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Student gathering Tule reeds during a Language Arts and Culture Movement cultural activity. Tule is an essential cultural plant to the Plateau people of the Northwest used to make mats for everyday and ceremonial purposes. (Photo courtesy of Jefferson Greene)

Aloha Friend,

At Native Arts & Cultures Foundation (NACF), November and December are the months during which we both celebrate Native Heritage Month and look forward to the holiday season. This is also the time when we start reflecting on all that we have accomplished the past year on behalf of Native artists and communities and focus on giving thanks to all of those who have made our work possible.

During 2019, we committed to conducting another round of our highly successful Mentor Artist Fellowships. We expanded our Native Nation Partnerships (NNP) program to include two new tribal communities. We’ve represented and elevated the voices of Indigenous artists at gatherings like the Santa Fe Indian Market and Honolulu Biennial. And we are going through a strategic planning process we’ve named the Wakanim Journey—“Wa-ka-neem,” meaning “canoes” in Chinuk Wawa. Finally, we have increased our reach by providing over 340 awards to Native artists and organizations in 33 states since we opened our doors ten years ago.

As an example of our programming, I want to share a story from our NNP program that supports artists who inspire and mobilize communities on Native homelands. This past year, NACF partnered with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to support the Language Arts and Culture Movement led by tribal member and cultural artist Jefferson Greene. The program worked with elders and artists from the community to preserve the Ichishkín (Sahaptin) language through activities for tribal youth. With NACF support, Greene planned language classes and cultural activities designed to strengthen Native identity by incorporating Ichishkín in experiences such as harvesting Tule reed and cedar—important cultural plants to the Columbia Plateau region used in art and ceremonial practices. The Language Arts and Culture Movement program showcases the breadth of the work we do across indigenous communities.

We could not do this important work without supporters like you. Please consider giving a donation that you consider meaningful. Your gift—no matter the size—is valuable and will be put to immediate use to support talented Native artists and communities.

Will you consider making a gift today? We thank you for your consideration, and we invite you to make a donation online at nativeartsandcultures.org/donate. You may also call or text Leah Altman, Development Manager, at (503) 317-4861, to take a donation via phone or set up a recurring gift. Once again, thank you for supporting NACF and the work of Native artists across the nation.

Mahalo,

T.Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian), President & CEO

Thanks to the grant award, our community now consists of more advocates and students who consistently request phrases and words to include in their language journey and strengthening their sense of identity.

~ Jefferson Greene, (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs)

This Tule mat was created as part of the NACF Native Nation Partnerships project and depicts Native language names for ancestral territories in Central Oregon. Woven by Jefferson Greene (pictured above), the mat was created using reeds harvested by participants of the Language Arts and Culture Movement project and designed under the supervision of elders from the community. There are 188 locations named on the map.
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