First Nations Development Institute in Longmont, Colorado, has announced a $2.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to launch Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America's Myths and Misconceptions.
Led by First Nations and Echo Hawk Consulting, the two-year research and strategy-setting initiative will work to create a movement that positively transforms the image of and narrative surrounding Native Americans. Although American society has made significant strides in recent decades in portraying various racial, ethnic, and social groups more accurately and respectfully, Native peoples have been largely overlooked.
To that end, a twenty-person advisory committee comprised of Native leaders, influential stakeholders, and racial equity experts will offer oversight, expertise and leadership to guide the project. At the end of the campaign, the leaders of the effort will use its findings to develop a national strategy aimed at increasing Native Americans' inclusion in government decision-making, address disparities in grantmaking, improve the accuracy of Native American portrayals in the media, and ensure the inclusion of Native American perspectives in American history curricula.
"Native Americans and their communities are blocked from reaching their full potential by harmful stereotypes, misperceptions, and lack of awareness," said Michael E. Roberts, president and CEO of First Nations Development Institute, co-director of Reclaiming Native Truth, and a member of the Tlingit nation. "This cultural indifference and injustice pervades our entire country, from the media and entertainment industry to thought leaders and pop culture overall."