Application period open for Native American language-immersion grants

(Image: Lisa J. Ellwood, Indian Country Today Press Pool Manager, from material provided by FNDI)

Apply by May 30 for First Nation Development Institute Native language program grants

News Release

First Nation Development Institute

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) process for its Native Language Immersion Initiative (NLII). First Nations will award about 12 grants of up to $90,000 each to build the capacity of and directly support Native language-immersion programs. 

This RFP is for the third year of this three-year initiative. The first-year RFP was launched early in 2018, the second in October 2018, and now this one for the third year. The grant period for this new RFP will run from July 15, 2019, to July 14, 2020.

Under NLII, First Nations is seeking to build a dialogue and community of practice, through the grantee cohorts, around Native language immersion programs, and momentum for supporting Native language programs. The effort is made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Lannan Foundation, Kalliopeia Foundation, and NoVo Foundation. The initiative includes American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian language programs.

The full RFP can be found here: https://www.firstnations.org/rfps/nlii2019-2020/. It contains information on eligibility, the application process, grant requirements, selection criteria, allowable activities and more. Eligibility is limited to U.S.-based tribal government programs, tribal 7871 entities, Native-controlled nonprofit organizations, and Native-controlled community organizations with a fiscal sponsor.

Further, there will be two free Q&A webinars for applicants to learn more about the RFP process and eligibility. Participation in these webinars is not mandatory, but applicants are strongly urged to register for and attend one or both of them.

  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at 1 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Register here. 
  • Tuesday May 14, 2019, at 12 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Register here. 

There are currently about 150 Native languages spoken in the U.S., many of them spoken only by a small number of elders. Without intervention, many of these languages are expected to become extinct within the next 50 to 100 years, which means a significant loss of cultural heritage. These grants can support activities such as curriculum development, language and culture summer, and after-school camps, professional development, mentorships, internships, leadership succession planning, and the strengthening of technological and informational systems. Language retention and revitalization programs have been recognized as providing key benefits to Native American communities by boosting educational achievement and student retention rates. They also support community identity, Native systems of kinship, and management of community, cultural and natural resources.

Through this initiative, First Nations seeks to stem the loss of Indigenous languages and cultures by supporting new generations of Native American language speakers, and establishing infrastructure and models for Native language-immersion programs that may be replicated in other communities. To learn more about the history and current grantees of this initiative, go here.

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First Nations awards 13 new Native language grants

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