Native Arts Ecology Building Grant

The Native Arts Ecology Building (NAEB) grant offers coaching, training, and funding to Native nonprofit organizations, with a focus on Native Community Development Financial Institutions (Native CDFIs).

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About NAEB

The Native Arts Ecology Building Grant is a powerful tool that enables us to extend our impact beyond individual artists by supporting Native nonprofit organizations, including Native Community Development Financial Institutions (NCDFIs) in their efforts to uplift Native artists in their communities. Our cohort-based grant program provides nonprofits with tools to uplift Native artists in their communities, identify opportunities for them to thrive and highlight their value to the wider fabric of Native communities. This grant is available by invitation only.

In 2018 we published a report detailing the results of our work with Native Arts Ecology Building Grant grantees, Investing in the Indigenous Arts Ecology. This report builds off of what we learned from our 2013 market study, Establishing a Creative Economy: Native Arts as an Economic Engine.

The Lightning Boy Foundation 501(c) charity (NAEB Grantee) is dedicated to empowering and building confidence and integrity in Native Youth through culture and artistic expression. Video by Mountain Mover Media, Kaela Waldstein.

What is the Indigenous Arts Ecology?

First Peoples Fund defines Indigenous Arts Ecology as a relationship-based, collective system of arts ecosystems, grounded in ancestral knowledge and inclusive of environments, spirit, people and lifeways.

Indigenous Arts Ecosystems are the local or regional communities of individuals, formal and informal networks, resources, cultural infrastructure, organizations and businesses that interact as a system and provide support to Indigenous artists and culture bearers. These ecosystems are led by artists and culture bearers whose art and lives embody the values, traditions and aspirations of their communities.

These concepts inform our Native Arts Ecology Building Grant, encouraging organizations to reach beyond how artists drive creative economies and emphasizing their value to the wider fabric of Indigenous communities, environments and traditions.

Meet the Grantees

4-Directions Development works to create an environment that will successfully attract, develop and support entrepreneurial, social and community development by providing education, technical assistance, financing and facilities.

The Alliance for Felix Cove advocates for the protection and restoration of the only remaining 19th century Tomalko (Coast Miwok Tomales Bay)-built home at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The Alliance aims to re-indigenize the ancestral homelands of the Felix Family—the last Tomalko family to live on the western shores of Tomales Bay at Felix Cove known as Laird’s Landing.

Ke Kukui Foundation is a culturally based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves Oregon and Washington. With the ever-growing population of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the Pacific Northwest, their organization focuses on providing and creating cultural resources and opportunities to the community. They continue to work towards fulfilling their late founder, Deva Yamashiroʻs mission to preserve and to share traditional Hawaiian culture through educational programming consisting of music, dance, language, and other traditional arts.

Lakota Funds' mission is to promote economic sustainability on the Pine Ridge Reservation and geographic service area, through business loans, technical assistance, and wealth-building education for families and businesses.

The Lightning Boy Foundation is a non-profit organization in Northern New Mexico that provides traditional hoop dance instruction and other dance programming to youth ages two and up. Our mission is dedicated to nurturing and building confidence and integrity through culture and artistic expression.

The Mni Sota Fund is an urban Native CDFI that provides training and access to capital in order to promote home ownership, entrepreneurship, and financial capabilities among American Indian men and women throughout the state of Minnesota. We do this through the provision of development services and financial products.

Native Voices at the Autry is devoted to developing and producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and First Nations playwrights.

Founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Emeritus Producing Executive Director Jean Bruce Scott, Native Voices became the resident theatre company at the Autry Museum in 1999 and has produced 26 plays (including 22 world premieres) in 39 productions, 25 New Play Festivals, 8 Short Play Festivals, 16 Playwrights Retreats, numerous national and international tours, more than 230 workshops and over 275 play readings.

Since 1991, Red Eagle Soaring has mentored hundreds of Native youth, staged over 180 productions, and supported youth access to the healing power of Native cultural traditions which promote social, physical, and intellectual engagement. In bringing together Native youth to learn about the technical aspects and process of theatre, they also build a community of people interested in learning about, sharing, promoting, and supporting Native arts and cultural lifeways.

Redbud Resource Group helps improve public health outcomes for Native American communities through education, research, and community partnership.

Redbud helps organizations, institutions, and employers become valued partners with Native peoples and their communities. Their programs utilize public health and education research to empower change by filling knowledge gaps and improve outcomes for communities experiencing chronic disparities.

Warm Springs Community Action Team’s mission is to promote community development in Warm Springs by empowering individuals and groups of people to realize their potential, become self-reliant, and affect positive change for themselves, their families, and their community.

Dakota Wicohan works to revitalize the Minnesota Dakota language, known as the eastern or D-dialect. This is one of three dialects that use the D, L, and N interchangeably. The D dialect is spoken by the Dakota bands indigenous to the Minnesota region—the Mdewakantaon, Sisitonwan, Wahpetonwan, and Wahpekute.

Their mission is “to revitalize Dakota as a living language, and through it, transmit Dakota lifeways to future generations.”

Their long-term vision is to build Minnesota’s first Dakota learning institute that will prepare and empower increasing numbers of people, generation by generation, to lead our communities with wo’Dakota.

Established in 2000, Four Bands Community Fund is a nonprofit organization that has emerged as a leader in the Native American community and economic development movement. We are a leading organization on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and in South Dakota in small business development, business lending, financial literacy, and youth entrepreneurship. Our programs and services translate the traditional Lakota values of self-sufficiency, wise resource management, and a spirit of entrepreneurship into practical applications for today’s modern economy.

Gizhiigin Arts Incubator serves artists living on the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation. We help artists reach their marketplace goals by providing space, resources, and technical assistance for their entrepreneurial development.

Gizhiigin is focused on achieving 3 major outcomes: Artistic and economic growth for our artists, the Creation of an arts destination to promote the economic growth of White Earth, Cultural revitalization, vitality, and community pride.

Groundwater Arts is a predominantly POC, fully women-led citizen-artist collaborative based across the United States. We’re committed to reenvisioning the art field through a climate justice lens.

Based in the Twin Cities, New Native Theatre is a new way of looking at, thinking about, and staging Native American stories. Created in 2009 by playwright, Rhiana Yazzie, NNT produces, commissions, and devises authentic Native American stories for the stage which means NNT’s artists are intricately connected to the concerns and voices of their communities.

The Northwest Native Development Fund seeks to foster economic and financial independence for Native people by assisting in the development of personal assets through financial and entrepreneurial education as well as providing access to capital through creative lending products. NNDF will promote this mission by increasing homeownership and economic opportunities.

Yellow Bird, is a non-profit organization, founded by Phillip Whiteman Jr. Northern Cheyenne Traditional Chief and Lynette Two Bulls, Oglala Lakota who is also the Executive Director. We are located on the beautiful Northern Cheyenne Homelands in Southeastern Montana. At the core of our organization are the youth and elders. These two age groups are crucial because they represent the future and the wisdom needed to carry on. We are comprised of youth and elder advisory councils and depend on volunteers for our programs.

IndigenousWays promotes living in balance for diverse communities through music, arts, outreach and events. Our vision is to reach Indigenous & LGBTQIA2+ communities through outreach with music, the arts, and Indigenous Wisdom that creates and enhances survival and sustainability.

Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center and Bald Eagle Preserve Visitor Center are helping to address the village/clan’s pressing issue of where to put the precious clan treasures that are no longer housed in clan houses and the community’s desire to rebuild and restore our cultural heritage.

PAʻI is the acronym for Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima, the hālau hula (school of Hawaiian dance) founded in 1977 by kumu hula (master teacher of Hawaiian dance), Vicky Holt Takamine. Established in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PA‘I’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate Native Hawaiian cultural traditions for future generations. We are guided and led by our founder and executive director Vicky Holt Takamine who is recognized as a Native Hawaiian advocate and community organizer around the issues of Native rights and the protection of the natural and cultural resources of Hawai‘i that are so vital to the perpetuation of Native Hawaiian cultural traditions.

Sitting Bull College is a Tribal College located on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota with two sites in South Dakota. Guided by Lakota/Dakota culture, values, and language, Sitting Bull College is committed to building intellectual capital through academic, career and technical education, and promoting economic and social development. The Standing Rock Indian Reservation is uniquely located in southern North Dakota and northern South Dakota.

As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Zuni Pueblo MainStreet is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.

The mission of the Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation to finance, promote, educate, and inspire the entrepreneurial growth, economic opportunity, and financial well-being of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Community and other under-served Native populations through Financial Education, Access to Capital, Business Development Services, Innovative Capacity Building Practices, and Community Development Initiatives.

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a member-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a member-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians.

Kawerak works hard to meet the needs of the people of the region through strong collaboration and cooperation with all 20 tribes, our regional medical center, and our Elder’s wisdom and expert guidance. The scope of service and work is wide but our mission keeps us united and focused on meeting the identified needs and working together to engage in this mission.

NACDC Financial Services, Inc. is a tax-exempt, non-profit CDFI located in Browning, Montana on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. We offer a range of services that are tailored to the needs of Native entrepreneurs: Comprehensive financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to both youth and adults, Alternative financing opportunities for start-ups and existing business ventures, Assistance in repairing and building credit.