This Week at First Nations: April 15, 2022

New Grant Opportunity: Protecting Bering Sea Marine Resources

The Bering Sea is one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world and home to over 70 Indigenous communities. But due to climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and other threats, Native communities are facing more hazardous and unpredictable conditions when hunting or fishing traditional foods. To address this, First Nations is now accepting grant applications for Native communities that are working to protect marine resources in the Bering Sea ecoregion.

First Nations expects to award approximately 10 grants of $50,000 each to eligible organizations. Learn more and apply by May 25, 2022.


Questions about applying? Get answers in the Q&A Application Webinar, Tuesday, April 26. Register here.

2023 Cohort Application Open for Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

Also this week, First Nations opened the grant application process for the 2023 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship. In this fourth year of the program, First Nations will award 10 fellowships of $75,000 each to outstanding Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers engaged in meaningful work that benefits Indigenous people and communities in either reservation or urban settings.

Learn more about the Fellowship and Q&A pre-application webinars, and then start your application here. The deadline to apply is May 26, 2022.


The Future of Agriculture in a Warming World: April 19, 10 am PT

Everything from food security, healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, to farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods are essential for human survival. And yet, large-scale industrial agriculture is wildly destructive to the planet. Next week, First Nations’ A-dae-Romero Briones joins co-panelists to discuss how we can transform both the narrative and practices regarding food and agriculture and implement climate solutions that connect us with our soil, food, and the Earth. Register here for the April 19, 2022, webinar, hosted by Grounded.


Unpacking Jargon #3: Join the Conversation April 21, at 10 am PT

Protecting homelands is essential to maintaining life. This is not an invention of the conservation industry, but instead it’s how Indigenous people have been living for millennia. First Nations’ A-dae Romero-Briones kicks off this new webinar – presented by First Nations and Swift Foundation – which will discuss and reflect on the ways the terms conservation and protected areas have been in conflict with practices of maintaining Indigenous people’s homelands. Also, it will examine how philanthropy might reconsider these terms and consider Indigenous words and understandings instead or alongside. Learn more and register here.


First Nations Shares Native Perspective at Conference on World Affairs

Last week, First Nations Program Officers Richard Elm-Hill and Ethan Gallegos shared insights at the University of Colorado Boulder Conference on World Affairs. The conference, which featured 125 panel discussion, performances, and keynotes events, cultivated conversations on a variety of topics, including art as activism, stories from the real world, the Constitution, racism in the United States, regenerative agriculture, and the entrepreneurial journey.

Richard and Ethan help coordinate First Nations’ Nourishing Native Foods & Health Program. In line with this focus, Richard served on two panels. The first panel, The Road to Hunger is Paved with Good Intentions, addressed whether charity and food programs create food insecurity. The second panel, Back to The Future: Regenerating Indigenous and Traditional Farming discussed regenerating and relearning from traditional farming practices.

Ethan shared on the Food is Medicine: Healing our Soils, Healing Ourselves panel, which served to underscore how traditional soil management affects nutrient density in foods. At Water: Safeguarding the Life Blood of Our Planet, the panel discussed the complex role science plays in water management and the different strategies communities can adopt to safeguard water as a resource.

The forum provided a much-needed discussion into the benefits of returning to traditional farming and land management practices.

Two of the panel discussions can be accessed here. (Click on Room UMC Center Ballroom on April 6 and Room UMC 235 on April 7.)


Reminder: Green Jobs Grant Opportunity Applications Due April 20

Through the Green Jobs in Indian Country Grant opportunity, First Nations expects to award 10 grants averaging $100,000 each to Native communities that are in the early stages of developing or expanding programs that support green job development in response to climate change. Projects can include energy sovereignty, energy efficiency, recycling, transportation, and more. Learn more and apply here.


Deadline Monday! Final Reminder to Apply for the Native Youth Business Plan Competition 

First Nations’ Native Youth Business Plan Competition consists of two divisions: high school and college/university. Business plan applications are due Monday, April 18, and 10 semifinalist teams (five per division) will be selected to receive additional business mentorship and participate in the competition in-person or virtually on May 23, 2022, at RES 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Participants get the opportunity to present their ideas in front of Native business leaders, and compete for cash prizes! Get details and apply here!


Celebrate the First-Ever Native Nonprofit Day

Native-led nonprofits are systemically underfunded, and it’s been shown that large foundations have allocated less than half a percent of their total annual grantmaking to Native communities since 2006. To address this disparity, Native Ways Federation is launching its first-ever Native Nonprofit Day on May 20, 2022! This giving initiative is aimed at increasing support for Native-led organizations nationwide. Learn more here and look for updates from First Nations throughout the month as we celebrate this new event!


What We’re Watching: Women of the White Buffalo

Streaming now on select platforms, this new documentary produced by Deborah Anderson Creative provides a “first-hand glimpse into the lives of modern-day Native American women living on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota.” The film is described as providing gripping, historical accounts and startling timely statistics from the lives of nine women and their powerful testimonials of loss and survival. Watch the trailer here.


‘Revising Navajo Identity, One Sheep at a Time’

Churro sheep are part of the creation myths of the Navajo people, and an essential part of their economy and culture. The Christian Science Monitor shares how on two separate occasions, the churro came close to full extermination, going from over 1 million head at one time to fewer than 500 by 1977. Efforts to rebuild the breed in recent years have helped restore the population to over 8,000. Read more.

Photo credit Christian Science Monitor, Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff


US Indigenous Communities to Receive $46M to Address Global Heating

As part of a historic five-year investment plan under the Biden Administration, tribal communities will receive $46 million in funding to tackle effects of the climate crisis, reports The Guardian. The funds are intended to improve climate resilience and adaptation in tribal territories, where Indigenous Americans’ food supplies, livelihoods, and infrastructure are disproportionately threatened. The new law provides $466 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, including $216 million for climate resilience programs. Read more.

Photo credit The Guardian, Joe Raedle/Getty Images