Digital Storytelling Creates Next-Level Opportunities for Indigenous Communities
WELCOME TO FIRST VOICES!
First Voices is a storytelling project that builds cultural connections—between generations, between Indigenous tribes and between Native and non-Native people.
Working with partner communities across North America, the project combines the arts and technology to create authentic interpretations of ancestral and historical Indigenous stories.
Watch our short video below to see First Voices in action, featuring comments from participants on the impact the project has had on them.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
The goal of First Voices is to improve personal, educational and professional outcomes for Indigenous people and the wider community.
A typical First Voices cohort consists of high school and college students, as well as members of the wider community (both Native and non-Native).
In this video you can see our current First Voices project in collaboration with Fort Peck Community College. It shows a glimpse of the various workshops that participants get involved with as they create a story.
Ultimately, our dream is for citizens of every background (Native and non-Native) to better understand and value the importance of the cultures and languages of the Indigenous nations within the state of Montana and across our great country.
The impact of First Voices is measured on three levels:
Young people and community members who participate in a First Voices project will:
Strengthen social and emotional skills
Develop leadership and teamwork capabilities
Build knowledge in key 21st-century digital media and communication modalities
In our partner communities, working with our educators, knowledge-keepers and volunteers First Voices aims to:
Increase inter-generational contact within tribal communities
Increase partnership among different tribal communities
Increase partnership between Native and non-Native individuals both within and outside reservations
Improve community health and wellness outcomes through raising awareness of nutrition issues and local food sourcing
THE WIDER SOCIETY
And looking at the wider society we aim to bring about a change in the cultural climate in Montana and across the USA.
We passionately believe that this can and will be achieved through:
Increased exposure to authentic Indigenous history and contemporary culture through free and universal online access to First Voices stories and related content
Use of First Voices free educator resources by high school and college educators across the country
"My favorite part has been the dancing, movement and choreography...it's an amazing opportunity that I've been able to participate in."
—Burton, Junior, Lame Deer High School
SUPPORT FIRST VOICES!
We invite you to join the First Voices family—your generous support is invaluable as we move the project forward.
Support is deeply welcomed at the following levels:
Leadership Circle: $95,000 covers the completion of a First Voices story, including all video production and teaching artists' fees for participant workshops
Benefactor Circle: $65,000 covers videography and animation costs (production and post-production)
Patron Circle: $35,000 covers teaching artists' fees and music recording and composition
Supporter Circle: $20,000 supports story research phase including tribal Elders and council members
Friend Circle: $5,000 supports capacity-building towards fostering new partnerships and project planning
Member Circle: Up to $5,000 provides generous support for ongoing First Voices project expenses
We are delighted to discuss corporate sponsorship opportunities. Importantly, First Voices encourages volunteering by our sponsors' employees in all the reservation communities we work with. These opportunities expand cultural responsiveness and foster engagement with Indigenous young people as they develop leadership skills and the capabilities to succeed—both within and beyond their own communities.
Please contact Preeti Vasudevan to discuss support opportunities at any of the above levels.
First Voices is deeply grateful for the on-going support of a wide range of government agencies, foundations, educational institutions and individuals. Among our supporters are the following organizations.
In addition we are deeply grateful for on-going support and encouragement from:
Jerry Metcalf Foundation
Angora Ridge Foundation
William B. Pratt Memorial Fund
In addition we are deeply grateful for financial and in-kind support from:
The CHANTÉ Project (FPCC)
The American Indian Hall (at MSU Billings)
Thundering Buffalo Health and Wellness Center (Poplar, MT)
Poplar High School
Brockton High School
Wolf Point High School
Frazer High School
On-line learning partner
We are also grateful to the incredible support and dedication we receive from our online learning partner Learn Interactive, Inc.