June 2023 Newsletter

Highlights from First Nations, Gratitude for You

Dear Friends,

We are happy to share the June 2023 issue of Indian Giver. In it are highlights of two of our community partners through our Green Jobs in Indian Country project: Red Cloud Renewable and Hōlani Hāna.

Also featured this quarter are a spotlight on First Nations’ ally Helen Hobart, a closer look at our Native Fundraisers Community of Practice, and the latest in our ongoing profiles of our Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows, this time on Bernadette Demientieff.

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to enjoy these stories.

We value your support, and as always, we appreciate this opportunity to engage and share.


Going Mobile with Red Cloud Renewable

Since 2008, Red Cloud Renewable has trained over 1,100 Native individuals from more than 70 tribes on how to build and install solar furnaces, roof panels, water pumps, and lighting at its 10-acre campus on the Pine Ridge Reservation called the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.  Now, with support from First Nations’ Green Jobs in Indian Country project, the organization is bringing on-the-job-training in solar-panel installation on the road with a 16-foot towable trailer. Founder Henry Red Cloud says, “Our mobile solar training lab will allow us to visit our cousins across the country to open up the world of solar knowledge and provide jobs to many more of them.” Watch the video here.

Creating Green Jobs at Hōlani Hāna

With support through First Nations’ Green Jobs in Indian Country project, Hōlani Hāna is working to increase culturally rooted revenue-generating opportunities and create green jobs for Native communities in Hawai’i by strengthening Indigenous Hawaiian architecture, construction, and masonry as viable industries on the leading edge of green-building and community resiliency. They see kūkulu hale and uhau humu pōhaku as regenerative, Native-led industries that enable their lāhui (Nation) to thrive and move away from extractive industries that compromise the well-being of current generations and the inheritance of future generations. This video captures the story of Hōlani Hāna through Executive Director Kauwila Hanchett’s perspective. Watch the video here.

Strengthening Native Communities Through the Native Fundraisers Community of Practice

In this video, First Nations’ Native Fundraisers Community of Practice Program Associate AJ Garcia explains how the community approach makes the concept and practice of fundraising easier and less daunting for Native nonprofit professionals, which ultimately increases capacity of their respective nonprofits, along with overall philanthropic giving to Native-led organizations. “There’s a lot of limited funding in Indian Country,” AJ says. “A program like this really celebrates the work that folks are doing on the ground with and around their own cultural assets and lifeways. Building capacity for Native fundraising takes a little bit of weight off these 501c3s and tribal programs so that they can really focus on the real work that they’re doing.” Watch the video here.



Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Bernadette Demientieff

As executive director of the Gwichʹin Steering Committee, Bernadette Demientieff has led the charge to protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska from oil drilling. It is a sacred place for the Gwichʹin people because it is the birthplace of the Porcupine Caribou, where tens of thousands of calves are born every year. “We migrated alongside them and made a vow to take care of each other,” she explains. The Luce fellow has been successful in convincing six American banks and five Canadian banks to stop financing oil drilling. Read how she is helping educate the next Gwichʹin generation on continuing the fight to protect their homelands.


‘There is Something in Me that Knows that ALL People Matter’

Helen Hobart, 77, from Chico, California, grew up during the era of the Vietnam War, flower power, political protests, and the hippie peace movement. The world traveler has been a lifelong activist for many important causes, living a life dedicated to serving others and helping underserved communities. Helen, a First Nations donor and Buddhist, is passionate about helping Native youth and advocating for climate justice. “I am honored to be helping a group that is leading the way toward healing the harm that domination culture has brought to the Earth. It really speaks to me.” Learn more.


INDIAN GIVER is published quarterly by First Nations to share the impact of the Native-led projects and initiatives we invest in and to celebrate the strength and future of Native communities. The phrase INDIAN GIVER entered the English language under historical circumstances that distorted its meaning within Native American culture, where it never carried the negative cargo we know it by today. The true meaning signifies a willingness to care, an expectation of sharing; and a cultural commitment to reciprocity that was not to be questioned. Indian giving was and is the future wealth of society.

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