Bush Foundation Grant Supports Organizations Helping Native Nations Recover Land

Published August 2, 2017

ST. PAUL – The Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization that works with American Indian tribes and organizations that support Native nations and people in the recovery of their rightful homelands. Thanks to a $200,000 Ecosystem grant from the Bush Foundation, ILTF will be able to financially support several American Indian start-up organizations that are helping to return Indian lands to Indian hands.

The Bush Foundation provides Ecosystem grants to help sustain organizations such as ILTF that create unique and significant value by providing critical data and analysis, spreading great ideas and building capacity, advancing public awareness and policy, and building and supporting leadership networks. Established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife Edyth, the Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them. Inspired by the Bushes’ desire to build their community and encourage innovation, the Foundation has invested nearly one billion dollars in grants to thousands of organizations and individuals.

“ILTF is helping tribes rebuild and strengthen their land base so that full ownership and control of Indian land returns to, and remains in, Indian hands,” said ILTF President Cris Stainbrook. “This grant will allow us to help many small, regional organizations that are doing good work toward this goal.”

Through a variety of innovative programs and initiatives, ILTF works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands. As a community foundation, ILTF accepts contributions from foundations, tribes, corporations, organizations and individuals to support its grant making and program initiatives. Since its inception in 2002, ILTF has provided more than $40 million in grants, loans and program services throughout the nation in support of Indian land recovery and management efforts. ILTF has a variety of innovative programs and grants, including:

  • Estate Planning – Providing education and estate planning services for tribal members as a way to stop the continued division of Indian land titles, and to ensure that Indian lands are controlled and managed by Indian people.
  • National Tribal Land Association (NTLA) – Professional association for tribal land and natural resources staff to learn, share and network with their colleagues from other tribes. (ntla.info)
  • The Tanka Fund – National campaign to bring renewed health and opportunity to American Indian communities through buffalo restoration, promoting healthy lands, healthy people and healthy economies. (tankafund.org)
  • Spirit of Sovereignty – A National Indian Gaming Association-advised fund at ILTF that makes the opportunity for higher education a reality for Native American students by providing scholarships to attend tribal college. (spiritofsov.org)
  • Lessons of Our Land – Pre-K through grade 12 curriculum that enables teachers to easily incorporate Native American stories, lessons and games about land, cultures, histories and languages into regular classroom instruction. (lessonsofourland.org)

“The Bush Foundation has been a great supporter of helping Native nations implement positive change,” Stainbrook said. “They understand the importance of nurturing start-up organizations that can make a significant difference in Indian Country, and we are pleased to help them do that. It is also gratifying to be recognized by the Indian community as a trusted source of information and assistance. ”

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