This Week at First Nations: August 25, 2023

Reminder: Match Your Donation to First Nations’ TLC Fund

The campaign for the new Tribal Lands Conservation Fund is underway! All gifts made to the fund are being matched dollar for dollar, up to $750,000. Right now, when you donate $5 or more to the TLC Fund, you’ll receive a high-quality, vinyl sticker featuring artwork by Native activist Hadassah GreenSky (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa). Our third batch of stickers was mailed this week to our allies and supporters. Get yours by donating here.

More News from First Nations’ Artist Friend Gordon Coons

This week we again highlight news from Gordon Coons (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa/Ottawa). One of Coons’ pieces was selected by poet Linda LaGarde Grover for her poems, The Sky Watched. One of the duties of the Mooz/Moose featured is to be the poet for the Ojibwe Tribe. A billboard featuring the book has been on display in Duluth, Minnesota, sponsored by First Nations’ community partner American Indian Community Housing Organization. This summer, Gordon also commissioned a three-image piece for the Essential Health-Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. Great work, Gordon!

The Result of… Having Places to Go

This month, we welcome the final blog post from our Summer Intern Matthew Concho. In this last installment of his summer monthly column, “The Result of…,” Matthew reflects on his time spent with Native communities on the Navajo Nation and the opportunity and hope he’s experienced through his work with First Nations. He writes, “There is much that can change, and I wonder where we will go.”

Read more from Matthew here.

First Nations’ $pending Frenzy Engages Youth of Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Young adults at the Boys and Girls Club of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians turned out in June for First Nations’ $pending Frenzy – a real-life simulation that teaches young people skills in money management, saving, and investing. Led by First Nations’ Financial Education Consultant Shawn Spruce, the students were given a mock check for $30,000 and were off to “navigate their financial lives,” learning valuable financial insights along the way. Read more in the Poarch Creek News on page 26. To learn how to bring the $pending Frenzy financial training and other financial education offerings to your community, contact Shawn Spruce at agoyopi@gmail.c​om.

Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Lynda Teller Pete

Lynda Teller Pete is a celebrated Navajo weaver, textile artist, teacher, and author. The 2022 Luce Indigenous Knowledge fellow works alongside her sister, Barbara Teller Ornelas, to create signature tapestries in demand by collectors all over the world and to pass on the art of Diné weaving to the next generation. The sisters have taught Diné weaving to audiences everywhere and have also co-written and published two weaving books.

Despite a long and sometimes difficult history around Native weaving that has been omitted from textbooks, according to Lynda, this important cultural art form still lives on. “Our people have endured so much, with the U.S. army, slavery period, abuse from non-Native trading-post owners and livestock reduction. All that has put a strain on weavers, but our people are still weaving, and the future of weaving is strong,” she says.

Read more about Lynda’s work during her Luce fellowship.

Honoring Native Grassroots Leader Ada Deer

All of us at First Nations are saddened to hear of the passing of Ada Deer, who died in hospice care on August 15, 2023, at the age of 88. Ada was the first chairwoman of the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin, who advocated for the rollback of “Termination Era” policies, and was later appointed as the first woman to head the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). She will be missed by all in Indian Country and especially in her Wisconsin community.

First Nations’ program associate Michelle Gauthier (Menominee) remembers Ada’s determination and fierce advocacy for Native rights. Michelle says, “Because of her restoration work, Ada had a unique understanding of the threats to tribes, sovereignty, and self-determination. Ada encouraged so many Native students to pursue higher education, specifically law and social work, and her impacts on building leadership are immeasurable.”  

Photo credit PBS Wisconsin, Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association and Bryce Richter / UW-Madison

Opportunities Open at Newman’s Own Foundation

Newman’s Own Foundation has announced it is seeking an Indigenous Communities Officer to oversee all grantmaking and partnership-building for the foundation’s Indigenous Food Justice for Youth programmatic area. Learn more and apply here. Along with this announcement is a reminder that current grantees of Newman’s Own Foundation can be reimbursed for travel expenses (up to $500) for the Sixth Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition, September 10 to 12, 2023, in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Learn more.