This Week at First Nations: October 28, 2022

October 28, 2022

That Indian Princess Costume is Not Honoring Native Culture

Systemic racism comes in many forms, and one way it is popularly seen this time of year is in undignified, mass-produced Halloween Indian costumes. This blatant disregard for Indigenous peoples and their (very different) cultures is disrespectful and offensive. In this new blog post, First Nations’ Marisa Page implores that the use of Indian costumes perpetuates a misrepresentation of Indigenous cultures and dehumanization of Indigenous peoples, creating psychological trauma that manifests in depression and shame ─ especially among our Native youth. Read the blog post.

Environmental Scan Informs Progress and Opportunities for Stewarding Native Lands

First Nations’ newly published Environmental Scan provides a broad overview of priority areas for First Nations, including land tenure, tribal conservation/management, environmental justice, climate change, and Indigenous ecological knowledge and cultural practices.

The scan provides a robust sampling of the range and depth of work underway in Native lands stewardship and will serve as a key tool in guiding First Nations’ Stewarding Native Lands program. Download the publication.

First Nations Connects for Team Building and Strategy Sessions

This week First Nations leaders and Stewarding Native Lands program officers gathered at First Nations’ Albuquerque office to explore opportunities and strategies to best serve our community partners in Indian Country. While together, we were excited to join New Mexico State Senator and First Nations’ Chair of the Board Benny Shendo (Jemez Pueblo) and First Nations Board Member Shyla Sheppard (Mandan/Hidatsa) at Shyla’s Bow & Arrow Brewery. Both are pictured here with First Nations President and CEO Michael Roberts and VP of Programs and Administration Jackie Francke. We thank our leaders and staff for this engaging and productive week.

Deadline Next Week: Apply Now for Funding for Native Language Immersion Programs

Through our Native Language Immersion Initiative, First Nations will award 6 to 10 grants ranging from $45,000 to $75,000 to Native-controlled nonprofit organizations and tribal government programs actively supporting Native language immersion programs.

Apply here by November 2, 2022. Questions about the application process? Access the presentation materials from our Q&A application webinar.

Reminder: Application Window Open for Native Youth and Culture Fund

Native-led nonprofits and organizations that provide youth opportunities are encouraged 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 organizational/programmatic capacity, increase sustainability, or lead specific youth project-focused activities.

Apply here by November 10, 2022. Questions about the application process? Access the presentation materials from our Q&A application webinar.

Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Evelyn Lance Blanchard

A member of the 2021 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship, Evelyn Lance Blanchard (Laguna/Yaqui) is known by her colleagues as the “Mother of the ICWA” ─ the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, which protects Native children from being separated from their families and placed in non-Indian adoptive and foster homes. Evelyn played a pivotal role in the creation of ICWA, ensuring that Native children stay connected to their families, tribes, and culture. Highlighting Evelyn’s work this week is especially timely in light of the recent threats to ICWA.

For more than 60 years, Evelyn has advocated for Native children as a social work activist, practitioner, and educator. She has achieved untold success in her efforts to protect Native children, both in the United States and Canada.

Read Evelyn’s profile here.

Indigenous Artist Setting the Record Straight Through Design

Louie Gong, a Seattle-based artist raised in the Nooksack tribal community, is preserving the art of the Coast Salish people through apparel design, reports HuffPost. Gong has partnered with Brooks Running to create the limited-edition Sasquatch Collection, a line of gear that recognizes the Indigenous lands, history, and art of the Pacific Northwest in telling the story of the shape-shifting forest protector Sasquatch. The collection was developed to celebrate the connection between people and the land we run on.

A Look at Indigenous Education in Public Schools

New legislation in California calls for school districts to collaborate with local Native tribes to build curricula. Oregon is creating a statewide curriculum standard, and states like North Dakota are proposing to add Native and tribal histories to curriculum requirements. An article this month at Prism explores how learning the truth about Indigenous history can shift how students think about Native peoples, but factors like funding and standardization affect how successful the education can be.

Photo credit David McNew/Getty Images