On Sept. 6, nearly 100 people came together to celebrate First Nations Development Institute’s new permanent home and office building in Longmont, Colorado. The occasion was an open house featuring good food, friends, supporters and, of course, lots of fun.
First Nations actually moved into the existing building in the north part of Longmont back on April 26, but it wasn’t until early September that we were ready and able to pause and celebrate. We had to get everything situated and make a few updates and repairs (and we’ll continue to make improvements in the future), plus we had to do our regular work in the meantime.
Some of the attendees included Longmont Mayor Dennis Coombs and other local elected officials, state officials, representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, area business people, the professional and business tenants in our building, some of the funders, foundations and individual donors who help sustain us, and numerous representatives from other American Indian organizations in Colorado and New Mexico such as the Native American Rights Fund, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Notah Begay III Foundation, the American Indian College Fund, the Denver Indian Center, and Native American Bank. We even had a few of our Facebook friends and Twitter followers drop by for the event.
Besides ample and delicious food and the chance to reconnect with many friends and professional Native connections, the highlights of the observance were remarks and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting by First Nations President Michael Roberts (Tlingit), and a Kiowa song and blessing by noted Colorado Indian leader John Emhoolah Jr. (Kiowa and Arapaho). Then we celebrated with cake!
We’re planning to call our building the “First Nations Professional Building.” It’s located at 2432 Main Street in Longmont, Colorado.
As the chairman of our board of directors, B. Thomas Vigil (Jicarilla Apache/Jemez Pueblo), noted in our recent annual report, “First Nations purchased its own headquarters building after years of leasing space and dealing with seemingly endless rent increases. It became obvious that First Nations needed to seize control of its own physical space. The building is now a key asset of the organization, providing operational space as well as rental income from other tenants. I believe it’s a sign of the continuing growth and maturity of the organization, and is testament to its growing presence, impact and credibility in Native communities.”