James Pakootas (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) is a motivational speaker and hip-hop artist. He coordinates events, mentors youth, and provides a fresh look into the world of addiction and substance abuse. A certified First Peoples Fund trainer and 2019 Artist in Business Leadership Fellow, James lives in Spokane, Washington.
Talon Ducheneaux-Shoots The Enemy (Cheyenne River Lakhota, Crow Creek Dakota) is a beatmaker, rapper, and producer. While his primary medium is hip-hop, traditional music plays an inspirational role in how he approaches art. Growing up several of South Dakota’s reservations, Talon bases much of his music on those experiences.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and now resides in Pierre, South Dakota.
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.
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.
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.