Native Hope's Fellowships for 2020-2021

May 17, 2020 | Native Hope

Native Americans built their communities on the idea of “mutual support” and friendship. For centuries the Native tribes of this continent survived on networking, not only by living in harmony with each other but also with nature—that is fellowship: “a friendly association with earth and mankind, those who share interests.”

Native Hope believes a collaborative effort across Nations with relevant and respected Fellows will continue to inspire a positive impact throughout Indian Country—promoting a strong cultural identity. 

Meet our Covid-19 Fellows: 

COVID-19 has presented a new set of issues for the world, but it has been especially devastating for those in the hardest hit areas of the Southwest. Former fellow, Nikki Lowe, Chickasaw and Creek, connected us with Zoel Zohhnie, Navajo. While former fellow, Waylon Pahona, Hopi & Tewa/ Maricopa, suggested working with the Hopi people of New Mexico, who live in the middle of Navajo Nation. Out of discussions with both men, two COVID-19 Fellowships were born. 

Each COVID-19 Fellowship will provide $2,500 toward fresh water & essential resource efforts for both nations. Fresh water and essential supplies are a must in the battle against COVID-19. 


Zoel has taken on a grassroots effort to personally deliver water and new 55-gallon water barrels to families, in Navajo Nation, without ample water storage capability. His mission is help as long as necessary! 



Waylon plans to use fellowship funds to assist with any urgent needs for the villages. The Hopi live traditionally and most do not have running water—they utilize groundwater which is tainted with natural arsenic and uranium. Hopi villages are in the middle of Navajo Nation and face similar challenges.

Meet our 2020-2021 Fellows: 

The Native Hope Fellowship Program empowers creativity and leadership in Indigenous Peoples and their communities. The initiative creates and supports opportunities and funding for individuals to develop their vision and improve Indian Country.

Over their 12-month commitment, Native Hope Fellows receive tools, resources, and capital—$5,000—to launch or sustain their vision. Additionally, Native Hope will seek opportunities for Fellows to share their initiatives at speaking engagements, conferences, or events.


Yvonne “Tiny” DeCory, Oglala Lakóta and founder of the BEAR program on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, works tirelessly fighting the suicide epidemic plaguing Indian Country. Her renewed fellowship will fund valuable talking circles for at-risk teens who need a support system. These circles also offer a sense of identity and promote leadership qualities. Tiny feels that there is extreme healing power in the sharing experiences. 


Jason Goodface, Kul Wícasa Lakóta and Ojibwe and Lower Brule Sioux Tribal employee, intends on spreading meth awareness throughout Indian Country through attending and organizing awareness walks/events. He is a recovering meth addict studying to become an addiction counselor—he knows first-hand the battle of sobriety. By spreading awareness on the dangers of meth use and ways to overcome addiction, Jason wants to inspire hope for others. 

Fellows-email-BevBeverly Running Bear, Oglala Lakóta and professor of Native American studies at Black Hills State University, teaches the Lakóta language not only to college students but also to community members. Her fellowship will focus on working with Lakota elders to create fluent language videos. In this language preservation effort, Beverely hopes to host an event for Lakóta elders to discuss - in Lakóta - valuable stories, lessons, humor and much more. 

Fellows-email-ElvaElva Stricker, Kul Wícasa Lakóta, works for the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and feels blessed to live in her community. She wants to build a cultural bridge between teenage girls and the female elders of her tribe. Elva’a group, the Isnatí Awica Lowanpe—Brave Heart Society, prepares for and attends a Coming of Age ceremony each summer. This Lakóta right of passage provides an opportunity for teens to better know themselves and their culture.

Our Native Hope Fellows possess creative wisdom and a higher level of commitment for the betterment of their communities.

Native Hope believes a collaborative effort across Nations with relevant and respected Fellows will inspire a positive impact throughout Indian Country while promoting a stronger cultural identity.

Our Fellowship initiative creates opportunities and provides funding for its Fellows to develop their vision for positively impacting Native peoples and communities. That’s why we have set a goal to raise $25,000 by May 29 to support Native Hope Fellows and their valuable community work for this upcoming 2020-2021 year.

With your support we can dismantle barriers and inspire hope for Native voices unheard.

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