With our partner First Nations Development Institute, we are excited to announced the newest cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows. These ten knowledge keepers and knowledge makers—chosen from more than 250 applicants by an Indigenous advisory committee—stand out for their commitment to strengthening their communities and perpetuating traditional Native practices and culture.
These ten leaders are artists, activists, educators, and practitioners working across a range of fields including healthcare, agriculture, and cultural resource preservation. Five of the ten 2023 fellows are working to document, teach, or grow the daily use and understanding of Native languages, reflecting the importance of language revitalization as a critical foundation of Indigenous knowledge and ways life.
Martha A. Austin
Knowledge Field: Language educator
Keola Kawaiʻulaʻiliahi Chan
Knowledge Field: Kumu Lapaʻau
Michon R. Eben
Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone
Knowledge Field: Cultural resource manager/THPO
Anna Brown Ehlers
Knowledge Field: Chilkat artist, educator
Sara L. Chase Merrick
Hoopa Valley Tribe, Shinnecock Nation
Knowledge Field: Language activist and educator
Kyle K. Nahoi
Knowledge Field: Farmer
Tewa-San Ildefonso Pueblo
Knowledge Field: Community activist, educator, elder, pottery artist
Leech Lake (descendant)
Knowledge Field: Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewas
Knowledge Field: Language and culture educator
Sinixt (Colville Tribal Member)
Knowledge Field: Language activist
First Nations also selected 15 candidates to receive honorable mention awards for their commitment to generating, perpetuating, and disseminating Indigenous knowledge.
First Nations Development (First Nations) has announced the 10 outstanding Indigenous leaders selected for the 2023 Cohort of the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship.
Conceived and facilitated by First Nations and The Henry Luce Foundation (Luce), the fellowship – now in its fourth year – is designed to identify, support, and convene Native American knowledge holders and knowledge makers who embody exceptional creativity and progressive and critical thinking, and who have the potential to significantly move forward their fields in ways that will ultimately lead to broad, transformative impacts for Native communities and beyond.
Over the last four years, 43 Indigenous leaders have been selected for the prestigious fellowship, which has become a key component of First Nations’ overall work to strengthen Native communities, including advancing Native food sovereignty, protecting Native resources and assets, promoting Native language learning, and investing in Native youth, said First Nations President and CEO Michael Roberts.
“We are honored and inspired to see this population grow. Every fellow is a testament to the skills, talent, and knowledge found throughout Indian Country, and we are fortunate to be able to continue investing in these leaders and the value they bring to their communities and the future,” Roberts said.
Sean T. Buffington, Vice President of the Henry Luce Foundation, concurred, saying “I’ve seen firsthand with every cohort the fantastic work of these individuals, and we are excited to support them and their contributions to Native communities and beyond.”
Selected fellows receive a monetary award of $75,000 and access to additional resources for training and professional development. They also commit to convening three times during the first year of the two-year Fellowship to share and grow their knowledge, projects, and drive to achieve their personal and community goals.
The 2023 cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows was selected by an Indigenous advisory committee. Ten candidates were selected from over 250 applicants in a competitive, two-phase application, peer-reviewed process.