February 16, 2024

This December 30, 2022, Doodle, illustrated by Sitka, Alaska-based guest artist Michaela Goade, celebrates Alaska Native civil rights champion Elizabeth Peratrovich,

Today is Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

February 16 marks Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, and First Nations pauses to honor this pioneering anti-discrimination activist. Elizabeth led the charge for equity among all peoples of the United States and paved the way for civil rights in Alaska and beyond.

In celebration of the day, we share this singalong rap, created by Gumboots Go!, an online educational resource by Tlingit & Haida and Cedar Group to teach Alaskan children about Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures.

And, in case you missed it, we again share this First Nations’ Guest Blog post by Lauren Elizabeth Roberts, who reflects on her namesake and great-great-great aunt. Read more.

11 New Indigenous Leaders Selected for 5th Year of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

First Nations this week announced the 11 Native American leaders selected for the 2024 cohort of the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship. Selected fellows receive a monetary award of $75,000 and access to additional resources for training and professional development. They also meet regularly to share and grow their knowledge and projects to ultimately lead to broad, transformative impacts for Native communities and beyond.

Read the press release announcing the 2024 fellows here.

2024 Luce Fellow Featured in Native Podcast on Authenticity of Totem Poles

One of the new 2024 Fellows announced above, TJ Sgwaayaans Young (Haida), shared his craft and insights as part of a podcast panel of accomplished Indigenous carvers of traditional totem poles in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. He discussed the issue of non-Native people appropriating the craft, as well as other challenges faced by carvers. He and his brother recently carved a healing pole in Anchorage, Alaska, dedicated to boarding school survivors. The podcast was produced by Native America Calling, a live call-in radio program addressing Native issues.

First Nations Showcases Tribal Ecological Stewardship Strategies

Through a series of mini-documentaries produced by Spruce Tone Films, First Nations is showcasing tribal ecological stewardship practices that are protecting natural resources essential to the culture and sustainability of Native communities. The films are being produced as part of First Nations’ Indigenous Partnership to Advance Native American Communities and Producers project. The first film, “Usugilix Awakun: We Are Working Together,” focuses on the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska and is an Official Selection of the 2024 Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California, this weekend.

The film will air Saturday, February 17, 2024, at 2 pm PST, as part of the festival’s Indigenous Voices session, which highlights Indigenous people worldwide and their successes in preserving their cultures, lands, and ancestral knowledge in a modern world. Learn more in the press release here.

Interested in Tribal Co-Management and Co-Stewardship? 

Join First Nations for a Stewarding Native Lands webinar: Tribal Co-Management and Co-Stewardship: 101. In this webinar, guest speakers Monte Mills and Martin Nie will provide a brief history of tribal co-management and co-stewardship and explanations for how they differ. Also presented will be an overview of opportunities available under various federal authorities, considerations for capacity-building and pathways for effective implementation, and how to strengthen agreements to protect tribal values and interests.

The webinar will be held Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 1:30 to 3pm MT. Learn more about the speakers and register here.

What We’re Reading: Endowed Philanthropy Needs to Endow Its Grantees

Guest contributors at Inside Philanthropy this month illustrate how BIPOC-led organizations remain grossly underfunded, despite philanthropy’s stated commitments and interest in advancing racial justice. John H. Jackson and Susan Taylor Batten call for more endowments – an investment approach that gives organizations a stable financial state and the freedom to plan for the long term. “We endow museums, universities and hospitals, but we do not endow the infrastructure needed to keep our democracy working and advance racial justice. … It’s time to ask why that is, and what it would look like if that status quo were to change.” The full article can be accessed here, or contact ajakober@firstnations.org for more information.

Ubuntu Climate Initiative Welcomes Entries to 2024 Climate Arts & Story-telling Showcase

The Ubuntu Climate Initiative has announced a storytelling contest for entry-level filmmakers to showcase exceptional stories within their communities that reunite people and planet in communal ways while remembering the past to move forward. The initiative seeks responses to the call “Ubuntu, I am because, we are” and invites visual creatives to enter work that builds resiliency in local economies along with cultural responses to unsustainable economic growth, production, and consumption that drives climate change in communities. The contest features $100,000 in prizes. Learn more and enter here by March 15, 2024.

‘We Hold You Sacred’: Native-Led Oklahoma Program Provides Life-Saving Supplies

The Cherokee Tribe in Oklahoma is investing in harm reduction and addiction healthcare centered on Cherokee culture, as part of a $100 million strategy to reduce overdoses on the reservation, reports The Guardian. The tribe’s outreach, and that of other tribes across Indian Country, incorporates Native cultural practices and values. These practices and values are proven to be instrumental in not only uplifting communities, but also treating substance abuse – the prominence of which in Native communities stems from the effects of colonialism and generational trauma, and the proven, targeted influx and promotion of prescription opioids in Native communities. Read more.