Transition & Resilience grants Click here

March 8, 2020

In Praise of NDN Women: An International Women’s Day Tribute

In order to build holistic solutions, wisdom and values carried by women and matriarchs must be front and center. NDN Collective is proud to have a staff and board that consist primarily of women.

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and while there are so many women to celebrate and honor across this beautiful Earth, today, we want to honor the women right here at NDN Collective, who are behind the scenes doing incredible work to defend our communities and homelands, develop solutions and innovations that build equity and justice for our people, and decolonize systems that have excluded or disenfranchised Native and Indigenous Peoples. 

NDN Collective is proud to say that both our staff and board consists of a majority of women. This is no coincidence. We firmly believe that in order to build holistic solutions, wisdom and values carried by women and matriarchs must be front and center. 

Here is what some of the NDN Collective women had to say about being an Indigenous woman today:

From Dr. PennElys Droz, Director of the NDN Fellowship and Prize:

“It is vital to us as ikwewag – women – who seek to create pathways of healing and a vibrant future for our Nations, to take our place as honored leaders and keepers of medicine, the water and Earth. Healing ourselves in freedom and creativity is also healing our children and the Earth. The uplifting and honoring of women, Trans and femme people in power and voice, learning how to be in relationship to one another across gender difference, is one of the most intimately powerful things we can do to address the culture of colonial violence that has hurt all of us, men, women, and our entire beautiful diversity.”

PennElys Droz, Anishinaabe & Wyandot

Dr. PennElys Droz, Director of Fellowship & Prize, is Anishinaabe/Wyandot from the US-Canadian border. Droz directs the planning, execution and evaluation of the NDN Fellowship & Prize. Droz brings two decades experience in the Indigenous environmental and regenerative Nation building movements to re-develop ecologically, culturally and economically thriving and resilient Native Nations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Technology and a Master’s degree in Environmental Resource Engineering from Humboldt State University and a PhD in Biocultural Engineering Design, American Indian Studies from University of Arizona.

From Kim Pate, NDN Collective Vice President:

“Indigenous women across the globe endure racism, sexism and gender violence at the greatest levels.  And yet, we are able to reach deep and combat these violations of our bodies and minds with some of the most comprehensive and inclusive rights battles on the planet. Our next level leadership, which is reviving female Indigenous leadership that predates colonialism, is absolutely central to protecting the rights of women and all others in our societies. Without our leadership, which is grounded in our vast traditional wisdom, we have little chance to mount the fights needed in these complex and tumultuous times.”

Kim Pate, Cherokee & Choctaw

Kim Pate, Vice President, is a descendant of the Eastern Band Cherokee and Mississippi Choctaw tribes. Pate leads the daily operation of the organization, supports communications and evaluation and plays important strategic and communications roles within NDN Collective.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stanford University and a Juris Doctorate from University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Pate is admitted to practice in Nez Perce Tribal Court and California.

From Nikki Love, NDN Fund Managing Director:

“In many of our societies, women have been the backbone – in decision-making spaces, in domestic spaces, and in what would be traditionally held as ‘economic’ or ‘financial’ spaces.

Anishinaabe women traditionally did everything but hunt. The world may see us as natural caretakers – of family, of community, of earth, of ceremony, of spirit—but we also bring strength, resilience, and endurance in these roles. I look to our women now and see that often we have done a lot of the important healing work so that we can begin reversing generational traumas and empowering our youth with different gender norms from dominant culture.

Our young men can be caregivers, too, and our young women can step into leadership roles that greater society may see as more closed off. There’s fluidity in how we see the world and how we step into it. I’ve always seen that our women will do what needs to be done, especially if no one else is doing it. This is what the world needs now – to do the hard work, to be brave in testing new models, to be diplomatic in looking at an issue from all angles. Our women bring that to this space and it’s the leadership style that brings others in and helps cultivate others as leaders, too.”

Nikki Love, Bois Forte Chippewa

Nikki Love, NDN Fund Managing Director, is Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. Love is responsible for the leadership, management, and growth of NDN Fund, which provides loans and grants for large-scale Indigenous infrastructure development projects. Love is an accomplished leader in community development finance with nine years of experience. She has a Bachelor’s degree in history and education from Fitchburg State University and a Master’s degree in economics and public policy from the University of Chicago.

And from Gaby Strong, Director of Grants Management:

“The names and stories of our mothers and grandmothers are even less known or visible than those of our fathers and grandfathers; purposely left out of the federal governmental, patriarchal system of recording family households or documenting significant events or historical accounts. But we know our mothers and grandmothers names and stories, and we’re bringing their strength and wisdom to light and to life in all that we do, in all that we speak, in all that we work for and stand for.  The love and hopes of our grandmothers continue to feed us as we face the struggles of today.”

Gaby Strong, Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota

Gaby Strong, NDN Collective Director of Grantmaking, is an enrolled citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate. She brings over 35 years of experience in the tribal, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. Gaby’s community and professional experience has centered on Indian education, Indian child welfare, Native history, language and lifeways, leadership, and community development. She is committed to perpetuating and sharing Native cultural knowledge, particularly Native songs, dance, and horse traditions.

Happy International Women’s Day from the NDN Collective. May we continue to lift up, honor and embody the strength of the matriarchs of our past, present and future.

International Women's Day: In Praise of Indigenous Women

We honor the divine feminine in all creation and give praise to the original Matriarchs of this land, Indigenous women. We see you and value you!

Posted by NDNCollective on Friday, March 8, 2019

Learn more about the rest of our team here.

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 1 year ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 2 days ago Announcing LANDBACK Now: A livestream show produced by NDN Collective
A Facebook livestream show about land, kinship and collective liberation. The show will stream at varied times on NDN Collective’s Facebook page with a special episode airing on Hawaiian Independence Day, November 28 at 7 pm CST.
Posted 5 days ago Shifting Power and Emboldening Indigenous-led Climate Solutions: NDN Collective on Bezos Earth Fund Grant

Nick Tilsen

A message from NDN Collective President and CEO, Nick Tilsen. "Receiving this substantial grant is part of an overall [NDN Collective] strategy to shift power, decolonize wealth, and resource Indigenous people who are on the frontlines of fighting for justice and equity."
Posted 1 week ago NDN Collective Leadership Urges the Biden Administration to Name Rep. Deb Haaland Secretary of the Interior
To book an interview, contact aprill@megaphonestrategies.com
Posted 3 weeks ago I’m a Native veteran. Today, I invite fellow service members to join me in fighting for collective liberation.

Krystal Two Bulls

"My experience of being a woman, Indigenous, and a veteran is complicated, to say the least. The history of Native people serving in the U.S. military is long, and not accidental. During WWI, Native folks started enlisting at higher rates, because the U.S. government told Indigenous leaders if their sons enlisted, they could have their land back."
Posted 4 weeks ago How to Survive the Elections: Organizing Forward, Indigenously

Jade Begay

2020 has been an especially challenging year for our People, and yet, this election is affording us with the opportunity to change the course of things in a big way.
Posted 1 month ago Sko Vote Den: A nuanced call for Native folx to GOTV, because voting while Native is complex yet necessary!
A play on the intertribal social dance powwows where Native people and powwow goers visit casually while enjoying culture and building relationships, the Sko Vote Den Virtual Intertribal was designed to build political awareness and joy around getting out the vote in Indian Country.
Posted 1 month ago NDN Collective Appoints Gaby Strong to Managing Director of the NDN Foundation
Gaby brings extensive experience across nonprofit, Tribal and philanthropic sectors and will lead the growth and impact of the NDN Foundation.
Posted 1 month ago LANDBACK Updates: From Launch to Looking Forward
A message from Krystal Two Bulls, LandBack Campaign Director. "LANDBACK is happening and it is an honor to step into a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice."
Posted 1 month 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 2 months ago NDN Collective LANDBACK Campaign Launching on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020
The LANDBACK Campaign is a multi-pronged effort to get Indigenous lands back into Indigenous hands and achieve justice for Indigenous people. NDN also announces a webinar and four calls-to-action leading up to Indigenous Peoples' Day 2020.
NDN Collective
317 Main St #1
Rapid City, SD 57701
P: +1 (605) 791-3999
E: info@ndncollective.org
© 2020 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.