This Week at First Nations: October 20, 2023

As Ocean People, We Will Sail On — New First Nations Guest Blog

This summer, the world watched as devastating fires overtook Maui. The reports from our community partners were heartbreaking, and First Nations joined in the effort to get needed financial support to our Hawaii relatives. As Maui continues to respond and rebuild, we are honored to share this guest blog post by one of our esteemed colleagues. Here, Dr. Trisha Kehaulani Watson reminds us of our connection with the land and waters, and inspires the people of Hawaii – and all of us – to keep moving. Read the blog post here.

Save the Dates: Application Support for USFS Landscape Scale Restoration and Community Forest Programs 

As part of our Stewarding Native Lands work to support protection of Native ecological and cultural resources, First Nations is providing technical assistance webinars for the Landscape Scale Restoration and Community Forest Programs. Presented in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, these webinars will offer application tips and address questions. The webinar on the Landscape Scale Restoration Program will be November 2, 2023, 12 to 1:30 pm Mountain Time. The webinar on the Community Forest Program will be November 7, 2023, 12 to 1:30 pm Mountain Time. Look for registration information in next week’s email. For more information contact Brett Treadway at btreadway@first​

Introducing First Nations’ New Smart Giving Suite

Donating a non-cash asset, such as appreciated stocks, gifts from an IRA, grants from a Donor-Advised Fund, or cryptocurrency, can be one of the smartest ways to support First Nations’ mission. Through our partnership with FreeWill, it’s easy to make these impactful gifts. Visit to explore which smart giving option is best for you.

As always, our development team is here if you have questions or need assistance. They can be reached at donorservices@f​​.

What We’re Reading: Takeaways from the Tribal Clean Energy Summit

This summer, First Nations’ community partner Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) hosted a three-day Clean Energy Summit, bringing together tribal leaders, federal and state program staff, environmentalists, scientists, and more to discuss low-carbon energy solutions and the importance of energy sovereignty.

In this article in First Alaskans, First Nations’ 2020 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Ilgavak Peter Williams shares key takeaways from the summit, including the need for partnerships on our own terms and continued teamwork. The article also features a video in which community partners John Red Cloud of Red Cloud Renewable and Joey Owle formerly of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians join others in reflecting on the meaning of energy sovereignty. Read more.

Examining Native Justice: First Nations Kicks Off New Essay Series

In Native communities, there are increasing calls for justice, the return of Native lands, the repatriation of Native bodies and sacred objects, and an acknowledgement of the historical wrongs perpetuated against Indigenous peoples.

But what exactly does Native justice look like? First Nations convened 16 Native thought leaders to explore this question and share frameworks for achieving Native justice through the knowledge and traditions that have guided Indigenous people since time immemorial.

This week, we kick off our Native Justice Essay series with an introduction by Sarah Hernandez, Ph.D., and Raymond Foxworth, Ph.D.

Dr. Hernandez curated the collection of essays, and presents the first installment, “Living Justice: An Indigenous Perspective,” by Waŋbli Wapȟáha Hokšila /Dr. Edward Charles Valandra. The essay defines Native justice and lays the groundwork for the remaining essays, which will be released weekly throughout the fall. Read the introduction and first essay here.

Calling Tribes on Coastal and Great Lakes Shores: Input Requested

Coastal and Great Lakes tribes in the lower 48 states that are facing relocation due to climate impacts are being asked for input by the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Branch of Tribal Climate Resilience and the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. The input will inform a report to the U.S. Congress on the estimated unmet need in protecting or moving infrastructure or cultural resources due to erosion, sea level rise, increased flooding, wildfire, and more. Learn more and fill out the form here by November 3, 2023. 

‘We Were Not Consulted’: Native Americans Fight Lithium Mine on Site of 1865 Massacre

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe are advocating to have the Thacker Pass region in Northern Nevada designated under the National Register of Historic Places. Thacker Pass is the site of the September 1865 massacre in which the 1st Nevada cavalry killed up to 50 Native Americans, including women and children. Now the sacred site is vulnerable to irrevocable environmental destruction due to a mining project by Lithium Americas. The Guardian sheds light on the pending litigation surrounding protesters and proponents. Read more.

Photo credit The Guardian, Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Australia Rejects Proposal to Recognize Aboriginal People in Constitution

The Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum to recognize Aboriginal people in Australia’s constitution and establish a body to advise parliament on Indigenous issues failed last week. The Guardian reports, “The defeat will be seen by Indigenous advocates as a blow to what has been a hard fought struggle to progress reconciliation and recognition in modern Australia, with First Nations people continuing to suffer discrimination, poorer health and economic outcomes.” Read the full article.