This Week at First Nations: May 26, 2023

New Logo, New Look at First Nations

This week, First Nations is excited to introduce our new logo and colors, designed to build on our traditional look and feel, while conveying our evolving energy, commitment, and momentum in serving Native communities. In 2023, First Nations celebrates our 43rd year of investing in Native ingenuity and the Native-led, Native-held solutions of our community partners. Watch for more of our refreshed look as the new logo and colors come to life on our materials, resources, publications, emails, and social media channels.

Native American Grants to Support Access to Health

On Wednesday, First Nations issued a joint press release with the Colorado Health Foundation highlighting the awarding of nearly $750,000 in funds to tribes and community organizations that are working to advance health equity for Native Americans. The grants were made through the new Native American Fund for Health Equity, created with support from the Colorado Health Foundation to both promote health equity and raise awareness of the underinvestment in Native communities by Colorado foundations. Colorado Health Foundation hopes that demonstrating this commitment to transparency and equity will galvanize other grantmakers to deepen investment in Native-led initiatives. Read the release.

Congratulations to Anna Ehlers for Earning Honorary Degree

First Nations 2023 Luce Indigenous Fellow Anna Ehlers was recognized by the University of Alaska Southeast with an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts for her contributions toward the landscape of traditional arts and culture of Southeast Alaska and far beyond. KINY reports that the award honors Anna for her high caliber of artistic and cultural finesse, and representation of the vital role Indigenous women play in anchoring culture and traditions through art, textiles, and traditions in the past and present day, and for future generations. Congratulations, Anna!

Photo credit University of Alaska Southeast

New Trainers Certified at First Nations’ Building Native Communities Workshop

Twenty-three new trainers became certified to teach First Nations’ Building Native Communities curriculum last week after a multiple-day training at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), led by First Nations’ financial education consultant Shawn Spruce. Building Native Communities is a financial education curriculum for families in Native communities to develop financial management skills on budgeting, credit, and consumer awareness. The last day of the training featured a $pending Frenzy event, in which 35 high school students from NAYA’s Many Nations Academy learned about spending, saving, and budgeting through the fun and interactive financial simulation.

Final Reminder for California Tribes: Deadline Approaching for Food Sovereignty Funding

The deadline for California-based tribes or tribally-controlled non-profit organizations to apply for the California Tribal Fund’s Food Sovereignty and Local Control of Food Systems grant opportunity is Wednesday, May 31, 2023. First Nations expects to award 10 to 12 grants averaging $40,000 each. Miss the Q&A webinar on the application process? Access the recording and presentation materials here.

Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Tessie Naranjo

Tessie Naranjo’s mother once told her that the most important thing in life was children. With that wisdom top of mind, the Santa Clara Pueblo elder is creating a children’s book, “Tewa Children’s Book of Stories,” to pass on her knowledge of Tewa language and culture to the next generation. The book and digital recordings will retell stories and songs from elders’ childhoods that teach Tewa values, language, and ways of life. Naranjo, one of few Pueblo women with a doctorate degree, says the book is intended for ONLY Tewa communities. “We need it for ourselves in order to survive.”

The 2022 First Nations’ Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow says, “What I really, really care about is that we do not forget who we are, even as we live in this modern day and age.”

Learn more about Naranjo’s work here.

Registration Open for NINAWC Conference in July

The 2023 bi-annual National Indigenous and Native American WIC Coalition Conference will be held July 25 to 27, 2023, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Themed “We are Resilient: Celebrating Traditions and Reimagining the Future,” the conference offers attendees opportunities to network with colleagues, keep up to date on nutrition and breastfeeding trends, and visit with exhibitors. NINAWC is a coalition representing over 45 Native American and Indigenous communities and their non-profit organizations that provide services for women, children and infants. Register by June 30, 2023.

Long Before Denver Was Here, Nearly 50 Native American Tribes Called the Front Range Home

In Colorado, momentum is building to share the history of Denver’s Native American communities through a written study, documentary, and more to bolster the historic record, reports CPR News. At a recent gathering at the Denver Indian Center, First Nations’ colleague Rick Williams talked of the need to tell our own story, which will require a hard, often painful look at how Colorado was formed. There are 200 Tribal Nations represented in the Denver metro area. Read more.

Photo credit John Dalay/CPR News

Shinnecock Nation Wants to Center Indigenous Perspective to Offshore Wind Farm Debate

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is working to protect marine life from wind farms under construction around Long Island, including the endangered and culturally significant North Atlantic Right Whale. WSHU reports the tribe’s progress includes sharing tribal knowledge and traditional ecological practices with the federal Bureau of Energy Management, New York and energy companies in an effort to help mitigate the harm renewable energy projects can have on biodiversity. Read more.

Photo credit Don Emmert/AFP Via Getty Images