Issue #05 / 2020

Mobilizing for Our Collective Future

A Message from NDN Collective President and CEO, Nick Tilsen

Hau Mitakuyapi. Greetings, Relatives.

This past month has been one filled with extraordinary challenges and yet answered with even more extraordinary courage. As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, hitting North America and devastating Indigenous communities, we here at NDN Collective recognized this as a call-to-action– an opportunity to show up for our people, our communities and our movement.

We mobilized quickly, creating a comprehensive multi-phased COVID-19 response strategy that included grant-making, narrative and truth-telling, capacity-building and mobilizing communities into action. As Tribal and community  leaders throughout the nation began reaching out to us by the dozens, we asked our philanthropic partners to not pull back but instead, step up. In challenging times, we came together, galvanizing a movement and to protect our communities while holding on to the vision for radical transformation, which is what we set out to do since the inception of this organization.

The past 30 days have been evidence that organizations like NDN Collective, who have grown out of movements with lived experience in doing this work, can be catalytic. We can stimulate change not only in times of crisis, but on the daily, as we strive to co-create the new world we are fighting for. We are charting a path forward, and there’s nobody else I would rather be in relationship with to do this work than with partners like all of you.

Read Nick’s Full Message at the NDN Collective Website

NDN Collective’s COVID-19 Response Project

A $10 Million, Multi-Phased Project

A $10 Million, Multi-Phased Project

On April 9, we announced the creation of the NDN COVID-19 Response Project to quickly provide grants, communication and strategic support to Tribal Nations, front line Indigenous-led organizations, and individuals who are providing essential services to Indigenous communities in North America during the current global health pandemic.  The overall design of the project is to provide quick response resources to Indigenous communities bracing from economic impacts, stresses to public services and combating the spread of misinformation due to COVID-19. 

“NDN realizes that Native Nations will experience unique impacts and challenges with the COVID19 crisis, in no small part due to the current reality and history of social, economic and political disenfranchisement of our people,” says Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO. “While our elected Tribal officials navigate the crisis and lead their respective communities, NDN is doing our part to coordinate resources and offer our assistance during these unprecedented times.”

Learn More about the NDN COVID-19 Response Project

Grants up to $5K for Indigenous Artists & Entrepreneurs Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 24, NDN Collective Announced the NDN Artist and Entrepreneur Fund, designed to provide grants of up to $5,000 to Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs to ease hardships in this time of economic uncertainty. 

“We at the NDN Collective stand in solidarity with Indigenous artists, entrepreneurs and small businesses who are uniquely affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic,” says Gaby Strong, NDN Collective Director of Grants Management. “The livelihoods of Indigenous artists and small businesses have been hit hard as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a new normal upon all of us. NDN has mobilized to try to relieve some of the strain.” 

Learn More about the NDN Artist & Entrepreneur Fund
NDN Collective Announces RFI for Indigenous Contractors to Provide Support to Indigenous Communities Dealing w/ COVID-19

As part of the NDN COVID-19 Reseponse Project, NDN announced a Request for Information (RFI) to collaboratively identify contractors and other technical assistance providers who can provide support to Indigenous communities bracing from economic impacts, stresses to public services due to COVID-19.  This team will specifically provide assistance in accessing federal stimulus resources for Native Nations, Indigenous-led organizations, and individuals, and other.  The RFI is designed to complement COVID-19 Response grants and loans that are offered by NDN to maximize the potential of these resources to solve current critical needs by building capacity to use these funds effectively. 

“This RFI is an extension of a way for NDN to invest into the self determination of Native Nations,” says Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO.

Learn More about the RFI for Indigenous Contractors


“We Can No Longer Take Baby Steps. Honor the Earth as Your Own Mother.”

NDN Collective Organizer Andrew Catt-Iron Shell (right) with his son in the badlands of South Dakota. Photo Courtesy of Andrew.

NEW! On the NDN Collective Blog

In this Earth Day blog, NDN Collective Organizer Andrew Catt-Iron Shell provides a critical analysis of Earth Day, and proposes a new approach moving forward.

He writes:

For the past fifty years of Earth Day, the corporations, the politicians and the uninformed  have largely shaped the narrative of what the day should be about. But now more than ever, we have to take back that narrative of what truly honoring our Mother Earth is all about. We must collectively act. We must mobilize worldwide and bring back balance between humanity and the natural order of things in order for humanity and all life to survive. 

Town Hall: Native Americans & COVID-19

Hosted by IllumiNative, NDN Collective, and Indian Country Today

Town Hall host Crystal Echo Hawk and panelists for the panel, “COVID-19: Disproportionate Impacts on Native Peoples and Communities of Color.”

FIVE Panels of Indigenous Leaders, Community Builders and Allies

Life amid the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in unprecedented ways, and even still, we are coming together in strength and community. During these extraordinary times, Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island have had no choice but to draw upon our ancestral resilience and mobilize for the sake of our communities, our Nations, and the collective future of humanity.

The Native Americans & COVID-19 Town Hall was organized to bring us all together in this same fashion, to continue drawing strength from each other, and to provide time and space to put our minds together in order to envision a vibrant, transformative future even during these challenging times. This town hall was part of IllumiNative’s #WarriorUp campaign which works to shine a light on the impacts and needs resulting from COVID-19 in Indian Country.

Organized by IllumiNative and co-hosted by the NDN Collective and Indian Country Today, this event brought together a powerful line-up of Indigenous leaders, professionals, and organizers who have long had their boots-on-the-ground in Indigenous communities, not just during these challenging pandemic times, but long before that.  From Congressional Representatives Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, to Navajo Nation President Jonathon Nez, to NDN Collective’s own President and CEO Nick Tilsen, leaders from all corners of Indian Country came together in solidarity during the town hall.

Read More and Watch the Town Hall Here

Investing in Indigenous Changemakers

Applications NOW OPEN for the Next Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows

NDN Changemaker Fellowship NOW OPEN for Indigenous Applicants Throughout Turtle Island

For our second year, NDN Collective is launching a groundbreaking fellowship for Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island and surrounding Island Nations. The NDN Changemaker Fellowship will support 21 Indigenous leaders across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, also including the islands of Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. This fellowship is designed to amplify, deepen, and catalyze the development of Indigenous leaders ready to create movements in their communities and build a world that is just and equitable for all people and the planet. 

The NDN Changemaker Fellowship is a 12-month opportunity for Indigenous leaders to articulate their vision for social change, to identify the support they will need to get there and to invest in their own development, health, healing and wellbeing.
“We’re grateful to be able to support visionary Indigenous leaders from across Turtle Island who are working toward sustainable solutions for their people and their homelands,” says Gaby Strong, NDN Collective Director of Grantmaking. 

Learn More about the NDN Changemaker Fellowship and APPLY!

TAKE ACTION: Support the NDN COVID-19 Response Project

Right now is a critical moment to support Indigenous communities who have been impacted by COVID-19. Our communities are experiencing disproportionate impacts because of existing environmental injustices and our healthcare systems being underserved for decades.

We can’t stress enough how important your support is right now for saving lives and flattening the curve across Indian Country. Please consider donating.

NDN Collective is Hiring!

Program Officer

Reporting to Director of Grantmaking, the Program Officer will support the NDN Grants Programs, NDN Changemakers Fellowship and NDN Prize. The Program Officer will also help create a grantmaking pipeline of potential grantees, fellows and prize winners throughout NDN’s regional focus. 

Learn More about the Program Officer Position
Capacity Building Coordinator

Reporting to NDN Fund Managing Director, the NDN Fund Capacity Building Coordinator is primarily responsible for coordinating the technical assistance support for the preparation of larger development projects at various stages of development around NDN Fund’s lending areas.

Learn More about the Capacity Building Coordinator Position
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
NDN Action Managing Director

The NDN Action Managing Director will provide leadership, along with other NDN Action staff, in the development and implementation of policy advocacy priorities and strategy. They will also lead in development of coalition building strategies and supporting the cultivation of key relationships.

Learn More about the NDN Action Managing Director