Vancouver, Wash. – Through its California Bridge Initiative: Arts + Health program, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) has awarded four California non-profits $10,000 for projects to enhance the health of Native youth through art. The foundation awarded a total of $40,000 to the Cultural Conservancy, Dancing Earth Creations, the Native American Health Center of Oakland and Pitzer College.
“The organizations awarded 2013 California Bridge Initiative Arts + Health grants have planned innovative ways to address physical health and well-being of Native youth through the creation of artwork or participation in arts practice,” explained foundation Program Director Reuben Roqueñi.
To promote healthy indigenous communities, the Cultural Conservancy protects native lands, nurtures the revitalization of endangered songs and documents traditional knowledge. Their Native Youth Media, Arts and Cultural Health Project will reconnect Native youth with waterways and teach traditional arts including building tule boats, songs and protocols related to waterways and carving canoe paddles. Their goal is for youth to gain an increase in emotional health and cultural vitality through this project.
Dancing Earth Creations is a dance theater company committed to mentoring emerging artists and providing opportunities for the next generation of indigenous dancers to learn dance production, administration and every aspect of their art. Through the Waters of Wellness program funded by NACF, Native youth in four different sites in California will engage in dance and movement activities designed to promote exercise and discuss nutrition while learning about the preservation of Native waterways.
Oakland’s Native American Health Center provides the five-county Bay-area Native community with healthcare to maintain and build their physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being with respect for their unique cultural traditions. The foundation’s award funds their Resiliency Mural Project to provide Native youth with afterschool mentorship from mural artist Daniel Rodriguez. The muralists will draw thematic elements from the history of relocation and the occupation of Alcatraz on four murals while attending healthy lifestyle training.
Pitzer College, located in Claremont, Calif., is an interdisciplinary liberal arts institution with an emphasis on social justice, environmental sensitivity and intercultural understanding in its curriculum. Pitzer’s Native American Summer Pipeline Program is a two-week on-campus college life experience designed to inspire Native high-school with the motivation to graduate. Hosted in association with Western University of Health Sciences, Pipeline curriculum includes academic and creative writing, computer literacy, multidisciplinary arts workshops and a class on Health Sciences and Native American Community Wellness.
The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation has awarded $1,382,000 in grants to 71 Native artists and organizations in 20 states. Created in 2009, after decades of visioning among the nation’s first peoples with assistance from the Ford Foundation and others, NACF is a national charity dedicated to supporting the revitalization, appreciation and perpetuation of Native arts and cultures. To learn more about the foundation’s grantmaking mission, visit http://www.nativeartsandcultures.org.