First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) recently announced the selection of 22 American Indian organizations and tribes to receive grants through its Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) for the 2017-18 funding cycle. The grants total $410,000.
First Nations launched the NYCF in 2002 with generous support from Kalliopeia Foundation and other foundations and tribal, corporate and individual supporters. The NYCF is designed to enhance culture and language awareness, and promote youth empowerment, leadership and community building. To date under this fund, First Nations has awarded 351 grants to Native youth programs throughout the U.S., totaling $5.96 million.
These are the 2017-2018 projects:
- California Indian Museum & Cultural Center, Santa Rosa California, $20,000 – The project serves Native youth in the center’s tri-county, rural service area of Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties. The youth, ages 11-18, are members of or descended from five tribes in the region, with the primary affiliations being Pomo and Coast Miwok. They work with Native elders and adults to produce K-12 curriculum videos for a program that serves all Native youth in the region.
- Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Odanah, Wisconsin, $18,200 – “Weshki Niigaaniijig – Young Leaders” serves tribal youth, ages 13-18, in developing leadership and role-modeling skills through projects focused on traditional Anishinaabe harvesting activities. The youth will teach cultural harvesting practices to other youth in four communities, thereby encouraging development of positive cultural role models.
- Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe, Hollister North Carolina, $20,000 – This project focuses on reclaiming traditional coming-of-age ceremonies for boys and girls ages 13-18 by connecting youth and elders, culturally and spiritually, to their history. By engaging the elders to share their wisdom and cultural knowledge, the youth participate in workshops that teach them fundamental lessons and help document disappearing cultural traditions. These youth will then teach the next generation.
- Hoopa Valley Tribe, Hoopa, California, $20,000 – The xo’ji kya’ project provides an opportunity for young Native women to work closely with female cultural experts/elders/regalia-makers to make ceremonial dresses and document the process to share with the community via videos and manuals. Each young woman is expected to pass on the knowledge to other young women.
- Iḷisaġvik College, Barrow, Alaska, $20,000 – During the summer, the college implemented three cultural camps for Alaska Native youth ages 13-25 on Iñupiaq Land Use, Values, and Resources; Iñupiaq Arts and Culture; and an Iñupiaq Immersion camp. The camps are focused on traditional hunting/camping/gathering skills; Iñupiaq language, grammar and linguistic development; and exploring art, history, culture and expression through an Iñupiat worldview.
- Lakota Cultural Center, Eagle Butte, South Dakota, $20,000 – This project passes on cultural arts and knowledge from the elder generation to the next on the Cheyenne River Reservation. A series of cultural arts courses will be held in order to begin building the next generation of culture bearers within the Lakota community.
- Lakota Language Consortium, Bloomington, Indiana, $3,300 – This project identifies young members of the Lakota Nation and trains them simultaneously as language learners and teachers. The Lakota Summer Institute is a four-week boot camp at Sitting Bull College, where youth learn Lakota language, phonology and teaching methods and, empowered with these skills, return to their communities where they will host and teach their own language workshops.
- Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, Minnesota, $20,000 – Our “Heritage, Culture and Traditions – Uniting Youth and Elders” pilot project will bring youth ages 14 to 24 and tribal elders together to plan, implement and evaluate a cultural (aanji-bimaadizi – change life) learning center program for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. This initiative will establish the foundation, tools and community investment required to develop a sustainable program and permanent site for future generations.
- Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Harbor Springs, Michigan, $18,300 – Because of a history of assimilation through education, youth are struggling emotionally and spiritually without purpose or place. Regenerating rites-of-passage ceremonies to connect youth to themselves and their purpose is critical. Because many families are disconnected from traditions, there is unfamiliarity with and lack of access to ceremony. This project addresses this, and will increase the number of youth ages 10-19 who demonstrate positive identity development and increased cultural knowledge.
- Medicine Lodge Confederacy, Garrison, North Dakota, $20,000 – The Arikara Tribe has historically had young men societies where they were mentored by older men. The confederacy is striving to revive these ways of teaching. The Star Boy Camp will recruit young men ages 12 to 15 and teach them the skills of leadership, communication, confidence and self-discipline. Those who excel will become peer counselors during the next year.
- Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, Eagle Butte, South Dakota, $20,000 – Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains has 24 members on reservations throughout the Northern Plains. There are 10 shelters for women and their children. The Empowering Children in Shelter project will focus on three of the shelters of the Santee Sioux Tribe, Oglala Nation and Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The project will enhance the environment for these children with cultural activities and ceremonies during their healing from trauma.
- Navajo Studies Conference, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, $20,000 – The organization will work with youth and elders during the school year. The teams will form Diné Alliances and will be responsible for development of a cultural project that responds to a social issue. These partnerships will have a lasting impact for the next generation and will be recorded. The Diné Alliances will post their cultural projects online.
- Ogallala Commons, Inc., Nazareth, Texas, $14,000 – Since 2013, First Nations has funded 13 Native internships through the Ogallala Commons Community Internship Program. This grant will fund additional internships, one each on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations, and one in North Dakota, as well as intern travel to attend the orientation retreat in Texas and the convening of two youth-engagement days for high school students at Sinte Gleska University and Oglala Lakota College.
- Osage Nation, Pawhuska Oklahoma, $19,800 – Trunks of culturally and spiritually significant items will be transported countywide by the Osage Nation Cultural Center staff (accompanied by tribal elders and youth to assist as curriculum guides and with interactive presentations) to schools and youth events. This will increase youth access to hands-on, multi-generational interactions that serve to preserve, strengthen and renew Osage traditions and beliefs.
- Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Nixon, Nevada, $20,000 – The Summer Cultural Day Camp and activities planned throughout the year will teach children their Northern Paiute culture and heritage through language immersion, traditional dances, oral history and the making of traditional Paiute beadwork. Elders and community members will share their knowledge in both hands-on and classroom settings.
- Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Tama, Iowa, $16,600 – The grant will serve the cultural needs of youth through the creation of Iowa hand drums, one large drum, two-piece dresses, the learning of traditional Meskwaki songs and the learning of traditional Meskwaki dances. The grant will serve youth ages 10-18.
- Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe, New Mexico, $20,000 – The Leadership Institute will implement the 2017 Pueblo Convocation. The first Pueblo Convocation was held in 2012 and brought together more than 600 Pueblo people to learn about Pueblo priority areas. This project will add a youth track, where youth will be involved in organizing, planning, research and presentations.
- Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Suquamish, Washington, $19,800 – The Suquamish Tribe, in collaboration with tribal employees, community members and elders, will provide two one-week trainings to introduce tribal youth to traditions and practices regarding local subsistence foods. This programs will focus on how science and sovereignty support traditional tribal values as well as provide an opportunity for tribal youth to explore career paths within the tribe and develop their mentoring skills.
- TC Roughriders 4-H Club, Walthill, Nebraska, $20,000 – Children and young adults will learn to identify traditional foods and ceremonial plants that are important to the Omaha Nation. Tribal elders and other experts will conduct educational activities outdoors and in the kitchen. Participants will learn Omaha language words for the plants and food products. The youth will meet the elders and learn their stories of using these foods and of growing up Omaha. These activities will provide alternatives to unhealthful choices for at-risk children.
- White Mountain Apache Tribe – Water Resources, Ndee Bikiyaa, The People’s Farm, Fort Apache, Arizona, $20,000 – The summer farm camp is a learning opportunity for local tribal students ranging from grades 5 to 8. This serves as a bridge between youth and elders by providing hands-on cultural crafts, traditional farming techniques, Apache language, wild foods gathering, food preservation, and education on food sovereignty. All major communities on the reservation will be included.
- Woodland Boys & Girls Club, Neopit, Wisconsin, $20,000 – The project aims to “Build Brighter Futures through Language & Culture” by incorporating the use of the language in programs, teaching traditional songs and dances, and teaching hunting, fishing and gathering. This will help youth develop mind, body and spirit as Native people who understand the balance in their lives. The teaching of language and culture also helps with youth self-esteem and identity issues, and builds resiliency to negative behaviors.
- World Indigenous Nations University, Hula, Hawaii, $20,000 – The OPIO Leadership Academy will provide training by elders/cultural Hawaii Pasifika (WINU HP) mentors/master practitioners to 20 aspiring Native youth in Hawaii, in the traditional practices of Hawaiian healing arts. Training will incorporate traditional protocols, practices, performance and proficiencies specific to each healing art. Youth participants will demonstrate their understanding, knowledge and application of these principles and practices in family, school and community settings through a community-wide Hoike or public performance.