This Week at First Nations: October 21, 2022

Native Ranchers Advance Conservation Planning with Hands-On Training

This month, six livestock producers were guided through the development of a conservation plan for their operations through a comprehensive five-day Conservation Planning Training & Workshop hosted by First Nations, in collaboration with Tolani Lake Livestock and Water Users Association. In the field session pictured, Clay Bravo (Hualapai) (left), First Nations’ Program Officer Leiloni Begaye (Navajo), and Marvin Williams (Navajo) (right) collect data in the field as Leiloni demonstrates the identification of Native field grass.

The structure of the training was unique because it included four onsite field inventories, along with presentations and support. With their conservation plans near completion, training participants now are able to apply for USDA funding opportunities like the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Photo credit Shonto Greyeyes

Native Leaders Gather for Land Stewardship in Northern Great Plains

First Nations Community Partner Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance (BNGA) is a newly created Native-led nonprofit that envisions Native nations uniting to steward and protect ecological diversity in the Northern Great Plains. One way they are working to achieve this vision is by convening leaders of Native nations and Native nonprofits to pilot a series of regional climate resiliency gatherings. First Nations was honored to attend the first event this week, where organizers aimed to build a shared sense of purpose and cooperation in drafting a regional conservation plan to develop a conservation trust, and to explore funding mechanisms to ensure that this important collaborative conservation planning continues.

Stepping Up: Colorado State University Takes First Steps to Address Its Land-Grab Legacy

In a university-wide email sent on Indigenous Peoples’ Day last week, Colorado State University Interim President Rick Miranda shared that a new leadership position has been created to lead the university’s outreach efforts to tribal communities and schools and work with tribal leaders to determine partnerships to increase student recruitment and retention. Truth and reconciliation efforts like this are being explored at The Ohio State University, where First Nations is partnering on the Stepping Out & Stepping Up Racial Justice Project to assess how the nation’s land-grant universities can move beyond Land Acknowledgements to better repair the harm caused by the historic stealing of Native lands on which schools like Colorado State University and The Ohio State University were created.

What We’re Reading: How The Seattle Times Neglected Native Issues

As part of the A1 Revisited project, writer Brendan Kiley explores how The Seattle Times covered Native protests at the Fort Lawton Army base in 1970. The protests, held to secure some of the land the federal government was trying to give away, birthed the nonprofit United Indians of All Tribes, and its headquarters at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. 

Kiley writes how the next day’s front page covered the events in two short, incongruously lighthearted stories. “This was not out of character in those days for The Times, which had covered some of the fishing-rights struggles in South Puget Sound, but was largely disconnected from Native American issues — particularly the growing urban Indian population.” Join us in reading the story The Seattle Times missed.

Photo credit Pete Liddell, The Seattle Times

Reminder: Deadlines Approaching for First Nations Funding Opportunities

Through the Native Language Immersion Initiative, First Nations will award 6 to 10 grants ranging from $45,000 to $75,000 for programs that preserve Indigenous languages and cultures throughout the U.S. Apply here by November 2.

And, 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 youth project-focused activities. Apply here by November 10.

Snow Crab Season Canceled in Bering Sea

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has canceled the winter snow crab season in the Bering Sea due to a 90% drop in the snow crab population. CBS News reports that experts are pointing to climate change as a reason for the loss, citing how Alaska is losing billions of tons of ice each year, which is critical for crabs that need cold water to survive. Recognizing the effect of climate change in the region, First Nations provides financial support and technical assistance to organizations in Bering Sea Native communities to address the depletion of marine resources needed to sustain their communities and people. Learn more.

Photo credit CBS News, Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oakland Plans to Return 5 Acres of City Park to Indigenous Groups

The City Council of Oakland, California, will conduct hearings on whether to grant an easement over five acres of land in a city-owned park to local Indigenous organizations. USA Today reports the agreement would allow the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust to immediately use the land, known as Sequoia Point, for public education, natural resource restoration, cultural practices, and other future uses. If passed, the agreement will add Oakland to the list of cities returning land to Indigenous people and can serve as a model for other California cities to follow. First Nations is honored to support other related projects of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust through our California Tribal Fund. 

Photo credit USA Today

The Guardians of the Future: It’s Time for Indigenous Voices to Lead the Climate Fight

This New York Times feature highlights with photos and quotes how Indigenous peoples and communities in the Americas, Indonesia, and Africa are coming together through the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities. Working across multiple languages and political and legal systems, the alliance is focusing on five priorities: land rights, free prior and informed consent before any intervention into their territories, direct access to climate funding, protection of people from violence and prosecution, and the recognition of traditional knowledge in the fight to defend the planet.

Photo credit Camila Falquez, The New York Times