We are excited to welcome a dynamic cohort into our fellowship programs for 2019. The variety of art mediums they practice show the incredible range of Native arts and the depth of Indigenous talent found across the country.
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.
Gunner Jules (Sicangu Lakota) is an Alternative R&B recording and performing artist. He grew up with his family on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. He currently works in the Sicangu MVP program as a mentor to young males recovering from violence and other trauma.
Gunner is releasing a new song in January 2019 called “Energies,” making it available on all streaming platforms. He is expecting to release his first album this spring.
He is a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Leadership fellow and 2019 Cultural Capital fellow.
Sheldon Raymore (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe) is a storyteller, second-generation tipi maker, visual artist, actor, choreographer, cultural consultant, count keeper, and an award-winning grass dancer.
He starred in ABC’s Born to Explore with Richard Weiss “Legend of Dance” where he was the featured grass dancer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Sheldon was awarded the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Community Arts Fund “2015 Performance Art” Grant. He is a 2019 First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital fellow and resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Four Bands Community Fund’s mission is to create economic opportunity by helping people build strong and sustainable small businesses and increase their financial capability to create assets and wealth. They create opportunities for individuals, businesses, and communities that are committed to financial independence and entrepreneurship.
First Peoples Fund’s Dances with Words program hosted the 6th Annual Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) Poetry Slam on December 13th.
Local media produced several stories on the event:
Wesley May (Red Lake Band of Chippewa) is from the Red Lake Indian Reservation. An artist for 20 years, Wesley conducts healing through art workshops, community murals, and live exhibition paintings with youth groups, schools, and communities across the United States. He is the founder and owner of Wesley May Arts, is a former First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Leadership fellow, and 2017-18 Intercultural Leadership Institute fellow.
Micheal Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota) is an artist from Rapid City, South Dakota and the Red Shirt Table community located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, also in South Dakota. Micheal received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in 2009. He was awarded a 2015 Artist in Business Leadership fellowship, served as the Northern Plains Artist in Residence at the University of South Dakota in summer 2016, and was a 2018 IAIA Artist-in-Residence. Micheal is a multi-media artist with a focus on printmaking.
Jaida Grey Eagle is an Oglala Lakota artist, born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her primary medium is photography and filmmaking. She is also a beadworker, aerial artist, and writer. Jaida received formal training in photography at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a B.Yellowtail artist and resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.