March 2021 Newsletter

Highlights from First Nations, Gratitude for You

Dear Friends,

The year 2021 has started strong at First Nations and our support of Native communities. As we enter spring, we continue to invest in the ingenuity of our community partners as they create and bolster systems and solutions for improved health, infrastructure, and economies. The effects of COVID-19 linger, but the resilience and strength of Native communities still shines through. Here, we again are happy to share some of their stories. We wish you all a safe and healthy spring.

Connecting the Birth World to the Earth World

Roberta Eaglehorse-Ortiz (Oglala Lakota/Yomba Shoshone) believes in community – building it, serving it, and finding solutions through it. She is an entrepreneur, a convener, and a doer who has cultivated community in everything she’s set out to do. Based on this, it is only ideal that she is now part of First Nations’ 2021 Native Fundraisers Community of Practice (NFCoP). Here, she has found a gathering of Native professionals committed to sharing ideas, knowledge, and resources for uncovering funding opportunities, grant-writing, and storytelling. Through regular trainings and cohort sessions – now virtual through the pandemic – Eaglehorse-Ortiz is again finding the power of community to build capacity in her own organization and those of all the NFCoP members. Learn more.

Dotting the “I” at The Ohio State University

Throughout the nation, for over 150 years, some of America’s finest universities have been instilling education, facilitating research, and providing direct services to their communities, all on lands that were stolen from Native tribes and peoples. Now, universities are beginning to recognize their land’s original inhabitants, acknowledge the truth of their histories, and explore ways in which reparations with Native people can be made. In a new project toward truth and reconciliation, First Nations is working with leaders at The Ohio State University to examine the dispossession of tribal lands at this land-grant university and the effects it has had on the economic, educational, and health disparities of Ohio’s Native peoples. Read more.

Resiliency in Action: Native Communities Respond to COVID-19

To date, First Nations has been able to give $3,194,000 in 249 grants to Native-led organizations and causes through our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. To let our friends and supporters know how important your help is, we are happy to share these messages from a handful of grant recipients. Each one is a heartfelt message from folks who have received vital funding and who have been able to keep operations running in times that have been nothing short of devastating. Thank you all, and please enjoy these notes of thanks as we have.




Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Trisha Moquino

“We cannot forget the value of our languages,” says Trisha Moquino (Cochiti, Ohkay Owhingeh, Kewa). “Everything is embedded in our languages. When we strengthen our languages, we strengthen our cultures and our values, our present and future.” Moquino is the co-founder at Keres Children’s Learning Center (KCLC) and a 2020 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow. Today she is continuing her innovative language revitalization work, writing articles and documents that allow her to share her knowledge of Indigenous language revitalization with other tribes, tribal leaders and educators committed to reclaiming and revitalizing Indigenous languages. Learn more in this Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship profile.



From Personal Journey to Purpose

Justin Way to Hike 486 Miles in Support of Native Communities

Justin Way knows about the connection between people and land, and he has dedicated his life to being in and teaching others about the natural world. Now he’s exploring that knowledge through a month-long hike of the Colorado Trail, a 486-mile stretch that winds through some of the most beautiful and majestic areas from Denver to Durango, while raising funds to support First Nations in its mission to strengthen Native economies and communities. Meet Justin here.