This Week at First Nations: April 23, 2021

Attention Tribes Interested in Purchasing Forested Land

Many tribes and Native communities are interested in purchasing forested land for cultural purposes, harvesting traditional foods, educating youth on cultural practices, or expanding public tourism. But, identifying funding sources can be a challenge. First Nations, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, is providing technical assistance to tribes to facilitate the purchase of land through applying to the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. Download information here. Learn more about the project here.

Strengthening Native Food Systems in the Midwest

First Nations is honored to be among the 48 nonprofits that were awarded funding by the Chicago Region Food System Fund to support long-term food system resilience. With the $120,000 grant announced this week, First Nations will support five tribes or Native American nonprofit organizations in Michigan and Wisconsin that are conducting innovative efforts to reclaim control of their community food systems for economic, social, and cultural benefit as they seek to enter the Chicago marketplace. Thank you, Chicago Region Food System Fund!

Join First Nations’ Team!
First Nations is building capacity to invest in and create more innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. To better serve Native communities, we are hiring for multiple positions:

* Resource Development: Grants Development Officer
* Resource Development: Resource Development Coordinator
* Programs: Project Coordinator

Learn more and apply here!

First Nations Weighs in on Building Strong Native Communities

First Nations President and CEO Michael Roberts joined Indian Country Today host Mark Trahant this week to talk about the work of First Nations, asset-based development, the ag and food space, and reservation-based economies. In the interview, Mike also addresses the importance of increasing visibility of Native communities, debunking myths and misconceptions, and ensuring Indigenous people, especially young people, are part of future conversations, from politics to philanthropy. Watch the full interview here.

New Additions for First Nations Community Partner REDCO

Last week, the Wolakota Buffalo Range welcomed its first-ever calves to their newly established herd. Wolakota is a project of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) that is regenerating the Indigenous ecosystems of land, people, and economy of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate through the restoration of bison. They hope to become the largest Native-managed herd within the next three years. First Nations has been a supporter of REDCO’s work in food sovereignty since 2015. Learn more!

What We’re Reading: The Truth About Indian Land Loss

These two new resources explore issues involving Indian land dispossession, specifically as it relates to national parks. First, we share American Indians and National Parks, in which authors “tackle a significant and complicated subject for the first time, presenting a balanced and detailed account of the Native-American/national-park drama.”

Second, we share this article from The Atlantic, which describes how “The American story of ‘the Indian’ is one of staggering loss. Some estimates put the original Indigenous population of what would become the contiguous United States between 5 million and 15 million at the time of first contact. By 1890, around the time America began creating national parks in earnest, roughly 250,000 Native people were still alive. … And yet we remain.”

New Scholarship and Fellowship for Boarding School Healing

As part of its mission to address the ongoing trauma caused by the U.S. Indian Boarding School policy and the effects on Indian education, the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition has announced the Indian Boarding School Healing Scholarship and Fellowship Program. An informational webinar about this program for descendants of Indian Boarding School survivors will be held Tuesday, April 27, at Noon Mountain. Register here.

Efforts to Preserve Native Languages Continue

Highlighting First Nations’ community partner Yuchi Language Project, Politico reports, “Tribes across the country are battling to save more than 150 endangered indigenous languages, as they face a pandemic that has killed American Indians at nearly twice the rate of white Americans. The deaths are a significant blow to these communities, whose cultures and ways of life are often inextricably tied to their languages, which are rapidly dying out.” But now, lawmakers are hoping new funding will reach these communities quickly.

Photo credit Politico/Yuchi Language Project

Attention Native Artists: Fellowship Open for Applications

The Wyoming Arts Council has announced a new Native Art Fellowship, an unrestricted award of $3,000 open to Native artists based within Wyoming who are working in any artistic discipline or medium. First Nations is honored to read in Buckrail that the fellowship was partially inspired by a First Nations’ presentation at the 2019 Wyoming Arts Summit in Cheyenne. Applications are being accepted through June 10. To learn more and apply, visit here.

Join us in Celebrating Indigenous Women Chefs

We’re pleased to share that the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota has announced the next installment in its “Celebrating Indigenous Women Chefs” series. This first-of-its-kind webinar series highlights the culinary expertise of Indigenous women through live cooking demonstrations. Each month, a featured guest chef shares their skills, knowledge, wisdom, and recipes. Learn more and see the full schedule.

Yurok Tribe Buys Back Land, Reclaims Ancestral Territory

Yes reports, the Yurok Tribes’ participation in the Carbon Offset program has resulted in multiple benefits. “Yurok have paid off loans from their previous watershed purchases; supported youth programming, housing, and road improvement; and helped develop off-reservation businesses … They have also been able to buy back tens of thousands of acres of their traditional territory, which has had a powerful impact on the tribal nation.”

Photo credit Yes!, The Yurok Tribe

Solve Presents the Indigenous Communities Fellowship

How can Native innovators in the U.S. use traditional knowledge and technology to meet the social, environmental, and economic goals of their communities? Solve’s Indigenous Communities Fellowship seeks solutions by Native innovators that consider both technology and traditional knowledge to support and scale positive impact. A $10,000 grant will be provided to each selected Fellow. Native American entrepreneurs are encouraged to learn more and apply by June 1, 2021.