As we focus on investing in the Indigenous Arts Ecology, our family continues to evolve and grow. In recent months, we’ve welcomed new staff to First Peoples Fund — three young women from diverse backgrounds who are enriching our programming while supporting artists and culture bearers at the heart of our work.
Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation) writes fiction and nonfiction for children featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and gained literary representation by Emily Mitchell of Wernick & Pratt Agency. She holds a Master’s degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. She and her family recently moved to Wagoner, Oklahoma.
Throughout her long career, singer/songwriter Annie Humphrey (Anishinaabe/Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) has collaborated with Keith Secola, Jim Boyd, Chris Eyre (movie soundtracks), Wayne Horvitz, Winona LaDuke, Keri Pickette, and James Starkey. She partnered with John Trudell on the award-winning video “Spirit Horses.” Her CD projects include UnCombed Hair, The Sound of Ribbons, Edge of America and The Heron Smiled.
2018 First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital fellow Lisa Iron Cloud (Oglala Lakota) is a listener, community member, teacher, sewer, beader, traditional food maker/trader, hunter, and mother. Her husband, Arlo Iron Cloud Sr. (Oglala Lakota), is also a 2018 Cultural Capital fellow. He works for KILI Radio and Thunder Valley CDC on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The couple reside in Rapid City, South Dakota, with their four children.
The Intercultural Leadership Institute year 2cohort traveled to the ILI Lakota Territory convening — hosted by First Peoples Fund — September 12 - 16, 2018, for an immersive experience. Their journey began with grounding in the place through ceremony at Pe’ Sla, one of the sacred sites for Lakota people.
This month First Peoples Fund and partners Lakota Funds and Artspace broke ground on Oglala Lakota Artspace, an 8,500-square-foot Native arts and cultural center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The $2.75 million construction is scheduled for completion in late 2019 and will include individual artist studios, shared workspace for group collaborations, a recording and sound studio, a classroom for art classes and business trainings, commercial space, a storefront for Lakota Federal Credit Union and more.
Fox Spears’ (Karuk) primary medium is monotype printmaking. He uses hand-cut stencils and layers of ink on paper to create images inspired from Karuk basketry designs. His prints are in the collection of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington. His other mediums include drawing, painting, and installation work. Fox resides in Seattle, Washington.
Nanibaa Beck (Diné) was exposed to contemporary Native American art and practice at an early age. After 20+ years of assisting her father, Victor Beck, Sr., a master Navajo silversmith, Nanibaa created her jewelry line NOTABOVE in 2013. Her earlier research work and museum fellowships included the National Museum of American Indian and the Peabody Essex Museum.
ArtChangeUS REMAP: Pine Ridge: “Reclaiming Our Way of Knowing” engaged Native and non-Native artists, educators, activists and changemakers in two days of immersive cultural experiences that included ceremony, artistic practice, workshops, and roundtable discussions. REMAP unpacked how Lakota people are re-visioning education methods rooted in Lakota culture and as stewards of our homelands while drawing parallels to other communities’ ideas and innovations towards centering heritage-led education practices.