For Immediate Release – April 21, 2009
Native Arts & Cultures Foundation launches to support indigenous arts in the U.S.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Native Arts & Cultures Foundation launched today as the first permanently-endowed, national foundation dedicated to supporting, developing and revitalizing Native artistic expression. President and Chief Executive Officer Tara Lulani Arquette leads the Portland-based Foundation to foster indigenous arts in American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native communities.
The Foundation is funded by an initial $10 million commitment from the Ford Foundation for endowment and operating funds. The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians, based near Sacramento, Calif. committed an additional $1.5 million, and has announced a matching grant of a $1.5 million more.
ÂThe arts have always played a very significant role in Native cultures,Â Arquette said. ÂWhat connects one generation to the next is often communicated through the arts, and the NACF will be a powerful instrument for the continuance of Native cultures.Â
Arquette, a Native Hawaiian, brings 20 years of management experience to her role at the new Foundation. Most recently she served as CEO and executive director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, a private, nonprofit organization she led for the past four years. She has long been an advocate on behalf of Native communities, supporting Native Hawaiian social progress, economic development and self-determination, and along the way has intersected with counterparts in the American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.
The formation of the Foundation was guided by a Native Âleadership circleÂ and its board of trustees is majority Native. Members of the board include:
· Walter Echo-Hawk, board chair; Pawnee. He is an attorney, tribal judge, and former senior attorney with the Native American Rights Fund.
· Elizabeth Woody, board secretary; Navajo/Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama. She is a poet, writer, visual artist and the former director and developer of the Indigenous Leadership Program at the nonprofit organization Ecotrust.
· Joy Harjo, board treasurer; Mvskoke/Creek. She is a poet and musician.
· Marshall McKay, member. He is a tribal chairman of the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians.
· Letitia Chambers, member. She is a retired senior executive and former U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly.
ÂIn Native cultures and values, the We is always stronger than the I,Â Arquette said. ÂThe NACF is an organization whose essence and operation are informed from the outset by Native values.Â
Guidelines for grant making will be established in the months ahead. For more information, please visit www.nativeartsandcultures.org.
Chris Nelson, Pyramid Communications