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Nominations open for Community Spirit Award



RAPID CITY –– Do you know a Native artist who has dedicated his or her life and work to sustaining cultural traditions within their community? First Peoples Fund, a national organization that honors and supports Native artists and culture bearers, has opened nominations for the 2017 Community Spirit Awards, and they want to hear from you.

“If your life has been touched by a Native American, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian artist who embodies the Indigenous values of generosity, integrity, humility, and wisdom, consider nominating them for the Community Spirit Awards,” said Lori Pourier, president of First Peoples Fund.

The Community Spirit Awards, launched in 1999, are national grants for established Native culture bearers who demonstrate substantial contributions to their communities through their careers as artists. Each year, First Peoples Fund seats a national panel to select four to six Community Spirit honorees from tribes across the country.

This year, the following artists were honored:

• Phillip Whiteman Jr. and Lynette Two Bulls, Northern Cheyenne and Oglala Lakota; traditional storytellers and performing artists; Lame Deer, Mont.

• Jack Wallace Gladstone, Blackfeet; performance arts; East Glacier, Mont.

“The process of bringing spirit back to a community is an important responsibility of artists — it is part of a sacred honor system,” said Bud Lane, a basket maker of the Siletz Nation in Oregon and a member of First Peoples Fund’s board of directors. “Through the Community Spirit Awards, First Peoples Fund strengthens that honor system by recognizing these exceptional artists for knowing themselves, honoring others, and sustaining spirit in their own communities.”

Nominations close July 15, 2016. Applications are due Oct. 31, 2016.

To nominate an artist online, please visit If you would like to receive a nomination form by mail or to learn more, please contact First Peoples Fund Program Manager Jessica Miller, (605) 348-0324.

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