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Keepers of Earth Fund grants for Indigineous People

Activities: Tribal & Indegeneous,Others


Indigenous Peoples’ lives and livelihoods are comprised of their spirituality, however formed or manifested. It is important to recognize that all of Indigenous life is based in spirituality, and that spirituality is demonstrated through the value system of each unique community. That value system is inextricably connected to all that we think about and do – from traditions and ceremonies, to hunting or fishing practices, to strategic planning activities and entrepreneurship, and for First Peoples Worldwide: grant making.

In December 2014, our Keepers of the Earth Fund (KOEF) completed its 8th year of grant making to Indigenous communities around the globe. Distributed grants total nearly $2 million USD, supporting Indigenous communities in over 60 countries. The KOEF has supported cultural youth camps, legal registration, mapping of ancestral lands, community celebrations, farming and agricultural projects, and even more projects in other areas. How does our value system align with the projects we support?

One of the most integral pieces of our work at First Peoples Worldwide centers on the Spirit Wheel, a conceptual tool that guides us in evaluating grant applications from Indigenous communities based on an Indigenous values system and spirituality.
 
Less than .01% of the world’s development funding goes directly to Indigenous communities, including the funding specifically intended for their direct benefit. One of the goals of First Peoples is to increase that percentage. While, through our work, donors are starting to recognize the capacity of Indigenous communities to assess and meet the challenges they face, we still have a long way to go.. We believe that donors are failing to recognize the capacity of Indigenous communities to assess and meet the challenges they face. Putting resources in the hands of communities on the local level allows them to address their specific challenges in ways that best suit their people, their culture, and their unique set of assets. Our goal is to ensure that Indigenous communities have access to funds through a channel that values and respects their expertise, their ideas, and their voices.

At the center of First Peoples Worldwide’s Indigenous development work is our Keepers of the Earth Fund, which is designed to provide funding to locally-initiated development projects in Indigenous communities around the world. Our grants range from US$500 to US$10,000. All projects must be conceived and implemented by Indigenous community residents and not by people outside the community. 
 
PRESERVING INDIGENOUS ASSETS
 
We award grants to projects that seek to control, utilize, leverage, retain, create, and increase the assets of Indigenous communities. Among these assets are land, culture, language, kinship networks, subsistence activities and personal efficacy. Projects may be geared toward the development of a sustaining and long-lasting process to address issues such as securing rights to ancestral lands, mitigating the effects of climate change, food security, or preserving and renewing cultural values and traditional knowledge.. We follow an Indigenous development model that values wholeness and balance, in which the diverse assets of the community must be developed in synchrony. 
 

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