A heartfelt thank you to the New York Times for highlighting the importance of the National Endowment of the Arts funding for Lakota Country. If approved by Congress, the national budget proposal would mean the elimination of NEA grants to Native artists and the organizations and institutions that support them across Indian Country.
Through the Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards, we recognize the work of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian culture bearers who uphold the Collective Spirit®. Through their work and their lifeways, these artists embody the traditional values of First Peoples Fund — generosity and wisdom, respect and integrity, strength and humility.
These culture bearers are sustaining the arts of Indigenous people within their communities, growing arts ecologies, and teaching the next generation of artists and culture bearers of their People.
In 2017, we honor four outstanding culture bearers as they join nearly 100 past recipients of this prestigious award.
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®.
Kelley Lindquist has served as president of Artspace Projects since 1987. Under his leadership, Artspace has grown from a staff of one and an annual budget of $60,000 into the nation’s leading nonprofit developer of space for artists with a staff of 70, a budget of $12 million, and stewardship of properties comprising more than two million square feet of residential, studio, office, rehearsal, and performance space. To date, Artspace has completed 35 major projects including more than 1,500 affordable live/work residences for artists and their families.
First Peoples Fund joined a new effort, 12by12by12, linking leading nonprofit organizations to mobilize progressive support across the U.S. The crowd-sourcing portal and social media effort seeks to harness new political momentum and energy into ongoing, monthly support around 12 key issues areas.
Annie Humphrey (Anishinaabe/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) believes we all have a job to do, gifts we’re born with that come out. Sometimes, that’s simply taking care of tomatoes. During one of their projects, John Trudell told her, “You take care of the tomatoes, and I will keep the beast out of the garden.”
2017 Artists in Business Leadership Fellow
Mic Jordan (Ojibwe) believes keeping music in his heart saved him. No matter what he was going through, music took him to a better place. He used music to navigate everyday life. He creates music and tells stories from his heart. Music is not what he does. It’s who he is.
2017 Artists In Business Leadership Fellow
Bryan Parker (White Mountain Apache, Muscogee Creek, Mississippi Choctaw) knew it was his time and the right fit. When he learned of the position opening for the Rolling Rez Arts coordinator for First Peoples Fund, he was ready to get involved in the Native arts community on a deeper level. Rolling Rez Arts delivers state-of-the-art mobile services, including arts space, banking, retail and business training, to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI) launches today! Conceived of by non-profit regional and national arts organizations - Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples Fund, National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), and PA'I Foundation - ILI is a newly formed, paradigm-shifting personal and leadership development program for artists, culture bearers, and other arts professionals.