Help Us Honor Culture Bearers

Do you know a Native artist who has dedicated his or her life and work to sustaining cultural traditions within their community? First Peoples Fund has opened nominations for the 2018 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards, and we want to hear from you.

“If your life has been touched by a Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian artist who embodies the Indigenous values of generosity, integrity, humility, and wisdom, consider nominating them for the Community Spirit Awards,” said Lori Pourier, president of First Peoples Fund.

The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards, launched in 1999, are national grants for established Native culture bearers who demonstrate substantial contributions to their communities through their careers as artists. Each year, First Peoples Fund seats a national panel to select four to six Community Spirit honorees from tribes across the country.

In March, First Peoples Fund announced the following 2017 Community Spirit honorees:

“The process of bringing spirit back to a community is an important responsibility of artists — it is part of a sacred honor system,” said Bud Lane, a basket maker of the Siletz Nation in Oregon who was a Community Spirit honoree in 2009 and is a member of First Peoples Fund’s board of directors. “Through the Community Spirit Awards, First Peoples Fund strengthens that honor system by recognizing these exceptional artists for knowing themselves, honoring others, and sustaining spirit in their own communities.”

Nominations close July 31, 2017. Full applications are then mailed to the artist/nominee and nominator after nominations close and are due back to First Peoples Fund together by October 30, 2017.

If you would like to receive a nomination form by mail or to learn more, please contact First Peoples Fund Program Manager Jessica Miller,, 605.348.0324


HEADER IMAGE: 2016 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award Honorees Lynette Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota) and Philip Whiteman, Jr. (Northern Cheyenne). Image by Steve Wewerka.