

We are truly grateful to YOU for sharing in our mission, which is to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. We do this by investing in innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and communities. YOU are a key part of fulfilling this vision and a crucial link in our circle. Please accept my sincere gratitude for all that you have made possible in the past year. We look forward to an even more successful 2020 for Indian Country.


Michael E. Roberts (téix sháach tsín)
President & CEO


“Winter’Salmon” by James Madison

Chinook salmon still run in winter. Most people think salmon only run in spring and summer. Chum salmon runs in November and is the last to spawn of all the salmon species. For the Natives from the Pacific Northwest, salmon is the cycle of life. Salmon show how Mother Earth wants life to be. A salmon’s life is the ultimate sacrifice of life for the extension of their own life. Salmon is one of the historical symbols of my people of Tulalip. We are the salmon people.


James R. Madison is a Coast Salish Native artist and a member of the Tulalip Tribes (Snohomish/Tlingit). He was born in December 1973 and lives in Tulalip, WA. His carving and teachings started long ago, at the age of eight. Learning from his grandfather, father and uncle, sparked more than an interest to want to learn more. James studied at the University of Washington and received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 2000. He is known for his traditional, yet modern artwork and works with a wide range of mediums. These include glass, wood, bronze and stainless steel. “I create art with an open mind in the sense that I am always thinking of new ways to add a modern twist to a traditional piece. This allows for me to help to keep my culture alive. As we move in the future, so does the teachings of my ancestors.”

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