This Week at First Nations: May 20, 2022

Today is Native Nonprofit Day 

First Nations is excited to celebrate the inaugural Native Nonprofit Day, today, May 20! We join with Native allies across the country in dedicating this day and the entire month of May to educating and raising awareness about the great work being accomplished by Native nonprofits, despite systemic underfunding.

Here, Native Ways Federation shares highlights of many of these organizations, along with quotes from Native nonprofit leaders about the importance of supporting Native giving initiatives. 

Remember: To help spread the word about Native Nonprofit Day, tweet and post on social using the hashtags #NativeNonprofitDay, #GiveNative, and #SupportNativeLed.


Save the Date: Conservation and Range Management Field Day

Native agricultural farmers, ranchers, and producers are invited to a special 1.5-day convening, August 19 and 20, 2022, to explore the latest practices and trends in conservation strategies in the Southwest.

Hosted by First Nations, in collaboration with Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch, this unique field day of learning covers multiple aspects of implementation and sustainability plans, presented by leading experts in conservation, agriculture, and Native food systems. Save the date and stay tuned for more information!


First Nations’ A-dae Romero-Briones Weighs in on Building a Solidarity Culture

A-dae Romero-Briones recently joined solidarity economy leaders for a virtual roundtable discussion, led by Nonprofit Quarterly, on how to build the culture needed to sustain support for a solidarity economy. A-dae shared, “Indigenous communities have always been here, so it’s not like rebuilding anything—we’re here. Migrant communities, Black communities, all the people that have been left out of capitalism are creating their own economies already. We are creating different ways of operating outside of the accumulation of wealth because capitalism did that for us.” Read the full recap here.

Photo credit NPQ, Arun Geetha Viswanathan on Unsplash


Grant Application Deadlines: Two Happening Next Week!

Applications are now being accepted for multiple First Nations grants designed to strengthen Native communities:

DUE WEDNESDAY: Protecting Bering Sea Marine Resources: 10 grants of $50,000 each to eligible Native communities working to protect marine resources in the Bering Sea ecoregion. Apply by May 25, 2022.

DUE THURSDAY: Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship 2023: 10 fellowships of $75,000 each to 10 outstanding Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers engaged in meaningful work that benefits Indigenous people and communities in either reservation and/or urban settings. Apply by May 26, 2022.

Climate Resiliency in Indian Country: 10 grants up to $100,000 each to support Native-led organizations working to promote climate resiliency in Native communities in line with the Justice40 initiative. Apply by June 1, 2022.

Regional Dialogues on Climate Resiliency Grant: 10 grants averaging $50,000 each to Native-led organizations to host conversations on climate resiliency and the Justice40 initiative in Native communities. Apply by June 1, 2022.


39th Annual NAFWS Conference a Success

First Nations was proud to be a sponsor of the 2022 Annual National Conference of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, held last week in Miami, Florida. The hybrid conference featured a keynote address by Betty Osceola of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida; presentations on Indigenous foods, wildlife corridors, and climate resilience; and a 5k Swamp Run/Walk to raise money for Native students. Congratulations to NAFWS on a successful event to showcase progress and achievements in fish and wildlife management.


First Nations Luce Fellow Featured for Resurrecting Pomo Basket Weaving

When Corine Pearce, a member of the 2020 cohort of the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship, was only nine, she dreamed her great-grandmother told her, “You can weave. You’ve got my hands, you can weave.” A recent feature in the Lake County News of Clear Lake, California, shares how Corine woke up the next morning, and looked at a willow tree through the eyes of a basket weaver. She’s been harvesting and weaving ever since.

Learn more about this acclaimed Luce fellow, basket weaver, author, and educator.

Photo credit Lake County News Jeanine Pfeiffer, PhD


What is the Protect ICWA Campaign?

To ensure that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is upheld through the legislative challenge, Brackeen v. Haaland, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, National Congress of American Indians, Association on American Indian Affairs, and Native American Rights Fund launched the Protect ICWA Campaign to raise awareness about the importance of ICWA and the implications it would have if overturned.

If the act is overturned, tribal nations lose their ability to have a say in Native adoptions. The decision would set a precedent with a ripple effect, causing other sovereign rights related to gaming, land ownership, and more to be questioned. First Nations stands with NICWA to protect ICWA and tribal sovereignty and Native children.

Sign up to receive the Protect ICWA Campaign newsletter.


U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to Speak at NCAI Conference

The National Congress of American Indians has announced Secretary Deb Haaland as a key speaker for its 2022 Mid Year Conference and Marketplace, to be held in-person in Anchorage, Alaska, June 12 to 16, 2022, under the theme “Thinking Beyond Self-Determination.” Tribal leaders, NCAI members, Native youth, and partners across Indian Country are invited to attend to address critical issues affecting tribal nations and work collaboratively to protect and enhance tribal sovereignty. Early-bird registration ends Monday, May 23, 2022. Learn more.


Native Chef and Restaurant Owner Says Native Foods are ‘Overlooked’

In an interview with The Guardian, celebrated Chef Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo), owner of Wahpepah’s Kitchen in Oakland, California, touts Native cuisine. She believes food is medicine and people should eat local foods in season. “Our foods shouldn’t travel that far,” Wahpepah says. Every item on her menu is from a Native American or Indigenous producer and she specializes in game meat, like venison and rabbit. Wahpepah is a finalist for the 2022 Emerging Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation.

Photo credit Gabriela Hasbun/The Guardian


Native American Communities Continue to Face Barriers to Opportunity That Stifle Economic Mobility

According to a recently released report by the Joint Economic Committee Democrats, American Indian and Alaska Native communities still encounter pervasive structural barriers that threaten economic security and opportunities in employment, income, and education. Lawmakers believe the $11 billion allocated for tribal entities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will go a long way to increase economic opportunity and prosperity for Native American communities, specifically in the transportation, sanitation, and broadband sectors.


Gila River Indian Community Receives $4.4 Million Grant to Expand Broadband Connections

Thanks to a $4.4 million federal grant, Pima and Maricopa tribal members of the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) will soon have better access to internet services, such as telehealth and distance-learning, as reported in azcentral.

“This $4.4 million will help us take the next step to what I call digital equity,” said GRIC Governor Stephen Roe Lewis. GRIC is among 19 tribes in 10 U.S. states to share nearly $77 million in federal grants, and the only tribe in Arizona to receive much-needed funds they have earmarked to expand broadband infrastructure.

Photo credit PinalCentral.com