The Ford Foundation announced today that First Peoples Fund President and CEO Lori Pourier (Oglala Lakota) is one of 25 new Art of Change fellows. The fellowship supports visionary artists and cultural leaders in creating powerful works of art that help advance freedom, justice, and inclusion and strengthen our democracy.
A strong wind blew across the grasslands as we huddled together, sheltering between vehicles. It was a quiet moment for a group of 50, a time of silence as all gathered close and waited. We stood at the top of a hill near the Wounded Knee Cemetery and the site where a band of Lakota people were massacred in 1890.
We prepared for this time at the Lakota College Historical Center in Kyle where we viewed photos and heard the story of Wounded Knee. The time came to experience the place and feel the emotions.
Through this series, we highlight the extraordinary people who serve as First Peoples Fund’s board of directors. They are the culture bearers and leaders from national nonprofits within and beyond Indian Country who graciously guide First Peoples Fund and strengthen the Collective Spirit®.
Carlton Turner works across the country as a performing artist, arts advocate, policy shaper, lecturer, consultant, and facilitator. He is the Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, a regional arts organization based in the South supporting artists working at the intersection of arts and social justice.
Jason Garcia (Santa Clara Pueblo Tewa) earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking within his 20-plus-year art career. He has participated in the Comic Art Indigene at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, and Native Pop! at the New Mexico Museum of Art. His work has led to top awards and honors, including a Ronald N. and Susan Dubin Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research, and Best of Classification and Artist’s Choice awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market.
Jeff is the best-selling author of five books including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve, and teaches online courses (including the popular Tribe Writers). He’s also a speaker and consultant.
On his blog, GoinsWriter.com, Jeff shares his thoughts on writing, life, and creative work. He says, “We all have a creative gift worth sharing with the world, and that is our art. So whether you have a business idea, a book in you, or some other project you want to start, my goal is to help you get that work out of you and into the world. And here’s the thing: you don’t have to starve to share your best work. If you have a passion for creativity and changing the world, this is the place for you.”
Erin Genia is an Olympia-based artist of Dakota descent. With her skills in two- and three-dimensional techniques, she creates mixed media sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, pottery, and jewelry.
Erin studied art at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Evergreen State College. Her award-winning work has exhibited nationally and internationally. One of her pieces recently won the Honoring Innovation Award at a show at the Washington State History Museum.
Through our Artists in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital Fellowships, First Peoples Fund partners with Native artists and culture bearers to strengthen their business skills and to ensure that art, culture and ancestral knowledge are passed from one generation to the next.
Applications for 2018 fellowships are now open and are due October 31, 2017. Selection notification is by December 1, 2017 with fellowships starting January 2018.
The audience watched in awe. They had never experienced anything like this. Flashes of color, the heartbeat of the drum, the Native dancers and their fluid movements captured this moment in time for the audience to reflect on for years to come.
In the expansive Montana country, so few encounter the culture lived and practiced by Native people. But the Native American Community Development Corporation (NACDC) is bringing authentic Native culture back into the world of the annual Western Art Week which takes over Great Falls, Montana, every year in March.
Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer and her mother Lynda Kay Sawyer, both tribal members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, opened their filmmaking and creative writing class for young students at this summer’s Chickasaw Arts Academy with what seems like a simple question: “What’s the first thing you need to make a film?”
Actors, cameras, lights the students guessed.
“The answer,” Sarah explained, “is a good story.”
Becky Monnens, previously a program officer at The McKnight Foundation, returned to her home state of South Dakota a few years ago and worked with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation before recently filling the Story Tracker/Data Analyst role at First Peoples Fund. Becky brings an understanding of the value of data and stories to nonprofits, foundations and the field.