Camp Reinforces Pyramid Lake Paiute Traditions

Moccasins made as part of the Pyramid Lake Paiute's Cultural Summer Day Camp

Moccasins made as part of the Pyramid Lake Paiute’s Cultural Summer Day Camp

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Nixon, Nevada, was one of 24 American Indian organizations and tribal youth programs to receive funding from First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) through its Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) for the 2016-17 funding cycle. First Nations launched the NYCF in 2002 with generous support from the Kalliopeia Foundation and other foundations and tribal, corporate and individual supporters.

Pyramid Lake Paiute Chairman Vinton Hawley is pleased that by investing in its youth and giving them a sense of community and tradition, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is ensuring that it will have strong future leaders. The tribe commended First Nations for support of the much-needed “Cultural Summer Day Camp.”

nycf-logoThe tribe received a $20,000 grant that supported the camp where elementary school-aged youth learned the Paiute culture and heritage through a language-immersion unit. The sharing of the Paiute culture, language and history included hands-on learning and classroom activities. Tribal high school and college students served as peer mentors to their younger, fellow tribal members.

Through the NYCF grant, the cultural camp was able to provide transportation for all three of the tribe’s communities. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (PLPT) Reservation is located 45 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada, in Washoe County. PLPT has three communities, Nixon, Wadsworth and Sutcliffe. The communities of Wadsworth and Sutcliffe are located approximately 15 miles from Nixon, which was the location of the Cultural Summer Day Camp.

The cultural camp’s ability to provide transportation sparked an interest from many families, and supported an increase in attendance. Over the four weeks in July 2016 there was an average daily attendance of 73 students, which was an increase from the previous year of an average daily attendance of anywhere from 60 to 65 students.

Pyramid Lake Paiute youth make hand game pieces during the camp

Pyramid Lake Paiute youth make hand game pieces during the camp

Tribal elders were key to the success of the cultural camp and they served as consultants to the program. One of the elders who served as one of the language teachers was Flora Greene.

“We were very fortunate that one of our oldest elders, who is 100 years old, came and worked with and spoke to the students. Parents also came and watched as the students learned,” said Janet Davis, Tribal Recreation Coordinator.

The youth were taught traditional Paiute dances and songs and they learned to make their own traditional clothing. The tribal museum directors spoke to the students and showed them the different parts of the regalia such as the moccasins, collars, beaded belts, headbands, cloth and buckskin dresses. Tribal members who sew traditional clothing also came together to measure each and every student for their own traditional Paiute cloth dress or shirt. They also helped cut the fabric as well.

The key to the language-immersion program was the learning of the “NUMU” language by playing traditional games and songs. The students also learned to make hand-game pieces to use when playing hand games such as the Bamboo Game. The students learned NUMU words by repeating simple words, phrases and body parts. Elders and community members played bingo games with the children using NUMU words. They also told stories in both Paiute and English.

A screenshot of the YouTube video about the camp

A screenshot of the YouTube video about the camp

A short film entitled, “Pyramid Lake Recreation: Summer Culture Program” documents the Cultural Camp. The almost 13-minute video can be found on YouTube and was produced by Robert Hicks Jr. of Nokwsi Films.

Hicks is a student at Haskell Indian Nations University, majoring in health, sport and exercise science. His experience as a videographer and audio engineer lead him to serve as the film’s producer, videographer and editor. A Pyramid Lake Paiute tribal member, Hicks knows the importance of the camp.

The video includes interviews with the tribal community members, and footage of the youth wearing their traditional clothing and participating in their traditional dances such as the Antelope Dance, the Bear Dance and the Owl Dance.

Davis said the impact of the camp is ongoing.

“With the First Nations grant funding, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe was able to successfully serve youth and community members from all three of our tribal communities. This increased the access and sharing of our Paiute cultural customs and beliefs, and renewed our culture in the ways of our ancestors in order to promote our identity for future generations. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe is very thankful to the First Nations Native Youth and Cultural Fund for the support of this project.”

By Mary K. Bowannie, First Nations Communications Officer

Chief Harjo & Terry Mason Moore Exemplify TCEMP Impact

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The Tribal Commerce and Enterprise Management Program (TCEMP) was a project of First Nations Development Institute that was implemented in the fall of 1984 and ran through the summer of 1987, It was generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

TCEMP fellows attended Yale University and the University of Minnesota for two years, then the fellows entered a year of service and worked for their tribal communities after graduation. An overview of TCEMP was featured in First Nations’ Indian Giver March/April newsletter – Recalling Our Roots: TCEMP Helped Boost Tribal Economies.

This edition features two TCEMP alums: Chief Leonard M. Harjo of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma (Yale ’88), and Terry Mason Moore of the Osage Nation (University of Minnesota ’92).

Chief Leonard M. Harjo

Chief Leonard M. Harjo, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

Chief Leonard M. Harjo, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

Chief Leonard M. Harjo was elected and sworn into office as the Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma on September 5, 2009. His journey to becoming chief of his tribe was one that would take him down many different roads, with some that he did not imagine he would ever take when he was growing up near Wolf, Oklahoma.

Being raised on his grandfather’s allotment in rural Oklahoma by his parents, Floyd L. and Esther Barnoski Harjo, allowed him to learn how to raise livestock and crops. But his grounding in the Seminole rural and cultural life gave him the strong foundation needed in order to venture out into the world during his junior and senior years of high school.

He participated in a program called “A Better Chance” that allowed him to attend a preparatory school in the northeastern part of the United States. This early experience would prepare him for the Ivy League colleges of Harvard and Yale, which he’d go on to attend and earn a B.A. degree in economics in 1979, and a master’s degree in public and private management, respectively.

His graduate school years at Yale were funded by the Tribal Commerce and Enterprise Management Program, or TCEMP, which was a project of First Nations Financial Project (which was renamed First Nations Development Institute in 1991). TCEMP was generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

‘Not a lot of Support’

“I had been away for long enough to know what to experience being on the East Coast. There is not a lot of support for Natives out there. So we (other graduate students) supported each other, the different races and communities at Yale. We kept our eyes open and on each other’s kids.”

Harjo said there were a few Native students scattered throughout the university and each student got absorbed into their own area or program, as there was not an effort to bring the Native students together at that time. In spite of the lack of Natives on campus, Harjo did well.

“For me, I liked the Yale School of Management. I was used to small classes and enjoyed and worked better in smaller groups. The classes were interesting and focused on accounting, marketing, finances, environment, education and public speaking.”

Harjo was not alone at Yale, his then four-year-old daughter went with him. He juggled his time between his studies and being a father.

“I was a divorced single parent. I took my daughter to Yale, and she spent her fourth and fifth years of age there. She loved it. We lived in the graduate family housing and there were a lot of kids her age.”

Harjo had started to pursue an MBA in Oklahoma by attending night school. But when his life situation changed and he became a single father, he knew the “only way to do it was to go to school full time.”

Citibank Internship

In the summer of 1987 Harjo did an internship for Citibank in New York and reviewed statutes and policies affecting the banking industry in Oklahoma.

“It was an enjoyable opportunity to be in New York in the summer of 1987 after my first year in business school. Companies heavily recruited students between the first and second year of business school. It was an enjoyable summer listening to what others had to say.”

Harjo completed TCEMP and graduated with a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale in 1988, and returned to Oklahoma. He then went on to be the tribal planner to director of economic development, and was appointed the first director of the Seminole Nation Development Authority. Harjo did whatever was needed for his tribe for the next 20 years. He knows he’s fortunate to have had the experience of being a TCEMP fellow. It gave him the confidence to tackle the hard issues and trust in his capabilities and take responsibility to get the job done. But he knows not all Natives are as fortunate.

“Some are not used to facing challenges they are not familiar with. They almost freeze, they don’t know what to do. Yale helped give me the tools … so it was not an issue for me to figure out how to do it, and how to not fear not knowing how to do it.”

Harjo says another TCEMP is still needed today to give Native people an opportunity learn basic business management skills. He sees the need everyday as he works to bring people on board in positions with the tribe’s enterprises. An on-site campus experience for a semester or more, where the students can come together on campus once a month to focus on their studies with other Native students and then return to their home communities to continue their work on the ground, is his vision.

Seeking the Same Things

“I remember telling Rebecca Adamson (First Nations founder and former president) and Sherry Salway Black (former First Nations senior vice president) at that time, that an on-site program is a good one. It brings together like-minded people with other professional Native people seeking the same things they are.”

Harjo continues to see how important the work of First Nations Development Institute is for tribal communities. He said the work is especially important in creating Native economies, particularly in the area of entrepreneurship, and developing alternatives for tribes to consider beyond relying on government funding and tribal gaming.

“… to really create a private sector owned by tribal members, real entrepreneurship growth has to come from our communities. We need to develop and have an economic sector that is owned by our people and in our own tribal communities.”

Terry Mason Moore

Terry Mason Moore, attorney and tribal judge, Osage Nation

Terry Mason Moore, attorney and tribal judge, Osage Nation

Terry Mason Moore is a very curious person, an adventure seeker and a risk taker. Moore, a member of the Osage Nation, had earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Northeastern State University, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, plus she had studied international law and comparative law at Oxford University.

She was already an accomplished Indian law attorney when, in the fall of 1990, she left Oklahoma to become a fellow with the Tribal Commerce and Enterprise Management Program, or (TCEMP). The fellowship program was a key component of the First Nations Financial Project, as First Nations Development Institute was called until the name was formally changed in 1991. TCEMP was originally based at Yale University from 1986 to 1988. It then moved to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. TCEMP was generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1991 to 1994.

Moore recalls: “Back then, there were no monies to support you getting an education. It (TCEMP) was a blessing – there were no options then. We were on our own. We appreciated the opportunity. We took a chance, we took a risk and we just went.”

For the next two years Moore and her fellow mate, Aurolyn Stwyer (Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon), focused on their studies with their young children in tow. They were involved with both the Native community on the UMN campus and in the greater Twin Cities.

Gaining Confidence

“We took economic development, economic nonprofit management classes. It was fun. Aurolyn was in a different major, but we took the core classes together. In our second year more TCEMP students came. We were pioneers, Aurolyn and I. We helped lay the groundwork. It made us stronger, gave us the confidence and made us competent to deal with the non-Indian world. We imagined we could succeed and we did. We graduated and we could see the possibilities. We knew we could do it.”

Both Moore and Stwyer would graduate from the UMN Carlson School of Management with master’s degrees in business administration in 1992. Another Native student on campus who was close with Moore and Stwyer was Annette Bowsher Hamilton, who is from the Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas. She was considered a TCEMP student, but was funded by an outside organization. Hamilton graduated in 1993.

Moore credits TCEMP for the opportunity to expand her knowledge and experience.

“Because of First Nations and TCEMP, I grew. I remember Sherry Salway Black (former First Nations senior vice president) and Rebecca Adamson (First Nations founder and former president) taking Aurolyn and I to the First Nations office in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Sherry had us stay over at her house and spend the night, then we went home. It was a great opportunity I would not have had without TCEMP. The incentives, the stipend which covered our living expenses, it all made such a huge difference in being in the program. I could not have done it without funding. It was an opportunity to take advantage of.”

Early Days of Tribal Gaming

Moore stayed in Minnesota for 10 years and combined her law and business degrees to assist tribes in the early days of tribal gaming.

“I was the business contracts person when I worked for Kurt Bluedog’s law firm in Minneapolis. I worked with tribes in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. It was a great experience. I worked on some of the first tribal gaming compacts, helped tribes build casinos and resorts, and many are still doing excellent today. I’m proud of that.”

During her time in Minnesota, Moore served as vice president of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, a board member for the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, and on numerous other organization boards and task forces in the state. She served as tribal judge for the Prairie Island Indian Community, the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, and the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Currently she serves as tribal judge for the Santee Sioux Nation in Nebraska, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota.

Return to the Osage Nation

In 1999 Moore and her family returned to the Osage Reservation, where she was born and raised, and she began working for her tribe. Moore was the legal counsel for the Osage Nation Tax Commission and later general counsel as a contractor.

“I wore every hat. I worked as gaming commissioner, served on the Tribal Council, and was the first woman Assistant Principal Chief. I have worked as general counsel in some capacity since 2000. There is always something going on when working for a tribe. I am now legal counsel to Chief Standing Bear. I work with outside attorneys, litigation and lobbyists in Oklahoma and in Washington, D.C. I was fortunate to go back to work for the tribe – it was a commitment.”

Moore’s commitment to working for her tribe and helping it grow is something she credits back to TCEMP. It also prompted her to take First Nations’ Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families (BNC) training and certification in 2012. She saw it as a way to help empower her tribal community members to achieve their financial goals and manage their assets.

“I took the training to help make the community better. There is a need among our young people to learn how to manage their finances and manage their credit. I was curious about the BNC training so I took it. It was interesting and I learned something new.”

Profiles by Mary K. Bowannie, First Nations Communications Officer

Sponsors Lining Up for “Reclaiming Native Truth”

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The groundbreaking Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions effort has been gaining steam … along with new financial sponsors.

First Nations Development Institute is co-leading the project with Echo Hawk Consulting. This initiative will consolidate and build upon previous research efforts in order to create a long-term, Native-led movement that will positively transform the popular image of and narrative about Native Americans. Between 2016 and 2018, the partners will work with an advisory committee of Native leaders, stakeholders, and racial equity experts and advocates to understand the underlying reasons for society’s negative and inaccurate perceptions of Native Americans. Based on this improved understanding, the project team will have the tools necessary to build consensus around tackling this long-standing problem.

The effort was made possible initially through a $2.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Since then, additional sponsors have come on board. In the last issue of Indian Giver, we announced support from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Minnesota (see story here). They have now been joined by these additional supporters:

 

Don’t Forget Food Sovereignty Summit in October!

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Thumbnail 1First Nations Development Institute and the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin again will co-host the national Food Sovereignty Summit October 2-5, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is a forum for sharing and collaboration to build healthy food systems within our communities.

thumbnail2This event is perfect for Native farmers, ranchers, gardeners, businesses, policymakers, tribal agriculture staff, Native nonprofits working in agriculture, small producers, tribal producers and tribal leaders.

The conference offers three training tracks as well as optional experiential learning sessions:

 

  • Track 1: Applied Agriculture
  • Track 2: Community Outreach
  • Track 3: Products to Market

 

Experiential Sessions
Tuesday, October 3, 2017, and Wednesday, October 4, 2017

  • Experiental Learning I: Tsyunhehkwa Organic Farm – Managed Grazing
  • Experiental Learning II: Aquaponics
  • Experiental Learning III: Environmental Restoration – “Trout Creek Headwater Tributary Restoration” 
  • Experiental Learning IV: Apple Harvesting and Distribution

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If you are interested in presenting at the conference, donating traditional foods or becoming a sponsor, please contact Autumn Romero at aromero@firstnations.org.

For more information, please visit www.firstnations.org/summit

To register now, please click here.

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Recalling Our Roots: TCEMP Program Helped Boost Tribal Economies

TCEMP at Yale University (left to right) Leonard Harjo, Rebecca Adamson (First Nations founder and former president), Bruce King, Russell Red Elk, Richard Silverman (then director of admissions of the Yale School of Organization and Management).

TCEMP at Yale University (left to right) Leonard Harjo, Rebecca Adamson (First Nations founder and former president), Bruce King, Russell Red Elk, Richard Silverman (then director of admissions of the Yale School of Organization and Management).

In the 1980s First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) was on the ground in tribal communities and the work was “aimed at building tribal self-sufficiency through programs that are both economically viable and culturally sensitive,” according to the First Nations 1986-1987 Biennial Report.

The six organizational components of the First Nations Final Project from the1986-1987 Biennial Report.

The six organizational components of the First Nations Financial Project from the1986-1987 Biennial Report.

The First Nations Financial Project, as the organization was then called until the name was changed to the First Nations Development Institute in 1991, focused on six major program components: Technical Assistance, the Oweesta Program, the National Policy and Advocacy Arm, the Marketing Program, the Research and Data Bank, and the Tribal Commerce and Enterprise Program, which was later renamed the Tribal Commerce and Enterprise Management Program, or TCEMP. The six programs were seen as a wheel. The field sites were at the hub and were supported in movement by the spokes, which represented the six organizational components of First Nations, as outlined in the 1986-1987 Biennial Report.

Meeting the Need

TCEMP was conceived by First Nations in 1981 and then launched in the fall of 1984. The program was generously funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York with $264,250 from January 1985 through June 1987. The TCEMP fellows would attend Yale University for two years, then enter a year of service working for their tribal communities after graduation.

“The skilled management of natural and economic resources is a serious need of tribes today. Indian people need high-level training and education to be able to take over the business of directing and managing the reservation economy,” noted a quote from the Biennial Report.

Sherry Salway Black (Oglala Lakota), former First Nations Senior Vice President

Sherry Salway Black (Oglala Lakota), former First Nations Senior Vice President

Sherry Salway Black served 19 years as the Senior Vice President of, and on the boards of directors for First Nations and First Nations Oweesta Corporation. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2016 she received a Special Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). She retired from NCAI in 2015 after seven years as the director of the Partnership for Tribal Governance.

Salway Black is Oglala Lakota and recalls the early years of TCEMP as exciting and energizing.

“The fellowship program was one part of First Nations’ overall strategy and focused on building capacity to manage Native assets. The master’s in public and private management (MPPM) at the Yale School of Organization and Management (YSOM, now the School of Management), offered a unique education that fit more closely to reality in Native communities – the “public and private” nature of Native economies. Students must know business and policy to overcome the structural barriers in reservation economies,” said Salway Black.

The TCEMP lecture series at Yale gave the fellows insight into reservation economic development, while connecting them with key policy and business leaders. The lecture series covered topics ranging from Indigenous international issues, to credit and finance, to rural business development and land consolidation focused on reservation economies.

Yale TCEMP Fellows

The TCEMP fellows each had to apply to Yale and be accepted into the rigorous and challenging program. The first TCEMP fellows who attended the program in the fall of 1986 were John Apple, Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota, who assisted First Nations as a local organizer in the development of the Lakota Funds; Bruce A. King, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, who after graduation worked for First Nations as the first director of the Oweesta Program; Russell Red Elk, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana; and Leonard M. Harjo, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

Chief Leonard M. Harjo, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

Chief Leonard M. Harjo, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

According to the 1986-1987 Biennial Report, Harjo interned for Citibank in New York over the summer of 1987 and reviewed statutes and policies affecting the banking industry in Oklahoma. He completed TCEMP and graduated with a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale in 1988.

“Remember during that time period tribally owned businesses were just beginning to emerge. The law field was getting crowded, I knew if I had an MBA I could work just about anywhere in Indian Country. I tried a part-time MBA program, but soon realized with a family the only way for me to do it was to go to school full time,” said Harjo.

The experience at Yale was invaluable and challenged the fellows. Harjo also had additional responsibilities and commitments as a single father raising a four-year-old daughter while in graduate school. Born and raised on his grandfather’s allotment in Wolf, Oklahoma, Harjo left home for a period to attend his junior and senior years of high school at a prep school in the East. This experience prepared him for his undergraduate years at Harvard, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, focusing on economic development, in 1979, and eventually Yale. Harjo could have landed a job anywhere, but he returned to Oklahoma to fulfill his year of service to his tribe and focus his energies on developing the tribe’s economy.

“It (TCEMP) gave me the confidence to take on the challenges we often face in Indian Country, and to not be afraid of them. Our people, Native people, do not always have the confidence to succeed, even when they are capable. This lack of confidence often means that we don’t assume responsibility for overcoming challenges in the workplace when things simply need to get done.”

Harjo held many positions, from tribal planner to director of economic development, and was appointed the first director of the Seminole Nation Development Authority. Harjo did whatever was needed for his tribe for the next 20 years. Fast forward to 2009, and Harjo decided to pour all his experience and leadership into a larger role and was elected the Principal Chief of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma in the fall of that year.

Chief Harjo credits TCEMP with providing him with the skills he needed to tackle the challenges his tribe has faced. He sees tribal members having to make the choice to find work outside the reservation due to a lack of professional skills needed to take advantage of job opportunities or to advance on the reservation, which leads to a loss of human capital, culture and community.

“A strong economy employs all people and maintains a community. But it is hard to maintain a culture and a community when people have to provide for their families. For culture to thrive, economies have to thrive. This is the hardest challenge for a tribe,” said Harjo.

TCEMP Minnesota Bound

University of Minnesota TCEMP Fellows (left to right) Mark Jacobson, First Nations staff; Terry Mason Moore, TCEMP fellow; Don Bell, Assistant Dean of the University of Minnesota MBA program; and Aurolyn Stwyer, TCEMP fellow.

University of Minnesota TCEMP Fellows (left to right) Mark Jacobson, First Nations staff; Terry Mason Moore, TCEMP fellow; Don Bell, Assistant Dean of the University of Minnesota MBA program; and Aurolyn Stwyer, TCEMP fellow.

After the first class graduated from Yale in 1988, TCEMP moved and was based at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota (UMN) located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. First Nations felt the Yale campus did not have the Native support the students needed to succeed. The University of Minnesota campus had more Native students enrolled, and a large Native community in the area which provided cultural support for the students. Fellows also took classes at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at UMN for their policy education. The Carnegie Corporation of New York continued its support from 1991 to 1994 with a $96,000 grant for the three years.

Since its inception, TCEMP supported 14 students with a graduate-level management education across two major institutions. There were four fellows who started the original program at Yale, with two graduating. Ten students attended the University of Minnesota program, with eight graduating. Three of the eight UMN graduates were considered apart of the TCEMP program, but were supported by funding outside of the Carnegie grant.

One UMN TCEMP fellow supported by the Carnegie grant was Terry Mason Moore, who is from the Osage Nation. She graduated from the UMN Carlson School of Management with a master’s degree in business administration in 1992. Moore had already obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Northeastern State University, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law before being selected as a TCEMP fellow.

Terry Mason Moore, attorney and tribal judge, Osage Nation

Terry Mason Moore, attorney and tribal judge, Osage Nation

“Looking back, I wonder how I was able to do it. I had small children when I went to Minnesota, ages three and five. My fellow mate, Aurolyn Stwyer (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and 1992 TCEMP alum) had a young son. This was before computers, so we had to write everything down, read real books, manage a home, and daycare. We had real challenges, but we leaned on each other, and others in the same situation in the Native community on campus and in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We developed a network and support to be able to succeed and graduate,” said Moore.

After graduation Moore worked in the area of Indian child welfare. Later, she joined Kurt Bluedog’s law firm in Minneapolis and worked on commercial transactions and the business side of tribal gaming. She felt good about building on and combining her business and law degrees to assist tribes, and a number she worked with in the early days of gaming are doing well today, such as the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Watch for the May-June issue of Indian Giver, where we’ll feature profiles of Chief Harjo and Judge Terry Mason Moore.

She and her husband, Ted, who is an artist, and their four children returned to Oklahoma in 1999, and Moore went to work for her tribe, the Osage Nation. In addition to being an attorney, she served as a tribal judge for 22 years, the Assistant Principal Chief of the Osage Nation, and tribal council member, vice chair of the Osage Tribe Gaming Enterprise, and as the Osage Nation Gaming commissioner. Currently she is serving as general counsel to the Office of the Chief.

TCEMP’s Relevance Today

Both Mason and Harjo agree that a program such as TCEMP is still needed today. Chief Harjo sees tribal members every day who would benefit from the higher education and professional development. He says it’s especially needed by the smaller tribes.

“Some tribes don’t have the luxury to develop people internally over a period of time. There are probably only about 50 tribes who have that ability to hire someone at an entry level and train them over a period of years. For the rest of us, the individuals we hire are asked to perform at a high level instantly – often with little or no training or mentoring from within the tribe. There is still as great a need as before in expanding Native economies, to develop Native professionals capable of working in the public and private sectors,” said Harjo.

Moore sees the lack of business skills among the younger Native people and the need for another TCEMP.

“The need is real. There are a lot of attorneys, social service professionals and artists. But there is a need for young people to study finance, loans, mortgages, banking and credit unions. We need professional people to staff those higher-level positions. We need to utilize our own managers and tribal members. We need to grow our own.”

Editor’s note: portions of this article previously appeared in the First Nations Financial Project Report, 1986-1987 Biennial Report.

By Mary K. Bowannie, First Nations Communications Officer

“Rodeo Bucks” Takes Las Vegas by Storm

Participants at "Rodeo Bucks 101"

Participants at “Rodeo Bucks”

Rodeo is much more than a sport – it’s also a business. That’s the thinking behind a timely workshop First Nations Development Institute and partners recently offered at the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many Native youth rodeo contestants earn large cash prizes while competing throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition, managing livestock and participating in family farm operations requires a lot of financial savvy.

“Rodeo Bucks 101” is a workshop that makes financial education fun and simple. The workshop teaches the basics of money management from a rodeo athlete’s perspective. Featured topics include record keeping, money management, independent living, and fraud awareness. All of these topics are covered in an interactive training environment that encourages young people and their families to make the most of their rodeo and financial success.

pix 2On November 9, 2016, approximately 100 teenage cowboys and cowgirls gathered in the South Point Hotel and Equestrian Center, which was the venue for the 2016 Indian National Finals Rodeo. A lively 90-minute workshop was conducted by a team of financial literacy specialists from Chief Dull Knife College and People’s Partner for Community Development (both based in Lame Deer, Montana). First Nations Development Institute helped coordinate the event and provided facilitation.

“I’m highly pleased with the participation we had for the Rodeo Bucks 101 workshop,” said Sharon Small, Executive Director of People’s Partner for Community Development. “This training was a first at the Indian National Finals Rodeo and we’re extremely grateful to the Indian National Finals Rodeo commissioners for their support of youth financial empowerment.”

pix 3Native youth from more than a dozen states and several Canadian provinces spent the morning learning how to budget for rodeo expenses like entrance fees, gear and travel costs. This was reinforced with meaningful discussions about taxes, compound interest and credit. There were drawings for valuable door prizes, including a laptop from a local sponsor and gift cards.

According to Chief Dull Knife College Extension Service Director Henry Thompson, the plan is to scale up the Rodeo Bucks workshop, possibly in partnership with tribal colleges and high schools.

“We proved there’s a need and demand for a rodeo-focused financial skills workshop,” explained Thompson. “If all goes well, the next step is to formalize a curriculum and hit the road training!”

For more information contact:
Tommy Robinson
People’s Partner for Community Development
(406) 477-6215 ext 190
tbr@peoplespartners.org

By Shawn Spruce, First Nations Financial Education Consultant

Our Southwest Tour Will Be Unforgettable!

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This summer, First Nations Development Institute will host its exclusive Southwest Tour. This multi-day event will give you the chance to personally witness the impact your investment is having in Native American communities, as told through the eyes of our community partners. You’ll see first-hand the remarkable work they are doing at the grassroots level.

The tour, Experience the Rich Cultures and Traditions of the Pueblo Peoples of New Mexico, is an unparalleled opportunity to gain an insider’s perspective of First Nations’ guiding principle: We believe that when armed with the appropriate resources, Native peoples hold the capacity and ingenuity to ensure the sustainable, economic, spiritual and cultural well-being of their communities.

Sundesign2 500pxBetween June 11 and 16, 2017, from our accommodations at the Inn of the Governors on the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe, we’ll
become part of Native Pueblo cultures, from visiting a tribal bison herd, to watching children learning their Native language, to
witnessing the leadership development of Native girls and women, to participating in a traditional Pueblo Feast Day, to interacting with Native artists, musicians, cultural leaders and influential tribal advisors. Local guide Eileen Shendo (Jemez Pueblo) will personally escort you on a special journey to experience the spirit of Indian Country through this once-in-a-lifetime tour. You’ll see
first-hand how First Nations is supporting homegrown solutions to community needs. You’ll visit many successful projects funded
by First Nations and see how your investment is making a real impact in Native communities.

Space is limited! If you are interested in being a part of this wonderful experience and want to sign up, or have any questions, please contact Jona Charette (Northern Cheyenne/Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) at (303) 774-7836, ext. 221 or jcharette@firstnations.org. To view a flyer about the tour, click here.

The cost for this five-night and five-day tour is $2,795 for one adult, or $4,195 for two adults. Cost is all inclusive with the exception of airfare and round-trip transportation to/from Santa Fe (if you are flying into Albuquerque as opposed to Santa Fe).

We hope to share this unforgettable journey with you!

Shakopee Tribe Donates $100,000 to “Reclaiming Native Truth”

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The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) recently made a $100,000 donation to the Reclaiming Native Truth project that is co-managed by First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting under a major grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The gift was part of a package of new SMSC donations totaling more than $4 million for Native American causes in several states.

Reclaiming Native Truth is a groundbreaking project that will consolidate and build upon previous research efforts in order to create a long-term, Native-led movement that will positively transform the popular image of and narrative about Native Americans. From 2016-2018, the project team is working with an advisory committee of Native leaders, stakeholders, and racial equity experts and advocates to understand the underlying reasons for society’s negative and inaccurate perceptions of Native Americans. Based on this improved understanding, the project will have the tools necessary to build consensus around tackling this long-standing problem. It is expected that the project will lead to the creation of a national campaign to achieve greater awareness, respect and equality for Native peoples.

SMSC_Logo_1“Launching an unprecedented national project like Reclaiming Native Truth requires farsighted dedication from planners and funders. The SMSC’s donation shows a long-term commitment to improving the lives of Native Americans,” said Michael Roberts, co-director of Reclaiming Native Truth and president and CEO of First Nations Development Institute.

“There are so many needs across Indian Country, and this new financial support will go a long way toward improving the lives of many people, especially children and future generations,” said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig.

The SMSC has donated approximately $350 million to organizations and causes since 1992.

The donation to the Reclaiming Native Truth project was made on the heels of a $200,000 gift the SMSC made to fund living allowances for AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers working to improve Native nutrition, as part of the SMSC’s $5 million Seeds of Native Health campaign. It was the first time in VISTA’s history in which a tribe provided funding to deploy VISTA members nationally. In an editorial lauding the SMSC’s Seeds of Native Health campaign, the Star Tribune – Minnesota’s largest news outlet – called the tribe a “philanthropic force.”

Funding Collaborative Helps Implement First Junk-Food Tax

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A unique funding collaborative formed by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) came together recently to support the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance (DCAA) in its efforts to implement healthy foods legislation passed by the Navajo Nation. In 2014, the Navajo Nation passed two new and innovative policies to encourage healthy living and lifestyles on the Navajo Nation:

  • Navajo Nation Council Resolution CJA-05-14 removed the Navajo Nation 5% sales tax on healthy foods sold on the Navajo reservation, including fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, water, nuts, nut butters, and seeds, and;
  • The Healthy Diné Nation Act (HDNA) of 2014 authorized an additional 2% sales tax on unhealthy foods and sugar-sweetened beverages in all retail locations on the Navajo Nation, the first junk food tax in the United States.

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Launched with a leading gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the funding collaborative will support DCAA with a combined gift of $262,000. This includes funding from:

First Nations is proud to support DCAA and this innovative legislation on the Navajo Nation. Revenue raised from the collected taxes is directed into a fund to support Community Wellness Projects at all 110 Navajo Nation chapters. “These two pieces of legislation really demonstrate the potential for Native nations to exert their sovereign powers to improve health and well-being in Native communities,” said Michael E. Roberts, First Nations President & CEO. “We are honored to be able to bring these needed resources to help with implementation efforts across the Navajo reservation.”

“To improve Native Americans’ dietary health, tribal communities must take control of their own destinies,” said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig. “We are pleased to have our Seeds of Native Health campaign work with First Nations and other funders to support the Navajo Nation’s groundbreaking policies to better the health of their people.”

With this support, DCAA will work with departments and chapters on the Navajo Nation to ensure that Navajo communities can access funds to create healthy living programs and ensure accurate tax compliance.

“This support is a gift to healthy future Navajo generations,” said Denisa Livingston of DCAA. “This unique collaboration is one vital component toward the movement to empower our communities to create positive, sustainable, healthy environments. The investments are an opportunity to build capacity both at the local level and at our tribal hill to expand toward improvement, efficiency and consistency. We look forward to continuing to improve the quality of life for our Diné people while creating lasting working relationships with our tribal government.”

“We are thrilled to support this initiative that models both the power of Indigenous communities to innovate precedent-setting global policy, and a pathway to resilient economies based on community and environmental health,” said Kyra Busch, Program Officer at The Christensen Fund.

Reports Detail Tribal Food Policy Efforts & Tribal College Impact

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First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) recently released two new reports that should prove valuable for tribes and Native organizations.

Roots of Change: Food Policy in Native Communities

Roots of Change: Food Policy in Native Communities looks at recent developments in tribal communities aimed at taking control of their local food systems.

“Far too often, tribal communities asserting control over their food systems feel alone. But they are not alone and can garner lessons from other tribal communities working on revitalizing their food systems,” said A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations Associate Director of Research and Policy for Native Agriculture, and report co-author. “This report reviews recent and lesser-known food-reclaiming strategies and food system work.”

The strategies vary from reservation to reservation, with some tribes getting involved in food policy and legislation, land management, food gathering, traditional food access, and the business development of food retailers.

“Native communities are looking at different ways to exert food sovereignty to improve nutrition, health, economies and governance over local food systems,” said Raymond Foxworth, First Nations Vice President of Grantmaking, Development and Communications. “Moreover, different sectors within Native communities are involved, including grassroots and nonprofit organizations, businesses and tribal departments. This report highlights what Native nations can do at the policy and legislative levels to improve local food sovereignty.”

Some of the tribes featured in the report include Cheyenne River Sioux (South Dakota), Confederated Siletz Tribe (Oregon), Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (Michigan), Lummi Nation (Washington), Muscogee (Creek ) Nation (Oklahoma), Navajo Nation (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado), Salt River Pima Maricopa (Arizona), Sault St. Marie Tribe (Michigan), and the Yurok Tribe (California).

Roots of Change: Food Policy in Native Communities was funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and was created under First Nations’ Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative, or NAFSI. The full report can be downloaded free from the First Nations’ Knowledge Center at http://www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center/foods-health. (Note: In the Knowledge Center, if you don’t have one already, you will need to create a free online account in order to download the report. Your account will also give you access to numerous other free resources in the Knowledge Center.)

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Research Note: The Economic Impact of Tribal Colleges in the Northwest Area Foundation Region

The second report highlights the economic impact of tribal colleges in the eight-state region served by Northwest Area Foundation. It finds that tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) contribute significantly to both short- and long-term economic development in reservation-based Native communities.

The report – The Economic Impact of Tribal Colleges in the Northwest Area Foundation Region — is the first in a new series of short publications called Research Notes that will keep the field updated with timely research about Indian Country. This inaugural report in the series was authored by Benjamin Marks, First Nations Senior Research Officer.

The report illustrates that the 19 TCUs in the eight-state region of the Northwest Area Foundation serve as immediate economic drivers in reservation-based communities. These 19 TCUs accounted for an average of more than $217 million in revenue between 2010 and 2011, and more than $285 million in net assets. Furthermore, the 19 TCUs employ more than 4,200 individuals.

TCUs also contribute to long-term, sustainable economic development by providing a more skilled workforce, encouraging entrepreneurship and small business development through a range of programs and services, and even offering asset-building programs to all community members through financial education classes and financial coaching.

The new Research Note series serves to deliver short, periodic research updates when First Nations has important findings to present that may not require a full-length publication or requires further analysis for a larger publication. The reports will generally be less than 10 pages and feature an analysis of new or existing data. Findings presented in the Research Notes may lead to more extensive studies in the future.

“We’re excited to offer these to anyone interested in new research about exciting developments in Native communities and issues that concern Indian Country,” said First Nations President & CEO Michael E. Roberts. “First Nations has been a leader in producing publications about Native economic development and other efforts, and we wanted to provide even more timely updates whenever we discover significant information that is not suited for a longer report.”

Future Research Notes will include topics dealing with asset-building, Native food systems, giving to Native communities, issues with American Indian/Alaska Native Census data, and more. The Research Notes will be available from the Knowledge Center on the First Nations website at www.firstnations.org/knowledge-center, where they will be individually categorized under the appropriate First Nations program area. (Note: In the Knowledge Center, if you don’t have one already, you will need to create a free online account in order to download the report. Your account will also give you access to numerous other free resources in the Knowledge Center.)