As the holiday season comes to a close, First People’s Worldwide still has a reason to celebrate 2014.
Through their Keepers of the Earth Fund, grants to 43 indigenous organizations in 29 countries made their year-long effort to provide funding to locally-initiated development projects in Indigenous communities around the world a reality. This year, $220,059 in grant money supported organizations such as the Seminole Sovereignty Protection Initiative, the Indigenous Lafkenche Community of Llaguepulli of Chile, the Hui Malama I Na Kupuna o Hawai’I Nei in the United States, and many more.
The Seminole Sovereignty Protection Initiative (SSPI), for example, was awarded $5,000 which they used to rebuild a dilapidated Chickee. The Chickee was a special meeting place; filled with Seminole traditions to be shared with visitors. “By educating our youth with hands on experience in building the Seminole Chickee, our traditions and our way of live as Seminole people will be carried on to future generations," SSPI told First People's. "The chickee also demonstrated a tangible bond between the Seminoles of Florida and the Seminoles of Oklahoma. Chickees of this kind are still common in Florida, but less so in Oklahoma – having this one in Oklahoma will hopefully inspire more of our traditional structures to be built in Oklahoma.”
According to its website, the organization awards grants to projects that seek to control, utilize, leverage, retain, create, and increase the assets -- such as land culture, language and personal efficacy -- of Indigenous communities. The awarded projects address issues such as food security, securing rights to ancestral lands, mitigating the effects of climate change, or preserving and renewing cultural values and traditional knowledge.
Since its inception in 2007, Keepers of the Earth has awarded US$1,422,019 to Indigenous communities around the world.
For more information, visit FirstPeoples.org.