Our Programs

Stewarding Native Lands

Donna Chavis on the banks of the Lumbee River by Kate Medley

Program Overview

Emerging Program

Native American communities have stewarded their lands for thousands of years, cultivating, adapting, and improving management over many generations. This diverse and expansive reservoir of knowledge and deep connection to land help Native communities grow stronger, more productive and more resilient. And such relationships also benefit the natural world that we depend on. For example, the United Nations’ Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that was released in May 2019 found that environmental impacts were less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Through this emerging program, Stewarding Native Lands, First Nations provides financial and technical assistance to support Native ecological stewardship and improve Native control of and access to ancestral lands and resources. This work involves the development of tribal-led strategies, models, funding opportunities, and other tools that honor and uplift tribal values, customs, knowledge, and sovereignty. Central to this work is First Nations’ belief that Native peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual, and cultural well-being of their communities.

Current Projects

Finding a Voice and Making it Heard: Defending Native Rights on the Border

For the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas — on the border and in the pathway of “the wall” — the future is precarious. Not federally recognized as a tribe and threatened daily by the impact of the Texas Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal and associated pipelines, the Carrizo/Comecrudo is in a race to identify its villages, gain proper recognition, and form a voice to protect its rights and land. It is an uphill fight, but with a new project funded in part by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), progress is being made.

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