Brandi Douglas · August 3, 2022

NDN Collective Gives Voice to Indigenous Issues During ‘Impact Days’ Visit to Capitol Hill

NDN Collective travels to D.C. to challenge elected officials and stakeholders to engage in deeper conversation with Indigenous communities.

At NDN Collective, we approach building Indigenous power with a multifaceted approach. We organize from the grassroots level, supporting Indigenous movement-building across Turtle Island that is self-determined by and for Indigenous people. We also recognize the value of being at the table and asserting ourselves unapologetically as Indigenous people on matters of federal policy, where decisions are made that impact our communities, lands and lifeways.

This is why, on the week of July 18th, NDN Collective embarked on Washington, D.C. for Impact Days – an opportunity to engage in dialogue with members of the White House, federal agencies and Congress on a range of Indigenous issues, and from a movement-building perspective.

Brandi Douglas, NDN Collective Senior Communications Associate and Steph Viera, NDN Collective Social Media Manager hold a livestream discussion outside of SCOTUS regarding NDN’s most recent position paper, The Effects of Overturning Roe v. Wade Through an Indigenous Lens. The paper was released in alignment with Impact Days. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

Among those meeting with federal government officials was NDN Collective Political Director, Lycia Maddocks. “NDN Collective showed up on Capitol Hill with stories from the frontlines and solutions that we are already instituting to help drive change and empowerment for our communities,” said Maddocks.

Topics of discussion with White House and Congressional officials included: natural resources, energy and commerce, transportation and infrastructure, housing, banking, healthcare, foreign relations and numerous other problematic areas present within Tribal communities.

Lycia Maddocks, NDN Collective Political Director, engages with guests during a reception hosted by NDN Collective. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

“We visited with several offices whose views did not neatly align with ours, but the important takeaway was to ensure they knew we are watching, and that they should be consulting with Indigenous communities so that we are able to offer key insight and solutions,” Maddocks continued. “This is only the beginning.”

With each meeting, NDN Collective saw an opportunity to inform officials of the work already being done from a movement perspective, and the work still needing to be accomplished.

The United States Capitol building. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

“Although the nation’s capital is not a place that is welcoming, accessible, or responsive to our communities, I do believe we were successful in our intentions to bring some of those perspectives and experiences from our home communities, and the communities we support, into the rooms where each meeting was held,” said Korina Barry, Managing Director of NDN Action.

“During our time on the Hill we shared more about who we are as NDN Collective and our priorities, as well as the very real solutions we are developing and resourcing in our everyday work to build Indigenous power,” said Barry.

Left to Right: Demetrius Johnson, LANDBACK Campaign Organizer, Krystal Two Bulls, LANDBACK Campaign Director and Nadya Tannous, LANDBACK Campaign Organizer raising their fists in front of the United States Capitol building. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

Representatives from the NDN Collective leadership, NDN Action and NDN campaign teams were also present during the Impact Days meetings with members of Congress and the White House, including the LANDBACK Campaign, Racial Equity Campaign, and Policy and Advocacy.

“It was apparent in these meetings that the organizing and advocacy we are doing every day is informing policy at the federal level,” said Barry. “We challenge these elected officials and stakeholders to engage further and in deeper conversation with Indigenous communities to continue to understand both the challenges we face and the incredibly powerful solutions we have for maintaining and creating the communities we deserve. We need action.”

The livestream discussion led by the LANDBACK team, discussing the complexities of maintaining visibility in colonial spaces.

Perhaps it goes without saying, that the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the federal government is rife with a deeply rooted history of violent settler colonialism, and a present-day reality of failed protections. This leads many Indigenous people to distrust the American colonial system and instead, rely more on grassroots community efforts to elicit more meaningful change– a sentiment echoed across NDN Collective.

“We may not agree with this so-called democracy, the way that it is set up or in the way it disenfranchises our people, but we know for a fact that decisions are made here every day that impact the lives and lands of our people,” said NDN Collective President and CEO, Nick Tilsen. “And so we’re here advocating, bringing voice to our struggle and holding these federal agencies and elected leaders accountable.”

A livestream reflection by NDN Collective President and CEO, Nick Tilsen, regarding Impact Days in Washington, D.C.

“When you look across our ecosystem at NDN Collective and all of the things we’re doing, NDN is not waiting for anyone in the Capitol to solve our problems,” Tilsen continued in a livestream video while on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building.

“We’re not waiting for anyone in these federal agencies to fix something for us,” Tilsen said. “We are bringing solutions from the ground, the front lines, to this place and are demanding laws and implementations that are consistent with the world that we’re fighting for and trying to build. Our work around policy and engagement has to do with the ground up.”

Learn more about NDN Collective’s work to build Indigenous power at

On the evening of July 19, NDN Collective hosted a reception at the National Indian Gaming Association building, welcoming government officials to a more intimate space to engage in conversations around NDN Collective’s work and the collaborative milestones to come. Photos by Willi White for NDN Collective.

Brandi Douglas
by   Brandi Douglas

Brandi Douglas (she/they), NDN Collective’s Senior Communications Associate, is a Puyallup Tribal member as well as Black and Mexican, from Washington state. In her role, she provides support to the Communications and Narratives Team as well as all aspects of content production and targeted outreach. Brandi is an avid wordsmith, having uplifted various narratives that speak to the experience of being an Indigenous entrepreneur, woman of color and queer. Brandi holds a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies from the University of Washington as well as a master’s degree in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma.

August 2022 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.

NDN Collective Responds to Manchin's Side Deal Being Pulled from IRA Posted 1 week ago
“Make no mistake – the decoupling of Manchin’s dirty side deal from the Inflation Reduction Act is a result of tireless advocacy by frontline, climate justice, and Indigenous communities."
NDN Collective Hosts Extreme Heat and Climate Change Webinar

Brandi Douglas

Posted 2 weeks ago
The webinar included a presentation by Dr. Gaurab Basu, of Cambridge Health Alliance, in collaboration with the NDN Collective Climate Justice Team, providing information needed to prepare and adapt to the heat and climate change health equity crisis.
Impacts of Permitting Reform Proposal on Tribes and Indigenous Communities

NDN Collective Climate Justice Team , Dr. Kyle Whyte

Posted 2 weeks ago
This analysis and summary, co-authored by the NDN Collective Climate Justice Team alongside Dr. Kyle Whyte, organizer and Professor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, captures the impacts of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) permitting reform proposal and is based on the most recent draft text released on September 21, 2022. 
NDN Collective Announces Open Application Period for NDN Changemaker Fellowship Posted 2 weeks ago
“We are honored to offer this fellowship and recognize visionary Indigenous changemakers who are working towards defending their territories, sustainably developing and decolonizing their communities.” 
Honoring Youth and Families: NDN Collective 3rd Annual Backpack Giveaway Provides More Than School Supplies

Brandi Douglas

Posted 3 weeks ago
“Our hope is that this event starts the kids' school year off in a good way and shows them we recognize, value and honor them.”
NDN Collective Officially Opens Doors of Rapid City's First Indigenous-Led School for Indigenous Students Posted 4 weeks ago
"It is important for students to see themselves in what they are learning everyday, and to have the opportunity to be who they are, learn their language, and be recognized for their inherent Indigenous genius. At Oceti Sakowin Community Academy students will have the opportunity to do this, which is what the ancestors have wanted for our wakanyeja – our children.”
Indigenous Groups From North America Write Letter to Chilean Leadership, Supporting Monumental Provisions in Proposed Chilean Constitution Posted 4 weeks ago
"Chile’s newly proposed constitution sets a precedent for the U.S. and other governments to not only recognize it is beyond time to update our draconian constitutions, but also that integrating Indigenous rights into our core laws will move us towards truly achieving equity and justice."
Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase Brings Music and Voter Engagement to Santa Fe

Brandy Calabaza

Posted 1 month ago
Bringing Indigenous relatives together through art and music for a fun and interactive event aimed at the power of voting, encouraging attendees to utilize their ability to vote in the upcoming election as a means of building and reclaiming Indigenous power.
NDN Collective Takes One Step Closer to Building Tiny Home Community for Houseless Relatives in Rapid City

Brandi Douglas

Posted 1 month ago
NDN Collective’s tiny home community development, Gliúŋ, to provide essential needs, access to resources, security and belonging to unhoused Indigenous relatives in the Rapid City area.
NDN Collective to Co-Host ‘Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase’ in Santa Fe Posted 2 months ago
“Indigenous people have been shut out of the political sphere for far too long – it’s time to show up for ourselves and our communities, by centering our issues, our solutions, and electing our people to office.”

United like never before, we rise together—arm in arm—to equip all Indigenous Peoples with the tools needed to become architects of our future. Through a holistic approach to infrastructure, funding, advocacy, movement building, and philanthropy we are fostering a world of justice and equity for all people and the planet.