Cultural Capital

2018 Native Artist Fellowship Applications Now Open

2018 Native Artist Fellowship Applications Now Open

Through our Artists in Business Leadership and Cultural Capital Fellowships, First Peoples Fund partners with Native artists and culture bearers to strengthen their business skills and to ensure that art, culture and ancestral knowledge are passed from one generation to the next. 

Applications for 2018 fellowships are now open and are due October 31, 2017. Selection notification is by December 1, 2017 with fellowships starting January 2018.

ANCIENT TRADITIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

ANCIENT TRADITIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Never forgetting the rights and rituals of intricate quillwork, Deborah Magee carries ancient traditions of her ancestors forward to the 21st century. She conducts every phase with respect and gratitude for those who perfected these techniques. “It was like I rediscovered my sense of tribal identity when I started doing traditional work,” Deborah said.

THE MESSENGER

THE MESSENGER

Apartment cleared out and belongings packed into her “war pony,” Matika Wilbur (Swinomish/Tulalip) set out on an epic adventure to capture the tenacity, richness, and contemporary beauty of every tribe in the United States. “Matika” means “messenger” in her tribal language, and she is living up to her name through Project 562. Her goal is to photograph positive indigenous role models and shift the narrative in mass media from stereotypical to true representations of Native people today.

Anna Brown Ehlers - National Heritage Award

Anna Brown Ehlers - National Heritage Award

Anna Brown Ehlers remembers the moment when she first dreamed of becoming a Chilkat weaver. She was four, Alaska had just become a state, and her uncle was dancing in his traditional Chilkat blanket during a community celebration.

“I saw that beautiful design and those rich colors. I watched the fringe gracefully moving back and forth as my uncle danced, and I knew I hoped I could do that someday,” she said.

Fifty-eight years later, Anna has been recognized as among the country’s foremost artists by the National Endowment for the Arts through a National Heritage Fellowship. The awards were announced in June. In 2001, First Peoples Fund honored Anna through a Community Spirit Award for her work to revitalize and pass on Chilkat weaving, an art form that was nearly lost in her lifetime.

A QUILTED POEM

A QUILTED POEM

Tasha Abourezk (Three Affiliated Tribes), 2017 Cultural Capital Fellow, uses textiles to explore her Mandan/Hidatsa heritage as well as contemporary politics. She stitches culture and textiles together, leaving the viewer to question deeper realities behind the work.

FIRST PEOPLES FUND 2017 FELLOWSHIP CONVENING

FIRST PEOPLES FUND 2017 FELLOWSHIP CONVENING

First Peoples Fund held our 2017 Fellowship Convening earlier this month in Minneapolis. The convening is an extended professional development opportunity, balanced with time for sharing, reflecting and creating new bonds. "My biggest takeaway from the convening were the connections I made with the staff and fellow artists. I got to know my support network there and met new collaborators,” said 2017 fellow Paul Wennell (Anishinaabe/Oneida), a hip-hop artist based in Minneapolis.

Honoring a Legacy

Honoring a Legacy

Dana Tiger (Mvskoke) was only five years old when her father passed. She turned to his art as a way to get to know him. Under the guidance of her uncle — renowned painter Johnny Tiger, Jr. — she came to know the richness of her culture and the bounty of its artistic tradition. But she didn’t know if she had it in her to carry on her father’s legacy. Dana’s children could paint. Her uncle. But could she?

A Heavy Responsibility, A True Privilege

A Heavy Responsibility, A True Privilege

Drawing lessons at age four. Carving at six. David R. Boxley was the first of his generation to hold a traditional potlatch in his village. He doesn’t take the privileges given to him lightly. His life and his art are dedicated to bringing back his People’s culture, to saving their language for this generation and the next. His work lives and breathes a connection into their past, present and future. 

Carrying On

Carrying On

The aroma of beef stew and rice welcomed some of the greatest Hawaiian musicians to Cyril Lani Pahinui’s home as his father’s fame grew. The setting was perfect for the rejuvenation of Hawai’i musical traditions. But it wasn’t easy for Cyril to learn.