News Release

First Nations Development Institute

Multiple Native American communities and organizations will receive support from First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) to preserve and protect Native American control of their natural resources, especially those impacted by fossil fuel extraction projects.

The grant funding is made possible through a $288,000 grant from the Broad Reach Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. The grant marks the fourth year of commitment by the foundation, which has awarded $858,000 since 2018 in direct funding to tribal communities and organizations on the front lines.

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In 2021, First Nations will award grants of $10,000 to $25,000 on a revolving basis throughout the year. Native communities and organizations engaged in efforts to combat extractive industries that are impacting Native communities and land are welcomed to contact First Nations for more information.

Michael Roberts, First Nations President and CEO, said First Nations is grateful for the ongoing support through the Broad Reach Fund, which is essential to helping Native communities lead environmental justice efforts. “Oil, gas and mining continue to threaten Native lands, as long-established treaties are reversed or ignored,” he said. “With this funding, these organizations can bolster their work in leading their resistance against harmful natural resource extraction and preserve and protect the land that is rightfully theirs.”

The nine Native American-led organizations that received grants in 2020 through the Broad Reach Fund are:

Blackfeet Nation will develop two narrative reports on the history of oil and gas leasing in the Badger Two Medicine and outline the tribe’s rights to co-manage the area under the 1896 Agreement with the federal government.

Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe will use funding for ongoing support of protest encampments and pursue litigation to protect the Garcia Pasture, a sacred site in the Rio Grande Valley listed on the National Register of Historic Places and threatened by an export terminal and associated pipelines from Texas Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment will support the opposition of oil and gas drilling in the Chaco Canyon area, which specifically threatens the public health, culture, and tribal sovereignty of the Navajo Nation.

Gwich’in Steering Committee will ensure the long-term health and viability of the Porcupine Caribou Herd breeding grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which sustain the Gwich’in way of life and are under renewed threat of oil and gas exploration, and will address the climate crisis and its impact on food security through the Indigenous Climate Summit.

Magpie Buffalo Organizing will work to prevent the destruction and desecration of the Sacred HeSapa from gold, uranium, rare earths and aggregate mining in the Black Hills through community action and advocacy campaigns hosted on their weekly radio show.

Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin will pursue opposition to the Back 40 Mine, where extraction of minerals could ultimately create acid mine drainage, which could damage historic and culturally significant sites, including burial mounds and agricultural land.

Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government will exercise their sovereign rights to oppose the recent Record of Decision to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling through litigation strategies.

Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council will protect tribal homelands from the Keystone XL pipeline proposed to go through the Great Sioux Reservation. Funds will directly support continued community outreach and engagement, as well as completion of their strategic plan and tribal council education on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Utah Diné Bikéyah will engage local Native American communities in restoring the 1.3 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument and advocating for the protection of the full 1.9 million acres in the original Bears Ears proposal.

More information about 2018 and 2019 grantees is featured at https://www.firstnations.org/projects/broad-reach/.

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