Supporting Native-led organizations with small grants
for indigenous resurgence worldwide
Click on above markers to learn about our grantees.
In 2012 we launched the Mino-Niibi Fund for Indigenous Cultures, a new regranting program to provide small grants to indigenous-led organizations in the Americas and the Pacific that are working to revitalize their own cultures, traditions, lands and livelihoods. These funds support work to document and preserve indigenous knowledge, revitalize threatened languages, protect native foodways and seed sovereignty, conduct youth-elder cultural exchanges, and empower indigenous women.
Mino-Niibi means "good water" in the Ojibwe language. As a vital resource and powerful spirit, we see making small grants as an honorable and life-affirming process, like sharing good water with others.
Our grantmaking philosophy is rooted in the fact that organizations and movements that are created and led by indigenous peoples are best placed to envision, articulate and implement their own plans for the protection and revitalization of their communities and landscapes. The Cultural Conservancy holds reciprocity as central to all our partnerships; including reciprocal learning, sharing and respect. Through our emerging Te Ha Alliance we strive to connect our grantees with one another, other like-minded organizations, and additional sources of support and funding for their work.
The Mino-Niibi Fund for Indigenous Cultures
The Cultural Conservancy (TCC) is thrilled to announce its 2015 Mino-Niibi Fund grantees. We have awarded eleven grants to Indigenous-led groups in eight countries. The Mino-Niibi Fund helps connect our grantees with one another, other like-minded organizations doing similar work, and additional sources of support and funding through our emerging Te Ha Alliance.
The Mino-Niibi Fund is by invitation only. We do not accept unsolicited proposals.
2015 Global Grant Partners
Asociacion Integral de Turismo de Santiago de Okola (ASITURSO)
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, Aymara communities
To support “Building Foundations through the Sleeping Dragon Cultural Center” to coordinate the participatory design and initial construction of the center. When fully functioning, the center will be a shared, physical space that will serve many purposes, such as a place to exchange and demonstrate traditional knowledge, food and farming traditions and arts. It will serve as a model of a structure that fuses traditional building systems with contemporary and sustainable technologies for the surrounding communities.
Caminata Espiritual por la Paz y la Union de Los Pueblos (Spiritual Walk for Peace and Unity)
Many indigenous communities throughout MesoAmerica
An organized 40-day indigenous walk from El Salvador to Chiapas, Mexico with the purpose of bringing together communities divided by political borders to share and learn from each other, build cultural and spiritual alliances and raise awareness about the current threats and destruction of sacred sites by mining and development.
The En'Owkin Centre
Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, Okanagan Syilx First peoples
To support the “Nsyilxcen Audio and Video Collections Rescue Project” to acquire reel-to-reel video playback equipment and train En’owkin staff to digitize and catalogue vulnerable audio and video tapes of Okanagan Nsyilxen language speakers to use in language programs.
Escuela Ki’kotemal (School for Happiness/Harmony)
Guatemala, Maya communities in Queztaltenango
To support the project “Q’ij Ukaj Q’ij Ulew” (Day of the Sky, Day of the Earth), where Maya youth learn about planting and harvesting seasons, traditional festivals, and the oral tradition. Students develop critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership skills while working with Madre Tierra, and applying the ancestral practices and spiritual values of Mayan Cosmology. www.facebook.com/escuelakikotemal
Halele’a Arts Foundation
Hawaii, US. Hawaiian and Pacific islander communities
To support “Lāʻieikawai,” which provides access to quality indigenous-created live Hawaiian language theatre for communities outside of the urban core of Honolulu through performances at Hawaiian immersion schools and for the general public on neighbor islands.
Nā Kālai Waʻa
Big Island, Hawai'i, Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities
To support Lonoākea, a Communications and Documentation Development Project, aimed to support the documentation of the retrofitting of Makali’i wa’a (traditional deep-sea voyaging canoe) to preserve the knowledge of canoe-making and maintenance and begin to develop curriculum using digital tools created from the documentation process. It will also support the strengthening of the “He wa'a he moku, He moku he wa'a” teachings (“the canoe is our island, the island is our canoe”).
Organización Payipie Ichadie Totobiegosode (OPIT)
Gran Chaco, Paraguay, Ayoreo communities in three villages
To support the Ayoreo Women’s Weaving Bank project by training and building the capacity of Ayoreo women to market their traditionally designed hand-woven bags using rare Native plant materials and dyes. This project provides recently-contacted Ayoreo women with economic alternatives to prostitution and other dangerous work. This year two Ayoreo women presented their work and sold-out their beautiful bags at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Peace & Dignity Journey
North, Central, and South America (from Alaska to Argentina)
Numerous Native American communities
To support coordination and planning for the 2016 “Prayer for the Seeds” Journey and run through the Americas in honor of the prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor and to build indigenous solidarity.
Peru, Quechua and mixed-raced communities
To support educational workshops to re-awaken and re-connect Quechua youth and families to their indigenous roots, traditions, and values. Sapichay focuses on the renewal of positive indigenous identity to improve community health and well-being.
Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development
New Zealand, Waikato Tainui Maori communities
To support “Te Wai Project/Marae Waterways Pilot Program” to research marae waterways and employ Maori interns to identify, document, and protect traditional water knowledge of six local Waikato-Tainui marae on the Waikato River of New Zealand. Interns will collect water stories and populate a database and mapping software to create an interactive digital mapping resource in order to better honor and protect their ancestral river.
W̱SÁNEĆ School Board Language Revitalization Team
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Tsartlip, Tsawout, Tseycum, and Pauquachin communities
To support the ‘Reclaiming TIKEL” project to enable community and school engagement with a special cultural place called “TIKEL” (a bog) to begin a process of integrated heritage restoration (eco-cultural) focused on a special native plant, SX̱ELE,IȽĆ (Pacific Willow, Salix lasiandra) used for drift-nets and other cultural items.
Thank you to our Funders
We gratefully acknowledge our generous funder, the Tamalpais Trust, who has enabled us to establish this indigenous-led global regranting program and support its growth. We also acknowledge support from other funders that have helped expand this program: the Lush Charity Pot, Swift Foundation, and NoVo Foundation. We are deeply grateful for these philanthropic partnerships to support indigenous rights and eco-cultural revitalization.
Photo credits: Mateo Hinojosa, Melissa K. Nelson, Nícola Wagenberg