2021 Message from Cleora Hill-Scott

A New Year Message from Our Executive Director, Cleora Hill-Scott Dear friends of Potlatch Fund, As we greet the New Year, we pause to say thank you. Without your generosity, Potlatch Fund could not do the critical and necessary work of supporting Native communities as they meet the ongoing challenges of a worldwide pandemic. We invite you to help us with this important and life-saving work. In the past 12 months, we launched a new initiative—the Resiliency Fund—in order to keep moving resources as quickly as possible to our Native families. Our intention with the Resiliency Fund was to supply much-needed funding to individuals and organizations on the ground in hard-hit communities. But it was also to learn about the

Dancer, Sunmiet Maben

Sunmiet Maben Grantee Spotlight

For Sunmiet Maben, The Dance Goes On Madras, OregonA Resiliency Fund Grantee Partner Sunmiet Maben grew up dancing. On the Warm Springs Reservation in north-central Oregon, dancing was an integral part of worship services, social gatherings including pow wows, and funerals. “We kind of joked that I danced before I was born,” she says. “And I say that about my son because while I was pregnant, I was still dancing.” At the same time, Sunmiet was not so enthusiastic about sports in general, which “was a huge, huge thing on the reservation.” “I was not athletic,” she says. “I was not good at basketball, I’m not good at softball and volleyball. I was little and that just wasn’t my thing.

Indigenous Weaver, Ace Baker Sr.

Indigenous Weaver, Ace Baker Sr. Mt. Vernon, WashingtonA Resiliency Fund Grantee Partner It was during a Canoe Journey to Puyallup three years ago that Ace Baker Sr. first thought about making himself a cedar hat. Baker and his family were camped in a spot away from where the main ceremonies were being held, and it was hot and dusty. He saw people walking around with cedar hats on, protecting them from the sun. Fortunately, he and his family were traveling at the time with their friend Aurelia Bailey, the cultural events coordinator for the Swinomish Tribal Community.  Baker asked her if she would teach him to make a hat. “That knowledge was passed down to her—that line of knowledge goes

The Young Warrior Society

The Young Warrior Society Nespelem, WashingtonA Resiliency Fund Grantee Partner It was going to be a year of program expansion, of dreams coming to fruition, of increasing visibility in the community and beyond. A worldwide pandemic had other plans. Since 2018, Tem Xwu lough First Food and Families—located on the Colville Indian Reservation, in the town of Nespelem, Wash.—has been building connections and conducting education workshops in the community in order to pass critical cultural knowledge and skills to the next generation. One of its programs, the Young Warrior Society, regularly attracted youth from all over North Central Washington to its programs and activities, as well as up to 40 volunteers. At the center of activities for the organization were

Nimiipuu Nurtures Emerging Environmental Leaders

Nimiipuu Nurtures Emerging Environmental Leaders Lapwai, IdahoA Potlatch Fund Grantee Partner When the Nimiipuu launched the canoe they’d built on the Snake River in 2017, it was the first tribal canoe on their ancestral waters in 113 years. More widely known as the Nez Perce Tribe of Lapwai, Idaho, the Nimiipuu have long been active stewards of their traditional homelands, working to protect the health of the environment by sponsoring educational summits and workshops, partnering with other environmental organizations, and advocating for the removal of the four lower Snake River dams. Building and launching a tribal canoe was a natural continuation of this mission, entwined with the vision of a free-flowing river and access to traditional lands for fishing, hunting

Grant Partner Spotlight: Marlene R. Simla

Checking in with Yakama Tribal elder, MARLENE R. SIMLA At Potlatch Fund, the hard realities of the pandemic remind us of how important it is to support our culture keepers, many of whom are elders, not only with funding but also with care and attention. We decided to check in with a few of our elder grant partners, to see how they’re doing during the pandemic. While we are well aware of the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, we also pause to acknowledge with deep respect the resiliency of our Native relatives. We are pleased to introduce respected storyteller and elder Marlene R. Simla (Yakama) of Toppenish, Washington. Marlene is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation, born and raised on

Meet James Jaime – Potlatch Fund Grant Recipient.

Quileute Language Preservation Project  James Jaime has a passion for preserving the Quileute language. He grew up in La Push, Washington, and watched over the years as the number of fluent Quileute language speakers decreased from 2,000 to just one, while at the same time the tribe’s population more than doubled. With help, James began cataloging and indexing materials and resources. And although the Quileute language is now considered “extinct” by some, James isn’t going to let it die. With help from Potlatch Fund, he participated in a Language Cohort with 14 other members, an experience he says gave him the energy and hope to persevere in his quest. Today, James and his team have produced four out of six

Meet Celeste Whitewolf – Potlatch Fund Grant Recipient

Núun ken’ witnéewit – Our Way of Weaving. Using natural materials gathered from the land.  Celeste Whitewolf practiced law for 20 years until a diagnosis of breast cancer changed the direction of her life. Since then, she’s founded an organization to help other Native people and their caregivers thrive through cancer, and seven years ago she decided to become a weaver. Celeste’s journey embodies the spirit of generosity and reciprocity we celebrate here at Potlatch Fund. Join us for our 18th Annual Gala on November 7 to support Native Artists like Celeste in her journey to preserve and renew the traditional Native art of weaving through her project “Núun ken’ witnéewit – Our Way of Weaving.” REGISTER FOR THE 2020

Book Launch Event and Special Celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

A Conversation About Indigenous Identity & Solidarity Today A Book Launch Event and Special Celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Presented by: Potlatch Fund and Culture Story Moderated by: Brian Tanner, Potlatch Fund – Director of Philanthropic Partnerships Date: Monday October 12, 2020 Time: 3pm PST – 4pm PST The event is free to the community, no pre-registration required. You can let us know you’re attending and join the event at: Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/edit/657941051774385 The community is invited to a book launch event and a special celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, October 12, when author Alyssa London will be joined by illustrator Monica Ricker-Bolter, Northwest formline artist Preston Singletary, and Debra Yepa-Pappan, Community Engagement Coordinator at Field Museum to