This Week at First Nations: August 5, 2022

First Nations Honors World Breastfeeding Week with a Focus on First Foods Community Partners

August 1 to 7, 2022, is World Breastfeeding Week, a global campaign to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and its many advantages. This week, First Nations celebrates by highlighting a few of our community partners that are advancing breastfeeding programs with support of First Nations’ Breastfeeding & First Foods Grants. Read more in our latest blog post by First Nations Program Officer Abigail Han.

First Nations Awards 12 Grants to Help Protect California-Based Tribal Lands

To increase California tribal people’s access to ancestral homelands, First Nations recently awarded grants averaging $35,000 to 12 California-based tribes or tribally controlled nonprofit organizations. Rebecca Tortes, associate director of First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, said the funding will go a long way in helping Native communities in California. Learn more about the 12 community partners and their projects made possible through the Access to Ancestral Lands Grant Opportunity. Read the release.

A Look at Social Justice and Native American Political Engagement

This month in Public Opinion Quarterly, published by Oxford University Press, First Nations’ Raymond Foxworth, Ph.D., and Gabriel Sanchez share findings based on their analysis of the 2020 American Election Eve Survey’s large sample of Native American voters. The researchers report that, in 2020, both perceptions of racial discrimination and COVID-19 had a significant effect on Native American mobilization and political accountability, and that living on or very near tribal lands is a consequential factor for Native American political behavior and their pursuits for justice through political participation. Read the article here.

Join a Crucial Discussion With the National Indian Child Welfare Association

Dr. Sarah Kastelic, executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, is leading a series of group forums on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and this month she’ll engage directly with First Nations’ colleagues and supporters.

Join the conversation Thursday, August 18, 2022, at 1 pm Mountain, to learn why the Brackeen vs. Haaland Supreme Court case is paramount to protecting Indian children, and what overturning ICWA will do to tribal communities. Everyone is welcome!

Zoom meeting link:
Meeting ID: 814 5053 0681

Questions? Contact First Nations’ Marisa Page at mpage@firstnati​

Conservation Planning Trainings a Success

Conservation Planning and Train-the-Trainer workshops concluded last week at White Mountain Apache Tribe, Land Operations Department. The full curriculum was designed to not only provide guidance on conservation planning to Native farmers and ranchers, but also maximize the sharing of conservation planning knowledge with more communities.

First Nations’ Program Officer Leiloni Begay, who was in her element as a range management specialist, helped lead the small-group trainings, which she described as hands-on and inspiring. Thank you Leiloni and the Stewarding Native Lands team!

Photo credit Shonto Greyeyes

What We’re Listening To: The Tongue Unbroken

Released this week was The Tongue Unbroken (Tlél Wudakʼóodzi aa Lʼóotʼ), a new podcast that explores Native American language revitalization and decolonization, along with complex concepts of identity, resilience, erasure, and genocide. In the inaugural episode, First Nations’ 2020 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell introduces the podcast and explains some pivotal concepts in language revitalization and decolonization in North America. Listen to it here.

USFS Community Wildfire Defense Grants Now Available

The USDA Forest Service has announced a new grant opportunity to help at-risk local communities and tribes plan for and reduce the risk of wildfire. Community Wildfire Defense Grants can be used to develop and revise Community Wildfire Protection Plans, or to implement projects described in an existing plan that is less than 10 years old. An informational webinar for applicants will be held Tuesday, August 9, 2022. Follow these instructions to register by setting up an account.

Navajo Farmers Wait for Justice Years After EPA Disaster

The Guardian this week shares how, in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally released about 3 million gallons of acid mine water from the Gold King mine into the Animas River and then the San Juan, turning the waterways a sickly yellow. Now, seven years later, the EPA still refuses to compensate Navajo farmers despite public promises to promote environmental justice for Indigenous communities and its admission of responsibility for the disaster. Read the full story.

Photo credit The Guardian, Michael Bananav/Searchlight New Mexico

Tribal Governments Face Higher Borrowing Costs for Municipal Bonds

A new study presented at the Brookings Institution Municipal Finance Conference reveals that tribal governments face higher borrowing costs for municipal bonds than do other state and local governments. The researchers found that tribal governments pay 22% to 87% higher borrowing costs than nontribal governments, which translates to approximately $79,000 to $310,000 in higher annual interest payments for the average tribal issuer. The study highlights the challenges that U.S. tribal nations face in accessing capital markets and informs policymakers who seek to increase tribal governments’ access to the municipal bond market. Read the article here.

History Colorado Seeks Curator of Indigenous Heritage and Culture

History Colorado is seeking a dynamic museum professional with experience in curation and community-centered projects to build a more robust Indigenous presence and better reflect the diverse people who call Colorado home. According to History Colorado, the position offers an opportunity to expand History Colorado’s world-class collection and programs through building contemporary Indigenous Heritage and Culture community collaborations and collections. Learn more and apply by August 19, 2022.