Press Release

Six Native American artists, including Brewer artist, recognized with national award

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Today First Peoples Fund announced artists from six states who will receive a prestigious 2013 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award fellowship. Each year, the national organization honors and celebrates exceptional American Indian artists who embody Collective Spirit® — “that which manifests self-awareness and a sense of responsibility to sustain the cultural fabric of a community”. Each honoree is recognized with a $5,000 no-strings-attached fellowship.

First Peoples Fund’s President, Lori Pourier (Oglala Lakota) explains that honorees are chosen not only for artistic excellence but for exemplifying indigenous values of generosity, wisdom, respect, integrity, strength, fortitude and humility. “Each artist exemplifies Collective Spirit® which moves each one of us to stand up and make a difference, to pass on the ancestral knowledge, or simply extend a hand of generosity”, she said in a press release.

This year’s honorees are:

  • Watie J. Akins from Brewer, ME (Penobscot) – AbenakiTraditional Music

Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Watie J. Akins is an accomplished musician, song writer and composer of

traditional Abenaki music. Watie has served as a tribal leader, master of traditional music, and a keycontributor to the revitalization and preservation efforts of the Penobscot Language, music and culture in general. His upbringing in a musical household as well as his family’s active participation in tribal pageants can be seen today in his dedication to tradition and music. First Peoples Fund will honor Watie from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 6,  in Indian Island, at the Penobscot Nation Community Building, Council Chamber.

  • Vicky Holt Takamine from Honolulu, Hawaii (Native Hawaiian) – Hula
  • Georgianna Houle from Dunseith, N.D. (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) – Red Willow Basket Making
  • Dr. Denise K. Lajimodiere from Moorhead, Minn. (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) – Native American Traditional & Jingle Dress Dance Apparel
  • Susan C. Malutin from Kodiak, Alaska (Native Village of Afognak) – Furs, Fishskins & Beachgrass
  •  Cyril Lani Pahinui from Waipahu, Hawaii (Native Hawaiian) – Hawaiian Music

Over the past 14 years, First Peoples Fund has recognized a total of 65 Community Spirit Award honorees representing 46 tribal nations. Funding made possible by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

Contact: Miranne Walker, Program Officer, (605) 348-0324


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