Native Art

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.

STORIES MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND

STORIES MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND

Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer and her mother Lynda Kay Sawyer, both tribal members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, opened their filmmaking and creative writing class for young students at this summer’s Chickasaw Arts Academy with what seems like a simple question: “What’s the first thing you need to make a film?”

Actors, cameras, lights the students guessed.

“The answer,” Sarah explained, “is a good story.”

MEET THE NEW STORY TRACKER

MEET THE NEW STORY TRACKER

Becky Monnens, previously a program officer at The McKnight Foundation, returned to her home state of South Dakota a few years ago and worked with the Black Hills Area Community Foundation before recently filling the Story Tracker/Data Analyst role at First Peoples Fund. Becky brings an understanding of the value of data and stories to nonprofits, foundations and the field.

#KEEPPUSHING

#KEEPPUSHING

Going to ceremony, John Isaiah Pepion sits and watches the movements, the designs. Ideas turn over in his mind, coming up with the images he will use in his art.

A descendant of Mountain Chief, a Blackfeet leader, John does pictographic Plains art, incorporating traditional design elements into contemporary illustrations. 

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.

FIRST PEOPLES FUND BOARD MEMBERS Q&A SERIES — RON MARTINEZ LOOKING ELK

FIRST PEOPLES FUND BOARD MEMBERS Q&A SERIES — RON MARTINEZ LOOKING ELK

Through this series, we highlight the extraordinary people who serve as First Peoples Fund’s board of directors. They are the culture bearers and leaders from national nonprofits within and beyond Indian Country who graciously guide First Peoples Fund and strengthen the Collective Spirit®.

An international award winning artist, Ron Martinez Looking Elk is a traditional potter from Isleta and Taos Pueblos in New Mexico. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, his expertise includes 20 years of community and leadership development, specializing in building sustainable economic development in Indigenous communities globally. Ron has worked and trained with Indigenous artists, leaders, and organizers from many countries including New Zealand, Japan, Greece, South Korea, Africa, Bolivia, Peru and with tribes throughout the U.S.

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.

ARTISTS UNITE

ARTISTS UNITE

First Peoples Fund traveled to the Colville Indian Reservation for a visit with partner Northwest Native Development Fund earlier this month. We held a meeting with community artists to learn more about what they need and what is happening across Indian Country to raise awareness of the importance of honoring and supporting Native artists and culture bearers. Jesse Utz, a writer for The Star in Grand Coulee, Wash., attended. Here's his story about the powerful connections and the breakthrough he made at the meeting.  

FIRST PEOPLES FUND BOARD MEMBERS Q&A SERIES — BIRD RUNNINGWATER, SUNDANCE INSTITUTE

FIRST PEOPLES FUND BOARD MEMBERS Q&A SERIES — BIRD RUNNINGWATER, SUNDANCE INSTITUTE

Through this series, we highlight the extraordinary people who serve as First Peoples Fund’s board of directors. They are the culture bearers and leaders from national nonprofits within and beyond Indian Country who graciously guide First Peoples Fund and strengthen the Collective Spirit®.

RE-MEMBERING LIFE

RE-MEMBERING LIFE

A mosaic of memories, the way the mind protects from pains of the past. Tanaya Winder (Duckwater Shoshone Tribe) knows someone has to dive headfirst into this muck and darkness to bring forth hope and beauty. She pieces together memories to answer questions in life, to re-member and to explore healing words through poetry. She writes from a place of love.