Decolonization and radical indigenous futures
Originally published at Stanford Social Innovation Review
Indigenous people today are at the intersection of some of the most pressing issues facing humanity, from climate change and environmental degradation to human rights struggles and movement building. Our unique lived experiences as survivors of genocide, colonialism, and disenfranchisement position us well to bring forth grassroots solutions that not only come from within the trenches of communities closest to the struggle and closest to the pain, but solutions that break down many of the power structures that harm and divide us all.
For decades, social entrepreneurs—predominantly white, heterosexual, cisgender men—have forced their own solutions onto Indigenous communities. In this in-depth series, presented in partnership between NDN Collective and SSIR, you will hear from Indigenous leaders with solutions for investors who want to help further Indigenous priorities, from folks working on transformative narrative change and increasing Indigenous visibility, from organizers speaking on how Indigenous people are building our collective political power, and more. You’ll be able to see the many ways Indigenous people are working to successfully solve issues that benefit our own communities and, ultimately, all of us.
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. This means that our innovation not only needs to be uplifted by philanthropists, nonprofits, and foundations. We need the autonomy to pursue the building of a better world, informed by our practices, culture, and generations of wisdom. Building the collective power of Indigenous Peoples, communities, and Nations not only means exercising our inherent right to self-determination; it means working to build a world on a foundation of justice and equity for all people and for the planet.
As you read this series over the next few months, we invite you to call into question your own beliefs about the role of philanthropy and grantmaking. We invite you to interrogate your understanding of Indigenous people, and of our issues and fights. We ask you to open your heart to boundless possibilities that you haven’t even begun to hear of yet, because of how segregated the US still is by race and class. We hope you walk away from each new article with curiosity and the simple understanding that so many of us don’t know yet what we don’t understand. The people writing for this series are here to teach and learn from each other, working together to build a world in which we can all thrive. We hope you truly hear us, as we invite you into our respective worlds and share our unique perspectives, so we can move forward together, truly, for the first time.