Decolonizing Wealth | NDN Collective

Edgar Villanueva · November 20, 2018

Decolonizing Wealth

A New Book on Healing Funding Relationships and Philanthropy to Native America

 Sourced from www.decolonizingwealth.com on October 31, 2018

Blaming banksters and capitalism for the awful mess that is 21st Century America has become a popular pastime among academics, activists and economists, whose bestsellers propose their signature solutions. Yet one place where solutions are never sought is Native America. With Decolonizing Wealth, a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance, the award-winning Native funder Edgar Villanueva steps into that space, with a prescription for restoring balance and healing our divides.

With 2016’s Standing Rock protests, the largest Native American action in at least a century, the world was reminded of Indigenous power and resilience. Now Decolonizing Wealth proposes that Native ways and worldviews offer not just valuable but essential guidance in transforming the institutions that control access to money.

“We are all connected. All our suffering is mutual. All our healing is mutual. All our thriving is mutual.”

Decolonizing funding processes, argues Villanueva, is key to healing. After 14 years in philanthropy, Edgar Villanueva has seen past the field’s glamorous, altruistic façade, into its shadows: the old boy networks, the savior complexes, and the internalized oppression among the “house slaves,” those select few people of color who gain access. He widens the analysis to address all the institutions along what he terms the loans-to-gifts spectrum, including banks, investment funds, and aid organizations. All these funders reflect and perpetuate the same underlying dynamics that divide Us from Them and Haves from Have-Nots.

With great compassion—because the Native way is to bring the oppressor into the circle of healing, understanding that healing cannot occur unless everyone is part of the process— Villanueva diagnoses the fatal flaws in funders, unflinchingly drilling down to the core of colonialism and White supremacy. In the third and final section of Decolonizing Wealth, he offers radical provocations to funders and outlines his Seven Steps for Healing.

A short and engaging read of approximately 200 pages, Decolonizing Wealth weaves together Villanueva’s heartfelt and wry Southern-style storytelling with excerpts from his interviews with dozens of funders, citing only as much data as necessary to back up his personal experiences. Although driven by the moral convictions of a defender of human rights and justice, there is nothing strident here, instead a constant return to the gracious Lakota principle of Mitakuye oyasin—all my relations, meaning: We are all connected. All our suffering is mutual. All our healing is mutual. All our thriving is mutual. America has never before seen an analysis of philanthropic and financial institutions like Decolonizing Wealth. Now is most definitely the time.


Edgar Villanueva
Edgar Villanueva

Edgar Villanueva in an enrolled member of the Lumbee Nation. He is the Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation where he leads grant making and advocacy supports for education justice. Villanueva is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, previously holding leadership roles at Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and at the Marguerite Casey Foundation. He currently serves on the chair of the board of directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a trustee of Andrus Family Fund. Villanueva is also an instructor with The Grantmaking School at the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and is the author of Decolonizing Wealth, a new book that offers alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the social finance sector.

November 2020 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.

Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Posted 8 months ago NDN Collective Selects Ten Indigenous Radical Imagination Artists from Across Turtle Island
Over the next year, each selected artist will receive a grant up to $50,000 to support their community embedded project that envisions the future world we are striving towards.
Posted 22 hours ago Disrupting Rainbow Capitalism: ‘We will not be commodified or erased.”

Brandi Douglas , Steph Viera

"Commodification of the rainbow flag and Queer culture does little to nothing to benefit those within the 2SLGBTQ+ community itself, nor does it address the violence continually directed towards these relatives."
Posted 1 week ago NDN Collective Launches “LANDBACK U”: A Curriculum on How to Join the Fight to Return Land to Indigenous Hands
LANDBACK U is a free, comprehensive, online learning platform to engage in political education and discussions on topics critical to the Indigenous movement to reclaim land and relationship to land.
Posted 2 weeks ago Keystone XL Terminated: NDN Collective Points to Power of Indigenous Political Pressure
"The end of KXL is an affirmation that persistence works, that intersectional organizing works, and that when we center our efforts in our Indigenous values and in our respect for water, land, and our people, we win."
Posted 2 weeks ago The Sacredness of our 2SLGBTQ+ Relatives Must be Timeless

Brandi Douglas

A Call to Celebrate our 2SLGBTQ+ Relatives 365 Days Out of the Year
Posted 3 weeks ago In Memoriam: Carrying the Hopes and Courage of 215 Children

Sarah Sunshine Manning

"We hold space for the pain in remembrance of all of the babies who were deprived of so much more than a proper burial-- they were deprived of love, of justice, of basic human dignity. "
Posted 3 weeks ago "We call for justice and accountability": NDN Collective Responds to Mass Grave of 215 Indigenous Children in Kamloops
NDN Collective joins the call for continued searches for mass and unmarked graves on all properties of former Indian residential schools across Canada and the United States.
Posted 4 weeks ago “Moving Forward Together for Our Relatives”: MMIW+ 5k Walk/Run in Rapid City Brings Community Together

Brandy Calabaza , Brandi Douglas

NDN Collective, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe co-organize the first Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives+ 5k Walk Run in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Posted 1 month ago Memo: Mobilizing Climate and Environmental Justice Investments to Indigenous Frontline Communities
NDN Collective's Climate Justice Campaign and the NDN Fund provide memo with guidance to the federal government on how to move resources directly to frontline communities and individuals throughout Indian Country, in response to recently proposed climate justice legislation like the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021 and the American Jobs Plan.
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective’s 2021 Radical Imagination Grant Submission Period Now Open
The NDN Collective Radical Imagination Grant will provide 10 Indigenous artists in the United States, U.S. Territories, Canada and Mexico with $50k to radically imagine a new future, better normal, and a more just world for all people and the planet.
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective Decries Israeli Human Rights Violations & Colonial Violence in Palestine
NDN Collective calls upon the Biden Administration to pull U.S. support for the Israeli policies of apartheid and occupation that are strategically violent and ultimately uphold Israeli aspirations of complete colonization of Palestine.
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2021 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.