HONOR AND CELEBRATE EXCEPTIONAL NATIVE ARTISTS ACROSS INDIAN COUNTRY.

Each year, First Peoples Fund honors and celebrates exceptional Native artists and culture bearers across the country through the Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards. These artists embody their People's cultural assets in their creations and their way of life.  

AWARD AMOUNT: $7,500
NOMINATION DEADLINE: July 31, 2017  

APPLICATION DEADLINE: October 30, 2017
SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENT: December 2017   

 

THE AWARD

Bringing spirit to community is an important responsibility for artists — it is part of a sacred honor system. Through this award, First Peoples Fund strengthens that honor system by recognizing exceptional artists who have worked selflessly throughout their lives to weave their cultural knowledge and ancestral gifts into their communities. 

Since 2000 we have recognized nearly 100 culture bearers across Indian Country through the Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards. Honorees are selected for sustaining and growing understanding of the creative practices and cultural values of their People. 

 

ELIGIBILITY

Nominees must be practicing Native artists who have demonstrated a lifetime of commitment to their art, engaging in their work for at least 10 years, and must be documented affiliate of a United States Tribe (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian). The award is open to artists of any medium, from visual to performing to literary, in both traditional and contemporary forms.

 

3 EASY STEPS TO NOMINATE AN ARTIST

Anyone can nominate a Native artist for the Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards. Nominators tend to be students, mentees, colleagues, and tribal elders who have recognized these exceptional artists for knowing themselves, honoring others, and sustaining spirit in their own communities. 

To nominate an artist, please follow these three easy steps: 

1. IDENTIFY 

Identify an artist who you feel exemplifies the spirit of this award — and contact the artist to confirm their interest in the award.

2. NOMINATE

Briefly write the contributions the artist has made to his or her community. Nominations are accepted from January until July 31, 2017. Nominations are now closed for 2018. Please sign up for our email to get notified when they will reopen for 2019. 

3. APPLY

Full applications are mailed to the artist/nominee and nominator after nominations close July 31, 2017 and are due back to First Peoples Fund together by October 30, 2017.

 

WHO WAS JENNIFER EASTON

Jennifer Easton (1947-2017) founded First Peoples Fund in 1995 as a donor advised fund of the Tides Foundation to support Native artist-entrepreneurs and culture bearers. In 2003, the organization was established as a separate nonprofit headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota. First Peoples Fund started the Community Spirit Awards in 2000, and named them after Jennifer to honor her vision and generous spirit. Since then, First Peoples Fund has leveraged Jennifer's initial investment to grow and thrive. We continue to build from her vision. 

Our way soothes and calms the senses and opens the path to the heart and soul, allowing love to flow out. I think our way is better. And that’s all I have to say about that. :-) jefi”
— Jennifer Easton following the 2010 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards

 

THE CELEBRATION

Our biannual celebration, the Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards will return to Rapid City in the Fall of 2018 at the Performing Arts Center. Through music, dance, poetry and film, we will honor the 2017 and 2018 honorees from across the country who have worked selflessly to weave their ancestral knowledge into their communities’ present and future. The evening shines a light on the wisdom and generosity of these culture bearers, connecting us to our common values and Rapid City’s own community spirit.

Each honoree will also be honored with a celebration in their local community and a story, video and photo portrait will be commissioned for First Peoples Fund publications. 

 

QUESTIONS?

For more information, please call Mary V. Bordeaux at (605) 348-0324 or email at mary@firstpeoplesfund.org.