Strengthening Our Communities

“It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human.
– Joy Harjo, Poet Warrior: A Memoir

Painting by Darren Vigil Gray (Apache) used with permission.

MICA works with Native Communities on issues of interest to them. Although we specialize in cultural revitalization, we work on other projects by tribal request, such as broadband and economic development. Communities know best what they need to survive and thrive as places to live a good life. MICA brings resources to nurture and sustain Native communities.

“We can call our culture back. It is lonely and, like all living beings, once reawakened it [will] thrive with attention and nurturing.”

– Joy Harjo, Poet Warrior: A Memoir

Investing in Tribal Broadband

Early in the COVID pandemic, MICA’s Senior Tribal Liaison, Mona Polacca, learned that children of San Xavier/Tohono O’odham were failing school because facilities were closed, and their homes did not have access to the Internet. Parents were driving their children to parking lots behind restaurants that had Internet so the children could complete their school assignments. Mona asked if MICA could help. We identified San Xavier as a prime candidate for a USDA ReConnect rural broadband grant and brought their situation to the attention of the Federal Communications Commission.

MICA’s partnership with USDA and the FCC supported eight tribal communities in attaining broadband access. Seven received major federal broadband grants to connect unserved homes, businesses, and educational facilities to the Internet. The grants paid the cost of design and construction for fiber-to-home and wireless networks.

Lower Sioux Indian Community (LSIC)

young woman working on laptopMICA supported LSIC through every step of the broadband planning process and co-wrote its grant application to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Lower Sioux received a $2 million NTIA grant. The project will fund installation of fiber directly to the homes of the 47-remaining unserved LSIC households, three businesses, and 13 community anchor institutions. We’re thrilled that LSIC will now have reliable Internet.

Pawnee Nation

MICA supported the Pawnee Nation in designing a fiber-to-home broadband network and crafted its USDA Broadband ReConnect grant. Pawnee was funded at $25 million, the largest grant ever received in the history of the Pawnee Nation. The grant will connect 3,486 people, 1,388 households, 792 farms, 124 businesses, and 12 educational facilities in Pawnee and Payne Counties to the Internet.

San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation

After MICA conducted productive meetings with the San Xavier team, the Tohono O’odham Nation announced that it was including San Xavier in the larger Nation’s USDA ReConnect application. The Tohono O’odham Nation was awarded $10 million. The grant will connect 1,624 people, 422 households, 123 farms, 11 businesses, and 4 educational facilities in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties in Arizona.

The other tribes MICA advised received a total of $74 million in grants for broadband.

Partner: Federal Communications Commission
Funders: USDA, Northwest Area Foundation

Building Strong Communities: Economic and Community Development

USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge

MICA received a 2-year USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC) Cooperative Agreement to work with Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota, the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma to provide technical assistance in planning and building more livable communities.

Placemaking is a collaborative planning and technical assistance process that helps leaders from rural communities create quality places where people will want to live, work, visit and learn.

The RPIC grant funds MICA to provide technical assistance to the three tribes to assist them in accessing government resources for projects that will attract jobs, improve their communities, and rebuild their economies. The Pawnee Nation and LSIC focused their placemaking plans on broadband; the Ponca Tribe chose to build a Cultural Resource Center and Tribal Library as an anchor for their community.

Year one of the RPIC grant focused on the Pawnee Nation and the Lower Sioux Indian Community who received $25 million and $2 million respectively to bring broadband Internet to their communities. Year two placemaking with the Ponca Tribe is underway.

Fiscal Sponsorship of Community-led Programs

MICA fiscally sponsors a very limited number of carefully chosen, impactful community programs. We work closely with our sponsees, and keep fees as low as possible. We’re proud of these programs and their very significant impacts.

Friends of the Akwesasne Freedom School

The Akwesasne Freedom School (AFS) began in 1979 as an effort to rebuild the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) language and culture that had been lost due to the long-term effects of colonization, including the influence of outside religion, and the terrors brought by residential schools, whose motto was “kill the Indian and save the man.”

One of the oldest and most respected language immersion schools, AFS is world-renowned for its language revitalization efforts and has become a model for other Indigenous language immersion schools to address the atrocities and intergenerational trauma that continues to this day.

“All that we do is a direct answer to what had to be undone: we speak our language, conduct our ceremonies, love our babies, and build our community to be stronger with every passing year. The guiding principles of Sken:nen (Peace), Ka’satstenhsera (Power), and Ka’nokinri:io (a Good Mind) will thrive and be heard in the voice of our children for the next seven generations.”

In 1993, parents of the AFS formed the Friends of the Akwesasne Freedom School (FOAFS) to seek out larger and more diverse funding sources. Over the last 30 years, FOAFS has become the major funding source for AFS and was recently able to create a new building fund.

FOAFS also supports Iakwa’shatse Youth Fitness (Kanien’kehá:ka/Mohawk), providing expert fitness, nutrition, and leadership education to youth in the Akwesasne community and surrounding areas to empower the next generation through the cultivation of healthy bodies and minds. Iakwa’shaste is a Mohawk word that translates to “We are strong.” This word was carefully chosen to represent the youth of Akwesasne, but it refers to much more than physical strength; it refers to the strength of the next generation.

Apache Stronghold

Apache Stronghold is a group of 50 Apache Elders and tribal members who are fighting on the ground in Arizona to save their Holy Ground, Oak Flat.  The Stronghold engages in prayer, sponsors community activities, and meets with local, state, and national officials.  They occupy Oak Flat to protect it.

Oak Flat is a miracle in the desert, where Apaches pray, gather medicine, and honor traditions. The Spiritual Beings who guide Apache ceremonies reside there.  Apache girls come of age as women there. Oak Flat is a habitat for 100-year-old oak trees, pristine waters, rare and endangered plants, and mountain lions. This sacred place is in imminent danger of being completely destroyed by a foreign copper mine, which will decimate the area’s water and collapse Oak Flat in a crater the height of the Eiffel Tower. The U.S. is already a net exporter of copper, and copper is not on the list of critical minerals for the U.S.  For more information about Oak Flat, click here.

Mindfulness for All

The benefits of mindfulness meditation practice are well documented. Scientific studies and anecdotal accounts have confirmed that the practice of carefully watching one’s mind confers immense emotional and spiritual benefit to the practitioner and to that person’s immediate community. Information about these life enhancing practices has circulated almost exclusively within wealthy, white communities; communities of color have had little opportunity to experience the benefits of mindfulness meditation. The Mindfulness for All project seeks to change that.

The project works to offer mindfulness meditation practice within three communities of color in Wisconsin. The lead project is the Menominee Nation of northern Wisconsin. Additional projects are: African American educators within the Madison Metropolitan School District and Latine communities in the greater Madison and Milwaukee areas. While acknowledging the richness and depth of existing contemplative practice within each of these communities, Mindfulness for All seeks to build durable practice communities by introducing highquality instruction and apprenticing individuals interested in teaching mindfulness beyond the duration of this project.  The project also supports existing programs offered through the University of Wisconsin Health Mindfulness Project designed to make mindfulness meditation more available to people of color.

Moon Lodge Society: Mohawk Girls and Women’s Coming of Age Program

Watch video trailer, Ohero:kon Under the Husk.

The Moon Lodge Society, led by Mohawk Clan Mother Wakerakats:te, traditional women leaders, and young women apprentices, exists to support the spiritual, cultural, and political advocacy needs of women and girls, as well as for the community’s overall health, inspiring thought (Good Mind) into action. Indigenous women are proven agents of positive change, standing against the barriers of discrimination and marginalization. They are vital in transmitting and preserving ancestral knowledge through relationships with family, community, and a global society.

Onkwehonwe Midwives Collective (Kanien”kehá:ka/Mohawk) is a Maternal, Child, and Women’s Wellness Center in the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. Onkwehon:we provides a balance of traditional and contemporary midwifery services and cultural programs, and training for a new generation of midwives.

“Walking side-by-side with the mother throughout pregnancy, honoring our role as guardians of our future generations, we seek to reclaim birth as a ceremony for our people. We provide assistance to expectant Indigenous families, continuing education, and support throughout the phases of life. We retain tribal birthing practices for future generations and create an avenue for postpartum mothers and newborns to retain ancestral food sources.”

Phillip Deere Roundhouse (Muscogee/Creek)

The first Roundhouse was built in 1977 by Phillip Deere to provide a safe place  for his Muscogee community to gather. The Phillip Deere Roundhouse was the first community gathering place before the Muscogee (Creek) Nation built Community Centers.  In 2014, the children of Phillip Deere rebuilt the Roundhouse to continue the legacy of their father’s work.

Today, the Roundhouse supports language immersion camps, traditional cooking and ancestral teachings, assistance with burial practices and helping our community with life necessities. The Roundhouse is a trusted organization to build a safe community that directly helps the people with continuing our sacred and spiritual rights as Muscogee people. We teach about building community, strengthening capacity for effective and culturally relevant self-governance, self-determination and sustainable community development.

Cultural Resource Fund Administration

By tribal request, MICA serves as an intermediary to administer settlement and grant funds to Tribal Nations. We administered a $10 million Cultural Resource Fund (CRF) for the benefit 138 Tribal Nations and 41 States. The CRF was funded by the Association of American Railroads in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission.

MICA leveraged the $10 million CRF with $19 million in matching funds from state, federal, and tribal government and private philanthropy. MICA was nominated by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) for a Harvard Innovations in Government Award for our administration of the CRF for a total fund of $29 million.

Cultural Grantmaking

MICA Group has funded the revitalization of traditional cultural practices at 97 Tribes. See the Tribes’ projects below.

Caddo Nation (OK) (2 projects)
Elder Heritage Days

Our Nation hosted “Elder Heritage Days” to bring the Caddo Elders back to the center of the circle of Caddo life and priorities, provided special services for the Elders, and gathered stories and knowledge from the Elders.

Caddo Nation Archives, Library, and Museum Management Plan

Our Nation’s archives have deteriorated and been neglected for years. Our second MICA grant allowed us to purchase new computers, hard drives, software, and a security system to safeguard and recreate cultural materials. This will allow for future expansion of the archives, library, and museum collections. The electronic copies of documents will preserve our collection and make it accessible for future generations.

“This project instilled in our community a deeper understanding of and appreciation for tribal history and the importance of preserving the cultural activities unique to the Caddo people.”

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (WA) (2 grants)
Analysis and Documentation of Traditional First Foods

Our MICA grant allowed us to document CTUIR’s First Foods that were historically present and/or that are currently located within the Umatilla, Walla Walla, Grande Ronde, and John Day River floodplains by conducting oral history interviews, researching archaeological data, ethnographic information, historic records, and maps.

“We conducted short interviews with 52 tribal members, created a GIS layer map of 253 huckleberry harvesting locations that were identified by those tribal members within the four river basins and beyond, and developed an outline and draft vision for the First Foods Upland Landscape Vision document. The Upland Landscape Vision is to ensure healthy, resilient and dynamic upland ecosystems capable of providing First Foods that sustain the continuity of the Tribes’ culture.”

First Foods Harvesting Documentation Project

We mapped 900 sites where our “First Foods” (water, salmon, deer, cous (biscuitroot) and huckleberries) are gathered. These sites are in danger of destruction through industrial encroachment.

“Our Cultural Resources Protection Program will be able to use the information we gathered during cultural resource review processes to safeguard these First Food areas for tribal members to exercise their treaty reserved rights.”

Karuk Tribe (CA)
Their Good Dresses Were Made Pretty” Project

Our grant supported a one-year mentorship program for Karuk girls to work with an adult mentor and a cultural expert to complete a ceremonial dress. Activities included gathering trips, community classes, and workshops emphasizing the importance of the ceremonies and the stories associated with them.

“This project will continue as the participants continue to work on their dresses.  It was a wonderful opportunity and we all feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time thinking, working, creating and connecting. Participants are still using the Facebook Group to communicate and all are still working on various collecting and processing trips on their own and have really came together as a support group. Two teams presented at the Tribal Reunion and explained to the audience how the dresses were made. Because some of the apprentices were unable to be present, another young girl was thrilled to model the dress made by the Happy Camp team and was gifted with a beautiful regalia necklace.  The girls and all of us have grown closer and feel more connected to the Tribe and our history. Our grant helped us bond with groups from three (Yurok, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and Klamath Tribes) related communities—which are spread apart 120 miles along the Klamath River. Many wonderful memories were made with this project.”

Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon
Traditional Knowledge, Tule Harvesting and Tribal Youth Project

Our grant funded an intergenerational learning program and cultural exchange to teach youth about the care, harvesting and conservation of tule and the appropriate uses of traditional areas. We also conducted field trips to traditional harvest locations to harvest and process tule with Elders and cultural practitioners.

“The Traditional Knowledge that is passed down through the generations is very important to our community. Anytime that we can bring elders and youth together and teach the youth about traditional uses of cultural plants are a great opportunity. This project allowed the chance to have elders and youth spend quality time together in the mountains gathering medicinal plants and then using those plants and rocks in a traditional sweat lodge ceremony as well as showing the youth how to harvest tule and make a tule mat.”

Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
Preservation Program

Our Tribe developed a series of classes and workshops for tribal members from youth to Elders focusing on traditional knowledge and preserving heritage including language, beadwork, drumming, singing and regalia making, instilling cultural pride and strengthening identity.

Stillaguamish Tribe (WA)
“Making the Sacred Journey” Canoe Cultural Restoration Project

Our grant re-established the Tribe’s canoe culture by constructing a carving center to provide a place to gather and learn the art of canoe carving. The outcome has been the return of the culture of carving and of the canoe journey. The grant paid for materials and carving resources.

“The project has worked towards building and enforcing the tribal value of placing the canoe (and all it stands for) back in the center of tribal culture. The new canoe houses serves as a cultural center of gathering, language, and connecting to tribal values and history. Canoe Family (and Canoe Journey) connects our culture to other tribes, as we enrich each other with experiences, traditions, language, and many other components of culture.”

Young women's traditional dances

Young women’s traditional dances

Tohono O’odham Nation/San Xavier District (AZ) (2 projects)
Ba’ag Si-Hemu Da “Preparing the Eaglet to Fly”

Our four-day, three-night gathering educated 120 young men ages 10-21 about traditional cultural roles as hunters, healers, leaders, and protectors of the village.

Ha-gewkdag g T-kikam (Strength of our Community)

This project made possible a multi-event plan that allowed the tribe to sustain its traditional beliefs and ways of life. MICA funded nine separate community events that focused on culture, history, and activities that promoted inter-generational interaction, including language immersion, community gatherings, a digital story project, and traditional gardening.

“These events changed the lives of many. One father told me his daughter couldn’t stop talking about her experience for weeks. We spent four days with 68 young women thinking we were going to teach them so much, but in the end, we realized they taught us too. During our closing ceremony there wasn’t a dry eye; we were all crying from so much emotion. We built a strong relationship with each other.”

Pueblo of Zia
Zia Keres Language and Cultural Learning Center

We developed a Zia Keres Language and Cultural Learning Center that includes a language lab and Zia cooking facility for traditional dinners, storytelling, and creating arts and crafts.

“Without the project, the Zia Keres language teachers and other partners would not have been able to build the capacity necessary to develop and maintain a robust T’siya Enrichment and Learning Center that celebrates Zia culture, language, and way of life.”

Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma
Mini Culture Camp and Kiowa Youth Language Fair

We conducted a “Winter Camp” focusing on language, songs, games, stories, history, and important Kiowa historical sites. In a second project, we engaged youth and Elders in a Kiowa Language Fair with contests of spoken language and song judged by Kiowa language teachers.

“Our grant helped establish several new partnerships: Indian Child Welfare, Summer Youth, Head Start, and the Administration on Aging. Those organizations donated resources, space, and time. Prior to the grant, we did not partner with any other tribal or federal program. Volunteers from these programs drove vans to bring children from different towns, assisted guest speakers with their presentations, and acted as group leaders. In addition, we learned that we were awarded a $376,451 Administration for Native Americans grant! The Kiowa Language Fair was mentioned in the grant. The idea for the fair began with the MICA proposal. We’re already planning for next year’s fair and camp!”

Quartz Valley Indian Reservation
Cultural Youth Camps

With our grant, we conducted language, regalia making, basketry, traditional foods, storytelling, hunting and fishing, traditional ecological knowledge, traditional medicine, and fishery management classes.

“The project was a catalyst…without MICA, the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation would not have had the funds to provide cultural enrichment. [It] has made a big difference for having any access to the cultural arts and traditions.”

“MICA assistance has encouraged cultural wellness and appreciation of traditions; helped our youth gain self-respect, sense of identity, and awareness of the traditional cultural institutions and values; increased youth participation in ceremonial observances which gave youth a sense of belonging and meaning in their lifeways; increased community participation; and made regalia available that is often unavailable due to the shortage of existing regalia.”

Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (WI)
Ganawendanmang Ezhibimaadiziyang (“Keeping Our Way of Life”) Kinnamon School Visitor Center

The MICA grant provided start-up costs for the newly renovated Kinnamon School, a two-room schoolhouse that was the first integrated public school of the Post Boarding School Era on the reservation, which will serve as a cultural and educational center.

“The renovation of the building and the acquisition of culturally relevant items currently on display at the Kinnamon School have restored a sense of pride within the community.”

Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (WI) (2 grants)
Conserve and Prepare Historic Government Boarding School Era Clothing for the “Legacy of Survival” Exhibit.

Our grant allowed us to professionally conserve representative pieces of a boy’s uniform found beneath the floorboards and behind the walls of the Boys’ Dormitory for display at our newly renovated Government Boarding School, a relic of the forced assimilation era. We created signage, installation, and display cases to serve as a visible reminder of this period in history.

Collecting Stories: Community Oral History Program

We conducted a beautiful oral history program to encourage community members to collect family stories. Families were trained to conduct oral family interviews.

Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
Transcribe and Self-Publish Shawnee Winter Stories Collection for Families

We published “Winter Stories,” a collection of handwritten Tribal traditional stories discovered while researching at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. We told the stories as a single collection in English to produce a Shawnee-to-English inter-linearized version.

Fort Ancient Ceramics and Shawnee Identity: An Inter-Disciplinary Approach to Recovering Our Homeland

This project brought together an inter-disciplinary team of scholars and Tribal citizens for a series of planning meetings to help the Shawnee Tribe reconnect to our Fort Ancient ancestors from the Middle Ohio Valley, as well as rediscovering ancient food ways by recreating Fort Ancient ceramics. This research project brought together archaeologists, ethnohistorians, linguists and ceramic artists to offer a sophisticated understanding of our pottery.  The hope is that a new generation of Shawnee artists will revive their pre-contact ceramic traditions.

“Tribal citizens now walk streams and rivers in our old homelands seeing mussel-beds and clay in a whole new light. These were the things that kept our people fed. Food preparation is the very beginning element of our community, then and now. By connecting to these works on such an intimate level, our people now feel more deeply rooted to their ancient past and homelands. We have even seen a resurgence of interest in other areas related to our traditional foodways. Heirloom and heritage seeds are now being collected and planted, wild foraging for medicines and foods has increased in our communities, as well as new works of artistry.”

Ramah Navajo
Cultural Center

We reconstructed the “Old Day School” as a cultural center to maintain the legacy of education and self-determination and established an organization to sustain cultural values and practices, including employment and training of local artisans.

Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
C.H.A.R.M. Cultural Historical Assets and Resource Management Project

We planned the development of a 40-acre site to include a Cultural Heritage Center, administrative offices for the THPO, cultural celebration grounds, archival and storage space, and an appropriate venue for cultural practices.

“This project sparked meaningful cultural planning discussion that created a vision for realizing a cultural venue that would teach language, ceremonial, and historical preservation learning.”

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota
Agindaasoowigamig: elibrary/archives for the Red Lake Nation

We worked with Red Lake Nation College to implement a virtual digital library and archives to provide access to hundreds of thousands of documents pertaining to the history, culture, and experiences of the Red Lake Nation.

“The project has provided access to a wealth of archival and documentary information not previously available to the Red Lake Nation.”

Swinomish Tribe
Education and Training to Enhance the Swinomish Cultural Resource Review

Supported education, training, and salaries for the staff of the Swinomish Cultural Resource Office.

Protecting Swinomish Cultural Resources and Exercising Sovereignty through Effective Tribal Consultation

This project continued our first project, which focused on building the capacity of our THPO to participate actively in the regulatory processes governing land use through additional staff, further training, and new technology.

“By expanding the capacity of the THPO program, we have been able to take on additional responsibilities, expand awareness of the importance of the THPO program, and develop additional goals for staff development and program expansion.”

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MS)
Tribal Elders Oral History Project

We laid the groundwork for oral history video interviews with Tribal Elders who grew up in the mid-20th century in distinctly Choctaw communities. The project captured aspects of Choctaw life for archival and educational purposes.

Choctaw Tribal Elders Oral History Project

Our second grant allowed us to complete the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Elders’ Oral History Project by capturing oral histories of Elders born and raised in Mississippi Choctaw communities in the 1930s-1960s. The oral histories were used to create educational programs for young Choctaws and a website.

“The project has given our Elders a means to express themselves to the younger generation. Traditionally, elders orally communicated with young Choctaws about language, lifeways, and cultural arts. However, there has been a decline of intergenerational communication that has created a language and cultural gap due to modernization. With MICA’s help, the Choctaw Tribal Elders Oral History Project has been empowered to design a plan to couple Tribal traditions and technology to help inspire and nurture intergenerational oral traditions by modern means.”

Eastern Shawnee Tribe (OK)
Nee-ho-tah-keh-leh-tah-pe (We Respect Our Open Spaces)

The Eastern Shawnee created an outdoor classroom for cultural education and other cultural events.

Cahuilla Band of Indians (CA)
Tribal Cultural Resources Preservation Training

Our grant allowed us to train cultural resource monitors in Cultural Resource Management. Cahuilla community members learned about Cahuilla history and culture, songs and stories, places, landscapes, and cultural items, legal framework, and their responsibility to protect Cahuilla cultural heritage.

Oglala Sioux Tribe (SD)
Cultural Affairs and Historic Preservation Office Strategic Planning and Needs Assessment

We conducted a formal strategic planning and needs assessment, including securing resources for the Cultural Affairs Department, formalizing section 106 consultation processes, language outreach, site mapping, Tribal Register, oral histories, public relations, and facilities.

Absentee Shawnee Tribe (OK)
Returning Home

Our grant provided an opportunity for Tribal members and descendants to visit their ancestral homelands to connect participants to their culture and provide them with tools to educate and empower their community upon return.

Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town (OK)
Yvlomkv (“Root”) Project

Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town helped develop and strengthen our Cultural Preservation Department by hiring a full-time cultural preservation director.

California Valley Miwok Tribe (CA)
Way’ah-nec Me-wuk-i Liwa Cultural Center

The Miwoks built a permanent structure to house traditional ceremonial items, share oral stories, and teach the Miwok language.

Catawba Indian Nation (SC)
Catawba Arts: A Legacy of Survival

Our Nation conducted a series of youth summer and after-school cultural immersion classes in the endangered Catawba art forms of pottery, basketry, and beadwork.

Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy Reservation (MT)
Cultural Resource Preservation Department Workstations

We purchased workstations, curation, and archival supplies for preservation of collected artifacts.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation (OK) (2 projects)
Cultural Exhibit Reconstruction Project

With our grant, we were able to reconstruct our ancestral lifeways exhibit at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center which was destroyed by a flood. The new exhibit tells the story of the Seven Fires Prophecy, which predicted cultural loss and rebirth through the seventh generation of the Potawatomi people.

The Sixth Fire Project

With our second grant, we completed the Sixth Fire exhibit using graphic and didactic panels and interactive displays that assist visitors to better understand the Tribe’s history, culture and traditions.

Cold Springs Rancheria (CA)
Cultural Preservation Project

We created hands-on interactive cultural activities to educate the community, conducted field trips, language classes, workshops, a powwow, and other cultural gatherings.

Colorado River Indian Tribes (AZ)
Symposium Nights: Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi,  and Navajo.

We shared and taught the backgrounds of each of the four CRIT Tribes through storytelling, old photographs, traditional singing, dancing, and foods on four “Symposium Nights.”

Comanche Nation of Oklahoma
Historic Preservation Office Support

Our grant supported funding for the staff of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (WA)
Cultural Resources Management Plan

We created a Cultural Resources Management Plan for the Yakama Nation.

Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation (UT)
Annual Goshute Celebration and Hand Game Tournament

This grant supported the annual Goshute Cultural Celebration, which brings people from many Tribes together and unites all ages with respect, traditions, and cultural awareness.

Coushatta Tribe (LA)
Ko Kowassatokom: “We Are Koasati” Exhibit

We created cultural and historical exhibits about Koasati tribal systems, history, and traditions, such as long-leaf pine needle basketry, dancing, regalia, and artistry. We permanently displayed the exhibits in the newly renovated cultural classroom. The exhibits will be portable to accompany Tribal members when they make presentations to local businesses, civic groups, and students.

Cowlitz Indian Tribe (WA)
Digital Inventory and Storage Project

We created a searchable database of tribal cultural documents and artifacts by purchasing Past Perfect software, a desktop computer workstation, and a digital camera.

Delaware Tribe of Indians (OK)
Lenape Heritage Museum and Cultural Center

Our grant supported travel to conduct on-site consultations with six Lenape-descended Tribes and non-Tribal holders of Lenape artifacts for a Tribal museum.

Duckwater Shoshone Tribe (NV) (2 grants)
Cultural Enhancement Project

Our grant supported the 3-day Duckwater Shoshone Annual Cultural Festival.

Preserving Tribal Historic & Traditional Knowledge

The Tribe purchased video equipment to record the cultural knowledge of Elders through field trips and unedited oral interviews. This project differs from other oral history projects in that the Elders’ full knowledge was recorded and not edited in the format of an Elder “Life Review.”

Fort Belknap Indian Community (MT)
Tribal Historic Preservation Office – Cultural Resources Building

We commissioned blueprints for a new Cultural Resources Building to repatriate, house, and store important cultural items to the Ft. Belknap Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes.

Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe (NV)
Cultural Values Through Knowledge Project

Our grant allowed us to bridge the generation gap between Elders and youth through language classes and cultural activities.

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation (AZ)
Collection Display and Training; Creation of Volunteer Docent Training Program

We sent staff to the ATALM Conference in Washington, D.C. and created a museum docents training program.

Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes (MT)
Website Design and Development Projec

Dakota Life Ways Project

Dakota Life Ways Project

Our Tribal Historic Preservation Office developed a website to support the communications objectives of the Fort Peck THPO office and provide a system for managing THPO consultation applications.

Hannahville Indian Community (MI)
Historic Research Collection

We compiled a repository of information on the history and culture of the Tribe and digitally catalogued it into a Microsoft Access database using Library of Congress call numbers.

Havasupai Tribe (AZ)
Museum Revitalization Project

Our Tribe updated displays, created new exhibits, incorporated Colorado Plateau Storytellers, and added a new integrated kiosk so that the historic Havasupai Museum can re-open to Tribal members and the public.

“Our grant created the beginning steps to establish a sense of revitalization for our Tribe. We know we live in a day and age when if you don’t fight for your significance, you will become lost. We have let so much time pass by without truly teaching the culture. I had many tribal members stop by to visit our museum project, some who were curious and others who wanted to volunteer. The grant helped prove to tribal council that the community wants, and needs, a cultural museum. I even had someone point at me and say, “hey, there is the museum girl.” I also got voted onto the Tribal Council!” 

Hopi Tribe (AZ)
Hopi Cultural Preservation Office’s Intellectual Property and Language Project

We started a program to protect non-NAGPRA “intangible” cultural material, including intellectual property rights. We developed an interactive system of archival cultural materials to revitalize the Hopi language and to protect ancient artifacts in the hands of collectors and private museums.

Hualapai Tribe (AZ) (2 projects)
Department of Cultural Resources Indigenous Heritage Management Plan

We integrated the Hualapai Archaeological Services Branch, Ethnography, Oral History, Language Revitalization, Cultural Education, Traditional Knowledge, Hualapai Tribal Museum, and Hualapai Community Outreach into the Hualapai Indigenous Heritage Management Plan.

Hualapai Department of Cultural Resources (HDCR) Indigenous Heritage Management Plan, Phase 2

Our second grant established HDCR’s Archaeological Services Branch (ASB). This project initiated the Hualapai Cultural Advisory Team of Elder Consultants and created a project management database including a cultural soundscape and photo library. The grant also allowed staff and interested community members to attend formal site steward training.

Jena Band of Choctaw Indians (LA)
7th Annual Cultural Celebration

Our grant supported our 7th Annual Cultural Celebration, which provides youth and families with drug-free cultural events.

Jicarilla Apache Nation (NM)
Heritage Preservation Project

We trained members of the THPO Advisory Review Board in cultural resource preservation, and provided travel expenses for Elder review board members.

Bear Dance, 1930s

Bear Dance, 1930s

Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians (AZ)
Revitalizing the Traditional Kaibab Bear Dance

Our grant supported us in Revitalizing the Bear Dance, an important traditional dance that tells the story of the first thunder – the waking sounds of the bear coming out of hibernation. The dance restores the connection to spring and teaches traditional culture, songs, dances and history.

Kialegee Tribal Town (OK)
Heritage Preservation Project

We purchased equipment to videotape Tribal Elders speaking of the removal of the Tribe from our original Alabama homelands, including hiring a translator and a professional film editor.

Leech Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Bilingual Sign Project

We installed bilingual signs in English and Ojibwe in significant locations on the reservation with full color graphics.

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe (SD)
Digital Cultural Resources Project

We developed a “Lakota Place Names” map project that was given to all Lakota school children on our reservation.

Lower Sioux Indian Community (MN)
Tribal Master Artist & Apprenticeship Revitalization Program

We compensated Lower Sioux artists for their partnership with young apprentices, including training time, professional development, and research efforts.

Lummi Nation (WA)
Ancestral Repatriation Project

Our Nation repatriated the remains of eleven Lummi ancestors that had been held at the American Museum of Natural History.

Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan
Sharing and Preserving Our Culture and History for the Next Seven Generations

We hired a consultant to develop a cultural preservation plan to protect cultural artifacts currently stored in inadequate and potentially dangerous facilities that may cause permanent damage to the artifacts.

Mescalero Apache Tribe (NM)
Oral History Documentation of the Girls’ Puberty Rite Ceremony

Our grant supported a Tribal Elder, who interviewed and documented (through recording, photography, and illustration) the cultural aspects of the girls’ puberty ceremony, the significance of the structures built for the ceremony, and the objects utilized.

Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma
Cultural and Historic Enrichment

Our grant allowed us to visit the Lava Beds National Monument, where two small Modoc Bands held off the U.S. Army (“the Modoc War”), Tule Lake, once home to the Modoc Tribe, Ft. Klamath and the graves of four executed Modocs, the Klamath Reservation, home of the Modoc Indians of Oregon, for cultural and language exchange, and to seek a Modoc linguist to help recreate the Modoc language in Oklahoma.

Morongo Band of Mission Indians (CA)
Morongo Cultural Heritage Expansion Project

Our Band recruited Tribal members to attend Cultural Resource Monitoring classes; purchased monitoring kits, portable GIS units, uniforms and other equipment for monitoring activities.

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe (WA)
Washington Tribes: Curation Gathering Conference

Our grant supported our “Tribal Curation Gathering” Conference, which provided hands-on workshops and lectures to help Northwest Tribes preserve cultural items. We were able to provide “home reference and curation kits,” for each attendee, plus books and museum tools for cleaning and storing artifacts.

Navajo Nation (AZ)
Heritage Management For, With and By the Nihook’a Dine’e Bila Ashdia’ii (Navajo People)

We finalized and implemented a community outreach plan to engage local Navajo communities in the Navajo Nation Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan.

Nooksack Indian Tribe (WA)
Preservation of Cultural and Historic Sites

We gathered information from local sources and Nooksack area digs and purchased GPS systems to identify and map natural resources, including animals, traditionally found on Nooksack lands.

Northern Cheyenne Tribe (MT)
Tribal Historic Preservation Office Project

Our Tribe hired a consultant to conduct a formal strategic planning process and needs assessment analysis for the THPO office.

Otoe-Missouria Tribe (OK) (2 projects)
THPO Office Project

Created a THPO office for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

A Present Cultural and Historic Preservation Compilation

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe published a book, including photos, recording 30 Tribal members discussing Otoe Missourian culture in the year 2016 to share Tribal history.

Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (2 projects)
Shade Arbor for Cultural Celebration Area

We installed a new shade arbor for the Cultural celebration area with a concrete base and seating for Elders.

Cultural Grounds Improvement Project

The Paiutes were terminated by the U.S. government, lost everything, and were restored in 1980. This resulted in serious splintering of the culture and loss of interest among the youth. We established our cultural grounds in an effort to re-engage tribal youth in the culture. This grant funded a new toilet and shower facility. Tribal members can now camp overnight. Tribal members performed the construction.

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians (CA) (2 projects)
Archaeological Collection Curation Project

The Tribe has recently transferred 105 acres into trust. In archaeological surveys, over 45 sites with cultural objects were discovered. This grant allowed us to catalog and prepare artifacts for proper storage in a climate-controlled building and for display in the tribal museum.

Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians (CA)
Cultural Technician/Cultural Monitoring Training Program

This grant provided compensation for community member trainees to accompany the THPO and Tribal archaeologists in cultural monitoring activities.

Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma
Cultural Resource Center Planning Grant

This grant supported planning for a new Ponca Tribe Cultural Resource Center, now housed in the Ponca Tribal Affairs Building, originally a school for Tribal children. The Center also houses the Ponca Library.

Pueblo of Santa Clara (NM) (2 projects)
Cultural Center Feasibility Study

This grant matched funds for a feasibility study for a cultural center to house Pueblo artifacts currently residing in museums and developed funding for an internal Tribal database of cultural and historic sites.

Preserving the Wisdom of Our Elders – A Film Project

The “Preserving the Wisdom of the Elders in Film” project filmed 25 Elders speaking our language. The films are being used as a teaching tool for culture and language, and for staff to learn about filmmaking.

Pueblo of Tesuque
Youth Cultural Education

We conducted youth oral history classes and field trips to off-reservation sites.

Pueblo of Ysleta del Sur
Cultural Resource Project

We developed a strategic plan focused on upgrading and preserving the Tigua Cultural Center and Museum’s dioramas and exhibits. We displayed a Pueblo art collection throughout the Tribe’s buildings featuring past Caciques and Women of the Pueblo.

Tigua Museum and Cultural Center Revitalization Project

This project, a continuation of our first grant, revitalized the diorama at the Tigua museum.

Puyallup Tribe of Indians
Engaging Tribal Membership in Cultural Literacy, Visibility, and Accessibility

This grant supplied custom carving tools to engage boys and men in traditional carving activities and published books for Tribal members about the BIA’s Cushman Indian Hospital located on the Reservation.

Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
Native American Church and Cultural Ceremonies Preservation Project

We researched and documented the history, traditions, practices, heritage, and architecture of the Native American Church as practiced by the Quapaw Tribe. We also created written floor plans and researched and documented remains of previous churches.

Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma
Sharing and Storing Project

We created display cases and purchased archival systems to exhibit culturally and historically significant materials for the education of the Tribal community.

Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (Meskwaki Nation)
Meskwaki Historical Preservation Display Enhancement

Created high quality, customized interpretive panels to enhance four exhibit areas, including photos, text, and attractive graphics.

Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
Diba Jimooyung (Telling Our Story) Multi-Media Enhancement Project

The Tribe’s Cultural Center receives over 28,000 visitors a year. The multimedia film presentations had to be shut down in 2015 due to failure of old equipment. This project allowed us to acquire updated multi-media equipment.

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (NY)
Tribal Cultural Preservation Project

We gathered cultural information and data to update the Tribe’s Cultural Preservation Plan.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (AZ) (2 projects)
Community Cultural Preservation Program Planning Project: Phase 1

Our community purchased a professional book scanner and associated software to  digitize existing historic preservation information.

Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) Planning Project: Training & Data Curation

Our grant project provided support for training and data curation activities.  Equipment and supplies related to digital storage and for the preservation and curation of thousands of documents was purchased to establish a data collection system to facilitate searching and identifying cultural resources within the Tribe’s aboriginal lands.

San Carlos Apache Tribe (AZ)
Cultural Sensitivity Training: Legal and Moral Issues

Trained Apache and non-Apache employees in the legal and moral issues that cultural resources staff must deal with on a daily basis.

Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
Conserving Ye-ma-Bax Generational Knowledge and Lifestyle

We held classes to teach values, morals, traditional practices, language, songs, dances, and other lessons to support healthy lifestyles.

Snoqualmie Indian Tribe
Two Sisters Return Cultural Center

We refined the Two Sisters Return Cultural Center, an important venue to showcase the culture of the Snoqualmie Tribe.

Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
Creating a Soboba THPO Office

Our grant established a THPO office to allow the Tribe ultimate authority over how their historic properties are preserved.

Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Tribal Knowledge is Power Conference

Our tribe hosted a conference to increase knowledge of Southern Ute history, practices, beliefs, craftsmanship, and language and provided the Southern Ute NAGPRA staff with travel funding for two staff to travel to on-site consultations to view important Ute sites in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming.

Spirit Lake Tribe
Working Together To Save Our Culture

Spirit Lake developed a plan leading to the establishment of a Model Tribal Historic Preservation Register. The register now serves as legal tool to protect customs, culture, and cultural resources. Our first grant was used for the initial planning of the project.

Squaxin Island Tribe
Cultural Resources Enhancement Project

We purchased specialized storage materials and cabinets to preserve and protect historic records; purchased equipment and materials; conducted field site reviews and covered costs to the sites.

Tejon Indian Tribe
Inaugural Kitanemuk Celebration Powwow

After having our federal status restored in 2012, Tejon hosted an inaugural celebration powwow – an opportunity to highlight Kitanemuk culture and strengthen relationships with our native and non-native neighbors in Bakersfield, California.

Three Affiliated Tribes
Struggles of Today’s Youth: Living in a Lost Culture

We developed a program to re-instill cultural identity and traditional lifeways in Tribal youth who have lost touch with the “old ways” of their community, beginning with gatherings and motivational speakers, hikes, a sweat lodge, setting up teepee lodges, smudging and praying together.

Tonto Apache Tribe
Cultural Assessment Project

We developed a cultural and language “roadmap” for preservation and revitalization, including a strategic plan, a cultural resource survey, and public meetings.

Trenton Indian Services Area
Trenton Indian Services Area Days OR “TISA DAYS”

We taught youth about cultural preservation through the TISA DAYS celebration and respect for traditional leaders and knowledge.

Making Acorn Mush

Making Acorn Mush

Tule River Tribe of the Tule River Reservation
Acorn Mush and Deer Skinning

Our Tribe produced a cultural video to distribute among Tribal members showing the traditional practices of acorn mush making and deer skinning. The process was narrated in the Yowlummi language. Copies of the DVD were distributed free to Tribal members.

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Cultural & Historic Preservation

Turtle Mountain created a wall installation in the new Tribal Historic Preservation Center that consisted of a mural depicting historical scenes and figures. The wall hangs as a backdrop to the Historical Compendium Application installed on iPad Pros. The App serves as a comprehensive and dynamic look at the history and culture of the Tribe. As the viewer scrolls, the timeline, photos, videos, and documents create an interactive experience.  A downloadable language application includes three languages spoken in Turtle Mountain.

Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians
Oasis of Mara Visual Art Project and California Assembly Bill 52 Agency Notification Project

We coordinated an effort with the City of Twenty-nine Palms to display Native American art near the Oasis of Mara, a significant cultural site and drafted a notice of consultation to agencies who have California Environmental Quality Act projects that may impact Tribal Cultural Resources.

Upper Sioux Community of Minnesota
Dakota Life Ways Project

We conducted classes on brain hide tanning and star quilting. The classes were taught by Tribal Elders and are the first two in a series of learning opportunities specifically teaching participants about Dakota ways of life and values.

The Upper Sioux Community History Project

Originally the lands of the Dakota people covered much of Midwest, including the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and both North and South Dakota. The Dakota people were forced from their homelands, and through broken treaty promises, the 1862 Dakota Conflict resulted.  The conflict finally ended in treaties with the Dakota people being abrogated. The Upper Sioux Community documented history since its federally recognized establishment in 1938. Utilizing an Elders’ Advisory Board, 30 oral interviews were conducted and transcribed.

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
Ethnographic Documentation Preservation Project

Our tribe created and developed a comprehensive ethnographic, archaeological, language and cultural database on the Washoe People by visiting the Archives in San Bruno, CA and conducting visits with Elders.

Wells Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone
Cultural Education Program

We developed a cultural education program for the community including language classes, crafts, beading, regalia making, dancing, tanning hides, drum making, and other cultural activities.

White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
Heritage Genealogy Society of the White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe

Our grant supported the formation of a White Earth Heritage Genealogy Society to develop a gathering place of information taken from oral accounts, database research, and archival materials held by the White Earth Tribal Archives.

White Mountain Apache Tribe
Cultural Knowledge Project

A White Mountain Apache Cultural Advisory Board member who is an ethnographer and language teacher conducted archival and legal research for the protection of cultural property. Tribal Elders were recorded and interviewed Pilot, “Apache Language for Teachers” classes were conducted.

Wyandotte Indian Nation
Exhibit planning for the New Wyandotte Nation Cultural Center

We planned educational media and activities at the new Wyandotte Cultural Center for Tribal Members, researchers and non-tribal visitors to help preserve traditional Wyandotte culture.

Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe
Charlie Ben Wilson Historic House Museum Interpretation

Our Tribe designed and fabricated educational exhibits about the Tribe’s history and culture, sourced primarily from Tribal archives.

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