News | Newsletters

This Week at First Nations: August 20, 2021

Tune in September 9: Roundtable Webinar on Indian Country and COVID-19 Vaccinations

Native American communities are leading the way in vaccination rates across the U.S. In this new webinar hosted by the Native American Journalists Association, presenters (including First Nations’ Raymond Foxworth) will discuss successes and challenges of vaccination programs and share data from the American COVID-19 Vaccine Poll, a national survey focused on overcoming obstacles to full and equitable vaccination coverage. Learn more and register here!

Colorado Governor Rescinds John Evans Proclamation of 1864

At a ceremony this week in Denver, Gov. Jared Polis rescinded a 19th-century proclamation and others that called for citizens to kill Native Americans and take their property, in what he hopes can begin to make amends for “sins of the past,” reports CBS Denver. The Polis administration said these proclamations “shamefully targeted and endangered the lives” of Indigenous people who lived in the Colorado territory at the time. First Nations attended the Tuesday event, alongside citizens of the Southern Ute, Ute Mountain, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, which was covered live by Denver’s KDVR. Watch the coverage here.

Reminder: New Stewarding Native Lands Webinar Next Week

First Nations engaged experts to conduct a broad scan of the tribal land stewardship and environmental justice landscape. In this new webinar, Scanning the Horizon: Opportunities for Environmental Justice and Stewardship in Indian Country, they will share their insights, highlighting opportunities for partnership, collaboration, and funding. This Wednesday, August 25, 2021, webinar is ideal for tribes, non-profit organizations working in Indian Country, funders interested in investing in Native communities, natural resource managers and environmentalists, and anyone who cares about the environment. Learn more and register here.

Update on Justin Way’s Personal Journey to Purpose

Last spring, we shared how Justin Way planned to hike 486 miles in support of Native communities. Since then, Justin has completed his month-long journey and has shared his experience with us. He writes, “Traversing some of Colorado’s most incredible scenery and landscapes provided me with a deeper appreciation for not only the land and its inhabitants, but also the people who have tended to it across the centuries. I am proud to have raised $1,000 in support of First Nations and bring awareness to the issues that it works so hard to confront.” Thank you, Justin!

Join Shawn Spruce for Investing for the Future Workshop

As part of the Building Native Communities curriculum series, Investing for the Future provides resources and tools for trainers to teach basic investing classes and workshops in an interactive virtual format.

The cutting-edge approach kicks off Monday, August 23 for three days, 10 am to 2 pm daily. Space is limited so reserve your spot now. For more information please contact Shawn Spruce at or 505-917-0709.

New Job Openings at First Nations

Help strengthen Native communities and economies. Join our growing teams in program management, communications, and administration. See multiple job openings for talented professionals, including – new this week – Office Manager, Program Officer-Nourishing Native Foods & Health, and Digital Communications Manager. Learn more and apply here.

What We’re Listening To: Grappling with the Land Grant Truth

First Nations is working with leaders at The Ohio State University to examine the dispossession of tribal lands at this land-grant university and the effects it has had on the economic, educational, and health disparities of Ohio’s Native peoples. A recent episode of The Ohio State University Inspire Podcast talks about this project to acknowledge and rectify the taking of Native lands through the Morrill Act of 1862. Listen to the podcast on Podbean or Spotify, and to learn more, register for the October 6, 2021, webinar “Land-Grab Universities: Owning the Truth and Sharing the Path to Making Amends.

Pilgrim Hot Spring’s New Vegetable Garden to Provide Produce for Bering Strait Residents

The innovative work of First Nations’ Community Partner Pilgrim Hot Springs was featured by KNOM Radio in Western Alaska. With funding from First Nations, Pilgrim planted a small “test crop” as an attempt to revive their produce garden and determine what kind of produce will be most successful in their geothermal hotspot that features both hot springs and a lack of permafrost. KNOM recaps how Pilgrim is hoping to get a bigger garden up and running by next summer, with an immediate focus on deciding on a plan for distributing produce through as much of the region as possible.

“Success Story in Oregon Fuels Calls for Prescribed Burns”

The Guardian reports, “The weeks-long battle against the Bootleg fire, one of the largest burning in the US, has offered new evidence that Indigenous land management techniques and prescribed burns can change how megafires behave.” Further, tribal experts and ecologists say that with enough investment, the application of “good fire” throughout the US west could make a big difference in defending against increasingly fierce and destructive fire seasons. Read the full story here.

Photo credit The Guardian, US Forest Service/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Rethink Outside Fellowship Application Deadline: August 22

Applications are now being accepted for the Rethink Outside™ Fellowship, which is designed to support and elevate an intergenerational group of leaders and storytellers of color working to connect people with nature and the outdoors. The six-month fellowship is an invitation for Black, Indigenous, and people of color to draw on their own experiences and enhance their communications and leadership skills. Learn more and apply by August 22!