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First Nations Development Institute Awards $165,000 in Grants to Six Native American Organizations and Tribes

LONGMONT, Colorado (Sept. 17, 2015) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the awarding of four grants to Native nonprofit organizations and two grants to tribes through its Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative (NACBI). The six grants, which total $165,000, will help strengthen the organizational, managerial and programmatic capacity of Native organizations and tribal governments to serve the field of Native American arts and Native American artists through existing programs.

First Nations believes the continuing development of Native American art is an indispensable component of Native community economic development which supports the retention of Native cultures and languages. Simply put, art is and has been a vital economic force in Indian Country that cultivates entrepreneurship and cultural continuity. This First Nations initiative is part of a three-year project targeting Native nonprofits and tribal government programs serving the field of Native arts and artists in the four-state region of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. First Nations’ NACBI is made possible through the generous support of the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

The 2015 NACBI grantees are:

  1. American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), Duluth, Minnesota, $30,000 – The Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin Artist/Community Collaboration will be a year-long art-making and artist-development project for Native American artists primarily from the Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, White Earth, Mille Lacs, Leech Lake Bands and Red Lake Nation. AICHO will work with the Gimaajii community to curate, coordinate and document art-making events, Native artist skill-building and professional development workshops, and collaborative installations and performances. AICHO will develop a website where Native artists display professional photos and sell their art. AICHO will address cost obstacles by funding supplies, providing workshop meals, and paying stipends to artists to lead workshops for residents and community members.
  2. Dakota Wicohan, Morton, Minnesota, $30,000 – Given the scarcity of Dakota artists and opportunities for making, showing and selling art in their Minnesota homelands, Dakota Wicohan will use the grant for its Tawokaga Program to create opportunities to develop artists and for artists to make art. Dakota Wicohan will also focus on strengthening its organizational capacity to support the artists to be able to better sustain the artists and the arts while also expanding the visibility of and supporting the network for Dakota arts in rural Minnesota. Dakota Wicohan will leverage its recent successes to continue intergenerational apprenticeships, add professional development opportunities for artists, publicize and share Dakota arts, expand the capacity of its in-house programming, and develop and enhance relationships so that Dakota Wicohan can offer more opportunities for their artists.
  3. Lower Sioux Indian Community, Morton, Minnesota, $30,000 – This project will help revitalize the Native American artists who have been teaching, preserving and showcasing art in the mediums of pottery, quilting/sewing, woodwork/sculpting, beading, leather work, painting/drawing, and quillwork. The Lower Sioux Agency Historic Site will be the hub station for artists to showcase their art, market their products and provide educational workshops to the Lower Sioux Tribal Community members and other Natives in the area. The grant will serve as an apprenticeship program for quilters, potters, beaders and leather workers.
  4. Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake, Minnesota, $30,000 – The Red Lake Native Arts Program serves predominantly adult artists and emerging youth artists living on and or near the remote Red Lake Reservation in northwestern Minnesota. Geography and lack of knowledge about the work of Native artists in the area and also small business development have made it difficult to establish a thriving arts economy. The grant will provide a wraparound approach from developing the artist's personal/business foundation to providing access to expanded markets and the necessary tools for success. By building staff capacity rather than relying on inconsistent volunteer time, the Native Arts Program will become more effective in delivery of key program components: art-specific business training and coaching, sales events, cooperative development and access to capital. The project has the underlying intent to revive and preserve the rich culture and traditions of their Anishinaabe people.
  5. Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF), Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, $15,000 – The Little Eagle Arts Foundation (LEAF), founded in 2013, is an emerging Native-led nonprofit that primarily serves artists from the Ho-Chunk Nation and other Wisconsin tribes. LEAF will utilize the grant to expand its capacity as a Native nonprofit. LEAF will plan and implement a board retreat for a planning, growth and expansion project, which will serve the LEAF Board of Directors and the Native artists (predominantly Ho-Chunk and other Great Lakes-area tribes) that benefit from LEAF's programs. Work will include creation of a formal board handbook, a board retreat, and a strategic plan framework to ensure a standard of good governance. As an emerging nonprofit, LEAF is in an optimal position to put in place the essential elements of good governance. This valuable work will provide LEAF with a strong footing to build a stable board and an organization that can achieve its mission of serving Native artists in Wisconsin.
  6. Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association, Belcourt, North Dakota, $30,000 – The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians has experienced a loss of art forms that were essential to its heritage and culture. Creating an authentic Native American artwork project will assist in redeveloping the lost arts. The Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association has created an art project, the Artistic Renewal and Preservation Project, consisting of three component: beadwork, red willow basket creation, and dance regalia, focusing on the traditional styles of the ancestors. The project is designed to provide past, present and new artists with the opportunity to build upon their skills and become master artists and entrepreneurs. The project also will involve peer-learning and sharing opportunities in which traditional master artists will teach community members in hands-on art sessions that are open to all enrolled tribal members.

About First Nations Development Institute
For 35 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

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PROGRAM CONTACT:
Catherine Bryan, First Nations Senior Program Officer
cbryan@firstnations.org or (303) 774-7836 x201

MEDIA CONTACT:
Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer
rblauvelt@firstnations.org or (303) 774-7836 x213


 

 

 
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