This Week at First Nations: January 19, 2024

Grant Opportunity Now Open for Native Language Immersion Programs

Language is the foundation through which traditions are deeply rooted, and values – such as respect for elders, community, and the Earth – are taught. To help ensure Native languages continue to thrive, First Nations is awarding 10 grants ranging from $45,000 to $75,000 to build the capacity of and to directly support Native-controlled nonprofit organizations and tribal government programs actively advancing Native language immersion programs.

The application window for the 2024 Native Language Immersion Initiative grant opportunity is now open. Apply here by Monday, March 4, 2024.

Questions about the application process? Attend the Q&A webinar on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, at 1 pm Mountain Time. Register here.

First Nations Hiring for Two Positions in Grantmaking

Through mid-year 2023, First Nations has successfully managed 3,052 grants totaling $64.7 million to Native American projects and organizations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territory American Samoa. To help continue this important aspect of our mission, First Nations is hiring a Grantmaking Associate and a Lead Grantmaking Officer.

First Nations offers multiple employee benefits, including a respectful, compassionate, and vibrant organizational culture. Learn more about each position and other job openings here.

A Year of Advancement for Environmental Justice 

Many tribes have demonstrated diverse strategies for climate adaptation rooted in Native knowledge. To expand their potential for global application, First Nations has worked to share these strategies and other efforts to address ongoing and anticipated impacts of climate change ― and preserve lands and cultural lifeways. Through our Climate Change and Environmental Justice project, we also supported culturally relevant, community-led climate programming; brought attention to policy and funding barriers; highlighted successful workforce development models; and awarded 56 grants totaling over $3.8 million. In this video in our latest Indian Giver newsletter, First Nations’ Associate Director of Stewarding Native Lands Jacque Demko (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation) shares firsthand accounts from our community partners.

Supreme Court Denies Alaska’s Bid to Revive Pebble Mine Proposal

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state of Alaska’s bid to revive the proposed Pebble Mine in the state’s Bristol Bay region after it was blocked last year by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA had stopped the copper and gold mine proposal based on concerns of the potential impacts on the rich aquatic ecosystem that supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Alaska can still try to reverse the decision through a more typical process, reports AP.

Photo credit AP/Mariam Zuhaib

Reservoir Drawdown Initiated at Iron Gate Dam

On January 11, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) initiated a reservoir draining process aimed toward the removal of three remaining Klamath hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. According to a KRRC press release, communities downstream of the dams will start to see changes in the river in the coming days, as sediment that has accumulated behind the dams is evacuated downstream. Removal of the dams is part of overall efforts to restore the health of the Klamath River and the communities that depend upon it. Read more.