About Us

Mission Statement
The First Nations Composer Institute is dedicated to the creation and promotion of American Indian music and musical traditions in all of its forms. By increasing awareness of and exposure to the wide diversity of musical traditions and genres within the American Indian, Alaskan Native and Hawaiian Native communities, FNCI serves to widen the audience for composers and performers. Within this scope of service FNCI is also committed to the education of our youth and in the diversity of opportunities for their work.


Statement of Intent
We support the creative spirit of American Indian peoples, both in the continued development of all the art forms and in the preservation of the traditional and contemporary artistic legacy.
We commit to governance based on the principles of American Indian self-determination.
We accept our cultural responsibility to the seventh generation.
We honor the wisdom and teaching of our elders.
We acknowledge our relations and the interconnectedness of life.
We respect the sacred and social aspects of Native American culture.

It is not enough to acknowledge that American Indian music is different from other music. What is needed in America is an awakening and reorienting of our total spiritual and cultural perspective to embrace, understand and learn from the Aboriginal American what motivates his musical and artistic impulses.
— Dr. Louis W. Ballard

Our Programs
Common Ground is our re-granting program and is funded by the Ford Foundation’s IllumiNation grant program.
Individual awards will range from $500 to $5,000. Grants are designed to give an immediate financial boost to composers, performers, and other makers of new music at a time when this help would have a significant career-enhancing effect.
Deadline is: February 1, 2012 (postmark)
Mail to:
FNCI
332 Minnesota Street Suite E – 145
St. Paul, MN 55101-1300
Attn: Jewell

The Composer Apprentice National Outreach Endeavor (CANOE), is our music education program.
CANOE puts a composer/music educator in a classroom once a week over the course of two semesters. The overall goal of the CANOE program is to encourage American Indian students to compose and share their own music.
For more information please contact Jewell or Lisa.

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