This Week at First Nations: December 30, 2022

As the year comes to an end, we extend our appreciation and gratitude for our friends and allies who have supported our commitment to strengthening Native communities and economies throughout the year.

In this last “This Week at First Nations” for 2022, we are happy to share again some highlights of the community partners we featured this year.

We thank you all for your continued interest and readership. We value your engagement.

Ke Kula ‘o Pi’ilani: A One-of-a-Kind Hawaiian Immersion School 

Surrounded by the rising, lush-green cliffs of the ʻĪao Valley in Maui is a school like no other. Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani, the only private, independent, and nonprofit Hawaiian language and culture immersion school in the world, has grown from a student body of six K-5 students to 50. Children are immersed in the Hawaiian language and culture for 35 hours a week, spending much of their days outdoors in nature’s classroom doing cultural activities centered around the four curriculum themes of fresh water, heavens, land, and ocean. “The environment is the most important teacher,” says Head of School Kekei Robinson. Read the full story.

The Historic Malki Museum: ‘We’re COVID-Safe!’

Once restrictions lifted from the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses had to reassure customers that they were taking every necessary precaution to keep them safe from the virus. The historic Malki Museum in Banning, California, took that challenge head-on. With an $18,500 COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Grant from First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, the museum, located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Reservation, rolled out a multipronged print and online outreach campaign to communicate―in English and Cahuilla―that it was safe to explore Native history there again. Learn more.

‘Our Foods Are Beautiful!’: A Journey to Reignite Native Agriculture in the Pueblos

To help alleviate food insecurity in the Southwest, YAKANAL, a New Mexico-based international program, is reconnecting Indigenous people to their land and traditional agriculture. Led by Dr. Shelly Valdez (Pueblo of Laguna), CEO of Native Pathways, and Dr. Isabel Hawkins, an astronomer, YAKANAL is restoring cultural farming practices to the Pueblo communities through farm-to-table programs, beekeeping, growing herbs, seed preservation, and building outdoor ovens called hornos to teach traditional cooking methods. “The goal of restoring healthy Native foods allows the community to rely less on processed foods and can provide a sustainable source of income for Indigenous farmers,” explains Dr. Valdez. Read the full story.