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News Release

First People's Fund

First Peoples Fund, a Native-led nonprofit that supports Indigenous artists and culture bearers, recently selected 25 individuals from across the country to receive grants ranging from $5,000-10,000 as part of its Artists in Business Leadership Fellowship and Cultural Capital Fellowship programs. Local artist Sheldon Raymore, Cheyenne River Sioux, was selected to receive a $5,000 grant as a Cultural Capital fellow.

“We are proud to continue to grow our First Peoples Fund family,” said Lori Pourier, Oglala Lakota, president. “We believe in the power of artists and culture bearers. When they grow their entrepreneurial spirit or develop their strength as community leaders, they illuminate a pathway for others to follow. Their success creates a ripple effect that reaches out to their families, their communities and beyond.” 

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Awarded annually, these Fellowship programs aim to increase artists’ capacity to succeed and create impact in their communities. While the Cultural Capital Fellowship places emphasis on supporting individuals whose work focuses on passing down ancestral knowledge, the Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship nurtures and guides the business development goals of Native artists. 

“We are grateful to have Indigenous artists of different mediums from all across the country be a part of our 2019 Fellowship cohort,” said Program Manager of Fellowships, Amber Hoy. “It’s the first year we have had ten performing artists in a cohort, and it’s exciting to see an expansion in art forms and projects. Our visual artists are working in mediums that range from quillwork to bronze sculpture, frescos to fashion design.”  

First Peoples Fund, based in Rapid City, South Dakota, focuses on honoring and supporting the essential role of artists and culture bearers within Indigenous communities. In addition to its fellowship and grants programs, First Peoples Fund also helps support the inclusion of the arts in communities through values-based artist workshops, community arts classes, youth programming and nation-wide partnerships with other organizations invested in the arts. 

First Peoples Fund fellowships are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the HRK Foundation, the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the Northwest Area Foundation, the Surdna Foundation. Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund's mission is to honor and support the Collective Spirit® of First Peoples artists and culture bearers. 

For further information about First Peoples Fund or to apply for support through one of our programs, please visit or contact us at First Peoples Fund, P.O. Box 2977, Rapid City, SD 57709-2977.