First Nations will award 10 fellowships of $75,000 each to 10 outstanding Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers engaged in meaningful work that benefits Indigenous people and communities in either reservation and/or urban settings. These fellowships support the work of Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers as they significantly advance their work and spark transformative change in their communities. In this sense, community is broadly defined and can include your Native community, knowledge community, etc.
The fellowship is a two-year, self-directed enrichment program designed to support the process of growth, development, knowledge and networks of Native leaders and thinkers. This unique and exciting new fellowship will seek to support individuals from diverse fields and engaged in different modes of expression. The fellowship is open to both emerging and experienced leaders and thinkers from a wide variety of fields, including but not limited to agriculture, food systems, youth leadership development, natural resource management, climate change, economic development, journalism, language and cultural revitalization, traditional and contemporary arts and more.
During the fellowship period, fellows will gather together three times during the initial fellowship period to pool their collective knowledge, and create a community of practice that crosses fields, geographies and tribal cultures. These three required convenings will give fellows the opportunity to engage in rich conversations intended to strengthen their leadership skills, reflect on their impact, share their learning and experiences and promote enduring professional relationships. These cohorts will empower fellows to overcome any geographic and cultural isolation they may experience by being a Native knowledge holder or knowledge maker, possibly as the only one in their field.
The fellowship is open to emerging and experienced Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers actively engaged in meaningful, positive work that benefits Indigenous people and communities in either reservation and/or urban settings.
To be eligible for the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship:
- Applicants must be tribally-affiliated with a Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian community.
- Applicants must be engaged in the creation, dissemination and/or perpetuation of knowledge in their field.
- Applicants should have experience or expertise within the knowledge field/area they are pursuing.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
- Applicants must be able to clearly demonstrate how their work can impact and benefit an Indigenous community or communities in the U.S. and U.S. Territories.
Individuals may apply directly for this fellowship OR individuals may nominate Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers for this fellowship.
First Nations and Luce launched this fellowship to recognize and reward outstanding Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers for their important community contributions, and commitment to creating, disseminating and perpetuating Indigenous knowledge systems. However, we understand that some Indigenous people might be hesitant to identify themselves as knowledge holders, knowledge makers, culture producers, etc. For many, this kind of terminology may seem contrary to community beliefs on ownership of knowledge and recognizing thought leaders.
Thus, individuals can nominate their family, friends, neighbors or colleagues for this fellowship opportunity. To do this, a nominator must work collaboratively with the knowledge holder or knowledge maker they wish to nominate to complete all application materials. Before applying on behalf of another individual, you must contact the nominee in advance to fully discuss the parameters and guidelines of the fellowship.
Important Note for Nominators: The nominee will need to sign a Consent Form indicating that they have agreed to work with the nominator to complete the application, and that they have read and agreed to the fellowship terms.
Requirements and Guidelines
For 41 years, First Nations has had the privilege of working with countless Native leaders including elders, knowledge keepers, cultural advisors, language experts and other members of Indigenous communities dedicated to using their wisdom and ingenuity to restore, rebuild and/or perpetuate Indigenous knowledge systems. First Nations has witnessed such individuals spark significant innovation and positive change in their communities.
This fellowship honors and supports individuals as they work to further knowledge creation, dissemination and perpetuation. This fellowship will give Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers the funding and connections necessary to maximize their potential and realize their vision. This fellowship will provide knowledge producers with the resources to match their existing knowledge, passion and drive to achieve their personal and/or community goals.
Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers are individuals engaged in the creation, dissemination and perpetuation of knowledge that advances their respective field or expertise area. This includes those engaged in either and/or both Western knowledge fields or traditional Indigenous fields of knowledge development and dissemination, including:
- Cultural Leaders and Activists
- Linguists and Language Preservationists
- Artists, Craftspeople and Designers
- Writers, Storytellers and Media-Makers
- Curators, Conservators and Educators
- Food System Workers and Food Justice Advocates
- Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
- Healthcare Professionals and Practitioners
- Environmentalists and Conservationists
- Academics, Researchers and Scientists
- And many more
As part of the application process, fellows will be expected to define and articulate their primary knowledge field or area.
This fellowship will provide awards in the amount of $75,000 each to 10 individuals. This fellowship is flexible in that it allows emerging and experienced knowledge holders and knowledge makers to determine their own goals, and decide how their funds are best used to make a positive impact for creation, dissemination and perpetuation of knowledge.
Fellows do not have to design or complete a project to be eligible or selected. The goal of this fellowship program is to provide flexible funding to selected fellows as they seek to achieve their goals and further or advance knowledge creation and dissemination in their respective field(s).
The fellowship may be used for a wide range of costs, including living expenses, tuition, conference registration, equipment, travel and childcare. The fellowship cannot be redirected to another person or organization.
Important Note: The $75,000 fellowship is considered taxable income. Fellowship recipients will be responsible for all related taxes resulting from this award.
First Nations provides a $75,000 award that may be used flexibly over two years. The start date of the fellowship is January 1, 2023, and the end date is December 31, 2024.
During the first year, fellows will receive $50,000 to support their work and efforts, be required to attend three fellow convenings and receive up to $5,000 in additional support for capacity-building activities and materials. During the second year, fellows will receive $25,000 to extend and deepen their work.
The application process is a two-stage competitive process.
All applicants are required to submit a Stage 1 application form. These will be reviewed and approximately 100 applicants will be invited to submit a full Stage 2 application.
The Stage 1 deadline to apply for the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship is Thursday, May 26, 2022. Completed applications must be submitted no later than 5 pm Mountain Daylight Time.
First Nations recognizes that some of our most rural and remote applicants may have limited access to high-speed internet and be unable to submit the application in First Nations’ online system. Applicants who are unable to use the online system must request approval from First Nations at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline by submitting an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, contact information and the name of this fellowship opportunity in your message. If you do not have access to email you can call our office at (303) 774-7836 and ask to speak with a member of the Grantmaking Department and we will discuss submission options.
Selection Process Timeline
The stages and timeline of the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship are anticipated as follows and subject to change:
- Application for the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship opens Friday, April 15, 2022.
- Stage 1 applications are due Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 5 pm MT.
- Stage 1 applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications on or before August 15, 2022. Those advancing to Stage 2 will be able to access their application forms at this time.
- Stage 2 application are due Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at 5 pm MT.
- Stage 2 applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications on or before October 13, 2022. 25 semifinalists will be selected to advance to the final interview stage of the selection process.
- Semifinalists will travel and participate in an in-person (pending community and travel restrictions) interview with the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship Selection Committee the week of November 14, 2022, at First Nations’ headquarters in Longmont, CO. First Nations will cover all travel and accommodation expenses for semifinalists’ travel.
- After the interviews, the Fellowship Selection Committee will select 10 fellows. Semifinalists will be notified on or before December 5, 2022.
- The fellowship will begin January 1, 2023, and conclude December 31, 2024.