First Peoples Fund Announces 2017 Artist Fellows

First Peoples Fund is pleased to announce the 2017 artists chosen by a national selection committee to receive the 2017 Artists in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital Fellowships. First Peoples Fund offers $5,000 annual grants to Native artists dedicated to the wellbeing of Indigenous artistic expression and its relationship to the Collective Spirit® of First Peoples.

“We are proud to welcome artists from across Indian country into the First Peoples Fund family,” said First Peoples Fund President Lori Pourier. “Each one of these fellows works within their artform and their community to further the cultural values we hold strongly at First Peoples Fund – generosity, wisdom and integrity.”

The Artists in Business Leadership program provides support for artist entrepreneurs to achieve and sustain financial independence. These Fellows are mid-career artists who have demonstrated a commitment to pursue their art as a career and are leaders in their communities.

2017 Artists in Business Leadership Fellows:

  • Razelle Benally – (Oglala Lakota/Diné), independent filmmaker, Chinle, Arizona
  • Jason Garcia – (Santa Clara Pueblo Tewa), printmaker, Espanola, New Mexico
  • Erin Genia – (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), mixed media sculptor, Olympia, WA
  • Annie Humphrey – (Anishinaabe / Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), singer/songwriter, Deer River, Minnesota
  • Mic Jordan – (Ojibwe), hip-hop recording artist and performer, Fargo, North Dakota
  • Gunner Krogman – (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), hip-hop recording artist and performer, St. Francis, South Dakota
  • Cary Morin – (Crow/Assiniboine), singer/songwriter, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Marlena Myles – (Spirit Lake Dakota), graphic and drawing visual artist, Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Wade Patton – (Oglala Lakota), drawing and painting visual artist, Rapid City, South Dakota
  • John Isaiah Pepion – (Piikani), ledger and graphic visual artist, Valier, Montana
  • Paul Wenell, Jr. – (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), hip-hop recording artist and performer, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tanaya Winder – (Duckwater Shoshone, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Southern Ute), poet and spoken word artist, Boulder, Colorado
  • Crystal Worl – (Tlingit Athabascan), graphic and painting artist, Juneau, Alaska

Cultural Capital Fellows are committed to keeping their tribal heritage and culture alive. First Peoples Fund’s Fellowship program provides selected artists the opportunity to further their important cultural work in their communities that is grounded in traditional values.  

2017 Cultural Capital Fellows:

  • Tasha Abourezk (Mandan/Hidatsa), textiles and sewing artist, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Lydia Apatiki (Sivuqaghhmii – St. Lawrence Island), skin sewing artist, Gambell, Alaska
  • David R. Boxley (Ts'msyen), wood carving artist, Metlakatla, Alaska
  • Deborah Magee – (Blackfeet), quillwork and beadwork artist, Cut Bank, Montana
  • Mary Menadelook – (Native Village of Diomede), skin sewing artist, Little Diomede, Alaska
  • Dana Tiger – (Mvskoke / Cherokee), painting artist, Muskogee, Oklahoma
  • Matika Wilbur – (Swinomish/Tulalip), photographer and storyteller, La Conner, Washington

“We are humbled by the creativity, talent and community commitment this new cohort of Fellows embodies,” said Jessica Miller, First Peoples Fund program manager. “They bring a strong array of skills and cultural perspectives to our organization and the communities we partner with.”

First Peoples Fund is supported by The Ford Foundation, The Bush Foundation, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, HRK Foundation, The Howe Family Foundation, Surdna Foundation, U.S.D.A. Rural Business Opportunity Grant, and Johnson Scholarship Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Endowment for the Arts.

Main photo: Toddler Moccasins by Lani Hotch (Tlingit). Image courtesy of Juliana Brown Eyes Clifford (Oglala Lakota).