This Week at First Nations: November 11, 2022

How to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

This month, we encourage people to not just celebrate Native cultures, but take the time to consider history anytime anyone proposes impeding the rights of Native Americans, and what those actions will do to Native communities and tribal sovereignty. In this new blog post, First Nations’ Development Officer Marisa Page shares more ways to move beyond the celebration into real awareness-raising about the beauty and resilience of Native peoples. Read more.

Honoring our Native American Veterans

In recognition of Veterans Day today, First Nations highlights the generations of Native veterans who have served in all branches of the armed forces since the American Revolution. We reflect on insights from the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian, which explores the many reasons Native Americans have chosen to serve, and we share this photo of B-17 Flying Fortress crewmembers Gus Palmer and Horace Poolaw, citizens of the Kiowa Nation, standing near their aircraft in about 1944. Learn more about Native veterans here.

Photo credit the estate of Horace Poolaw and the National Museum of the American Indian

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on ICWA

This week, the case of Brackeen vs. Haaland went before the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act. The petitioners in the case, the state of Texas and private parties, are arguing that ICWA is unconstitutional. The respondents, the federal government and five intervening tribes, are defending the law and arguing that ICWA is constitutional. As of Friday morning, no ruling has happened. Get updates here.


Now there’s more time to apply for support through the Native Youth and Culture Fund. First Nations will award 15 to 18 one-year grants between $5,000 and $20,000 to use for general operating support or to build capacity, increase sustainability, or lead specific youth project-focused activities.

Apply here by Monday, November 14, 2022, at 1 pm Mountain Time. Questions about the application process? Access the presentation materials from our Q&A application webinar.

First Nations Releases Report on Protein Supply Chains in Indian Country

In late 2020, First Nations began the Forging Last-Mile Protein Supply Chain in Indian Country pilot project. Through this project, we supported six community partners in their efforts to identify and capitalize on existing assets that could increase tribal ownership of protein supply chains and thus overall tribal food sovereignty.

This new report captures this project and the work of these six partners to provide a better understanding of how to build more resilient and self-reliant meat supply chains in Native communities. Access the report here.

Reminder: Tune in Next Week to Learn About Tribal Funding Opportunities

In this first installment of First Nations’ new webinar series, presenters will provide an overview of the USDA Forest Service’s Landscape Scale Restoration Program (LSRP) and how tribes have benefitted from this funding. Also covered will be how to access First Nations’ Capacity Support Grants to assist tribal entities interested in applying for the LSRP opportunity.

Register now for “Tribal Funding for Landscape Scale Restoration,” Thursday, November 17, 2022, at 12 pm Mountain Time.

Stewarding Native Lands Program Staff Meet to Strategize

One of First Nations’ latest programs, Stewarding Native Lands, was created to support Native ecological stewardship and improve Native control of and access to ancestral lands and resources to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual, and cultural well-being of Native communities. With our new program director Shaun Grassel, Ph.D., on board, the program team came together last month in Albuquerque to further develop the program’s five-year strategic plan to ensure that First Nations has maximum impact when it comes to investing in our community partners and their progress in sustainably managing Native lands and resources.

First Nations Community Partner Offers ‘Bridge Bags’ for Native Mothers

As part of our Indigenous Breastfeeding, Birth Work, and First Foods project, First Nations welcomed the opportunity to support Community Partner Nitamising Gimashkikinaan in their work to assist Native families in Minnesota. The organization is collaborating with the Minnesota Milk Bank to offer free “Bridge Bags” of donated pasteurized human milk for families with newborns that are experiencing low milk supply or financial need. In related outreach, the organization is also hosting virtual support circles that empower Indigenous mothers with knowledge of traditional lactation practices while building community. Learn more about Nitamising Gimashkikinaan and other community partners here.

First Nations Staff Get Active in Support of ICWA

In solidarity with tribal communities, First Nations challenged staff to travel virtually to Washington, D.C., where the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Using the Racery application, staff earned “miles” by walking, running, biking, and completing additional activities, and together we reached the goal of 1,681 miles – the distance from our Longmont office to the nation’s capital – by November 9th, the day of the hearing. Here, Grants Development Officer Sarayl Shunkamolah (Navajo) joins in to show support of ICWA and its importance in protecting our people and tribal sovereignty.

Special Giving Opportunity

This month, and through the end of the year, we invite you to celebrate Native heritage by making a special gift in support of Native arts. When you give today your gift can be doubled, thanks to a foundation that has offered to match the first $200,000 in donations made by December 31, 2022. Your gift will make all the difference in ensuring Native arts programs that preserve traditional knowledge, promote connection, and give our youth a sense of cultural pride continue to thrive. Make your secure gift here.

Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow to Present on Diné Traditional Knowledge

First Nations 2021 Luce Fellow Steve A. Darden (Diné/Navajo and Cheyenne) will share his research on Diné traditional concepts around death, the afterlife, and burials in a lecture next week at the University of Mexico’s Law School. Steve’s research has helped reclaim Diné traditional knowledge, sharing narratives about care, responsibility, hope and renewal.

The lecture will take place at UNM and will be livestreamed. Register here. And, watch for our Luce Indigenous Knowledge Profile on Steve November 25.

7 Indigenous Women to Sit on Arizona Bench

As a result of this year’s election, five Native American women will be serving terms at the justice court level in Arizona, joining two already in office: U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa (Hopi), and recently appointed Superior Court Judge Charlene Jackson (Diné) on the bench. Indian Country Today reports that the record high number includes five who will be serving Justice of the Peace terms. Read the full article.

Photo credit Patty Talahongva, Indian Country Today