June 2022 Newsletter

Highlights from First Nations, Gratitude for You

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the latest edition of Indian Giver, First Nations’ quarterly newsletter. As summer heats  up, our Community Partners are making important, positive impacts in Indian Country and we are excited to share some of their amazing stories here.

This issue features a profile on one of our 2021 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows, as well as highlights from Community Partners, Hunkpati Processors and the Hawaiian immersion school Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani. Also, good news! First Nations’ popular financial skills-building program “$pending Frenzy” is back on the road doing in-person workshops.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoy this issue.

Ke Kula ‘o Pi’ilani: A One-of-a-Kind Hawaiian Immersion School 

Surrounded by the rising, lush-green cliffs of the ʻĪao Valley in Maui is a school like no other. Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani, the only private, independent, and nonprofit Hawaiian language and culture immersion school in the world, has grown from a student body of six K-5 students to 50. Children are immersed in the Hawaiian language and culture for 35 hours a week, spending much of their days outdoors in nature’s classroom doing cultural activities centered around the four curriculum themes of fresh water, heavens, land, and ocean. “The environment is the most important teacher,” says Head of School Kekei Robinson. Read the full story.

Hunkpati Processors Bring Local, High-Quality Beef to the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe

The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of South Dakota didn’t realize how vulnerable its food supply chain was until COVID-19 hit. Shelves were empty in its only grocery store and delivery trucks stopped coming. Worried about a protein deficiency, particularly for its most vulnerable citizens, the tribe decided to produce its own meat through a start-up enterprise called Hunkpati Processors. This state-of-the-art, 2,600-square-foot meat plant can fully process up to 30 buffalo or cows a day and provides high-quality beef year-round. Read the full story.

‘$pending Frenzy’ Returns and Introduces a New App

 In 2011, First Nations created “$pending Frenzy” in partnership with financial education consultant Shawn Spruce. It is a popular financial skills program that introduces budgeting, consumer awareness, and independent living to teens and young adults. Due to COVID-19, in-person workshops were put on hold for two years, but they are back with the first in-person program at Central High School in Gallup, New Mexico, where students learned about the importance of financial planning. We are also excited to introduce our browser-based “$pending Frenzy” app, featuring an electronic money log that keeps a running total of expenses. Read the full story.



Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Theresa Secord

Theresa Secord (Penobscot Nation) began her professional career as a geologist. When she returned home to Maine, she began taking Penobscot language classes and learned to make Wabanaki baskets in the tradition of her great-grandmother. And her life suddenly changed direction. Theresa is now an award-winning basketmaker and founding director of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA). Theresa is passionate about preserving the Passamaquoddy/Maliseet language and, as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge fellow, is working with fluent language speakers and linguists to incorporate the language into her Wabanaki basketmaking workshops. Read her profile.



How a Colorado Herbalist is Growing Philanthropy

 Emery Golson is deeply rooted in philanthropy. The 31-year-old herbalist, wife, and mother of two in Boulder, Colorado, was born into the philanthropic Sunderland family and sits on the board of the Sunderland Foundation. She and her husband, Miles, branched out on their own in 2017 to launch the Tumbleweed Fund, a trust-based philanthropic organization that supports more than 20 nonprofit organizations in Colorado in the areas of sustainable farming and food, social issues, motherhood and children, and environment and conservation. Read her Donor Spotlight.


Latest News

Collaborative Documentary ‘Gather’ Wins 2022 James Beard Media Award

The full-length film “Gather,” a two-year collaboration between First Nations and Director Sanjay Rawal, won the 2022 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award in the category of “Documentary/Docuseries Visual Media.” "Gather" showcases efforts to rebuild healthy and sustainable Native foodways, and we are grateful to our many community partners that made the film possible. Read more on this great news!

Update on First Nations Donor Jacob Stein

An 18-year-old First Nations donor, Jacob Stein, who founded Dollar Donations, recently won the 2022 William R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Congratulations on your well-deserved award, Jacob! Read the latest on Jacob here.

Tsyunhehkwa Contribution Indispensable to First Nations’ Training

Special thanks to Tsyunhehkwa Agriculture of Oneida Nation whose animals made it possible for seven community members and Oneida Nation staff to earn certification in beef butchering at First Nations’ training last week. Tsyunhehkwa, which means "life sustenance," is an all-natural farm in Oneida, Wisconsin, that specializes in 100% grass-fed beef. Thank you, Tsyunhehkwa!

New Stewardship and Land Protection Outcomes Report

Based on a review of First Nations’ grants and projects completed during 2012-2020, this report shares outcomes and activities associated with Native American ecological stewardship and protection of Native lands. Among the highlights: Emerging models that assert Native control and protection of natural resources to safeguard tribal members’ health, lands, sacred sites, cultural traditions, foodways, and sustainable economic development. Download it here.

This Week at First Nations

Spread the word! Invite friends or family to join our mailing list to get weekly updates from First Nations and events in Indian Country. Check out this week's update.