Issue #4 / 2023

Protecting the Sacred

April 2023 Newsletter

At NDN Collective, we continue to organize, mobilize, and demand for the protection of our people, culture, land and our non-human relations, challenging systems that seek to silence and invisibilize us. At the same time, we continue working alongside and resourcing Indigenous changemakers in our communities who carry the torch of self-determination forward. We stay committed to this work to protect the sacred across Turtle Island, honoring the foundational work of Ancestors and relatives who came before us.

In our April newsletter, we continue to demand better, shedding light on the destructive Willow Project, reflecting on efforts leading to the protection of cultural and natural resources in the Ȟešapa, calling on all relatives to do better in fostering healthy movement spaces – and so much more.

NDN Collective Announces the 2023 Community Self-Determination Open Application Grant Period

NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power, announces the second year of its open application period for the Community Self-Determination Grant offered to Indigenous communities throughout Turtle Island and  across the post-colonial borders of the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico, Islands of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Whether it’s protecting land and water, developing sustainable food systems or revitalizing Indigenous languages and lifeways, Community Self-Determination Grants support community priorities on community terms.

“NDN’s Community Self Determination Program each year is in solidarity and partnership with more Indigenous communities, tribes, and organizations who are transforming the current power structures through Indigenous peoples exercising their inherent and collective right to self determination, “ said Nicole Yanes, NDN Collective Director of Grantmaking.

Read the Full Press Release Here
Learn more about the Community Self-Determination and other grants by visiting our Grants & Fellowship webpage.

Honoring the Sacredness of our Indigenous Women and Femmes

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Last month and as women’s history month came to a close, we published this blog in honor of the power and beauty that is the feminine spirit. Acknowledging the imprint of matriarchs who birthed, nurtured, inspired, and protected us throughout our lives, we asked members of our NDN Collective staff to share some inspiring words on what Indigenous womanhood means to them.

NDN Collective Statement on Sexual Harassment at Honor the Earth

Trigger Warning: The following statement contains language addressing acts of sexual assault and harassment.

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As an organization committed to fostering healthy movement spaces where all of our relatives feel protected and safe, we were deeply troubled to learn of the harm done to a former Honor the Earth employee who endured both sexual harassment and retaliation at the hands of the organization.

Sexual assault, abuse and harassment remains one of the most harmful, challenging issues facing our People. It is critical that individuals, leaders and organizers show support and solidarity for those who have been harmed and find a path forward for authentic accountability and repair.

Read NDNs Full Statement Here

Willow Project Threatens Traditional Caribou Hunting

Naqsragmiut President Writes Letter to the DOI Requesting Consultation

Photos from the village of Nuiqsut, Alaska, and the Colville River. Nuiqsut is the most impacted village being surrounded by oil and gas development. Community members have been speaking out for years about the effects development is having on the health of its people, animals, the Teshekpuk caribou, and sacred land. Photo by Keri Oberly.

On March 3rd NDN Collective shared a letter from Charlie Sollie Hugo, Naqsragmiut President, speaking on the destructive impacts of the Willow Project on the Barren Ground Caribou and calling for meaningful government to government consultation. The letter was addressed to Deb Haaland, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary and Steve Cohn, Alaska State Director of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“Residents of our community described concerns about potential impacts to our primary diet, Caribou, to global warming, and to our way of life. BLM has not come back to our community this time and we feel our people and their concerns have been overlooked.”

Read the Full Letter Here

NDN Collective Slams Biden Greenlighting Willow Oil Project

Photos from the village of Nuiqsut, Alaska, and the Colville River, which is surrounded by oil and gas developments with the largest to date, the Willow Project, moving forward. Photo by Keri Oberly.

On March 13th, NDN Collective released a statement responding to President Biden’s approval of ConocoPhillips’ proposed Willow oil drilling project, giving the greenlight to the development of hundreds of oil wells, 400 miles of roads and pipelines, and unquantifiable noise and pollution for people and ecosystems in the area.

“Today’s decision completely contradicts not only the administration’s climate goals, but also its commitment to consider Traditional Ecological Knowledge in federal policy making. The Native Village of Nuiqsut has repeatedly voiced their concerns around how the project will impact local ecosystems – including caribou, which they rely on for subsistence. This immoral decision will have devastating impacts on the livelihood of the people of Nuiqsut and beyond,” said Jade Begay, Director of Policy and Advocacy at NDN Collective.

Read the Full Statement Here

NDN Collective Responds to Forest Services Commitment to Study Mining Impacts in the Black Hills

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On March 17th, NDN Collective released a statement responding to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the USDA Forest Service’s announcement of a proposal to protect cultural and natural resources in the Pactola Reservoir from the detrimental impacts of mineral mining in the area. The Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest, with 14 miles of shoreline and 150-foot depths on 800 acres.

“This is a victory for Tribal Sovereignty. The fight to protect ALL of the water of the sacred Black Hills continues and we remain vigilant and committed to this duty. We stand in solidarity with communities that have been defending Hešapa for generations, when our treaties are honored it protects the water for everyone,” said Mark K. Tilsen, Action Organizer at NDN Collective.

Read the Full Statement Here

Updates from the NDN Ecosystem

‘Defend’ Mural by Artist Votan Henriquez located outside of NDN Headquarters in Rapid City, SD. Photo by NDN Collective.

NDN Foundation | Radical Imagination Artist, Gabriela Spears-Rico selected for Bougainvillea Poetry Prize

Gabriela Spears-Rico is part of the 2022 Radical Imagination Cohort, and was recently selected for the Bougainvillea Poetry Prize, providing her the opportunity to publish her forthcoming collection, Deer Hide Elegies, through FlowerSong Press.

She was recently featured in a piece through the University of Minnesota’s, College of Liberal Arts, Chicano and Latino Studies, which captured the news of her selection and her lifelong journey as a poet. “I found beauty through my poetry,” says Gabriela Spears-Rico, “and that gave me the resilience I needed—not to survive, but thrive.”

A cultural anthropologist, Assistant Professor Spears-Rico has surrounded herself with her community and fellow Indigenous people her entire life. Spears-Rico shares twenty years of memories and connections in her forthcoming poetry collection, Deer Hide Elegies. Not only does it represent a culmination of Spears-Rico’s life experiences so far, but it also reflects the lives of her fellow Indigenous people and their perseverance and struggle for equity.”

Learn More About the Radical Imagination Grant Here

NDN in the Media

L.A.’s Only Indigenous school helps return land to California’s Native population | L.A Times

NDN Fund, alongside Metabolic Studio and TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation helped to fund Indigenous charter school, Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America’s efforts to serve as steward for the land and establish the Chief Ya’anna Learning Village.

“When we looked at what was happening in Los Angeles with the school … and what their vision was with the land, in a place with such a limited amount of land left, we were like, ‘Let’s find a way to support this,’” Tilsen said.

 “This is coming from Indigenous students and Indigenous teachers and Indigenous administrators who are trying to build that radical feature.”

Read the Full L.A. Times Article Here

NDN Live On-the-Ground

Join our Tactical Media Team as they engage in LIVE discussions & provide LIVE coverage of events happening across Turtle Island

Lorenzo Serna, NDN Collective Director of Tactical Media. Photo By Steph Viera for NDN Collective.

Black and Indigenous Solidarity: A Stop Cop City Teach-in Featuring Chebon Kernell and Kamau Franklin | Atlanta, GA

On March 8th, 2023, NDN Collective was live in Atlanta, Georgia, where they highlighted a teach-in featuring Chebon Kernall, decade long executive in the United Methodist church and Kamau Franklin, founder of Community Movement Builders, Inc., who discussed the detrimental effects that Atlanta’s Copy City will have on Black and Brown communities and how the violent tactics acquired from this degree of training will be utilized to stop movements against police violence.

Watch the Full Livestream Here
Learn More About Stop Cop City Here
National Day of Action Against Police Terror | Atlanta, GA

On March 9th NDN Collective was live on the ground in Atlanta, GA for a Rally and March recognizing the “National Day of Action Against Police Terror to demand justice for the police murder of Tyrie Nichols, Forest Defender Tortuguita, and all others lost and impacted by police violence and terror.”

Watch the Full Livestream Here
Learn More About Stop Cop City Here
#STOPCOPCITY Supporters Detained | Atlanta. GA

On March 11th NDN Collective was live, capturing the detainment of #StopCopCity supporters, who also had their property searched.

Watch the Full Livestream Here
Learn More About Stop Cop City Here
Weelaunee Youth Rally, March & Festival | Atlanta, GA

On March 11th, NDN Collective was live at the Weelaunee Youth Rally, March, and Festival at Brownwood Park in East Atlanta. Students, educators, and community members have come together for a family friendly event to protest the destruction of the #WeelauneeForest and to #StopCopCity.

Watch Part 1 of the Full Livestream Here
Watch Part 2 of the Full Livestream Here
Apache Stronghold v. United States in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals | San Francisco, CA

On March 21st, NDN Collective was live at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals where a full panel of 11 judges reheard the Apache Stronghold v. United States case. For 20 years, Tribes and environmental groups have been in opposition to a proposed copper mine on a 2,200 acre plot of land located in Oak Flat, a sacred site to our Apache relatives and many other Southwestern tribes.

Watch the Full Livestream Here

Check Out What’s Happening on NDN Social Media

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International Women’s Day which gives us a chance to collectively remember and honor our Women & Femmes who made a better world possible for ALL people and Mother Earth!

View the Full Instagram post Here

On March 13, President Biden approved ConocoPhillips’ proposed Willow oil drilling project, giving the greenlight to the development of hundreds of oil wells, 400 miles of roads and pipelines, and unquantifiable noise and pollution for people and ecosystems in the area. Biden chose to approve the project that will emit the same amount of carbon as 76 coal-fired power plants, despite months of advocacy by Indigenous communities and climate justice activists – a move that flies in the face of U.S. climate goals.

In March, a gas leak started at one of ConocoPhillips’ pre-existing facilities, eight miles north of the Alaska Native Village of Nuiqsut.

View the Full Instagram post Here

Announcing our 1st Annual Action Camp! The camp will take place May 18-24, 2023 in the Ȟe Sápa (Black Hills) of South Dakota! We’ll gather together with activists from across Turtle Island to host a camp built on sharing and developing a foundation of both theoretical and technical direct action skills.

An opportunity to network, build relationships, and learn new skills that you can share with your community. The application period for the Action Camp has since closed but please stay tuned across all NDN Collective platforms for future updates.

View the Full Instagram post Here

On this day, we take special pause to acknowledge the Spring Equinox– a sacred time in which we experience the universal balance of equal day and night—a time for ceremonies, new beginnings, reflection, prayer, intention setting, connecting to the Land and all Creation, and Community.

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This World Water day, we call upon world leaders and make it known that the only way to accelerate change to solve our water and sanitation crisis is to give #WATERBACK to the people so it works for ALL people!

#WATERBACK is a step towards Indigenous communities declaring their independence from the US Empire. It also means removing European occupation, removing the commodification of water, the rematriation of Indigenous water and land management practices and the resurgence of Indigenous identity.”— Julia Bernal (Sandia Pueblo) via @puebloactionalliance

View the Full Instagram post Here

On this Trans Day of Visibility, we remind folks that allyship is not an identity– it’s a practice. For ALL of us to live in a world we deserve and dream of, we must commit to taking action daily. Especially in our current political climate, where over 300 ANTI-LGBTQ+ Bills passed in 2022 and 2023 is set to break last year’s record. This year alone, 150 bills were introduced targeting Trans people specifically, all over the so-called united states.

Trans people are being attacked, from gender-affirming healthcare bans to being censored in our media. Our Trans relatives’ lives are actively being threatened, and it’s up to us to make a difference in our communities. We have the power and responsibility to care for one another, especially when this nation’s political systems fail to protect our most vulnerable.

View the Full Instagram post Here

On this National Indigenous Languages Day, we pass the mic to three First Nations NDN Collective staff members currently reclaiming their traditional languages and reconnecting to ancestral knowledge.

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To close out #WomensHistoryMonth, we highlight six women planting seeds of abundance for the next seven generations. Tela Troge, Jesse Cardinal, Amy Juan, Jackie Fawn, Cara Romero, and Sunny Red Bear are some of the names you need to know regarding powerful women and femmes paving the way for future generations who are also past and present NDN Collective Grantees doing healing work throughout NDN Country year round.

View the Full Instagram post Here

Protecting the land and water, and revitalizing our languages and lifeways are critical to our collective liberation. This is why NDN Collective is offering Community Self-Determination grants of $100k per year, for two years, to Indigenous-led organizations working in the defense, development, and/or decolonization of Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth.

View the Full Instagram post Here

Take Action

A LANDBACK street mural completed during Indigenous Peoples’ Day Phoenix Fest on October 10, 2022 in Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

Support the Pactola Reservoir-Rapid Creek Watershed Withdrawal Proposal #NP-3479

The Rapid Creek Watershed, located in the Black Hills of SD, provides over 100,00 residents, upstream and downstream of the Pactola Reservoir, with fresh drinking water. Current mining projects in this region threaten the safety and well-being of human, animal and plant relatives. APPROVAL of this proposal would result in the withdrawal of federal mining rights in the area, further preserving the spiritual and ancestral home of Oceti Sakowin peoples.

Add your comment of approval for Proposal #NP-3479
Need help? Access Talking Points for this Proposal Here
Take Action Now to Defend the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)

On November 9, 2022 Supreme Court Oral Arguments were heard in the federal lawsuit Brackeen v. Haaland. This case is challenging the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), an act passed in 1978 to ensure that Native American children are kept with Native families.

Although a decision in this matter will not be made until June of this year, action can still be taken to protect ICWA, Indigenous children and tribal sovereignty.

Take Action to Defend ICWA Here
Take Action Now to Free Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, activist, member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and elder, has been locked up as a political prisoner for over 46 years following conviction for aiding and abetting the murder of two FBI agents in 1975. Now 78, Peltier continues to maintain his innocence, alongside individuals, Tribes and organizations who have tirelessly demanded that he be freed.

You can take action now to help free him!

Call the White House and demand Leonard Peltier be freed: (202)-456-1111

Sign the petition to ask President Biden to Grant Clemency to Leonard Peltier
Email the White House and demand Leonard Peltier be freed

NDN Collective is Hiring!

Join our Team of Indigenous Movement Builders

NDN Collective Managing Director

Reporting to the President & CEO and will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight of the ecosystem’s shared services entities including Advancement, Communications, Finance, Operations, Legal & Compliance, Research & Evaluation, and People, Culture & Belonging.

Learn more about the Managing Director position and apply here
Office Manager

The Office Manager will organize and coordinate administrative duties, procedures, and executive support-related tasks in order to ensure organizational effectiveness, efficiency, and safety.

Learn more about the Office Manager position and apply here
Operations Administrative Associate

The Administrative Associate duties and responsibilities will include providing administrative support to the Director of Operations and the Operations Team, as well as providing assistance with and at the NDN Collective Headquarters building.

Learn more about the Operations Administrative Associate position and apply here
Director of Organizing

The Director of Organizing will be responsible for providing support to the Managing Director of NDN Action and will directly manage the local NDN organizing core made up of 8 local organizers in the Rapid City Community.

Learn more about the Dirctor of Organizing position and apply here
Lending Officer

The Lending Officer will work with the Director of Lending and the NDN Fund Managing Director on business development and origination, lending, risk management and policy and power building.

Learn more about the Lending Officer position and apply here
Warehouse Manager

The Warehouse Manager will oversee NDN Collective’s Warehouse systems and policies.

Learn more about the Warehouse Manager position and apply here
Media & Public Relations Officer

The Media & Public Relations Officer acts as the primary media contact for the NDN Collective ecosystem and the President & CEO, creating and managing communications and messaging that shape public opinion and increase awareness of the NDN brand.

Learn more about the Media & Public Relations Officer position and apply here
Advancement Officer

the Advancement Officer will lead the department’s grant and report writing and management. They will also support the Director of Advancement on all donor management and donor-related projects and develop grants management tools and processes that will be deployed across the organization.

Learn more about the Advancement Officer position and apply here