The Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Awards were named after the founder of First People’s Fund.
Spokesperson Lori Pourier says the awards and their recipients are at the heart of the group’s programs.
“And those are the individuals that are selflessly giving of themselves and their communities,” explains Pourier. “ Who are restoring the language…restoring much of the culture that was extracted and taken away for their community.”
The bi-annual awards ceremony was launched in Rapid City but has taken place in Minneapolis over recent years. Lori Pourier says she’s happy to bring the Community Service Awards back to the Black Hills…especially at this time.
“I think the Collective Spirit….which is…First Peoples Fund… is what we talk about all the time,” Pourier observes. “And that’s what you see happening at Standing Rock…really. It’s a collective spirit of nations of people and…and…you know…local farmers and ranchers coming together in that area as well as folks coming from all over. So it really feels like a really great positive movement. And for us to really be able to share the diversity of Indigenous America here in Rapid City I think is gonna’ be really significant.”
Eighty-five artists from Indigenous nations across the country have received the Community Spirit Awards since 2000.
This year’s winners hale from Alaska, Montana, North Carolina and Hawaii.
First Peoples Fund