Tradition Bearers for Bio-cultural Diversity Fellowship

About the Fellowship

The Tradition Bearers for Bio-cultural Diversity Fellowship will advance the opportunity for Indigenous leaders to focus on, reflect, and contemplate the trajectory of their work. Indigenous leaders who are grounded culturally and in community 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. This opportunity will provide specific reflection for such Indigenous leadership in stewardship for biological diversity and cultural identity with selected Indigenous leaders in the United States and Canada. Awards of $10,000 each will be granted to two applicants.

During the span of this fellowship recipients are responsible for expanding their education (through traditional knowledge, western education, or other capacity building activities), engaging more extensively in their culture, and exploring the esoteric knowledge of the bio- and cultural-diversity of the world. This esoteric exploration may be fulfilled through the expression of traditional language and/or stewardship practices in relation to Mother Earth.

How to Apply

Applicants must provide a 2-4 page personal statement outlining their experience in community-based work, including how this work has advanced or continues to advance in their communities, and how this Fellowship may be beneficial in their work. Applications must accompany 2-3 letters of recommendation as well as a photograph of the applicant. The deadline to apply is February 6, 2017. Applications must include:

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

Materials may be submitted electronically at or mailed to our office at P.O. Box 4569 Arcata, CA 95518. For further information, please contact Edgar Lazaro, Advancement Assistant, at our office at 707-825-7640 or at

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.

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. 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.

Selection Criteria

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

  • Applicants must identify as Indigenous to the United States or Canada.
  • Applicants should participate in or lead work that positively affects their communities in a culturally appropriate manner. The community affected must be Indigenous to the United States or Canada.
  • Conducts culturally- and traditionally-focused grassroots organizing efforts.
  • Achievements in the applicants program uplift the communities they are serving in and promote capacity building and the well-being of all community members.
  • Tribal employees or tribal affiliates are only eligible for this fellowship through work they accomplish outside of their employer-related responsibilities.
  • Applicants who are inspirational to and empower their communities.
  • Applicants who would greatly benefit from this prize both financially and socially through network building.

The Prize Recipients

Fellowship awardees will be notified by March 13, 2017. Awardees will receive $10,000 towards advancing their education (cultural or academic), further their community-driven work or other efforts as a means to build their capacity towards improving and continuing their work within their communities.