This Week at First Nations: February 2, 2024

First Nations Remembers Former Board Member N. Scott Momaday

This week, we were saddened to learn of the passing of N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), a novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and poet who had served on First Nations Board of Directors. He died at age 89 on January 24, 2024, in his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Momaday’s novel “House Made of Dawn” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969 and is considered the first major work of the Native American Renaissance.

Fellow Kiowa A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations Vice-President of Research and Policy and Director of Native Agriculture and Food Systems, shares this story in Scott’s honor.

First Nations’ Naya Anllo-Valdo Featured by UNM American Indian Student Services

First Nations is honored to share this social media post featuring Stewarding Native Lands Program Associate Naya Anllo-Valdo (Acoma Pueblo). The post by American Indian Student Services at the University of New Mexico highlights Naya’s plans to create a community center/collective providing resources for Indigenous youth and women, as well as her work toward climate justice with our team at First Nations. Naya, who is pursuing her master’s in Native American Studies, shares, “Be proud of who you are and the people and places that you come from.” Read the full post here.

What Indigenous Peoples Know about Fire — and What We All Need to Know

Through oral and written histories, many Indigenous societies amassed a wealth of knowledge, including an understanding of the role and need for disruptive forces and events, such as fire. In this chapter excerpt featured on Resilience, author Hillary Renick explores how many Indigenous cultures developed low-risk management practices to achieve the same effect as wildfire, while minimizing disruption to ecosystems.

The excerpt is part of the chapter “Fire, Forests and Our Lands,” one of 20 chapters highlighting the resilience of Native people in Invisible No More: Voices from Native America.” Learn more and order the book here.

Atux Forever: Restoring Attuans’ Freedom Leads Return of Ancestral Remains

Since 2022, First Nations has provided financial support and technical assistance to Native-led organizations in the Bering Sea region to prevent further depletion of marine resources needed to sustain communities and cultural lifeways. One community partner making strides in this work is Atux Forever: Restoring Attuans’ Freedom. The organization recently led the return of 68 Saskinax ancestral remains that were held in the Smithsonian Museum for 87 years. As part of a larger movement to return stolen belongings and remains to Indigenous communities, this work honors our ancestors’ connection to their ancestral lands and the inherent right of Indigenous peoples to access their lands even in the afterlife. Read more about the organization’s work in its annual newsletter.

Miss the Native Language Application Webinar? Recording Now Available

The application window for First Nations’ 2024 Native Language Immersion Initiative grant opportunity is now open. So that applicants could ask questions about the application, selection criteria, or guidelines, First Nations held a Q&A webinar this week. The recording and presentation materials for the webinar are available here.

Reminder: The deadline to apply for support to actively advance Native language immersion programs is March 4, 2024. Learn more and apply.

Narrative Contributions Sought for Tribes and Climate Change Report

Produced by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, the Status of Tribes and Climate Change Report seeks to uplift the voices of tribes and Indigenous peoples on the problems of and solutions to climate change in the context of Indigenous Peoples in the United States. A key component of the report is the inclusion of firsthand narratives sharing experiences of responding to climate change. Learn more and submit a narrative here. Narratives are due Monday, February 26, 2024.

American Museum of Natural History Closing 2 Native American Exhibits

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City announced last Friday it is closing the Eastern Woodlands and Great Plains Exhibition Halls to the public and staff, reports HuffPost. In an open letter to staff released this week, museum president Sean Decatur said, “The Halls we are closing are vestiges of an era when museums such as ours did not respect the values, perspectives, and indeed shared humanity of Indigenous peoples. Actions that may feel sudden to some may seem long overdue to others.” Read more.