The Art of Business & First People’s Fund – Part I

The "All My Relations" gallery where the First People's Fund business seminar is held

Like I mentioned in my last blog about “Museums: I thought they were like haunted houses”, during the weekend of March 24th through the 26th.  I was one of the grant awardees to receive the First People’s Fund “Artist in Business Leadership” program.  For three days, several Native American artists from around the country met for a marketing seminar in Minneapolis at the new “All Our Relations” gallery/coffee shop facility.

Justin Huenemann, Director of the Native American Community Development Institute ( explains the American Indian Cultural Corridor in Minneapolis - one of the largest blocks of land owned by Native Americans in the nation; no, not reservations, but actual land-owners for self-governance

I was impressed with the information from the presentations by FPF with our hosts, the Native American Community Development Institute.  Visit their wesbite to find out more information about the NACDI.

First People's Fund Program Coordinator Miranne Walker explains FPF's goals and objectives to Stephanie, wife to artist Paul Peterson

The following are images of this year’s FPF artists.

Ivory & whalebone Yupik carver Alfred "Tillie" Gosuk from Togiak, Alaska

All the artists were asked to prepare a 10-minute presentation on where we were from, what kind of work we do, and how we were going to use the funds from our First People’s Fund grant.  Since I was sitting at the very end of the table, I was the first to do my presentation.  I am fortunate to have taken a Marketing class and an Introduction to Digital Media class at the Institute of American Indian Arts during the Spring Semester 2010.  I took pride in presenting some of my marketing tools that I created in my classes:  my first brochure, my business cards, and my power point presentation which kind of tells it all.

Basket-weaver Carol Emarthle-Douglas from Bothell, Washington explains her basketweaving technique and materials used to create the exquisite basket in the Power Point

My favorite part about the entire seminar was watching my fellow artists introduce themselves and their work.  I am always interested in meeting other artists and seeing their work.  (This was one of the main motivators as to why Preston Singletary and I started the biennial “Northwest Coast Artists’ Gathering” in Juneau, Alaska back in 2006.)  I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and artistry of each individual’s work.  I am proud of my fellow artists.  It was an honor to be rubbing shoulders with some of the most influential artists of their communities.  I introduce them here:

Cheyenne ledger painter and jeweler Alaina Buffalo Spirit from Billings, Montana

Northwest Coast artist Paul Peterson, Sr. from Hoodsport, Washington specializes in making bentwood boxes

Beadwork and parfleche artist Lauren Good Day Frank from Bismarck, North Dakota

From Hays, Montana, Roni Stiffarm presented the ancient art of drummaking

One of the few Ash bark basket weavers, Kelly Church from Hopkins, Michigan

Wasco Warm Springs artist Lillian Pitt from Portland, Oregon

Birch bark basket maker Sandy Peterson from Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin

Menominee singer-songwriter Wade Fernandez from Keshena, Wisconsin

To find out information about First People’s Fund there is a part two to this blog entry entitled with the same name, but includes “Part II” to the title…AND there are additional photographs…check it out in next week’s blog entry…


  1. Hi What a great job! Thanks for doing this for us. Stay well and work hard, with love, Lillian

  2. Great pictures, I had the time of my life.Although cold, it was great meeting everyone, and very uplifting! Thanks to the first peoples… Hope to see everyone again soon. Paul Peterson