This Week at First Nations: February 24, 2023

First Nations Moves Forward with Indigenous Partnership to Advance Conservation

This week, First Nations released updates on our Indigenous Partnership to Advance Native American Communities and Producers project, which launched this year to bring together Native farmers and ranchers to coordinate services and resources to advance conservation, policy, advocacy, outreach, and education. The project is made possible with support from a three-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Read the press release.

First Nations Works to Fortify Forests

Healthy forest land supports community well-being and helps protect ecological and cultural resources. With funding from the USDA Forest Service, First Nations is investing in tribal entities by providing technical assistance and Capacity Support Grants to those interested in applying for the USDA’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program or the Landscape Scale Restoration Program, or both. Native-led organizations seeking to create or improve opportunities for land conservation, economic pursuits, and education through community forests are encouraged to learn more and contact First Nations.

First Nations Joins Conversation on Diversity in Philanthropy

Register now for the Green 2.0 presentation “Environmental Grantmakers on Diversity in Philanthropy.” First Nations’ President and CEO Mike Roberts will join fellow speakers to discuss how foundations are innovating to meet internal and external goals for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice and centering equity in their organizational cultures and funding strategies. The webinar is Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at 1 pm ET. Learn more and register here.

First Nations’ Luce Fellow’s Book Recognized by American Library Association

The American Library Association announced its 2023 Youth Media Award winners, including the four Honor Books of the Stonewall Book Awards that recognize exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. First Nations’ 2021 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu was recognized along with Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, for their book “Kapaemahu,” which tells the traditional story of four legendary mahu – individuals with dual male and female spirit – who long ago brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and imbued their healing powers into four large stones that stand today in Waikiki. Congratulations, Hina!

Keeping the Celebration Going

As Black History Month comes to a close, we share a reminder that the celebration of Black history, culture, and contributions can go on. First Nations will continue to create space to uplift the voices and stories of our Black and Afro-Indigenous brothers and sisters. And, we share this article of 38 ways to intentionally celebrate Black History Month well beyond February, including watching documentaries about the Black experience, reading books by Black authors, supporting Black-owned businesses, and donating to Black-led organizations and nonprofits. Learn more.

What We’re Following: The Lac du Flambeau Road Closure

On January 31, 2023, tribal officials of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Northern Wisconsin set up roadblocks on four roads on the reservation on grounds that the roads had been illegally built on tribal lands and that the easements for those roads had expired more than 10 years ago. Tribal officials set up the barricades after negotiations broke down with property title companies that built the roads and the homes they access. This slideshow by the Green Bay Press Gazette details the tribe’s demands and what’s being done to resolve the situation. Read more.

Photo credit Tork Mason, USA Today NETWORK-Wisconsin

Miss the Presentation on Elizabeth Peratrovich? You Can Still Tune In!

Last week, in honor of Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, First Nations President and CEO Mike Roberts led a conversation about the life and activism of the Tlingit civil rights activist who worked for equality on behalf of Alaska Natives. If you missed the webinar, access it here!

To learn more about this inspirational Native woman, read our latest blog post by Development Officer Marisa Page.

Join Our Team to Support Native Communities

There are four job openings at First Nations: Program Associate for our Stewarding Native Lands program, Grants Development Officer, Database Coordinator, and new this week: Office Manager for our Albuquerque office. All positions support First Nations’ work in strengthening Native economies and communities, and come with competitive benefits packages. Learn more.

FINAL 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.

Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Mariah Gladstone

In 2016, 2022 First Nations Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet and Cherokee) created Indigikitchen − an online digital cooking show dedicated to Indigenous food. “My initial motivation for starting Indigikitchen was the epidemic of diet-related illnesses in Indian Country. But I discovered more benefits along the way,” she says. Gladstone has grown the start-up website into an in-demand enterprise and go-to source for how to reimagine and prepare Indigenous foods.

She has presented at Harvard, MIT, the Smithsonian NMAI, and the Institute of American Indian Arts. And she has appeared on the “Today Show” twice.

Read more about her impressive culinary journey.

‘It’s Inequality That Kills’: Naomi Klein on the Future of Climate Justice

In an interview at The Guardian, Canadian author and professor Naomi Klein explores climate justice and the urgency needed to respond to the climate crisis. When asked what climate justice looks like within British Columbia, Klein explains that it’s “inseparable from the Indigenous calls for land back and reparations for damage done. Because the reason land was taken in the first place was for extraction, including extracting fossil fuels. And that extraction and theft continues to this day.” Read the full interview.

Photo credit Adrienne Grunwald/The Guardian

After Centuries of Stealing Land, The U.S. Government Is Actually Inviting Tribes to Help Manage It

This week, HuffPost shares how the “U.S. government’s relationship with tribes and land has been almost entirely defined by an infuriating series of broken treaties, dispossessions, and exploitation of mineral-rich lands.” But now, new partnerships are forming, resulting in the signing of nearly two dozen co-stewardship agreements with tribes, and another 60 co-stewardship agreements in various stages of review involving 45 tribes. While co-stewardship is not the same as returning lands, leaders say it is still a step in the right direction. Read more.

Photo credit HuffPost, Olivier Douliery via Getty Images

How Sports Betting Upended the Economies of Native American Tribes

The growing popularity of sports betting and online wagering is impacting the economies of hundreds of Native American tribes whose casinos have been a source of revenue for their communities. A New York Times article, reprinted in The San Juan Star Daily, looks at what’s happening in Florida, where casino companies are blocking a deal forged by the Seminole Tribe, which would have allowed it to exclusively offer sports betting in the state. Read more.

Photo credit The San Juan Star Daily