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First Nations Development Institute Awards Native Youth and Culture Fund Grants

First Nations Development Institute has awarded the most recent round of grants to tribes and Native American nonprofits to renew Native American culture among Native American youth.
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A total of 23 tribes and Native American nonprofits will share in $400,000 of Native Youth and Culture Fund (NYCF) grants awarded by the First Nations Development Institute (FNDI), which range from $8,000 to $19,400.

According to a press release announcing the awards, NYCF was started in 2002 by FNDI as way to “preserve, strengthen, and/or renew American Indian culture and tradition among tribal youth.” Since its inception 179 grants totaling $2.9 million have been made.

“First Nations firmly believes that Native youth represent the future of Native communities, and that their health and well-being determines the future well-being of Indian Country,” the release says. “The NYCF program invests in tribal youth and gives them a sense of place and tradition in the community, while ensuring the growth of future American Indian leaders.”

2011-2012 Awards are listed below with a brief description of their program:


Hopi Credit Association (Keams Canyon, AZ) - Youth Financial Literacy Camp - $10,200

Hopi youth, ages 14-18, will participate in a financial literacy camp provided by the Hopi Credit Association. The camp will include presentations by local community members, whose expertise in their field will be used to enhance the real world learning experience. The presentations will include a cultural view of how money management and savings can be correlated to traditional farming practices.


California Indian Museum & Culture Center (Santa Rosa, CA) - Conversational Pomo Documentation Project - $19,400

The California Indian Museum and Culture Center’s project teaches Native youth digital media skills while creating teaching/learning resources to foster speakers of the endangered Pomo languages. Pomo elders and youth will partner to record conversations that will be used to create a distance learning curriculum. Youth will have the opportunity to learn how to edit the master recordings into a web-friendly presentation at a language preservation camp. The project will reach language learners in 21 Pomo tribes.

Round Valley Indian Tribes (Covelo, CA) - Cultural Awareness Program for Tribal Youth - $13,400

The Round Valley Tribes Cultural Awareness Program for Tribal Youth supports the year-long efforts of the tribe's traditional dance group and summer youth camp. Both efforts focus on instilling the importance of knowing your family and elders, symbolism of regalia, traditional language, partnering with other tribes to support the transmission of traditional culture and to develop leadership skills.


Hawaiian Community Assets, Inc. (Honolulu, HI) - Strengthening Future Generations through Culturally-Relevant Financial Education - $19,400

Strengthening Future Generations is a culturally relevant financial education project for Hawaiian and Native Hawaiian youth ages 13-27 residing in low and moderate income communities. Through training and technical assistance, Hawaiian Community Assets will mentor community members to deliver financial education to youth.


Native Vote Alliance of MN (Cass Lake, MN) - 2nd Annual Youth Civic Camp - $10,000

The 2nd Annual Youth Civic Camp will be hosted at the Ojibwe Language Camp of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. The camp provides an opportunity for youth ages 13-16, to blend traditional civic education and organizing, with renewable energy and localized farming, all with a cultural emphasis.

MontanaAlternative Solutions (Polson, MT) - Sharing the Story - $19,400

Sharing the Story, based on the Flathead reservation, centers on bridging intergenerational divides by capturing the stories of tribal members and transforming them into theatre productions. Tribal youth will collect stories and use them to develop story lines. The productions will incorporation both English and Salish language components, which will be created with the assistance of the last fluent tribal elders. The plays presented will include casts from across the reservation and include the history and culture of the Salish people.

Fort Peck Community College (Poplar, MT) - Nakona and Dakota Summer Immersion Programs - $18,100

Fort Peck Community College will host a ten-week summer language immersion program for the Nakota and Dakota languages. The goal of the program is to increase the number of speakers and carriers of traditional knowledge by utilizing a relationship between the elders and younger generations. The students, junior high through college level, will have the opportunity to teach the language once they have become semi-fluent.

New Mexico

Notah Begay III Foundation, Inc. (Bernalillo, NM) - Katishtya's Health Empowerment Project -$19,400

The Katishtya’s Health Empowerment Project will strengthen San Felipe Pueblo youth to engage themselves, their families, the San Felipe Pueblo community and other local Native communities in a culturally-based obesity and diabetes health education program. The project utilizes Keres language and images to promote healthy lifestyles and will emphasize increased physical activity and healthy eating.

Santa Fe Indian School (Santa Fe, NM) - Brave Girls - $15,650

The Brave Girls project is housed at the Leadership Institute in the Santa Fe Indian School. The project will empower, educate and encourage youth development in order to prevent at-risk activities in the future. The girls will learn important life skills to make positive decisions, avoid risky behaviors and promote overall well-being.

Tewa Women United (Santa Cruz, NM) - A'Gin Girls Empowerment Program - $19,400

The goal of the A’Gin Girls Empowerment Program is to promote cultural values by developing a culturally appropriate approach to address teen sexual violence, substance abuse, pregnancy and HIV/STDS prevention using peer support, intergenerational sharing and mentoring. The program will focus on young women, ages 12-17 years old, in the six Tewa speaking communities located in Rio Arriba/Northern Santa Fe counties.

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North Carolina

Sacred Pathways Inc. (Pembroke, NC) – Hear Our Voices - $19,400

The project focuses on preserving and reviving cultural practices, beliefs and values though youth personal development, leadership and empowerment, entrepreneurship training and an oral history project. Sacred Pathways will engage the community in each of the components to provide support to youth.

North Dakota

Marketplace of Ideas (Bismarck, ND) - Marketplace for Kids Entrepreneurial Activities - $19,400

Marketplace for Kids Entrepreneurial Activities is a model program to be expanded in the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Spirit Lake reservations. Students from elementary through middle school, supplied with an overview of entrepreneurship, will envision opening their own art gallery and gift shop. The students will be able to create artwork to sell in their shop, as well as learn how to promote, and manage the shop.

OklahomaCitizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (Shawnee, OK) - Mamishkwezewen Project - $19,350

The Mamishkwezewen (Renew in Strength) Program is a year-long project that focuses on strengthening leadership, renewing assets and preserving the culture, language and heritage of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Youth will participate in a five-day intensive camp and monthly mentoring and training sessions in leadership, economic development and financial education.

South DakotaLakota Language Consortium (Pierre, SD) - Teacher's and Caregiver's Guide to the Lakota Berenstain Bears - $14,550

The Lakota Berenstain Bears Project is intended to communicate traditional Lakota values (patience, generosity, compassion) in a modern storytelling medium and help inspire a new generation of young people to speak the Lakota language and develop new ways to express themselves. The series will make the language more accessible to tribal members through modern media.

Native American Community Board (Lake Andes, SD) - Yankton Sioux Language and Heritage Preservation Program - $19,400

The Yankton Sioux Language and Heritage Preservation Program documents the Dakota language, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge and produce fluent, young Dakota speakers. It serves children, ages 3-12, and families on the Yankton Sioux reservation through a six-week summer Dakota language immersion program that focuses on school readiness.


Cowlitz Indian Tribe (Longview, WA) - Lifting Youth, Bridging Generations - $19,350

The Cowlitz Tribe’s youth department will sponsor youth participation in four tribal events to cultivate intergenerational connections, encourage healthy behaviors, develop leadership skills and strengthen the Cowlitz tribal community. The events include the annual Intertribal Canoe Journey, the Cowlitz Kids Summer Camp, the Cowlitz Huckleberry Camp and the Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association Conference.

Longhouse Media (Seattle, WA) – Clearwater - $19,400

Students in the Clearwater media training program based in the Suquamish Tribal School will complete a full-length film project on environmental changes and the effects on the Suquamish people. The inspiration for the film came from creating awareness of how ocean acidification affects the tribal people of Puget Sound, as well as an opportunity to train youth in media-based job skills.

Lummi CEDAR Project (Bellingham, WA) - Native Youth Leadership Canoe Journey Program - $19,400

The Native Youth Leadership Canoe Journey Program works to empower high-risk youth through their youth lead and adult-supported leadership training curriculum. The program is comprised of weekly leadership and cultural workshops and participation in the annual inter-tribal canoe journey.

Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association (Covington, WA) - 17th Annual Gathering & 2011 Youth Community Weaving Program - $8,000

Pacific Northwest youth will have the opportunity to learn basket weaving from master weavers during the 17th Annual Gathering of Basketweavers 2011 Youth Community Weaving Program. Students will learn about gathering, basketry techniques, and cultural aspects of the art while engaging in meaningful dialog with the instructors.

Makah Cultural and Research Center (Neah Bay, WA) - Traditional Gathering for All Ages Day Camps - $19,300

The Makah Cultural and Research Center will host the Traditional Gathering for All Ages Day Camps project. Makah families will learn the traditional knowledge and skills to gather and use the natural resources of the area to promote the continuation of Makah cultural practices, sustainable use and healthier lifestyles. Youth employees will have the opportunity to gain traditional knowledge, as well as experience in research, documentation, preparing presentations and delivering presentations.

Potlatch Fund (Seattle, WA) - 2011 InterTribal Canoe Journey - $19,400

InterTribal Canoe Journey is an important cultural renaissance event within the tribal communities of the northwest coast, allowing Indian people to retain and increase their knowledge of coastal values and languages. Native youth, who have participated in the Canoe Journey, will participate in the grant process and assist in planning the annual funder's tour. The project will provide leadership and development skills for Native youth, as well as professional development as the participants learn about philanthropy, successful grant applications and grantmaking.

Suquamish Tribe (Suquamish, WA) - Suquamish Youth Traditional Plant Garden Summer Internship Project - $19,400

Suquamish Gardens Summer Youth program is service learning project connecting Suquamish youth, elders, community, and culture while providing traditional and organic foods to elders and families. The youth will learn about life skills, organic gardening, awareness and understanding of traditional and contemporary Suquamish food systems and how food security impacts the Suquamish tribal community.


College of the Menominee Nation (Keshena, WI) - Leadership in Crisis - $19,300

A brief documentary on “Leadership in Crisis” in the era of the Termination Act will be produced by College of the Menominee Nation. Tribal youth, ages 16 to 18, will learn interview techniques, how to handle video equipment, editing of film, and how to make copies of the final product. Tribal elders will be interviewed to describe how community members assumed leadership roles to address the loss of self-identity, language and culture during the Termination Act.