35 Years of History: A Look Back at Some Milestones

Photo from First Nations' 1996/97 Biennial Report (Photo by Owen Seumptewa, courtesy of The Hitachi Foundation)

In observing our 35th Anniversary during 2015, we’ve been taking a look back at some of our history. We’ll be sharing some of these historical tidbits with you by way of this newsletter over the rest of the year. Here are three milestones from the earliest years:

  • In 1980, First Nations Financial Project (renamed First Nations Development Institute in 1991) was founded with a $25,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, making First Nations the first nonprofit social enterprise exclusively committed to Native control of tribal assets. www.firstnations.org
  • In 1982, First Nations began research for its Oweesta Program (from the Mohawk word for money), and established the program in 1986. In 1999, the Oweesta Program became First Nations Oweesta Corporation, which is an independent subsidiary of First Nations. Oweesta is a certified national Native community development financial institution (CDFI). Oweesta’s programs and services include lending, capacity building, financial education and asset-building. www.oweesta.org
  • In 1985-86, First Nations assisted in the creation of The Lakota Funds on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the first Native American community development financial institution (CDFI) in the U.S. www.lakotafunds.org