September 2021 Newsletter

Highlights from First Nations, Gratitude for You

Dear Friends,

Right now, there is a growing awareness throughout the country about the need for greater justice across all facets of our lives, from the environment, to our economies, to our social interactions. Growing as well is First Nations’ continued commitment to the Native communities that are advancing this justice and that hold the answers to the biggest challenges our world faces today.

This fall, we share a few stories that illustrate that commitment, and we again thank you for your continued support of First Nations and the communities we serve.

Guided to Learn, Inspired to Thrive

Māla Ho`oulu `Ike is located in the district of Puna on the east coast of the island of Hawai’i. With Puna being one of the fastest growing districts on the island, and with Hawai’i being the most expensive place to live in the nation, the work of Māla Hoʻoulu ʻIke to share knowledge, unite the community, and pass down traditional foods has become more and more important. Now, with support from First Nations’ 2021 GATHER Food Sovereignty Grant, the O Makuʻu Ke Kahua Community Center is hosting a new curriculum of workshops designed to help community members invest in their own food systems, feed their families, and thrive through challenges. Read more.


Tribal Retreat Provides Creative Space for Oceti Sakowin Writers

Last month, the Oak Lake Writers’ Society continued a 28-year tradition of bringing together Oceti Sakowin writers to explore and express issues and ideas relevant to their tribal communities. First Nations is honored to be one of the sponsors of the annual Oak Lake Writers’ Society Tribal Writing Retreat, an intellectual and creative space for tribal writers to discuss and write about Oceti Sakowin cultures, languages, literatures, histories, politics, and sovereignty. This year, in response to COVID-19, the event shifted to a virtual format, welcoming even more writers to the retreat and expanding the reach of this first-of-its-kind writers’ platform. Read more.

Native Youth Business Plan Competition Fosters Culture, Opens Doors

For Victor Corpuz (Laguna), presenting a business plan before a gathering of Native business leaders and entrepreneurs provided not only a skills-building exercise, but an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the ingenuity of Native people. “The competition provides an identity we all need – to feel welcomed, to be supported by the communities that raise us,” he says. Victor’s team was the first-place winner in the university division in the 2021 Business Plan Competition this summer in Las Vegas. Read more.




Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Lloyd Sing

As a member of the first cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge fellows, Lloyd Kumulāʻau. Sing, Jr. (Native Hawaiian) is a Hawaiian arts teacher and a cultural practitioner, who teaches ʻ ieʻ ie basket weaving, a nearly non-existent cultural practice and art form that is quickly fading among his people. During the fellowship period, Sing shared knowledge online about both ʻ ieʻ ie basket weaving and traditional Hawaiian carving. Learn more in this Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship profile.



Innovative Teen Turns Small Gifts Into Big Impact

When COVID-19 hit last year, Jacob Stein quickly learned about the damaging effects of the pandemic throughout the country and especially in Native communities. Then, he discovered First Nations Development Institute and the opportunity to help people through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. That’s when he reached out to First Nations about his small-dollar approach to creating a big impact for nonprofits, while instilling a habit of philanthropy in young people like himself. Read more.