Strengthening Native Resilience in California in the Wake of the Pandemic

With Support from PHI’s Together Toward Health Program, First Nations Awards $550,000 in Grants to 30 Native Organizations in California

LONGMONT, Colorado (June 11, 2021) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the awarding of $550,000 in grants to 30 Native-led California organizations to help them continue vital programs and services that have been compromised due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards were made through First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, which is specifically designed to strengthen Native communities in California, according to First Nations’ Program Officer Rebecca Tortes.

Tortes said Native Americans overall are 3.5 times more likely to contract COVID-19 than their white counterparts, and this issue is further compounded in California, where federal programs for health services and outreach are chronically underfunded and under-resourced, and where there are an estimated 75 non-federally recognized Tribes that are often denied federal funding opportunities.

Through this funding, the 30 selected organizations will be able to continue work to reduce the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 among California Native populations and create and disseminate more “place-based” pandemic outreach and education resources that are grounded in California tribal culture. “Tribally created and controlled programs and initiatives like those developed by these grantees are able to address the complex relationship between person, environment, community, and biology,” Tortes said. “Further, these types of culturally based, health and wellness programs can positively affect the overall health and wellness of a tribal community.”

This round of awards is provided by Together Toward Health, a program of the Public Health Institute, through funding from a group of philanthropic organizations. Susan Watson, Director of Together Toward Health & CA4Health, said, “Support for these Native-led organizations will enhance communication, public awareness, and health education that will reduce the spread of COVID-19 in California overall by making sure that the Native communities are included and reached in culturally appropriate ways.”

The following Native-led California organizations will each receive $18,500:

  1. American Indian Council of Mariposa County, Mariposa
  2. Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Lakeport
  3. Bishop Paiute Tribe, Bishop
  4. Blue Lake Rancheria, Blue Lake
  5. California Indian Cultural Museum, Santa Rosa
  6. Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, Oakland
  7. Fort Independence Paiute Tribe, Independence
  8. Hoopa, Hoopa
  9. Indian Cultural Organization, Redding
  10. Ione Band of Miwok Indians, Plymouth
  11. Intertribal Friendship House, Oakland
  12. Karuk, Happy Camp
  13. La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, Pauma Valley
  14. Maidu Consortium, Chester
  15. Malki Museum, Banning
  16. Native American Pathways, Hoopa
  17. Northern California Tribal Court Coalition, Eureka
  18. Owens Valley Career Development Center, Bishop
  19. Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians – Chamakilawish School, Temecula
  20. Rincon Indian Education Center, Valley Center
  21. Round Valley Indian Health, Covelo
  22. San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, Valley Center
  23. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Santa Ynez
  24. Save California Salmon, Orleans
  25. Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians, Willits
  26. Sierra Mono Museum, North Fork
  27. Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, San Jacinto
  28. Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association, Valley Center
  29. Tübatulabal Tribe, Lake Isabella
  30. Wukchumni Tribal Council, Visalia

More information on First Nations’ California Tribal Fund can be found at

 About First Nations Development Institute
For 40 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

Rebecca Tortes, First Nations Lead Program Officer – California Tribal Fund or (303) 774-7836

Amy Jakober, First Nations Senior Communications Officer or (303) 774-7836