This Week at First Nations: May 5, 2023

Native Women: Sing Your Songs of Strength

This week during National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and today on National Day of Action for MMIW, we bring special attention to this national epidemic and create awareness to protect our sacred women and two-spirit sisters who face violence and murder at an astounding rate. Why does it keep happening? In our latest blog post, First Nations Development Officer Marisa Page explores the roots of this crisis and how Native women will continue to fight and persevere as they always have.

New Grant Opportunity to Bolster Native Sovereignty and Food Systems in California

The application window is now open for the California Tribal Fund’s Food Sovereignty and Local Control of Food Systems grant opportunity. First Nations expects to award 10 to 12 grants averaging $40,000 to California-based tribes or tribally controlled nonprofit organizations working to fulfill a vision of California Native communities and food systems that are self-directed, well-resourced, and supported by community policies and systems. Learn more and apply by May 31, 2023.

Questions about the application process? Attend the Q&A webinar, Monday, May 15, 2023, at 10 am Pacific Time. Register here.

Native Ranchers Gain Ongoing Training in Conservation Planning

First Nations’ Leiloni Begaye was in Leupp, Birdsprings, Tolani Lake, and Grand Falls last week lending support for our Native communities through our Advancing Agribusiness and Ecological Stewardship in the Southwest project. Technical assistance was provided to five ranchers who had attended First Nations’ Conservation Planning session in late 2022. Navajo ranchers were able to complete their plans and learned more about data collection in the field. Through this technical assistance, multiple ranchers are now ready to apply for further support through the USDA and other funding channels.

Pictured here are Native women ranchers from Grand Falls, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation; Leiloni Begaye of First Nations; and consultant Annette Bravo.

Next Conservation Training Happening This Month

In collaboration with Acoma Department of Natural Resources, First Nations is hosting another five-day Conservation Planning Training & Workshop through our Advancing Agribusiness & Ecological Stewardship in the Southwest project. The training helps Native agricultural producers develop and complete their conservation plans to be able to seek support for USDA programs like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. 

The training will be held May 15 to 19, 2023, at the Pueblo of Acoma Auditorium. Registration is first-come, first-served, and limited to 20 Native agricultural producers in Pueblo of Acoma with active grazing and farm permits. Learn more and register.

First Nations’ Team Convenes to Seek Opportunities for Collaboration and Knowledge-Sharing

First Nations’ Stewarding Native Lands staff members recently attended the 40th Annual Native American Fish and Wildlife Society National Conference in Alaska. They sought opportunities to meet colleagues and learn more about Tribal climate needs. They also provided training to community partners on project management. Jacque Demko (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, pictured second from the left) said she was inspired by the landscape and the impactful work Native communities are doing in the state to preserve their subsistence and cultural practices in the face of the climate crisis.

Eight Ways to Better Support Native-Led Nonprofits

In leading up to the May 19 celebration of Native Nonprofit Day, we join Native Ways Federation in sharing these tips for individuals on how to start or increase their support of Native communities:

1. Learn about tribes, communities, and Native-led organizations.
2. Reach out to Native-led nonprofits directly to learn how you can best make a difference.
3. Approach Native-led nonprofits with volunteer opportunities.
4. Advocate for Native-led nonprofits by sharing their content on social media.
5. Educate friends, family, and coworkers about the importance of supporting Native-led nonprofits.
6. Include Native-led nonprofits in your planned giving.
7. Increase your existing giving to Native nonprofits.
8. Remember to support Native nonprofits year-round.

Learn more about Native Nonprofit Day here.

Spotlight on Community Partner Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians

The Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians is expanding its mission of providing locally sourced organic produce to the tribe and surrounding communities in California. With support through First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, the tribe increased capacity of its Temalpakh Farm to support three growing seasons, purchased farming equipment, and invested in its educational center, where students learn about Native American culture and sustainability. We are honored to support this important work. Read more in this highlight from Imperial Valley Press.

Photo credit Imperial Valley Press

Reminder: Deadline Approaching for 2024 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

First Nations will award 10 two-year fellowships of $75,000 each to outstanding Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers engaged in meaningful work that benefits Indigenous people and communities. Apply here by May 17, 2023.

Miss one of the Q&A webinars about the application process? Access the recording and presentation materials here.

Without Indigenous History, There is No U.S. History

In a new Time feature, Yale University professor Ned Blackhawk writes of the Indigenous absence from American historical analyses and why we need a richer and more truthful account of America’s origins, expansion, and current form. Blackhawk’s work is centered on viewing U.S. history and Native American history as inter-related, versus separated or disaggregated, and seeing Indigenous societies in motion, rather than as static. “It is time to put down the interpretive tools of the previous century and take up new ones,” he writes. Read more.

Photos credit Time, George Rinhart, Corbis/Getty Images

NDN Girls Book Club Ignites Spark for Native American Literature

A new hub of both virtual and in-person events is increasing literacy for Native Americans while promoting Indigenous authors and publishers. In an article at Source NM, the founder of the NDN Girls Book Club, Kinsale Drake, notes that the rise in Native literature has been at the forefront of many cultural, political, and social movements. She hopes showcasing Native American authors will boost interest for Native youth and create opportunities for Native writers to take control of their narrative artistically. Read more.

Photo credit Source NM, Erica Elan, Courtesy