This Week at First Nations: October 29, 2021

Two Funding Opportunities through First Nations

Native-led nonprofit organizations: Deadlines are fast approaching to apply for First Nations grant funding. See details below.

Native Language Immersion Initiative Grants – Build capacity of Native language immersion programs to support the revitalization and perpetuation of Native languages and culture. Apply by November 10!

Setting the Table for a Healthy Food System in Indian Country Grants – Get support for Native American food pantries and food banks to boost control, cultural responsiveness, and infrastructure of community food systems. Apply by November 12!


Reminder: Land Access Webinars November 4!

First Nations is hosting two webinars to showcase opportunities for land acquisition and provide insights and support. Attend one or both sessions – See registration information below.

Accessing Land in California: 10 am MT/9 am PT – Recently passed legislation in California regarding purchase rights of surplus lands has opened new doors for federally recognized California tribes. In this premiere episode of the California Tribal Fund Webinar Series, speakers will cover the mechanics of land transactions, how to set up land trusts and non-profits, and basic governance issues. Register here.

Leveraging Partnerships: 12 pm MT – In this final installment in our Community Forest Webinar Series, representatives from The Trust for Public Land, American Forests, and the Indian Land Capital Company will discuss how partnerships can support tribal land acquisition and how leveraging them can also help tribes be competitive applicants for the USDA Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. Register here.


Conservation Strategies in Action at White Mountain Apache

During a site visit last week, First Nations Program Officer Leiloni Begaye saw first-hand the great work going on at White Mountain Apache, Lands Operation Department. With recent funding through First Nations’ Stewarding Native Lands program, this community is doing vegetation sections and ecological site descriptions on the Canyon Day Range Unit — grassroots efforts that are imperative in their overall work to create, implement, and sustain a conservation strategy and ensure ongoing stewardship of natural resources.


The Importance of Indigenous-led Organizations and Aid

Last week, an article in The New Humanitarian described how non-profit organizations serving Native American communities have received unprecedented support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the increased aid is beneficial, it’s important that it goes toward Indigenous-led organizations, shared First Nations’ Raymond Foxworth. Otherwise, organizations receiving support may be well intentioned, but may be out of touch with Native communities’ most pressing needs. Read the full story here.

Photo credit Luke Simmons, The New Humanitarian


IMW: Turtle Island Starts Monday!

The Indigenous Mapping Collective is launching 2021IMW: Turtle Island, November 1 to 5, 2021. The event, held for the second time ever in a virtual format, brings together more than 40 Indigenous speakers from across Turtle Island and around the world for over 100 training sessions on geo-technology and more. First Nations is proud to be a community partner of this event, helping advise on content and identify experts. We look forward to five days of sharing and learning!


Meet Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow Lisa Yellow Luger

Through the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship, Lisa Yellow Luger (Standing Rock Sioux), a member of the first cohort, was able to research landmark cases, statutes, and executive orders that changed the legal landscape for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Like many of the other fellows, Luger said the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship was life-changing.

“It has given me an opportunity to continue to learn and work in the field of tribal justice,” says Luger. “It has given me the confidence to continue to pursue my interests and utilize my knowledge and experience in a way that is meaningful to me.”

During the fellowship period, Luger planned to interview tribal elders and historians about the Dakota and Lakota justice system, travel to other reservations to examine their legal frameworks, and work to develop a culturally appropriate model of justice in her community.

“Ultimately, I wanted to learn more about my culture,” says Luger. “I wanted to have in-depth conversations about the history and people of Standing Rock. I wanted to find a way to apply the lessons from the past to the problems of the present.”

While the pandemic prevented Luger from travel, she was able to take a different approach. Read about it in Luger’s full spotlight story.


Reminder: Natives in Tech Conference 2021 Starts November 5

Natives in Tech has announced the return of its annual conference, titled “Encoding Native Knowledge.” The 2021 conference includes two days of learning and addressing important issues Native people face within technology with hopes to spur conversations and ideas to craft technology that truly serves Native communities. Events kick off Friday, November 5, 2021. On November 6, Natives in Tech will live-steam the virtual conference focusing on two tracks: Game Dev and Getting into Tech. Learn more here.  


Calling on Lawmakers to Keep Native Women Central in Reconciliation Budget Bill

“Across the United States, the pandemic has served to escalate the deep-seated disparities of women in the workforce, especially affecting women of color—including Native women—and shredding the economic security and well-being of too many families,” according to Arohi Pathak, director for policy with the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. As federal lawmakers debate investments to include in the reconciliation budget bill, Pathak asserts it is imperative that they keep the needs of underserved communities, and especially Native women, “front and center in their discussions.” Read the full article here.

Photo credit Getty/Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times


Human Rights Group to Investigate Uranium Contamination on Navajo Nation

Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center filed more evidence last week in a case going before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, alleging that the US government and its Nuclear Regulatory Commission violated human rights on the Navajo Nation by licensing uranium mines in their communities. The Guardian reports that a favorable recommendation on the case could help in future legal proceedings against uranium mine projects.

Photo credit Pamela Peters/Reuters