This Week at First Nations: April 29, 2022

Today Marks Start of National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Missing and murdered Indigenous women is not a new concept to Indigenous peoples. Our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunties have been disappearing for the last 530 years. This May, First Nations is shining a light on the reality that Native women and girls are being murdered at 10 times the national average ─ and more than 80% have experienced violence. First Nations Development Officer Marisa Page details the injustice in our new blog post.

Building Climate Resiliency: Two New Grant Opportunities

As the world confronts climate change and its disastrous effects, many institutions now look to Indigenous knowledge and practices. To help Native communities bolster their resources and infrastructure to protect the climate, First Nations is introducing two new grant opportunities for Native-led organizations working in line with the Justice40 initiative to promote climate resiliency in Native communities.

These are separate grants, but tribes and organizations are encouraged to apply for one or both opportunities. Both are due June 1, 2022.

Climate Resiliency in Indian Country Grant. Apply here.

Regional Dialogues on Climate Resiliency Grant. Apply here.

First Nations Releases New Report on Native Ecological Stewardship and Land Protection

Based on a review of First Nations’ grants and projects completed from 2012 to 2020, this report shares outcomes and activities associated with Native American ecological stewardship and protection of Native lands. The report highlights emerging models that assert Native control of natural resources to safeguard tribal members’ health, lands, sacred sites, cultural traditions, foodways, and sustainable economic development. Also featured are First Nations’ community-based research and publications to inspire and encourage successful models and practices. Access the report here.

Grant Opportunity: Protecting Bering Sea Marine Resources

Due to climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and other threats, Native communities near the Bering Sea are facing hazardous and unpredictable conditions when hunting or fishing traditional foods. To address this problem, 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? Access the recording of the Q&A Application Webinar.

Apply Now for 2023 Cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

The grant application process for the 2023 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship is open. 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 start your application here. The deadline to apply is May 26, 2022. 

Learn more about Q&A Application webinars here.

Luce Fellow Shares Native Weaving Knowledge in Mexico

Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Lynda Teller Pete of Cohort 3 gave a talk on “Continuing Navajo Weaving Traditions” at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca. She also met with a number of artists supported by the Textile Museum, and later this year she will write about her experiences with the Teotitlan weavers and dyers.

While in the village of Teotitlan Del Valle, she also met an individual from Santa Clara Pueblo who happened to be the sister of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Tessie Naranjo. We celebrate these connections!

What We’re Listening to: Niineta by Powwow Singer Joe Rainey

On this debut album, Joe Rainey blends layers of his voice to 10 tracks that provide a “glimpse into the powwow lineage while pushing it into new settings and spaces,” reports The Guardian. Rainey says in press materials, “These are all my creations, but they’re powwow songs, and our language is sacred.”

First Nations had the honor of having Joe sing at the graduation ceremony of the third cohort of our Native Fundraisers Community of Practice. He will sing for us again at the Indigenous Food Systems Community of Practice graduation on May 4, 2022. Watch the video of Joe’s “No Chants” track here.

Photo credit David Guttenfelder, The Guardian

Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Charles Kealoha Leslie

Charles Kealoha Leslie is a Native Hawaiian and one of 13 fellows of Cohort 2 of the 2021 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship. “Uncle Chuck” is one of the last living net-fishing elders in Hawai’i. Through the years, he has taught thousands of community members about traditional fishing methods, including the specialized art of net-making.

Chuck has made it his life’s mission to teach younger generations how to catch ʻōpelu, a sacred Hawaiian fish, using traditional, homemade nets.

Read the full story here. And to learn more about Charles Leslie’s unique fishing methods, watch the documentary, The Last Opeluman.”

The Fight to Protect the Indian Child Welfare Act

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) protects American Indian and Alaska Native kids in child welfare proceedings by keeping them in the care of extended family or tribes whenever possible. In Brackeen v. Haaland, a small group of opponents will argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court that those protections should be taken away – and the challenge will have far-reaching impacts. Here’s what you need to know about this case, which will be a defining issue of 2022.

Colorado Senate Approves New Alert System for Missing, Murdered Indigenous People

Indigenous populations experience some of the highest rates of violence in the U.S. – particularly Native women. Colorado Politics reports the Colorado Senate passed a bill to create the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives. Senate Bill 150 also creates an emergency alert system for Natives who go missing, much like the Amber Alert.

National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls starts today. Read more in our latest blog post.

Photo credit AP/Sue Ogrocki, file

Northwest Tribes Push for Accurate Tribal History Curriculum

Contributions by American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout history, and the injustices they suffered, are not being taught accurately in U.S. classrooms, writes Patricia Whitefoot in Native News Online. In response, Native groups have passed resolutions pushing for a more accurate educational curriculum. In addition, they are taking action to engage with state, federal, and Native leaders to uphold and protect educational policies that “ensure current and future generations of Native students see themselves accurately reflected in the narrative of our nation.”

Photo credit Patricia Whitefoot

Ute Tribe Believes Ground Water Contaminated by Nearby Uranium Mill

The Denver Post reports that the White Mesa Mill, the last uranium processing plant in the U.S. located on a section of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe reservation, may be linked to increased illnesses among the tribe, including respiratory problems in children. While the EPA cited the mill for violating the Clean Air Act and causing possible radon emissions, an Energy Fuels spokesperson says the mill is not to blame and plans to expand its operation.

Photo credit RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post