This Week at First Nations: February 17, 2023

First Nations Brings Together Native Farmers and Ranchers to Strengthen Supply Chains 

This week, First Nations announced the 30 Native American beginning farmers and ranchers selected to participate in First Nations’ Native Farmer and Rancher Apprenticeship Network. Through the network, the Native farmers and ranchers will be supported in building their capacity and strengthening their land management strategies, with a goal to increase local food production and food access and conservation stewardship. The network will receive technical assistance and networking opportunities through a series of trainings, webinars, coaching support, and fieldwork over a two-year period. Read the press release.

First Nations Connects at Annual Meeting for the Society for Range Management

First Nations’ Leiloni Begaye joined hundreds of agriculture and conservation leaders this week at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management. Themed “Rangelands Without Borders,” the event prompted opportunities for discussion and collaboration to address the social and ecological principles that drive change on rangelands. Leiloni (pictured here with colleagues from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Nations Conservation Alliance, and Pueblo of Jemez, Natural Resources Department) will draw from the experience in her work as a program officer for First Nations’ Stewarding Native Lands program.

Understanding, Recognizing, and Celebrating Black History

This week, we share a quote from writer and activist John Lewis: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year; it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

First Nations understands that Black History is our country’s history and our Black and Afro-Indigenous brothers and sisters should be appreciated every day. February is another chance to “make some noise” to amplify accurate Black narratives. To further the conversation, check out these resources from the Smithsonian.

More Exciting News from a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow

Lynda Teller Pete, one of First Nations’ 2022 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows, has an exhibit February 17 to July 9, 2023, at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Lynda’s work, along with pieces of other contemporary Diné weavers and visual artists, will be shared in “Shaped by the Loom: Weaving Worlds in the American Southwest.”

Lynda and her sister Barbara Teller Ornelas have also been awarded the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture 2023 Living Treasure and Legacy Award for their work as both artists and educators. Congratulations, Lynda!

REMINDER: Apply Now for a First Nations’ Gather Food Sovereignty Grant

First Nations’ Gather Food Sovereignty Grants support work that contributes to a vision of Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced, and supported by community policies. In this new round of funding, First Nations will award up to seven grants averaging $32,000 each for new and emerging projects that focus on developing tribal food sovereignty. Learn more and apply by February 28, 2023.

What We’re Watching: Murder in Big Horn

First Nations’ Raymond Foxworth shared news of this heartwrenching docuseries on missing and murdered Indigenous women in Big Horn County, Montana, home of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne nations, citing this review in Vogue. Showtime describes Murder in Big Horn as a powerful portrait of tribal members and their communities battling an epidemic that has been prevalent since colonization. The three-part docuseries examines the circumstances surrounding many of these cases from the perspectives of Native families, Native journalists, and local law enforcement officers. Learn more.

Kansas City Chiefs Face New Call to Drop Insulting Name and Symbol

The Guardian reports that the National Football League took “significant steps to represent Native communities” during last week’s Super Bowl, acknowledging the 43,000 Native Americans who live in Phoenix. Still, it couldn’t curtail the arm gestures and chanting that are characteristic of the Kansas City football team’s fans. Outside the stadium, a “small but loud” group protested the overt devaluing of Native traditions, again raising awareness of how such team names, mascots, and symbols perpetuate racist stereotypes. Read the full article.

Photo credit The Guardian, Anthony Behar/PA

Job Openings at the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance

The Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) in Flagstaff, Arizona, is hiring for three positions: a part-time Individual Giving Manager, part-time Grants Manager, and full-time Director of Communications. The organization is dedicated to restoring the food systems that support Indigenous self-determination, wellness, cultures, values, communities, economies, languages, and families while rebuilding relationships with the land, water, plants, and animals that sustain us. Questions about the Individual Giving or Grants Manager positions can be directed to

Deaths of Despair and Indigenous Data Genocide

A new study published in The Lancet describes how mortality from overdose, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease is higher among Native Americans than White Americans. More troubling, say researchers at UCLA, is that this reality is also “almost entirely missing from a set of powerful mainstream narratives about health inequalities.” The researchers call for resources devoted to tribally controlled, evidence-based, and culturally grounded substance use treatment programs, and investments in housing, employment, health care, and other community resources that address the upstream drivers of premature mortality. Read more about the study.

Photo credit Native News Online,

New Webinar: Asset Building in North and South Dakota Native American Communities

The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, in partnership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), is promoting a webinar on Native asset building in North and South Dakota. Native American leaders will outline economic inclusion, best practices, and success stories, and discuss innovative practices that have been developed for Native American households. Presenters will also discuss how financial institutions and community-based organizations can support tribal governments and Native-led nonprofits in building financial security for their communities. The webinar is Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 1 pm CT. Register here.