December 2022 Newsletter

Highlights from First Nations, Gratitude for You

Dear Friends,

Welcome to this year’s final edition of Indian Giver, First Nations’ quarterly newsletter. As we look toward the new year, we would like to thank all our Funding and Community Partners who have contributed toward many important Native-led projects and causes in 2022. It has been a pleasure collaborating with you.

This issue features a profile on one of our 2021 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows, as well as highlights from Community Partners, the Yuchi Language Project, People of Red Mountain, and the Tongva Community.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the holiday season. See you in 2023!

The Fight to Protect Sacred Land from Lithium Mining

The Bureau of Land Management approved construction of a $1.3 billion lithium mine on land stewarded by the Paiute Shoshone people since time immemorial. The extracted mineral will help make lithium-powered batteries for electric vehicles. People of Red Mountain, a grassroots organization of members from the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, is fighting back. The group has launched an awareness campaign to inform surrounding communities of the planned mine and its destructive environmental and cultural impact. Read more.

The Yuchi Language Comes Home

Languages are best passed on from parent to child in the home. It is why Halay Turning Heart speaks only Yuchi to her three young children – and why she launched a home-based immersion learning program through the Yuchi Language Project, which she helps run with her father and project founder, Dr. Richard Grounds. Only 1% of about 2,000 Yuchi people speak the unique language, so it has become urgent to create a new generation of Yuchi speakers. The home immersion learning program is proving to be successful after less than a year. “It’s the first time we’ve had new children speaking in almost 100 years,” shares the program administrator. Read the full story. 

Returning The People’s Land to the Tongva Community

An acre of land at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains in Altadena, California, is now back in the hands of its rightful owner ― the Gabrieleno/Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians. Kimberly Johnson, vice president of the Tongva-led nonprofit, the Taraxat Paaxaavxa Conservancy, which turned over the property to the tribe via a land grant, says, “As a non-federally recognized tribe, this is our first chance to make history and to exercise self-determination and sovereignty, despite not having federal recognition.” With a $60,000 grant from First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, much-needed repairs are underway on the property’s aging housing structure. Read more.



Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Delores Churchill

A tribal citizen of the Ketchikan Indian Corporation, Delores Churchill is one of the last living speakers of the Haida language. She has spent her life teaching the endangered language and helping to revitalize it. The 92-year-old Native is also an acclaimed basket weaver who took up the art form later in life and has won numerous awards for her beautiful Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian baskets. Her work is displayed in museums across the world from Alaska to Canada, Hawaii, Germany, and Washington D.C. With the fellowship, she will publish a book on Haida basket weaving, continue to teach Haida basketry and language classes, and take an important trip to the United Kingdom. Read her profile.



Meet Monthly Donor Linda Waters, an Unwavering Advocate for Native Causes

Linda Waters, a retired mediator and conflict management specialist in Washington state, has been a longtime supporter of First Nations’ monthly giving program. She and her husband, Tedd Hansen, are passionate about supporting Native causes, such as the Indian Child Welfare Act. “I was devastated to learn that Native children are still being stolen from their families and communities. Only now it’s by using the child welfare system,” she says. Waters explains that what she likes most about donating to First Nations is the trust-based approach to grants. “First Nations gives money to Native communities and trusts them to use the money for whatever they know is most needed for their given situation.” Read her full story.

Latest News

In Case You Missed It: Our 2021 Annual Report is Out!

Our 2021 Annual Report celebrates the progress of our community partners, highlights the advances happening throughout Indian Country, and honors everyone who has made this work possible. Themed “Moving Forward,” the report illustrates how First Nations continued our steadfast support of Native communities throughout the year. Read it here!

New Report on Protecting Marine Resources in the Bering Sea

Indigenous communities and Native-led organizations in the Bering Sea are taking action to advocate for their rights. This report from First Nations’ Stewarding Native Lands Senior Program Officer Emilie Ellis explores how Alaska Native communities are asserting their tribal sovereignty, providing community-based trainings, and carrying out coalition-based approaches to counteract these injustices. Learn more.

Thank You for Investing in Native Arts

First Nations is grateful to all who donated to our end-of-year Native Arts Campaign. The generous contributions of so many caring individuals make it possible for us to invest in Native arts initiatives and cultural institutions in the coming year. We can’t thank you enough, and we look forward to sharing all the ways we will honor Indigenous heritage and creativity with your support.

Tell Your Friends and Family!

Every week in "This Week at First Nations," we share news about First Nations' programs and outreach, as well as highlights from happenings throughout Indian Country. Invite friends and family to our mailing list, and stay tuned every week for ongoing news and information. Send this link!