When we look back at 2020 with its unprecedented and extraordinary challenges, we—at the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF)—find that this past year has served to illuminate the long-standing truths about inequities and deep divisions in this country. We see this as a moment of reckoning for America.
Yet, with great struggle comes insight and rising opportunities. Each day has helped us realize that there is always a bright star on the horizon for our team at NACF to keep paddling toward. Our Native communities, artists, and culture bearers have immense qualities and talents they bring forth. We have collectively endured our challenges and mobilized our strengths in moving through the rough waters this past year.
It is with this spirit of resilience and grounding in our Native values that we share our 2020 story with you. Ironically, in many ways, the circumstances of last year enabled NACF to thoughtfully clarify its existing and future work. We are entering this year with a new strategic plan and evolved programming that focuses on catalyzing and advancing the work of Native artists and cultures bearers in collaboration with communities and partners.
In February 2020, just weeks before the pandemic, NACF, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), co-hosted a first-of-its-kind gathering of Native nations, artists, and culture bearers with public officials and administrators in Washington, D.C. From this collaboration, NACF produced a thorough report documenting the gathering and its main recommendations to help strengthen the Native arts, cultures, and humanities field.
Most profoundly, we were able to announce the historic transfer of ownership of the land and Yale Union building in Southeast Portland from Yale Union Contemporary Arts to NACF. The building will be our permanent home and will house the national Center for Native Arts and Cultures. We are grateful for this unprecedented act of rematriation that we hope will set an example for recognizing the value of Native ownership of property in urban areas across the nation.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to NACF. We could not do this without our friends, partners, and supporters, and we look forward to embarking on this new journey with you.
Me ka mahalo nui (with deep gratitude),
Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian)
Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, President/CEO