Our Programs

Advancing Household & Community Asset-Building Strategies

62 Culture Camp 2010

Program Overview

First Nations Development Institute works with our national and local partners to identify, develop and implement household and community asset-building strategies that empower Native people. Working with our community partners in tribal colleges and community development financial institutions (CDFIs), we share ideas through peer learning and we finance program development through our grantmaking program. Working with our national and regional partners, we have helped share information about household asset-building programs such as Individual Development Accounts, Children’s Savings Accounts, and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites. We also conduct research on issues related to predatory lending in Native communities and work to raise awareness of this problem. First Nations’ programs help move families and communities toward financial security.

To create systemic economic change, First Nations also works with Native American communities to develop new businesses and services, and reclaim direct control of assets. We seek to help communities understand, create and control the way in which Native assets are valued, as well as the decision-making process in deciding whether to monetize those assets.

First Nations and its wholly-owned subsidiary, First Nations Oweesta Corporation, work with reservation and rural Indian communities to create and support CDFIs, Native businesses and tribal programs with early-stage investments and capitalization to stimulate business growth through new financial models, products and services. Through entrepreneurship and business-development projects targeted at both the tribal (macro) and individual (micro) levels, First Nations creates and supports sustainable economic development in Native communities.

Current Projects

Sustaining Culture and Livelihood in Remote Igiugig Village

In Igiugig, a small village of only 69 people on the Kvichak River in southwestern Alaska, resources are scarce. Food must be flown in, and strategies to keep the village – and the culture of the Yup’ik Eskimos, Aleuts, and Athabascan Indians – flourishing must be seized. Here, with the support of First Nations Development Institute, this close-knit tribe is finding new ways to develop sustainable food sources, and creating opportunities for young people to succeed.

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