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Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau conservation advocates : Grand Canyon Trust

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Colorado Plateau Intertribal Opportunity Fund

Native people across the Colorado Plateau live a life rich in traditional knowledge and expertise that they apply to everyday life — practices they want to ensure continue in the future. Many tribal elders are pursing traditionally viable projects within their home communities, which falls within the realm of cultural continuance and persistence.

Considering the importance tribal projects have for community members and their culture, the Colorado Plateau Intertribal Opportunity Fund was created out of the Gathering process by honorable participants with support from the Packard Foundation.

Established in 2011, the Fund financially supports pre-approved projects of Colorado Plateau tribes, communities, and organizations that address at least one of four key issues: water, health, sacred sites, and language and culture. Grants were provided to selected grantee organizations by a funding subcommittee consisting of Gathering participants. Eleven grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 were reviewed and approved in fall 2011. To qualify, organizations had to be

  • Formally organized 501(c)3 nonprofit, tribal §7871, or community organizations
  • Native American controlled (Native majority board)
  • Located in and serving one of the 10 Colorado Plateau tribal nations actively participating in the Gatherings

Project objectives range from the protection of sacred sites, the restoration of traditional plant and farming knowledge, tribal elder gatherings to engender community healing, and audio/video recording of elder teachings to preserve them in perpetuity. The Gathering members’ request to keep the application process honorable and modest without media publicity was fulfilled.

Currently, the Native America Program team is conducting site visits with each of the grant recipients to get updates on their projects’ progress thus far, attend any activities and events relevant to the ventures, and allow for introductions to take place between all project staff and our program team. With permission from all funded projects, Gathering participants are welcomed to attend culturally appropriate site visits.

A sample of funded projects

Hardrock Council on Substance Abuse is a community organization located on the Navajo Nation in Hardrock, Arizona. It was initiated in 2004 to address the high rates of suicide and alcoholism among tribal community members. Hardrock offers young people outreach and education on avoiding substance abuse through youth projects. Sustaining Traditionally Cultural Knowledge & Celebrating Our Elders, which was approved for funding, focuses on building community relationships and engendering healing through a gathering for community youth.

Sipaulovi Development Corporation (SDC) is a nonprofit corporation of Sipaulovi Village founded in 2006. Located on Hopi land in Second Mesa, Arizona, SDC works to implement village goals for locally controlled, sustainable enterprise; to create jobs and opportunities within the village; and to engage all community members in maintaining the Hopi language and values. Through the funded project, SDC plans to engage local youth in recovering and documenting Sipaulovi Village’s relationship to sacred springs and water sources by restoring springs, and reinforcing Hopi values about water, life, land, and food. Learn more…

Zuni Youth Enrichment Project (ZYEP) was founded in 2008 by local community members dedicated to increasing wellness and health opportunities for the younger generation of Zuni children. Located in the heart of Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, ZYEP will use allocated funds to initiate a weeklong hands-on immersion experience for Zuni youth which will educate them about the traditional relationship of Zuni people to their Native lands. Learn more…

Other grant recipients include the Hualapai Department of Cultural Resources, Paatuwaqatsi Water is Life Run, Tolani Lake Enterprises Inc., Hopi Tewa Women’s Coalition to End Abuse, Elder Video Recording Project, and Village of Walpi.    

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