This Week at First Nations: August 27, 2021

RFPs Open to Advance Native Land Stewardship and Improve Food Systems

A reminder: First Nations is now seeking applications for Tribal Stewardship in the Northern Great Plains Grants for work to support sustainable economic opportunities and preserve native grasslands in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Applications are also being welcomed for our Native Agriculture and Food Systems Scholarships for Native college students entering agriculture and food systems fields. Applications for both opportunities are due in September. Learn more here.


First Nations’ Raymond Foxworth to be a Visiting Scholar at UNM

We are honored to announce that First Nations’ Vice President of Grantmaking, Development and Communications Raymond Foxworth, Ph.D., will be a visiting scholar in the Political Science Department at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque beginning this month. As a visiting scholar, Raymond will be engaged in the completion of his original research on Indigenous politics in the United States and Latin America, focusing on Indigenous wellbeing, sovereignty, and autonomy, along with political participation and civic engagement. During the scholarship period, Raymond will continue his role at First Nations, where he leads work in Strengthening Native American Philanthropy and advancing Racial and Economic Equity.

Reminder: Raymond will also be joining co-presenters for a Native American Journalists Association webinar, September 9, to share new research on pathways to overcoming vaccine hesitancy in Native communities. Register here!


Native Non-Profits and Tribes: Apply for Funding to Purchase Forested Land

The USDA Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program or CFP) is making funding available to local governments, nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of privately owned forest land. The 2022 request for applications is open now.

Need help applying? First Nations is offering technical assistance to interested tribal entities for application guidance and review and help in identifying matching funding. Interested groups are encouraged to email Emilie Ellis, Senior Program Officer, at eellis@firstnations.org, for more information.


What We’re Listening to: A Look at Indigenous Food & Agriculture Systems

In this podcast produced in partnership with Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders, First Nations’ A-dae Romero-Briones, along with Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, sit down for a candid and dynamic conversation about U.S. food systems and how policy, systemic racism, and inequity have shaped Indigenous agriculture and food systems both historically and today. Watch the recording here.


Two New Exhibits in Jackson Hole Art Gallery to Benefit Native Communities

First Nations is honored to be the beneficiary of two new exhibits, presented by Diehl Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Douglas Schneider’s Night Visions is a body of work that “focuses on the form of the tipi and its deeply rooted meaning for Indigenous cultures, not only as a form of shelter, but also as a form of spiritual connection to both ancestors and to the planet and its elements.” Malcom Furlow’s Season of Many Prayers draws from the artist’s Choctaw heritage and features Native American themes and figures depicted in bold palettes. The exhibits run September 10 to October 30, 2021. Thank you, Diehl Gallery and these two amazing artists.


Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Monty Hill

A member of the 2020 cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows, Montgomery (Monty) Hill (Skarù·rę Tuscarora Indian Nation) is a Tuscarora and Oneida speaker, linguist, and language activist.

During his fellowship period, Hill continued his work translating the Haudenosaunee’s Kayanere’kó:wa or Great Law of Peace, an “intergenerationally communicated record” that encompasses Haudenosaunee culture, history and values. Translation is a tricky and time-consuming process that must account for cultural and linguistic nuances.

Monty with his partner Rosemarie Sampson at the Haudenosaunee longhouse.

Hill explains how this oral narrative documents the formation of the six Haudenosaunee nations and outlines a set of principles and procedures that “lay out the responsibilities of every Haudenosaunee citizen on how to conduct ourselves as individuals and collaboratively in order to maintain peace, exert our sovereignty and have a good life.”

Although the Great Law of Peace has already been translated and transcribed into Mohawk, Oneida, and other Haudenosaunee languages, a Tuscarora version of the Great Law of Peace has not existed. Moreover, while the Mohawk language has more than 3,000 fluent language speakers, the Tuscarora language has all but been lost. Hill’s goal is to translate the Great Law of Peace so that these cultural principles and values can be incorporated into curricula for Tuscarora youth. Read Hill’s full spotlight story here.


High School Teams Still Using Racist Names and Mascots

The movement toward eliminating Native American nicknames and imagery is continuing with many professional and high school teams changing their names. And yet, The Guardian reports, “Others don’t seem to pay attention. Or, perhaps to be more accurate, others seem like they don’t want to pay attention, even at the risk of embarrassing themselves.” The article shares how Neshaminy High School in Philadelphia will make no changes after a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled that their nickname and mascot do not violate a state law that prohibits discrimination. Read more.

Photo credit The Guardian, Mark Duncan/AP


Native Land Acknowledgements Not the Same as Land

Native land acknowledgements are critically important, write researchers at the University of California, Riverside, in this Bloomberg CityLab article, “but like all such expected rituals of contrition, acknowledgement runs the risk of becoming rote and performative.” Further: “To be more than an empty signal, a performance of decolonization, such an acknowledgement must lead to the inclusion of our Indigenous communities in actual discussions of how the land can and should be used.” Read the full article here.

Photo credit Bloomberg CityLab, Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


Natives in Tech Conf 2021: Encoding Native Language

Natives in Tech has announced the return of its annual conference, which includes two days of learning and addressing important issues Native people face within technology.

The conference hopes to spur conversations and ideas to craft technology that truly serves Native communities. Events kick off Friday, November 5, 2021. Learn more here.  


Tribes Make Case for $105.5 Billion for Infrastructure

A group of tribal leaders and Native American entities are calling on Congress to set aside at least $105.5 billion for tribal infrastructure, both physical and social, reports Tribal Business News. The article describes how the legislation is historic, but “many tribal leaders and advocates say that the proposed reconciliation amount is not enough, given the historical underfunding of Indian Country and long ignored treaty and trust responsibilities.” At the same time, the article cautions that it is important for tribes to remain vigilant and in constant contact with their congressional delegations as the bill moves through the process. Read the full story here.


Applications Now Open for Native Nation Rebuilders Program, Cohort 12

The Native Nation Rebuilders Program is a two-year leadership cohort training experience for Indigenous changemakers in Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota and South Dakota. The program helps participants develop skills around community engagement, movement building, wellness, and Indigenized governance practices. Activities may include touring a Native nation, learning about Indigenous wealth models, developing hands-on leadership skills, solving real-life governance issues, or creating a Nation rebuilding action plan. Applications close September 19, 2021. Apply here.