American Indian Family Empowerment Fund Grantees Report Back

The AIFEP fund is celebrating 20 years of direct micro grants to American Indians this year! The fund has awarded nearly 800 grants in the areas of preserving and renewing Native cultural connections, educational achievement and economic self-sufficiency. This month, Tiwahe Foundation is sharing three stories of grants made under Goal 1: Preserve and Renew Native Cultural Connections.

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Jaida Grey Eagle received funding under Goal 1: Preserve and Renew Native Cultural Connections.

The grant supported her family’s book idea, “Oyate Ta Icante” (Hearts of our Nation), a collection of photography and interviews on inspiring women of the Oceti Sakowin. As a result of the grant, Jaida writes, “We are building relationships with these women, we have come away with new sisters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers.”

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Charissa Blue received funding under Goal 1: Preserve and Renew Native Cultural Connections.

She was awarded a grant to purchase new regalia so she can dance at powwows. Charissa writes, “I have gained a new appreciation of how much time and work goes into regalia. I have learned (and am still learning) what the different parts of regalia are, what they mean and what their origins are. I am appreciating people’s regalia more and the history of the pieces- I’m looking at regalia through a new lens.”

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Brook LaFloe received funding under Goal 1: Preserve and Renew Native Cultural Connections.

Her grant was to support the renewal of the Macalester College Pow-Wow, the first organized in over a decade by PIPE, Proud Indigenous People for Education- Macalester College’s organization for Native students. As a result of the grant, Brook writes, “It was an amazing honor to bring the Pow Wow back to the Macalester community whom responded with enthusiasm for the revival of American Indian culture on campus.”

AIFEP Grantee In The News

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Rhiana Yazzie recently received a McKnight Fellowship in playwriting. The Fellowship awards two Minnesota-based playwrights a stipend, play development support and travel funds. A celebrated playwright, Rhiana founded New Native Theatre in 2009. Click here to learn more about Rhiana’s great news.