This Week at First Nations: June 10, 2022

First Nations Celebrates Pride Month

In honor of Pride Month this June, First Nations pays tribute to LGBTQIA+ and two-spirit communities in a special blog post by Development Officer Marisa Page. Marisa shares how First Nations always works to create a space of acceptance and appreciation, and never perpetuate the hate and violence that has plagued these communities for too many years. She writes, “First Nations will continue to celebrate LGBTQIA+ and two-spirit communities, while ensuring they have a place at the table and their rights are not diminished.”


First Nations Advances Native Lands Stewardship Program with Announcement of New Director

In case you missed it: First Nations this week announced the appointment of Shaun Grassel, Ph.D., as Director of Programs—Stewarding Native Lands. In this position, Dr. Grassel, an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, will lead the organization’s work in supporting Native ecological stewardship and improving Native control of ancestral lands and resources. The announcement of Dr. Grassel comes after an extensive year-long search that reflects the importance of the position. Read the press release.


Presenters Announced for Conservation and Range Management Field Day

Details are developing for the Conservation and Range Management Field Day, August 19 and 20, 2022, at Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch in Chambers, Arizona. Presenters have been announced for this special 1.5-day convening to explore the latest practices and trends in conservation strategies in the Southwest. Presenters  include: Manny Encinias, Ph.D., of Trilogy Beef Community LLC; Tolani Francisco, Ph.D., of Native Healing LLC; and Richard DiValentino and Waylon Truax of White Mountain Apache Tribe, Land Operations Department. Learn more and register here.


Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow on the Move

First Nations is happy to share exciting news about 2020 Luce Indigenous Fellow Ilgavak (Peter Williams), who has been awarded a fellowship through the 2022 Forge Project, a Native-led art, culture, and decolonial education initiative.

He also received a 2022 USA Artists Fellowship. And, just last week, he published his third article for First Alaskans magazine. Congratulations, Ilgavak!


What We’re Listening To: Federal Funds Add Muscle to Tribal Meat Processing

On Native America Calling this week, First Nations’ financial education consultant Shawn Spruce led a conversation with agriculture advocates Roger Fragua (Jemez Pueblo), Chris Roper, and Dave Carter of the Flower Hill Institute about how federal funding can be leveraged to diversify the meat-processing industry. Together they addressed the meat shortages spurred by the pandemic and the implications for local, tribally operated meat-processing facilities. Listen to the podcast.


Application Period Now Open for James Beard Foundation Legacy Network

By developing and cultivating the capabilities of emerging culinary leaders, the James Beard Foundation Legacy Network advances the equitable, culturally relevant leadership required to strengthen the culinary industry and underserved communities. The 2022 Legacy Network application period is now open, and Black/ African American and Indigenous candidates will be prioritized. Learn more and apply by June 13!


Bois Forte Band Gets 28,000 Acres of Land Back

This week, the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe completed the purchase of 28,089 acres from The Conservation Fund, restoring land that had been sold by the federal government to non-Natives as “surplus” under the Allotment Act, reports Native News Online. The tribe plans to manage the restored lands under a forest management plan that emphasizes conservation and environmental protection, balanced with economic and cultural benefits. Read more.

Photo credit Bois Fort Band


Hawaiʻi Youth Sue State Over Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Fourteen youth, ranging in age from 9 to 18 and from the islands of Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Moloka‘i, Maui and Kaua‘i, filed a lawsuit last week against the state Department of Transportation, state officials and the state of Hawai’i, reports Maui Now. The plaintiffs assert the state’s transportation system drives high greenhouse gas emissions that harm their communities, violate their constitutional rights, and undermine their ability to “live healthful lives in Hawai’i now and into the future.” Read more.

Photo credit Maui Now EarthJustice/Our Children’s Trust Youthv.gov


Nonprofit Receives Grant to Teach Lakota Language, Despite Standing Rock Ban

The Language Conservancy received a $44,000 grant in late April to teach the Lakota language. Now controversy has ensued surrounding who should teach the language and how, reports The City. On May 3, the Tribal Council of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe passed a resolution banning The Language Conservancy from operating on its reservation, citing that the organization’s teachers and teaching style do not have the cultural sensitivity necessary to effectively pass on Native languages. Read the full story.

Photo credit Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY