This Week at First Nations: March 1, 2024

REMINDER: Deadline to Apply for Native Language Grants Next Week

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 First Nations’ 2024 Native Language Immersion Initiative grant opportunity closes Monday, March 4, 2024. Learn more and apply.

If you have questions about the application, selection criteria, or guidelines, access First Nations’ Q&A webinar recording and presentation materials here.

REMINDER: ‘Landowner Support: Tribal Access to Emerging Private Markets for Climate Mitigation and Forest Resilience’ Webinar on March 6

As part of the Investing in America Agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a $20 million investment for Indigenous communities to access emerging climate markets. The Tribal Access to Emerging Private Markets for Climate Mitigation or Forest Resilience grant opportunity is now open through the U.S. Forest Service. Join representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and First Nations for this overview of the program’s Tribal Notice of Funding Opportunity. The webinar will also highlight First Nations as a U.S. Forest Service Community Navigator and the resources that can be used to support tribes in accessing U.S. Forest Service programs and opportunities.

Register for the webinar scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 2 to 3 pm ET, here.

Luce Fellow-Produced Documentary Receives Big Sky Award

A documentary feature co-directed and co-produced by Ivan MacDonald, a 2024 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow, was presented with the Big Sky Award at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival last week. The award is given each year to a film that artistically honors the character, history, tradition, and imagination of the American West. “Bring Them Home/Aiskótáhkapiyaaya,” narrated by Lily Gladstone, chronicles a decades-long initiative by members of the Blackfoot Confederacy to bring buffalo, known as iinnii, back to the Blackfeet Reservation and rewild them. Watch the trailer here.

What We’re Reading: Outcomes of an Oceti Sakowin Survey and Literary Recovery Model

First Nations is honored to share that an article by First Nations’ colleague Sarah Hernandez, Ph.D., and former Senior Program Officer Kendall Tallmadge has been published by Project Muse, a leading provider of digital humanities and social science content. The article, available for purchase in the Wicazo Sa Review, provides a brief overview of Oceti Sakowin literary history, along with knowledge and insights gained from #NativeReads: Great Books from Indigenous Communities, Stories of the Oceti Sakowin, a national reading campaign to guide educators and the public about how to teach appropriately about Indigenous cultures and incorporate Indigenous voices and stories in public education settings.

The authors outlined their findings at the National Indian Education Association Conference in October, and the Office of Indian Education Project Directors’ Meeting this month.

To learn more about the survey and model, contact Sarah Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Native American Literature at the University of New Mexico​, at, or Kendall (Tallmadge) Tryhane, Fellowship Program Administrator at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, at

‘Usugilix Awakun: We Are Working Together’ — Watch Now!

For the last few weeks, we’ve shared news of the short video we produced with Spruce Tone Films to amplify tribal ecological stewardship strategies, raise awareness of stewardship successes in Native communities, and generate greater investment in Native approaches and traditional ecological knowledge. The film “Usugilix Awakun: We Are Working Together” focuses on the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska and Unangax scientist, Shayla Shaishnikoff, and her work to preserve ancestral traditions, culture, and the health of her community. The full film is now up. Watch it here.

Governors, Tribes Ratify Columbia River Basin Pack at White House Signing Ceremony

The four member tribes of First Nations’ community partner Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC), along with the governors of Washington and Oregon, gathered at the White House last week for the official signing of an agreement that establishes a path to reviving the area’s salmon and steelhead populations and calls for a 10-year pause in litigation over damns in the Columbia River Basin. The Alaska Beacon reports that part of the agreement is meant to address federal commitments to the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation that promise plentiful fish in perpetuity. Read more.

Photo credit Alaska Beacon

Midwives Sue Hawaii Over Law Regulating Birth Workers

A circuit court case brought against the State of Hawaii this week asks for the Midwifery Restriction Law to be deemed unconstitutional and to stop the threat against traditional and apprenticeship-trained midwives and others who may fall within the law’s expansive scope and who do not meet its arbitrary and discriminatory requirements. Reports The Guardian, the lawsuit claims that state lawmakers have criminalized Indigenous birthing customs and “hollowed out medical care for pregnant women and families across Hawaii.” Read more.

Photo credit Brendan George Ko/The Guardian