Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous Knowledge

Responsive Grants

The Indigenous Knowledge Initiative seeks to support community-engaged knowledge keepers and knowledge makers in Indian Country and to strengthen the infrastructure that they rely upon for support. Indigenous cultural knowledges—the sources of Native identities, community, and sovereignty—have been relentlessly, systematically undermined, appropriated and destroyed by governments, museums, universities, industry, science, and many other institutions and structures in American society.

By investing in knowledge makers, the Luce Foundation can help to ensure that Native America has the human and cultural resources it needs to thrive. If we succeed, there will be a strong, vital, interconnected network of individual knowledge makers who can serve as spokespeople and advocates for their communities and for the critical importance of Indigenous knowledge. The infrastructure that supports knowledge keepers—at the tribal, national, and institutional levels—will be more robust and more responsive to their needs. And philanthropy and mainstream cultural and educational institutions will be more cognizant of and responsive to the knowledge needs and demands of Indigenous people.

Recent grants to strengthen knowledge infrastructure have supported the development of a Cherokee digital archive and language tool at Northeastern University, an effort by the Native American Rights Fund to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the expansion of news coverage by Indian Country Today, and a project on Indigenous data sovereignty at the University of Arizona's Native Nations Institute.

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Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

A convening of the inaugural cohort of Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows, organized by First Nations Development Institute in 2020.

Launched in 2018, the Henry Luce Foundation’s Indigenous Knowledge Initiative supports knowledge makers and knowledge keepers serving Indigenous communities in the United States through a competitive fellowship program administered by First Nations Development Institute (FNDI).

The Foundation and our partners at FNDI believe that knowledge and ideas have the power to transform communities—at the local, national, and global levels—but only if that knowledge and those ideas are put in the hands of communities. By investing in intellectual leaders who are committed to sharing their work with the public, we can empower the communities that those intellectual leaders aim to address and serve.

In keeping with Luce tradition, we define intellectual leadership broadly to include spiritual leaders, media makers, scientists and health professionals, academics, curators, artists and writers, and policy makers, among others. Their work may take many forms, including journalism, visual art, film and video, speeches or sermons, educational curricula, music or theater, formal scholarship or research, public health strategies, legal arguments, fiction, policy analysis, etc.

The selection process for the fifth cohort of the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship is underway. The call for the sixth cohort will be announced in spring or early summer.

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Images: (Left) Close up of a mural on a Yuruk tribal government building; (right and center) close up of murals at Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, CA. All photos by Sean Buffington.
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