In the wake of Monday’s celebration, and as we move into a new year with new opportunities, we at First Nations are inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision of a beloved community.
“…a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.”
These words and the vision of a “beloved community” renew our passion, and we’re going into the new year with continued efforts and new projects built on all-inclusiveness, peace, and justice. We are committed to creating a space to explore and dispel institutionalized infrastructures that perpetuate inequities facing Native communities. In 2023, First Nations will allocate resources to, and increased efforts on, some fronts to address them.
Exploring Native Justice Through an Artist’s Lens
In one new project, First Nations is examining Native truth and justice, what these concepts mean to Native people and communities, and what pathways to healing could entail. This involves capturing the perspectives of Native artists by inviting them to submit artwork or an artistic production that depicts or reflects Native justice in their communities through the artist’s eyes.
Because art is an integral part of Native culture, serving as a way to visually address complex issues, emotions, and ideas while preserving and perpetuating Native knowledge systems, First Nations believes that including the perspectives of Native artists is essential to building a movement to advance Native justice. This project will result in a series of artist profiles that will be shared in a virtual exhibit. Right now, we’re accepting applications, and we’re excited to keep this project moving forward.
Reclaiming Traditional Native Food Systems in 2023
Indigenous people and their food systems are resilient, withstanding historical and ongoing attempts to starve, change, and alter every facet of our food systems. First Nations believes that reclaiming control over local food systems is an important step toward ensuring the long-lasting health and economic well-being of Native people and communities. During the past few years, we have witnessed increased responsibility and reciprocity that was brought by food insecurity during the pandemic and a concerted effort to take back traditional food systems within tribal communities.
In line with this long-held belief, next week we will launch the application of another round of our GATHER Food Sovereignty Grants. First Nations will again award grants to Native-led organizations to support work that contributes to building a national movement that will fulfill a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced, supported by community policies and systems, and that focus on developing tribal food sovereignty.
Also, First Nations is excited to announce that our food sovereignty documentary GATHER will continue its journey on Netflix. GATHER is an intimate portrait tracing the intentional destruction of Native American foodways and the renaissance and resilience, the inherit right, to reclaim it.
If you are interested in having a GATHER screening in your community, please contact Jona Charette, development officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or me, Marisa Page, development officer, at email@example.com.
Investing in Indigenous Knowledge Makers and Keepers
Going forward, First Nations will continue to identify, support, and convene Native American knowledge holders and knowledge makers who embody exceptional creativity, as well as progressive and critical thinking, and who have the potential to significantly move forward their fields in ways that will ultimately lead to broad, transformative impacts for Native communities and beyond, through its Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship.
In partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation, the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship promotes intellectual leadership in Native American communities by supporting outstanding Native Americans who hail from a wide variety of fields and who utilize different modes of expression in communicating their knowledge and work. Core to this program is supporting Native individuals engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge that advances their respective field or area of expertise.
Keep an eye out for news on the next cohort of fellows in our This Week at First Nations digest.
Our Commitment to Communities
At First Nations, we believe in Native communities and draw on their expertise and genius. We approach our work with Native communities with a clear understanding of accountability to them and ensure our interactions and approach are service-driven. We greet each community with mutual respect, being responsive and inclusive of the needs and solutions unique to each community. And we understand that data created and gathered within those communities belongs to the communities that generate that data.
We look forward to our continued work with our beloved tribal communities, and we are ready to have one of the best years First Nations has seen in our 42-year history. We are honored to have you with us.
“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
First Nations Development Officer