August 12, 2022

Celebrating Our Native Youth

Today is International Youth Day, a United Nations event to amplify the message of supporting young people and removing barriers to their success. This is something our community partners, through our Investing in Native Youth program, do year-round to promote youth empowerment, leadership, and community building. Today ─ and always ─ we celebrate their work!

Remember our campaign to support our Native Youth and Culture Fund is going on now, and the first $150,000 in donations made to the fund by August 31, 2022, will be doubled. DONATE HERE!

National Navajo Code Talkers Day Underscores Importance of Native Language

August 14 is National Navajo Code Talkers Day, and 2022 marks the 80th anniversary of the more than 400 Navajo men recruited during World War II as Code Talkers. This elite group of U.S. Marines developed an unbreakable code using their Native language, a code the Japanese never broke. As First Nations mourns the loss of one of the last Native Code Talkers, we join America in recognizing these soldiers and the role Native language played in our country’s history. And, we underscore the important work of our community partners through our Native Language Immersion Initiative that are keeping our languages alive.

First Nations’ Supporter Featured in Chronicle of Philanthropy

In an article released this week, Wendy Schmidt, who leads a collection of philanthropies under the Schmidt Family Foundation, including the 11th Hour Project, shares insights behind her environmental focus. She says she realized no one is going to solve global warming without examining agriculture practices, land use, and human rights, and that her curiosity led her to nonprofit leaders in those fields, including First Nations’ A-dae Romero-Briones. In the article, A-dae reflects on introducing Wendy to several tribal communities in central California, which helped lead to the creation of the 11th Hour Project’s Indigenous program.

We are honored to have Wendy as a friend and philanthropic partner. Create a free account to read the full article here.

Photo credit Chronicles of Philanthropy, Beatrice De Gea, Redux Pictures

Tune in for “A New Road to Funding Racial Justice and Equity”

You’re invited to join First Nations’ Mike Roberts and other leaders for a conversation on building powerful, resilient nonprofits that advance racial justice and equity in the U.S. today. Hosted by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative, this webinar discussion will explore how funders currently approach Latinx, African American, and Native American communities, and how to advance philanthropy in each one.

The webinar is September 13, 2022, at 10 am MT. Learn more and register.

Reminder: Join us Next Week for a Conversation on ICWA

Dr. Sarah Kastelic, executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, is leading a webinar conversation with First Nations’ colleagues and allies about the importance of the Indian Child Welfare Act and what the Brackeen vs. Haaland Supreme Court case means for Native families and tribal sovereignty.

Tune in: Thursday, August 18, 2022, at 1 pm MT.

Zoom meeting link:
Meeting ID: 814 5053 0681

Questions? Contact First Nations’ Marisa Page at mpage@firstnati​​

What We’re Reading: Native Talents

A long-time supporter and friend of First Nations forwarded to us this blog post by Bill Gates celebrating the first Native educator to win Washington State Teacher of the Year. Gates highlights his visit with Jerad Koepp, who runs the Native Student Program in the North Thurston Public School, and his focus on strengths-based approaches and increasing representation of Native people.

The sharing of the article is timely, as First Nations staff is visiting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation next month to present a viewing of the film GATHER and lead a discussion on the strength of Native food systems. Read the article here, and learn more about GATHER here.

Career Opportunity with Organic Farmers Association: Apply by September 6

Organic Farmers Association is seeking an Equity Project Manager to lead a coalition of national organic organizations as they work toward centering racial equity in the organic movement. According to OFA, the position offers an excellent opportunity for the right candidate to interact with deeply committed, expert organic organizations and racial equity facilitators and trainers across the United States. This is a part-time, independent contractor position. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply. Read the job description here.

The Deaths of Aboriginal Women Must Spark Outrage ― and Change

After three bodies were found in Australia recently ─ including an Aboriginal woman and her baby ─ writer Emily Maguire makes a passionate plea in The Guardian for more media coverage and community outrage over violence against Aboriginal women in Australia. She reports that Aboriginal women are 11 times more likely to die from family violence than non-Aboriginal women, and says prevention should be a “national priority.”

Photo credit The Guardian, Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Funding Opportunity from Campbell Foundation

First Nations is happy to share that The Keith Campbell Foundation is offering grants up to $25,000 to nonprofit groups for any subject areas, types of program, and geographies. 501(c)3 organizations that are not current or previous recipients of a Campbell Foundation grant are eligible. Apply here by August 31, 2022.

The Rise of Land Acknowledgement and Their Limitations

Vox reports on how more institutions are making note of Indigenous rights to land, but questions whether it makes a difference, as they often come off as simplistic and hollow gestures. The writer shares ideas from Joanelle Romero, founder and CEO of Red Nations Celebration Institute, on how to make land acknowledgements that “accomplish something beyond reiterating past colonization.” She asserts that acknowledgements must move beyond words and focus on healing and reconciliation. Read more.

Photo credit Vox, Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images