This Week at First Nations: February 26, 2021

Achievements in Sustainable Agriculture Awarded
The Ecological Farming Association presented the Steward of Sustainable Agriculture Awards (Susties), the Advocates for Social Justice in Sustainable Agriculture Awards (Justies), and the Golden Pliers Award at their EcoFarm Conference, January 20 to 23, 2021. First Nations is honored to be a 2021 Justie Awardee and to be associated with so many leaders in sustainable agriculture. Thank you EcoFarm!

First Nations Awards Scholarships to 25 Students to Advance Native Food Sovereignty
Two additional students named First Nations Policy Scholars
First Nations has announced the awarding of 25 GATHER Native Agriculture & Food Systems Scholarships designed to encourage more Native American college students to enter agriculture fields so that they can better assist their communities in advancing Native food sovereignty and improving overall health. Again this year, First Nations awarded $1,000 to $1,500 scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic school year to Native college students majoring in agriculture and agriculture-related fields. Read more!

Coffee, Chat, and Action in Support of Native Youth and Learning
First Nations’ Community Partner Keres Children’s Learning Center has announced their first fundraiser event of 2021, the Get Your Coffee Ready Virtual Coffee Chat Series. This fundraiser is a four-event series showcasing Indigenous professionals who are comedians, singer-songwriters, and chefs. The first event kicks off March 4, 2021, at 6 pm Mountain. Learn more!

First Nations Pivots Training in the Wake of COVID-19
As part of First Nations’ Achieving Native Financial Empowerment program, the Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families Train-the-Trainer Workshops certify individuals to go on to help more members of Native communities adapt traditional skills for financial management. In 2020 and 2021, in the outbreak and fall-out of COVID-19, these important trainings shifted to an online format. In this Impact Story, First Nations’ Programs Consultant Shawn Spruce shares his experiences reaching audiences in a new virtual environment. Read more!

In Case You Missed It
Support Continues for Indigenous-Led Environmental Justice Efforts
Multiple Native American communities and organizations will receive support from First Nations to preserve and protect Native American control of their natural resources, especially those impacted by fossil fuel extraction projects. The grant funding is made possible through a $288,000 grant from the Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. The grant marks the fourth year of commitment by the foundation, which has awarded $858,000 since 2018 in direct funding to tribal communities and organizations on the front lines. Read the press release!

What We’re Reading
Many First Nations’ staff members have just finished The Night Watchman, a novel by Louise Erdrich. The book describes a night watchman, who is also the tribal chairman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa in North Dakota, and the events that unfold when he learns that the U.S. government has earmarked them for “emancipation.” “The Night Watchman follows Thomas’s tireless efforts to persuade the U.S. government to honor treaties that protected what remained of their already picked-over lands,” reports reviewers.

Positive News on COVID-19 Vaccinations
Navajo Times reports, “Some 44.5% of Navajos living on the reservation have been vaccinated for COVID-19 at least once. That’s more than any state in the union (the closest competitor is Alaska at 15.2%). Way more than the country as a whole (12.8%). And more than any country in the world except the tiny, oil-rich United Arab Emirates (44.8%).

Photo credit Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero

Feedback from Indian Country on the Nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland
AP NEWS reports, “For Native Americans, Deb Haaland is more than an elected official on track to become the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior Department. She is a sister, an auntie and a fierce pueblo woman whose political stances have been molded by her upbringing.

News of her historic nomination electrified Indian Country. Tribal leaders and organizations for weeks have urged people to write and call U.S. senators who will decide if she’ll lead the agency that has broad oversight over Native American affairs and energy development.”