For nearly 39 years, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has had the privilege of working with countless Native American leaders – elders, knowledge keepers, cultural advisers, language experts and the like – to restore, rebuild and/or perpetuate Indigenous knowledge systems. We have witnessed such individuals spark significant innovation and change in their communities.
Recently, First Nations, with generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation, launched a new fellowship program – the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship – to recognize and reward some of these outstanding individuals for their important community contributions and dedication to preserving and perpetuating Indigenous culture, language, history and lifeways. The fellowship will provide awards in the amount of $50,000 each to 10 individuals.(See earlier story at http://indiangiver.firstnations.org/nl190102-09/)
Earlier this year, First Nations appointed an advisory committee to discuss the parameters of this new fellowship program. The committee, which consists of eight distinguished Native American intellectual leaders representing a diversity of geographies, tribes and fields, met for two days at First Nations’ office in Longmont, Colorado, on Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29, 2019, to refine application materials and ensure that the selection process is inclusive and benefits all. The advisory committee will meet again in November to review applications and interview finalists.
The advisory committee members are:
- Brenda J. Child, Ph.D. (Red Lake Ojibwe) is Northrop Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, and former chair of the Department of American Indian Studies. She is the author of several books on American Indian history, and is a member of the board of trustees of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
- Carnell Chosa, Ph.D. (Jemez Pueblo) co-founded and co-directs The Leadership Institute and the Summer Policy Academy projects housed at the Santa Fe Indian School. The Leadership Institute focuses on cultivating generations of Native communities through Leadership, Community Service, Public Policy and Critical Thinking.
- Cynthia Lindquist, Ph.D. (Spirit Lake Nation) is the president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College at Fort Totten, North Dakota, on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Her Dakota name means Pretty, Good Talk Woman. She has found many ways to serve the Dakota people and Indian peoples all over the United States, especially in the fields of higher education and health.
- Elvera Sargeant or Konwanahktotani (Mohawk) manages the Friends of the Akwesasne Freedom School, a Native-led nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ensuring a prosperous future for the students of the Akwesasne Freedom School. The school, which was created as a place for Mohawk education, immerses students in Mohawk culture, language and agricultural practices.
- Jonathan K. Osorio, Ph.D. is Dean of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. At Kamakakūokalani, he has developed and taught classes in history, literature, law as culture, music as historical texts, and research methodologies for and from Indigenous peoples. His recent publications include The Value of Hawaiʻi: Knowing the Past and Shaping the Future, which he co-edited and authored, and Dismembering Lāhui: A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887. He is also a composer and singer and has been a Hawaiian music recording artist since 1975.
- Jordan Dresser (Northern Arapaho) is a journalist, museum curator, and producer of the documentary What Was Ours, an award-winning feature documentary set on the Wind River Indian Reservation. He is currently working on a second documentary, Home from School, focusing on the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s efforts to retrieve the remains of three Arapaho children buried at Carlisle Indian School a century ago.
- Rosalyn R. LaPier, Ph.D. (Blackfeet/Métis) is an environmental historian, ethnobotanist, writer and popular public speaker on traditional environmental knowledge, American Indian religion and activism. She is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. She is also a Research Associate with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
- Teresa Peterson, Ed.D. (Upper Sioux Community) serves as Tribal Planner for the Lower Sioux Indian Community. Peterson is also an adjunct faculty in the Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies for Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, and a founder of Dakota Wicohan, a Native nonprofit whose work is in Dakota language and lifeways revitalization.
By Sarah Hernandez, First Nations Communications Officer