Strengthening Native American Communities & Economies
First Nations launched the Northern Great Plains tribal ecological stewardship project in late 2014. In 2015, the project collaborated with several tribes in South Dakota and Montana – including the Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux, Lower Brule Sioux, Crow Creek Sioux, Oglala Lakota Nation, Rosebud Sioux, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux, and Fort Belknap Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes – to explore and inform tribal ecological stewardship practices in the Great Plains of South Dakota and Montana as well as provide a forum to consider the relationship between responsible ecological stewardship practices and economic development strategies for tribally controlled areas of the northern Great Plains region.
In late 2016, First Nations announced it was extending the project into 2018. It will focus on facilitating the dialogue around and active implementation of strategies that catalyze tribally-controlled ecological stewardship initiatives that are compatible with community tribal values and contribute to tribal economic and community development opportunities. The long-term vision is for tribes to capitalize on and regain control of their natural resource assets in a sustainable manner and to thrive in their communities, keeping their cultures and worldviews intact and reducing their reliance on federal programs and soft money by strengthening economic development opportunities that are guided by Native communities.
First Nations has worked collaboratively with the Lower Brule Sioux, Oglala Lakota Nation, Rosebud Sioux, and Fort Belknap Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes. Work will continue with those tribes and will expand to involve eight additional tribes, for a total of 12, into 2018.
Further, First Nations will provide capacity-building and networking activities that will build the tribal capacity and ecological sustainability in the region, as well as addressing dynamic situations and issues for long-term planning and stewardship of tribally-controlled natural resources.
This project is supported in part with a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.