About First Nations Development Institute
For more than 42 years, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a Native-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has worked to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities by investing in and creating innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities. First Nations began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2022, First Nations has successfully managed 2,702 grants totaling more than $54.7 million to Native-led nonprofits, grassroots community organizations, and tribes across the U.S. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.
Initiative Background – Justice Through the Lens of Native Artists
First Nations is committed to examining and calling out long-standing misconceptions, deficits-based frameworks, and inequities facing Native communities that have resulted in the underrepresentation of Native people in policymaking and resource-allocating entities. The well-documented, deleterious effects of the pandemic on the health and well-being of Native people have renewed attention to these inequities and increased efforts on some fronts to address them. To this end, First Nations is currently examining Native truth and justice, what these concepts mean to Native people and communities, and what pathways to healing could entail. This conversation will include discussing policy and other recommendations to advance Native justice on Native terms.
First Nations believes that including the perspectives of Native artists is essential to building a movement to advance Native justice because art is an integral part of Native culture, serving as a way to visually address complex issues, emotions, and ideas while preserving and perpetuating Native knowledge systems. First Nations aims to construct an artistic narrative that considers what justice looks like or means to Native artists. These narratives will serve as a means to engage in a broader discussion about achieving justice in Native communities.
 See First Nations’ Knowledge Center at https://www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center/ for the following reports: “Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions” (2018), “Growing Inequity: Large Foundation Giving to Native American Organizations and Causes – 2006-2014 (2018), “Community Foundation Giving to Native American Causes” (2018), “We Need to Change How We Think: Perspectives on Philanthropy’s Underfunding of Native Communities and Causes” (2018), and “Searching for Inclusion in Philanthropy” (2020).