For our 2019 Indigenous Arts Ecology Grantees, we are honored to introduce five Native art community organizations. These organizations work closely with their artists and culture bearers who are connected with the heartbeat of their local Indigenous arts ecosystems.
As an interdisciplinary artist, Peter Williams (Yup’ik) strives to express and celebrate the oneness of all things. Under his fashion label Shaman Furs, Peter produces high-end fur garments. He also demonstrates the technique of sewing seal and sea otter fur at museums and universities.
Peter is a 2018 First Peoples Fund (FPF) Artist in Business Leadership Fellow and received a 2018 grant from Rasmuson Foundation. He is based in Sitka, Alaska.
Founded by Northern Cheyenne sisters Madison and Jordan Craig in 2017, Shy Natives aims to empower women with customized lingerie. Through Instagram, Shy Natives accumulated a loyal support network in Indian Country and beyond, being featured in Bustle, Indigenous Goddess Gang, Coy Culture, 1904, and Tea & Bannock. Madison and Jordan produce meaningful content along with creating undergarments to fit women of all sizes.
Sharing energy and ideas, making genuine connections, forming lifelong bonds –– these were just some of the ways attendees described their experiences during the combined convening where First Peoples Fund (FPF) Artist in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital fellows and Indigenous Arts Ecology (IAE) partners joined together this past month. The event marked the first time FPF brought together the Fellowship Programs and IAE Grant Program together for a gathering.
In 2018, First Peoples Fund (FPF) supported 15 ABL fellows and 10 CC fellows. Becky Monnens, our Story Tracker/Data Analyst, sorted through the extensive data we collected to help us understand the impact of the fellowship on these 25 artists and culture bearers. Combined with our previously published research on the 6 Resources Artists Need to be Successful, Becky was able to identify not only encouraging data but also the beautiful stories of what our fellows accomplished and experienced throughout the year.
The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards recognizes exceptional Native artists who have shown a lifetime commitment to perpetuating their art and sharing it within their communities. These practicing artists embody First Peoples Fund’s core principles: knowing our history and ourselves; honoring our ancestors and relations; sharing our stories and knowledge.
We are honored to announce the four recipients of the 2019 Community Spirit Awards.
Elexa Dawson is a founding member of an all-female acoustic roots band, Weda Skirts (formerly The Skirts), who have released and self-distributed two albums of original music written primarily by Elexa.
She is a mother, musician, and activist living in Chase County, Kansas, the heart of the Flint Hills. She is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a descendant of the Cherokee Nation with familial ties to the Chickamauga Cherokee. The tallgrass prairie on ancestral Kaw and Osage territory inspires her music and advocacy.
Kevin Locke is an internationally-recognized master traditional folk artist, visionary hoop dancer, indigenous Northern Plains flute player/recording artist, cultural ambassador, and an educator. A citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and coming from the ancestral line of Lakota and Anishinabe, he self identifies as a World Citizen.
Since 1978, Kevin has traveled to nearly 100 countries to educate, entertain, engage, and empower 1,000,000 people. He currently serves as president of the Patricia Locke Foundation.
Delving into the wealth of stunning showcases, engaging sessions, and the in-between spaces where connections are made, artists and staff from the First Peoples Fund (FPF) family took part in two prestigious performing arts conferences – APAP|NYC and NPN - and came away with inspiration, motivation, and friendships.