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This Week at First Nations: April 8, 2022

Catawba Indian Nation Opens Doors to a New Community Resource Center
In this quarter’s Indian Giver, we share how First Nations’ Community Partner Catawba Indian Nations’ new resource center is a gathering place to access not only books and publications, but also Native literature about and by Native people, explains librarian Rachel Hooper. “People want to see themselves reflected in literature,” she says. “It’s good for people, especially children, to see all different colors and shapes of people and have exposure to titles, authors, and characters that showcase people with whom they can identify. It’s important to be validated by the things you read and look at.” Read the full story here.

Great Plains Regional Conference Engages and Inspires

This week, the Great Plains Regional Conference of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society took place in Deadwood, South Dakota, in-person for the first time since 2019. First Nations’ VP of Programs & Administration Jackie Francke attended, saying the conference was a great opportunity to reconnect with Indigenous leaders in conservation, including those from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “It was rejuvenating and inspiring to see how these Native communities are collaborating to restore and protect our lands,” Jackie said. Knowledge gained at the conference will help guide First Nations’ ongoing Tribal Stewardship in the Northern Great Plains project.

NICWA’s 40th Annual ‘Protecting Our Children’ Conference a Success

First Nations was proud to be a sponsor this week of the annual conference of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the largest national gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) child advocacy issues. At the three-day virtual conference, participants learned about the latest developments and best practices on Native child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice. In further support of NICWA, look for news here later this month about the Protect ICWA Campaign to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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.

Reminder: Deadline for the Native Youth Business Plan Competition is April 18!

Attention: Native high school and college/university students! Apply now to develop entrepreneurial skills, learn from Native business leaders, and compete for cash prizes. Hosted again in partnership with The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, First Nations’ Native Youth Business Plan Competition creates opportunities for the future. Get details and apply by April 18, 2022.

First Nations’ Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Designs Featured Mug

Khaayay Clarence Cruz (Ohkay Owingeh – Tewa), a 2020 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow and skilled potter, was commissioned by the New Mexico-based Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to design a clay mug on display during April at a Native-owned Starbuck’s in Albuquerque. The ceramic travel mug is a replica of a traditionally designed clay pot created by Cruz. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the cultural center. Cruz, an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico, plans to write a book celebrating Pueblo potters and their histories. Learn more here.

Lummi Nation Combines Cultural-Based Healing with Western Treatments 

The pandemic created nearly record-high drug relapses for the 5,500+member Lummi Nation―particularly with fentanyl―according to Lummi Nation Chairman William Jones Jr. To help combat this epidemic, the Tribe is using an outpatient treatment approach that includes both Native and non-Native methods. As reported in The Guardian, the Lummi Chemical Addiction Recovery and Education (Care) program offers medication-assisted treatments, detox centers, employment training and parenting classes, as well as Lummi traditions such as meal-sharing, beading and cedar-weaving. Read more.

Photo credit Lummi Communications

Rights of Indigenous Communities to Protect Forest Lands Vital to the Environment

The Guardian reports at least 92% of forested lands held by Indigenous communities in Amazonian countries are vital to absorbing carbon dioxide, and new research reveals these land rights must be safeguarded for the good of the environment. To keep global temperature rises below 1.5C per the Paris agreement, this study by the World Resources Institute and Climate Focus recommends broadening the scope of Indigenous land protection to include “equivalent land ownership rights, legal recognition of Indigenous territories, and community rights to free, prior and informed consent over forest projects.” Read more.

Photo credit Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

Summer Camps Finally Reckon with Abuse of Indigenous Traditions

In further reports from The Guardian this week, the camping community is slowly grappling with Native American cultural appropriation, with a renaming of some camps, bunks, games, and activities. Cheryl Ellenwood, a citizen of the Nez Perce Nation of Idaho and a Navajo, who has worked with the American Camp Association on issues of appropriation, said, “When camps engage in activities such as giving campers ‘Indian’ names or hold ceremonies that mock Native Americans, they are teaching campers that this type of behavior is acceptable and reinforce the notion that Indigenous peoples are not equals.” Read more.

Photo credit The Guardian, Camp Merri-Mac