Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Ford Foundation Supports Project to Develop Model Native Arts & Culture Councils


April 19, 2022

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) has received a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation to test the efficacy of establishing Native Arts & Culture Councils on tribal lands. The project will work with existing tribal cultural institutions in six communities to develop cultural plans and establish community-based Native Arts and Culture Councils (NACC).

The need to establish institutional support for arts and culture within Native communities was identified as a top priority during a year-long planning process. The Native Artist Needs Assessment Survey was conducted by ATALM with financial support from a “Chairman’s Extraordinary Action Grant” through the National Endowment for the Arts and support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The study was conducted in partnership with the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona.

The Ford Foundation funding will support the work of ATALM to provide training, resources, and guidance from professional planning consultants, as well as $2,500 grants to support the community building process. During the pilot phase, six Native communities will be selected through an application process. Priority is granted to communities that have an existing arts and culture presence, demonstrated support from tribal leaders, and existing cultural institutions. Applications are due April 29, 2022. More information is available at

During the grant period, ATALM will work with regional and state arts agencies to build sustainable relationships between the Native communities and the agencies, develop training activities, identify resources, provide instructors, and develop a long-range plan to sustain Native Arts Councils. John Haworth (Cherokee), retired executive director of the National Museum of the American Indian and an experienced arts planner, will serve as Project Director.

“Our goal is to enable Native communities to promote, support, and develop arts and culture through the services of a dedicated Native Arts Council,” said ATALM President Susan Feller. “Native communities should have the autonomy to establish culturally appropriate paths to preserving the diverse cultural and artistic traditions that define Native Nations as unique cultures.”


The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization with assets currently valued at $16 billion. For more than 85 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


The Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM) is an international association dedicated to preserving and advancing the language, history, culture, and lifeways of Indigenous peoples. Founded in 2010, ATALM maintains a network of support for Indigenous cultural programs, provides professional development training, enables collaboration among tribal and non-tribal cultural institutions, and advocates for programs and funding to sustain the cultural sovereignty of Native Nations. To learn more, visit


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