Many Indigenous-led organizations have paved the way to celebrate the rich history of Native Americans while also fighting to advance the financial and political well-being of their communities. Here are 8 non-profits that are working to promote and protect the heritage and advancement of Native Americans across the country.
Mission: First Nations focuses on economic development within Native communities across the U.S. Their mission is to strengthen asset control for American Indians by investing in these communities and creating institutional support for financial empowerment.
Key programming your funds will support: First Nations has several core program areas that work towards the organization’s mission. Here are a few examples of the impact they’re having:
- Financial empowerment: Educates individuals and families on how to manage their money, including saving and investing strategies.
- Nourishing Native foods and health: Increases access to nutritious food sources and improves Native control over food and agricultural systems.
- Investing in Native youth: Provides grant support to youth projects, like the Native Language Immersion Initiative.
Mission: Indigenous Roots is on a mission to promote indigenous art, culture, and tradition. The organization’s Cultural Arts Center is located in St. Paul, Minnesota, and provides a range of workshops, events, and community outreach programs. It’s a grassroots organization that is committed to creating opportunities for Native, Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples.
Key programming your funds will support: Since its inception in 2017, Indigenous Roots has quickly built a diverse range of impactful programs, such as:
- Youth leadership programs
- Workshops on topics like decolonized learning and ancestral knowledge
- Traditional ancestral healing classes
- Community gatherings
- Artist residencies
Native American Rights Funds
Mission: The Native American Rights Fund has been providing legal support to indigenous communities since 1970. The organization’s mission is to ensure the conditions of existing laws and treaties are upheld by state and national governments.
Key programming your funds will support: NARF executes its mission through five critical program areas:
- Preserving tribal existence: Secures permanent land bases to preserve traditional customs.
- Protecting tribal natural resources: Protects tribal resources from exploitation by non-Indians.
- Promoting Native American human rights: Focus areas include education, health, housing, and religious freedom.
- Holding governments accountable: Works to enforce laws and regulations that govern Native people.
- Developing Indian law: Establishes favorable court precedents and educates stakeholders on Indian law resources.
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Mission: The National Indian Child Welfare Association works to strengthen families by eliminating abuse and neglect. The goal is to ultimately support American Indian and Native Alaskan children’s safety, health, and spiritual strength.
Key programming your funds will support: NICWA works towards its mission through five program areas:
- Protecting Our Children conference: Presents best practices on tribal child welfare and well-being.
- Community development: Addresses the structural risk of conditions that lead to child abuse and neglect, like poverty and parental mental health.
- Training: Works with individual communities to provide training and resources for child welfare.
- Public policy and advocacy: Identifies annual policy priorities to focus on.
- Research: Partners with communities to analyze data on culturally specific projects.
Native American Advancement Foundation
Mission: Founded in 2011 by members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the Native American Advancement Foundation provides direct support to the community needs of the Nation’s GuVo District in Arizona.
Key programming your funds will support: NAAF works towards community growth and development in nine key areas:
- Language and culture
- Food sovereignty
- Animal welfare
Native American Disability Law Center
Mission: The Native American Disability Law Center works to ensure that Native Americans with disabilities are treated as equal members of their communities and nations. The organization is committed to addressing issues like civil rights, special education, health care, and public and private service access.
Key programming your funds will support: There are four service areas within the Law Center’s field of work:
- Information and referral hotline
- Legal representation
- Systems advocacy to improve or increase services
- Self-advocacy training and education for disabled individuals, their families, and service providers.
Warrior Women Project
Mission: The Warrior Women Project seeks to reframe history's portrayal of women as vessels and caretakers and instead share stories of historical agents and change makers. The organization uses the Indigenous matriarchy as its foundation to create more accurate connections between communities, academia, and the media.
Key programming your funds will support: Currently, the Warrior Women Project has three primary projects:
- Oral history and archive: This collection includes community-based archives of recorded interviews spanning from Red Power Movement activists in the 1970s through today’s struggles of Indigenous people.
- Community impact media: This grassroots media effort follow’s today on-the-ground activism efforts. It’s a rapid response on issues like the Cheyenne River Reservation and other areas in Indian Country.
- Water Protector Oral History Project: This project shares stories from the 2016-2017 resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.
Redhawk Native American Arts Council
Mission: The Redhawk Native American Arts Council works to educate the public on Native American heritage through song, dance, theater, and more. It focuses on Indigenous cultures and art from North, South, Central American, Caribbean, and Polynesian Indigenous cultures.
Key programming your funds will support: The organization offers programming both online and in-person. Here’s a sampling of some of their areas of focus:
- Online programs: Virtual classes include topics such as Turtle Island Nations, Indigenous social justice and activism, history of Native American dancing and pow wows, an interactive travel exhibit, cultural sensitivity training, plus arts and music classes.
- Educational workshops: Available for students of all levels, from kindergarten to college, topics include land acknowledgments, corporate programs, library programs, Earth programs, and more.
- Events: The Council puts on the Northeast’s largest Indigenous heritage celebrations. Events include the Rarity Native American Celebration, the Bear Mountain Native American Celebration, and Indigenous People’s Day.