Issue #5 / 2023

A Voice for the Movement

May/June 2023 Newsletter

Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples have stood in community, linking arms and raising our voices to combat the violence and destruction of settler-colonialism and white supremacy. We mobilize and dream far into the future, acknowledging that our actions and voices right now, much like the actions of our ancestors, blaze a path towards a future where we can all thrive. In heavy moments of struggle and resistance, you will still hear the laughter of our people– a joy intact, and a message of hope for generations to come.

In our May/June newsletter, our linked arms and voices remain strong, as we share more on the much anticipated and recently launched Collective Abundance Fund grant opportunity, we share news of the release our NEW, “LANDBACK For the People” podcast, announce the 2023/24 NDN Changemaker Cohort, and so much more.

NDN Collective Responds to Right Wing Attacks

LANDBACK climbers confront the legacy of white supremacy that is commemorated every 4th of July by dropping an upside down American flag from a 100-ft silo in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by NDN Collective.

In response to an article published by Fox News featuring NDN Collective, and the subsequent snowball of right-wing attacks by other media outlets and elected officials, the organization released the following statement: 

“In a classic move, Fox News released a lengthy, highly editorialized article linking various groups and causes to one another and demonizing our work to empower people who have been pushed to the margins for hundreds of years. The media giant is attempting to capitalize on efforts to create a better world – but we know that most people see straight through their lies, fearmongering, and mischaracterization of our work.”

Read the Full Statement Here

Meet the 2023/24 Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows

On Wednesday, May 17th, NDN Collective announced the 2023/24 NDN Changemaker Fellow Cohort, consisting of 21 Indigenous leaders from throughout Turtle Island and beyond who are radically transforming Indigenous communities by defending Indigenous lands, waters, and rights; developing solutions for the future that regenerate the health of the Earth and our communities; and revitalizing our languages, governance practices, ceremonies, and ways of life.

We invite you to learn more about these phenomenal visionaries, who continue to enact revolutionary change and build Indigenous power.

Read the Full Blog Here

5 Things Indian Country Needs to Know About the Dirty Permitting Deal

Photo Courtesy of Cadence Feeley.

Once again, Republicans in Congress are trying to attach harmful permitting legislation to must-pass legislation this week in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. If they’re successful, it will roll back our most important environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would eliminate the few protections Indigenous and Tribal communities have against irresponsible polluters, mining companies and other harmful extractive industries. The stakes in the current debate are enormous for already-vulnerable communities. 

Since Fall 2022, NDN Collective – along with other Native and Tribal allies – has repeatedly made clear that any dirty permitting side deal is unacceptable. And sadly, our advocacy has to continue despite President Biden making multiple commitments to Tribes and Frontline communities, such as his recent signing of the executive order to revitalize the nation’s commitment to environmental justice.

Read the Full Memo Here

 NDN Collective Urges POTUS to Reject “Permitting Reform” in Debt Ceiling

Dear President Biden,

On behalf of NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led organization providing over 600 Tribal and Island Nations and Indigenous organizations with funding to build and invest in sustainable community development, renewable energy projects, and social enterprise development to address the climate crisis and repair environmental injustice, I urge you to reject the demands of Republicans in Congress to pass H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, or allow the clawback of remaining funds appropriated in the CARES Act and ARPA legislation as a condition of passing the debt ceiling bill

Tribal Nations, Indigenous peoples, as well as other people of color in low income and frontline communities, have been the first to experience the most severe impacts of a rapidly changing climate. We are the most affected by the contamination caused by extractive industries at the root of environmental injustice, climate change, and the exploitation of our lands. 

Read the Full Blog Here

NDN Collective Launches 2023 Collective Abundance Grant

A Wealth-Building Opportunity for Indigenous Families

Registration must be completed prior to the initial application. Registration ends at 3 p.m. US Central Standard Time on Friday, July 7, 2023.

NDN Collective is now accepting applications for the Collective Abundance Fund, a grant opportunity being offered to Indigenous individuals and families residing within the tri-state region of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

The Collective Abundance Fund is intended to support the rebuilding of Indigenous and generational wealth by providing significant resources for wealth building activities. Awarded individuals and families will have the opportunity to put their dreams and aspirations into action through the support of $25,000 and $50,000 cash awards.

“We are excited to provide this opportunity to our people – for families to begin to realize their hopes and dreams and rebuild a collective future that reflects a redefinition of wealth as defined by Indigenous people,” said Terri Peterson, Program Manager of the Collective Abundance Fund. “The Collective Abundance Fund supports the traditional aspects of wealth, like down payments on a home, education expenses, or capital investments in a new or current business.

Read the Full Press Release Here

LANDBACK for the People

NDN Collective Launches NEW Podcast to all Streaming Platforms

The LANDBACK For the People podcast is produced in the NDN Studio at our Rapid City headquarters. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

On April 24th NDN Collective launched LANDBACK For the People, a new monthly podcast getting back to the origins of the LANDBACK movement, digging deep into history, while looking towards the future of Indigenous liberation where everyone has a place in the circle to bring their gifts, skills, and their love for people and the land.

Featuring conversations with Indigenous organizers, activists, matriarchs, and protectors from across Turtle Island, LANDBACK For the People provides an up-close-and-personal experience that is bold, action-oriented, and solution-focused.

Madonna Thunderhawk was the first guest on the LANDBACK For the People podcast, joining us for Episode 1, “Madonna Thunderhawk: A Matriarch of the Movement.” Photo by Willi Whit for NDN Collective.

“I became a storyteller so that our people had a place at the table in spaces like Hollywood. And now we’re building our own table and bringing our own chairs to sit at it. And that’s powerful. I hope this show can be another resource for our people as we build Indigenous power and work toward the liberation of our peoples,” said Willi White, head of content and production at NDN Collective.

Read the Full Press Release Here
Watch the Podcast Interview w/ Madonna Thunder Hawk Here
Now Available on YouTubeSpotifyApple MusicAmazon MusicSoundCloud and Audible | Be sure to like and subscribe to get alerts for when new episodes drop!

NDN Collective Welcomes the Collective Abundance Team

The Collective Abundance Team, (left to right) Terri Peterson, Sharon Pazi Zea, Courtney Davis, and Wicahpi (Star) Means, pictured outside of the NDN Collective Headquarters in Rapid City, SD. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

On April 18th NDN Collective welcomed three new Program Officers to support the Collective Abundance Fund program- a new grant program within NDN Foundation:

⭐ Sharon Pazi Zea (Dakota, Upper Sioux Community)

⭐ Wicahpi Means (Lakota, Oglala Lakota Nation)

⭐ Courtney Davis (Anishinaabe, Turtle Mountain Chippewa

“We are thrilled to work alongside these leaders, each bringing a unique set of skills and lived experiences to support Indigenous relatives and community partners in information sharing, application support, and grantees from across the tri-state region”, said Terri Peterson, Program Manager of the Collective Abundance Fund.

Read the Full Press Release Here

NDN Collective Announces 2023 Open Application Period for “Community Action Fund” in Support of Indigenous Frontline Organizers

The Community Action Fund (CAF) will help further Indigenous Peoples’ mobilization strategies as it relates to the defense, development, and decolonization of our peoples and the planet. $500,000 is available to support such efforts in 2023 with grants averaging $15,000 and ranging up to $30,000.

On April 17th NDN Collective announced the open online grant portal for the Community Action Fund (CAF) which will provide modest, urgent response funding to direct action and frontline organizing across Turtle Island (North America) and related Island Nations, which includes the United States, Mexico, Canada, Borikén/Puerto Rico and the U.S. “Territories”: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Grants up to $30,000 offered to support on the ground organizers and movement builders who stand on the frontlines to defend Indigenous Peoples inherent rights to self-determination and equity for all people and Mother Earth.

“It is important to build Indigenous Power by supporting organizing and movement building work through Community Action Fund because resources are limited or non-existent in traditional grantmaking when it comes to defending Indigenous Peoples, communities, and Nations on the frontlines. We need to uplift the amazing and powerful work that frontline grassroots organizers are doing if we want to continue to shift these colonial systems,” said Kami-Rae James, NDN Foundation Program Officer.

Read the Full Press Release Here
For more information and to apply visit the Community Action Fund Website Here

NDN Collective Responds to Biden Climate Justice Executive Order

Jade Begay (Tesuque Pueblo), NDN Director of Policy & Advocacy, stands behind President Joe Biden as he signs the Executive Order on Environmental Justice on April 21, 2023.

On April 21st NDN Collective responded to the Biden administration issuance of an executive order on environmental justice that speaks to demands Indigenous people have been making for decades.

The executive order doubles down on tribal sovereignty and consultation and coordination with tribes on environmental justice issues, provides guidance on addressing cumulative impacts of pollution and climate change, and supports research and analysis on how to measure the impact of environmental justice on tribal communities.

“This action from the Biden Administration signals that our guidance and feedback, informed by our lived experience as environmental justice and Tribal community members, is not only being heard but is being implemented in the ways we need,” said Jade Begay, NDN Collective’s Director of Policy and Advocacy (Tesuque Pueblo).

Read the Full Press Release Here

NDN Collective and Native Organizers Alliance Responds to Biden 2024 Re-election Announcement

On April 25th President Biden announced that he will seek a second term as president of the United States.

NDN Collective alongside Native Action Organizers responded with several statements.

“While no elected official is perfect, we must remember that President Biden revoked permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline on the day he took office, following through on a major campaign promise to Indigenous communities and climate justice advocates,” said Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of NDN Collective.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial for the Biden-Harris administration to recognize the leadership of Native peoples and our communities’ ability to drive turnout in local and federal elections. The Native vote holds the power to determine the outcome of elections. We cannot be ignored,” said Judith LeBlanc, executive director of Native Organizers Alliance.

Read the Full Statement Here
Learn More About the Power of the Native Vote by visiting Skovoteden Website Here

Note: Sko Vote Den is a non-partisan, voter engagement campaign that is an extension of the NDN Vote Program.

 NDN Collective Announces 2023/24 NDN Changemaker Fellow Cohort

On May 17th NDN Collective announced the 2023/24 NDN Changemaker Fellow Cohort consisting of 21 Indigenous leaders from throughout Turtle Island and beyond who are radically transforming Indigenous communities by defending Indigenous lands, waters, and rights; developing solutions for the future that regenerate the health of the Earth and our communities; and revitalizing our languages, governance practices, ceremonies, and ways of life.

“I am incredibly excited for our Changemaker Fellows this year. We are hosting visionaries from their early twenties into their elder years, each one offering strong work, new perspectives, and pathways towards a future that speaks to the question our founder and CEO Nick Tilsen poses, “What if our best days are ahead of us?” said PennElys Droz, Power Building Coordinator for NDN Foundation.

Read the Full Press Release 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.

Policy & Advocacy | Jade Begay Co-Hosts Panel on Inflation Reduction Act

On May 15th Jade Begay, NDN Collective Policy and Advocacy Director, in collaboration with Evergreen Action, co-hosted a panel titled “Tapping into the Inflation Reduction Act”, where discussion focused on the IRA benefits available to Tribes and Indigenous communities as well as how it is an act of “Shifting Power.”

Watch the Full Webinar Here
NDN Foundation | 2022/2023 Changemaker Fellow Feature: Monique Verdin

Monique Verdin, of the Houma Nation and outgoing 22/23 NDN Changemaker, is a force of nature!  Her personal Theory of Change is grounded in the power of collaborations and storytelling, illustrated by her multilayered, networked work throughout her region. Her work includes; 


🌿Producing a documentary to raise awareness about Houma realities, land loss and the side effects of legacies rooted to colonialism; 

🌿Collaborating  with an emergency solar organization, the Footprint Project, to host building five 5 Kwh solar generators in the fall of 2022 for Indigenous people in hurricane zones.

🌿Supporting the move of resources to relatives at the end of Bayou Pointe aux Chenes to restore their bayou side that was destroyed by Hurricane Ida; a place of celebration and an everyday gathering place from which they are able to feed their families.


🌿Supporting a network of Indigenous Gardeners, Okla Hina Ikhigh Holo. 
🌿Engaging with Ripple Effect a k-12 water literacy curriculum building organization; 
Operating the mutual aid inspired, micro-grid powered communication and collective power building station Bvlbancha Liberation Radio weekly, working on building out an interactive website and developing more programming; 

🌿LAND BACK.   Monique was able to purchase land in  Prairie des Femmes, being developed as a retreat space, food and medicine garden, and water catchment infrastructure;  in order to receive folks who need a safe space to retreat to that is safe from initial hurricane impact zones.  She launched an LLC to hold the land while building a long term plan for a trust.   She is also researching and developing plans to acquire more land back for healthy and affordable living, while also thinking about creative pathways for conservation easement opportunities for Indigenous folks in the Delta. 


🌿Opening the art project Our Invisible Rivers, at the Contemporary Art Museum in Bvlbancha|New Orleans

🌿Supporting a project called And, We Are Still Here with Dr. Tammy Greer interviewing Houma elders, artists, artisans, skill-sharers and bearers, which will be included in the Library of Congress. 

🌿Co-hosting a Land Memory Bank and Seed Exchange for an annual fiesta, building traditional palmetto and willow structures in community,  planting a medicine wheel garden and sharing Indigenous insight. She also set up an Invisible Rivers installation which consisted of two 5kw hour solar generators with a small boat holding solar panels that we used as a charging station to power the sound system for Bvlbancha Liberation Radio to plug in, and welcomed folks to participate in a collective art project to draw a place of water that is important to them. 

🌿In Grand Bois, a historic Houma community she is collaborating to build a Solar Medicine House which will be a replica of her great-grandmothers traditional cypress house with a mud and moss chimney. The actual construction of the house will be traditional building workshop and once completed we plan to use the structure as a place where education and celebrations can happen, where food and medicine is grown, and a place that in times of emergency can be activated as a solar powered battery charging station, a water distribution site and a free store for supplies.

🌿She is also working with an intertribal collective of southeastern moundbuilder descendents to develop a public monument; an earthen mound, stickball field, and gardens, which won support from Prospect New Orleans’ Artists of Public Memory Commission in March of 2023! 

Monique exemplifies the strength and community commitment of our Indigenous Changemakers. Learn more about her and how to support her incredible work at!

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.

May Day March | Minneapolis, MN

On May 1st, NDN Collective was live in Minneapolis, MN in celebration of the May 1st international workers day. The origins of the day stem from a May 1, 1886 action, which took place across numerous cities, as a demonstration in support of the eight-hour workday

Watch the Full Livestream Here
The Real Deal With Mineral Withdrawals with Bonnie Gestring | Rapid City, SD

On May 2nd, NDN Collective was live at the Dahl Art Center in in Rapid City, SD to uplift a public presentation by Bonnie Gestring, the Northwest Program Director for Earthworks!, has experience in securing mineral withdrawals in regions across the country as well as in protective efforts against hardrock mining.

Watch the Full Livestream Here

Check Out What’s Happening on NDN Social Media

Indigenous people, including our Women, Girls, Men, and our Two-Spirit, Trans, Queer and Gender Non-Conforming relatives, continue to go missing and murdered at alarming rates. Meanwhile, so-called justice systems fail to investigate violence against all Indigenous people.

We can not afford to stay silent.

View the Full Instagram Post Here

Today we honor and uplift those individuals we identify as our Mothers and parents of all genders that take up this caretaker role, surrounding them in prayer and gratitude. So much medicine is offered through their continued care and support as they diligently walk beside us on this journey, sowing seeds of hope in our spirits. 💫

View the Full Instagram Reel Here

👀It’s Friyay Relatives! And we’re dropping the next episode for the all new LANDBACK FOR THE PEOPLE podcast: Fighting Racism in the Hesapa ✊🌲

On this episode we chat with Sunny Red Bear, Hermus Bettelyoun and Anissa Martin from the NDN Collective organizing team. ✊🏾🎙️

View the Full Instagram Post Here

To our Queer and gender-expansive community, you are so incredibly seen and valued beyond any ‘month of commemoration.’ 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

We recognize that the journey to openly embrace the medicine that you are while surviving the countless violent attempts of erasure, homophobia, and transphobia that persist is so very trying on your mind, body, and spirit. ❤️‍🩹🌿

Do not let that spirit be diminished. We need you.

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

Art is Ceremony. Art is Indigenous. Art Heals.

Art is truly interwoven in every part of our lives as Indigenous people. Song, music and dance, being inseparable from how we celebrate, how we hold ceremony and pray, how we organize and resist, and how we transmit knowledge through storytelling. Art is infused into our traditional and contemporary designs, how we adorn ourselves, our loved ones, and our homes. Today, art is still a way that we express ourselves, how we set intentions and radically imagine a better future for our people

View the Full Instagram Post Here

📢 Calling all Indigenous frontline organizers, action takers, and movement mobilizers seeking funding to #DefendDevelopDecolonize to apply for urgent funding!⚡

View the Full Instagram Launch Here

View the Full Instagram Post Here

We pay deep respects to the May Day organizers and resistors who made more just and equitable working conditions a reality.

This day is a reminder that workers everywhere deserve fair wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and the right to organize. Today, we must still continue to advocate for more just working conditions and show solidarity with workers in our communities and across the globe, and help to promote a more just and equitable society for all people and Mother Earth.

View the Full Instagram Post Here

Oceti Sakowin Community Academy (OSCA) is excited to announce that they are pre-registering kindergarten and 1st grade students for the Oceti Sakowin Community Academy, Fall of 2023 AND hiring for two positions, a 1st-grade teacher and Kindergarten Lakota Language Teacher!

OSCA is a school grounded in the language, culture, thought, and philosophy of the Oceti Sakowin.

View the Full Instagram Post Here

Take Action

Participants hold signs as they wait for oral arguments to adjourn outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Photo by Steph Viera for NDN Collective.

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

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
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