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NEW Return to the Heart Foundation Micro Grants for Native Women Helping and Bringing Healing to Native Communities

The Return to the Heart Foundation acknowledges that there are many Native women who are helping and healing in their communities. We are supporting individuals who are grounded in their culture, and serving in their communities with projects in areas of mental, spiritual, physical and cultural health.

We are excited to introduce you to the Traditional Helpers and Healers Grant Partners!

Meet the new Helper and Healers Grant Partners

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Meet Our Grantees

We are currently supporting the work of 23 Traditional Helpers and Healers Grantee Partners across the nation and several in Alaska. Meet Elise Garrish, Natalie Dana Lolar, and Helena Jacobs.

See full list of Traditional Helpers and Healers here. 

Grantees elise gerrish

Elise Gerrish:
Indigenous Plant & Food Education Series

I am a member of the Muckleshoot and my project will increase Native people’s access to traditional plant and food education. Our traditional connection to the natural world has been compromised in the modern world, therefore this will be a form of healing for Native people. This will happen through an Indigenous Plant and Food Education Series.

Students will receive three meal kits to prepare a culturally relevant meal for their family. Each session, students will learn how to gather a traditional plant which will be included in their meal. Southern Lushootseed is integrated throughout this experience to offer another traditional way of connecting with the land. Each recipe will be included in the final publication. Recipes from other Native Action Network Legacy of Leadership Cohort members will be included, as well as photos, illustrations, relevant stories, quotes and Southern Lushootseed Language integration in classes, publication and land acknowledgement.

My project will promote wellness and healing through connection to the natural world and Indigenous teachings. We want to engage with family units so the cultural teachings can be absorbed through multiple generations. Traditional language revitalization will be woven in as well.

Grantees natalie dana

Natalie Dana Lolar:
Medicine Drums

My project would be to put as many drums into the homes of Wabanaki people as I can. During this time of Covid-19 and being forced to separate from family, it is important to remember the medicine the drum provides.

I am a drum maker and teacher. I want to offer free kits and a zoom class for Wabanaki members to learn to make their own drums. This can help people during this pandemic to feel connected to our people and culture.

This project serves the Wabanaki Tribes; Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Micmac in Maine.

Grantees natalie dana
Grantees helena

Helena Jacobs:
Alaska Native Birthworkers Community

Our project will focus on developing and implementing a virtual workshop for Indigenous birthing families in Alaska.

Families will receive plant medicine kits in the mail for the virtual workshop to make medicine at home, such as an all-purpose healing salve safe for parent and baby, pregnancy-safe tea blend and soothing nipple cream.

This project serves Alaska Natives and/or Indigenous families living in Alaska.

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If you would like to partner with us in supporting Native Women and Girls please contact