Tradition Bearers for Bio-cultural Diversity Fellowship

Native American / First Nations individuals who are grounded culturally and in community are the focus of this Fellowship. They seldom have the financial resources and time for deeper contemplation in their own culture or the chance to engage and explore new skills and empower their leadership. The Tradition Bearers for Bio-cultural Diversity Fellowship provides support for individual Indigenous leaders to focus on, reflect, and contemplate the trajectory of their work in stewardship for biological diversity and cultural identity. Awards of $10,000 each to two applicants.

During the year-long span of this fellowship recipients will expand their education (through traditional knowledge, education systems, or other capacity building activities), engage more extensively in their culture, and exploring the esoteric knowledge of the bio- and cultural-diversity of the world. This exploration may be fulfilled through the expression of traditional language and/or stewardship practices in relation to Mother Earth.

How to Apply

Provide a two to four (2-4) page personal statement outlining their experience in community-based work, including how this work impacts or continues to advance in their communities, and how this Fellowship may be beneficial. Applications must accompany two to three (2-3) letters of recommendation and a photograph of the applicant. The deadline to apply is February 13, 2019. Selected fellows are required to submit an outcome as a report from this Fellowship within 18 months of the award date.

  • Name
  • Date
  • Indigenous Affiliation
  • Date of Birth
  • Affiliated Organization
  • Occupation
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailing Address, City, State, Zip, Country (Canada or United States)

A brief summary (4-6 sentences) of your submission must also be included.

If awarded, indicate whether funds will be distributed to an organization or directly to the awardee. Include contact information and applicable Tax ID or completed W-9 Form.

Materials may be submitted electronically at or mailed to our office at P.O. Box 4569 Arcata, CA 95518. For further information, please contact Carlrey Arroyo, Advancement Assistant, at our office at 707-825-7640 or at An email receipt will be sent within 5 days of submission. Note: the SGF office will be closed December 24, 2018 - January 2, 2019.

Ideal Candidates

The following descriptions will be used to select the two recipients for the fellowship and encapsulates those who should apply:

  • Identify as Indigenous to the continental United States or Canada.
  • Leads work in their communities in a culturally appropriate manner. The community affected must be Indigenous to the continental United States or Canada.
  • Demonstrates 15 or more years of experience conducting bio-cultural and traditionally-focused grassroots organizing efforts.
  • Applicants who are inspirational to and empower their communities.
  • Applicants who would greatly benefit from this prize both financially and socially through network building.
  • Tribal employees or tribal affiliates are only eligible for this fellowship through work they accomplish outside of their employer-related responsibilities.

Requirements for Fellowship Awardees

Fellowship awardees will be required to submit a report highlighting the learnings, impacts, and differences this opportunity has made in empowering and fostering their leadership. Narrative reports will be required and may include multi-media materials (i.e. writings, artwork, photographs of bead-work/ regalia making/ etc., poster, and/or videos) at the conclusion of their fellowship experience. Report submissions should convey the fellowship benefits provided to the awardee and their community.

The Prize Recipients

Fellowship awardees will be notified by April 12, 2019. Awardees will receive $10,000 towards advancing their education (cultural or academic), further their community-driven work or other efforts as a means to deepen their knowledge and build capacity towards improving and continuing their work within their communities.

Desired Outcomes

Short Term:

  • Promote and direct attention towards Indigenous leaders throughout philanthropy.
  • Provide special focus and investment for reflection, engagement, and empowerment for dedicated community leaders.
  • Advance the skills and capacity of awardees.
  • Rejuvenate and inspire pathways for traditional stewardship practices (of Native homelands and Mother Earth) and the strengthening esoteric knowledge.
  • Potential outcomes and reports may be incorporated into our Gourds of Wisdom and Red Paper publications.

Long Term:

  • Awardees further nurture and advance their leadership into a stronger role in their communities.
  • Skills and capacity of awardees are re-invested into their Indigenous communities.
  • Awardees’ learnings are shared through collective community-based organizing and peer-learning opportunities.

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