Issue #03 / 2020

Honoring Land and Building Indigenous Power

Indigenous Movement-Building on Many Front Lines

Pueblo/Navajo couple Warren Montoya and Jaclyn Roessel make an offering at the Rio Grande River in Tiwa Lands (Albuquerque, NM). Photo by Sarah Sunshine Manning

As the winter snow begins to melt and flow into waterways throughout Turtle Island, the work of the NDN Collective similarly is moving into exciting new seasons. Our organization has grown in scope and size, and yet our mission to build Indigenous power keeps us grounded in this critical time and space. We are thrilled to be expanding our work through multifaceted action, because as we all know very well, the frontlines are everywhere!

In the past month, we have built skills, capacity, relationships, and as always, while deepening our resolve along the way. We are honored that you are joining us on this important and necessary path.

Visit the NDN Collective Website to Support and Learn More About our Work


Bringing Indigenous Land Acknowledgement to a National Audience

NEW on the NDN Collective Blog:

The Academy Was Made for White Men. Here’s How Taika Waititi Made a Difference

Excerpt from the Blog:

“In making this land acknowledgment on national TV and in a room that was full with some of the most influential people in media and Hollywood, Taika may have created a ripple effect that will last for generations and Oscars to come. We can only hope that what he modeled at this year’s awards show will set a precedent for Hollywood going forward. In the meantime, Indigenous people are boldly shaping our own stories, and Taika’s Oscar moments remind us of the power of claiming our space in that work.

Still, it remains true that the Oscars were created by white men for white men, and like all institutions that have this type of legacy, change does not happen overnight.” 

Read More at the NDN Collective Blog

NDN Changemaker Fellow Spotlight

Changemakers On the Move

The NDN Changemaker Fellowship program supports Indigenous Changemakers throughout Turtle Island and surrounding island nations to build power within their communities and homelands. Each month we will highlight individual fellows and some of the transformative work they are doing.

NDN Changemaker Fellows Mahalia Newmark and Stephen Hunt.

Mahalia Yakeleya Newmark
Northwest Territories/Yukon Region

Mahalia Yakeleya Newmark, Shutoatine Dene and Metis, is a new ama/mom, Indigenous Feminist, and equity specialist currently living in the Northern city of Somba K’e/Yellowknife. 

Mahalia was recently featured in a CBC article on her fellowship work to create a mural series in Yellowknife. This project includes a series of five murals with the theme “strong people, strong communities.” Each mural will represent a different aspect of Indigenous communities: strong women, strong men, strong children and elders, strong families, and strong communities. “It’s really a celebration of Indigenous people here in the North and the opportunity to tell our own stories through art,” she said.

Stephen Hunt
Pacific Northwest U.S. Region

Stephen Hunt is Blackfeet (Amskapii Pikaanii), Nez Perce (Nimipuu), Sioux (Sisseton), Pend d’Oreille (Qlispé), and Chippewa Cree (Ne Hiyawak), and was raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Hunt is a firm believer in traditional lifeways, is an accomplished photographer, a member of Black Otter (a champion Blackfoot drum group), a co-founder of snqweylmistn (the place where you do your best), and seeks to make a brighter future for all First Peoples’ children.

Stephen was recently featured in Ashoka’s 50 States Tour of #ChangemakersEverwhere. Here is what Stephen shared with Ashoka about his fellowship direction:

“We want to create an intentional community for tribal foster young people, a familial system that will be similar to the old days of child rearing (pre-reservation period). This means there is no such thing as ‘aging out.’ It will be a working ranch that is sustainable in all aspects including food sources. Our way of life is based on experiences and everything we have in our traditional lifeways comes from the land. This is what I want to give to the children who are forgotten in a western system. My bigger dream is to bring the idea to other reserves and reservations across Indian country.”

Learn More About the Inaugural Cohort of Changemaker Fellows

Recent Events Attended by NDN Collective Staff

Some of the participants who attended the Honor Native Land Convening in Tiwa Lands, Albuquerque.

Honor Native Land Convening
Tiwa Lands (Albuquerque, NM)

NDN Collective Director of Communications Sarah Sunshine Manning and Creative Director Jade Begay attended the Honor Native Land Convening, hosted by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). This three-day gathering in Tiwa Lands brought together a cohort of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizers from throughout Turtle Island who are doing the work of narrative change, social justice work, and movement-building. The group was charged with strategizing and identifying opportunities to carry forth the transformative work of honoring place and history through the mechanism of land acknowledgement.

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (not a government entity), is a grassroots action network inciting creativity to shape a culture of empathy, equity, and belonging.  In partnership with Native allies and organizations, the USDAC created the Honor Native Land toolkit in 2017, a guide which offers context about the practice of land acknowledgment, and provides tips for moving beyond acknowledgment into action.

Participants at the Honor Native Land Convening worked together over the course of the gathering to lay the groundwork for a refreshed version of the toolkit which takes into account the ever-evolving landscape of land acknowledgements in the U.S. A primary takeaway from the gathering was that Indigenous land acknowledgements, while complex and even at times hollow performative gestures, are nonetheless an opportunity to strengthen relationships to land, to Indigenous people, and to our shared humanity. Unpacking the nuances of land acknowledgement was a critical point of dialogue at the convening, while staying focused on the task to leverage the important time and space we are in.

At present the, USDAC Honor Native Land toolkit has been dowloaded by over 14k unique people, and counting. Follow USDAC and sign up for updates to learn more about their work on this effort. More content from NDN Collective on unpacking and leveraging land acknowledgements will also be forthcoming.

Special gratitude to our Pueblo hosts, to Tiwa lands and waters, to USDAC Director of Decolonized Futures and Radical Dreams, Jaclyn Roessel, and to our phenomenal facilitators for guiding us through some truly rich moments of synergy and power building.

Read More about the Honor Native Land Toolkit and the USDAC
Center for Story-Based Strategy, Trainer Gathering
Ohlone Lands (Oakland, CA)

Jade Begay, NDN Collective Creative Director, attended the Trainer Gathering for the Center for Story-based Strategy last week in Oakland. The four-day gathering brought together advanced trainers and practitioners of the Story-based Strategy framework to connect one-on-one with the trainer network and to offer feedback, solutions, and new ideas to the current framework. 

Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS) is a national movement-building organization dedicated to harnessing the power of narrative for social change. CSS offers training and strategic support to social justice organizations and alliances to change the story on the issues that matter most. NDN is working to implement the framework of CSS in strategic campaigns and narrative change work, customizing the framework to be accessible and inclusive to Indigenous and Native communities. 

TAKE ACTION: All Eyes on Wet’suwet’en

Image Courtesy of Unist’ot’en Camp Website

All Eyes on Wet’suwet’en, and an Update on Teck Mine

Last month, we shared “Take Action” tips for building solidarity with Indigenous Climate Action and their network as they battled the Teck Mine. On February 24th, Teck withdrew it’s application for this 20.6 billion dollar tar sands project, signaling a MASSIVE win for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples everywhere.

Now that Teck is dead, the focus zeroes in on what is happening across Canada with the Wet’suwet’en movement to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline. In this article, published on March 3rd, Eriel Deranger and Clayton Thomas Mueller of Indigenous Climate Action and Canada, respectively, discuss what the Teck win means for First Nations and what’s next regarding the Wet’suwet’en mobilization for Indigenous sovereignty and climate justice.

Take Action and Learn More: Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit

NDN Collective is Hiring!

Executive Assistant

The Executive Assistant provides executive support to the President & CEO. The Executive Assistant serves as a point of contact for internal and external constituencies on matters pertaining to the President & CEO. This positions provides the candidate with the opportunity to work in a high-energy and team atmosphere where Indigenous capacity and movement-building happen on the daily.

Learn More about the Executive Assistant Position
NDN Fund Loan Officer

The NDN Fund Loan Officer is responsible for originating, underwriting, closing, and monitoring loans that promote NDN Collective’s Theory of Change and NDN Fund’s resilient and regenerative lending principles. The position provides the candidate with the opportunity to help build the organization’s lending strategy, be at the forefront of new capital solutions, and support innovative projects led by Indigenous communities. 

Learn More about the NDN Fund Loan Officer Position