Issue #08 / 2020

Beyond the Elections: Organizing Forward

Leaning into our Values as Self-Determining People

Indigenous people march through downtown Rapid City on Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the LANDBACK Campaign launch. October 2020. Photo by Willi White.

We are honored you are all here to join us in this critical work.

With less than two months to go in this historic year, 2020 continues to be unprecedented in a multitude of ways. Now, as we await the results of a historic presidential election, we at NDN Collective remain steadfast in our mission to build the collective power of Indigenous Peoples, communities and Nations.

What we’ve learned from the intensity of 2020 is that we need simply lean into our values as Indigenous people, and we can make it through anything. Collectively, we have the creative capacity to imagine new solutions that are designed for us, by us. No matter the outcomes of 2020, we are self-determining people and we descend from some of the most resilient people on Earth! “We imagine, we build, we mobilize, and organize forward.

In this month’s newsletter we’re lifting up some of our most recent work to build Indigenous power. We’re also thrilled to be growing our team of Indigenous change makers and movement builders, so be sure to check out the section “Our Team is Growing” to meet new staff, and check out the “Join Our Team” section for TEN new job announcements at the end of the newsletter and share out with your networks.

View the Web Version of This Newsletter

NDN Collective Launches #LANDBACK Campaign

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day last month, NDN Collective launched the highly anticipated LANDBACK Campaign, a multi-pronged effort to dismantle white supremacy and achieve justice for Indigenous people. Through the restoration of ecological health to Indigenous lands and the actual recovery of Indigenous land ownership, NDN Collective’s LANDBACK Campaign aims to empower Indigenous people across Turtle Island. 

“LANDBACK is happening and it is an honor to step into a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice with the LANDBACK Campaign as a mechanism to connect, amplify and resource the LANDBACK movement and the communities that have been fighting to reclaim stewardship of the land.”

Read more from LANDBACK Campaign Director Krystal Twobulls here

Announcing the Radical Imagination Artist Grantees

10 Artists Spanning Turtle Island and Hawaii

NDN Collective is honored to announce ten outstanding Indigenous artists selected through our Radical Imagination Artist Grants, funded in part by the Surdna Foundation.  This one-year grant invests in Indigenous artists as they create new and unique expressions of a radically imagined, more just and equitable future through the creation of community-based cultural expressions that propose solutions to our most challenging societal problems.  These talented, visionary Indigenous artists from throughout Turtle Island (including the U.S., Canada and Mexico)  will bring their radical imaginations to life through their art.

Learn more about the Radical Imagination Artists here

NDN Hosts Sko Vote Den Virtual Intertribal

A Fresh Approach Encouraging Native Folx to GOTV

Representatives Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland joined NDN Collective and NativesOutdoors for Sko Vote Den Virtual Intertribal, an event aiming to engage Native voters ahead of election day. The elected officials joined Indigenous organizers, artists, and entertainers to discuss voting challenges, and to educate people about the complexities and importance of voting in Indian Country.

A play on the intertribal social dance powwows where Native people and powwow goers visit casually while enjoying culture and building relationships, the Sko Vote Den Virtual Intertribal was designed to build political awareness and joy around getting out the vote in Indian Country. 

Gaby Strong Appointed Managing Director of NDN Foundation

Search for new Director of Grantmaking now underway

Gaby Strong, Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota, Managing Director of NDN Foundation.

The NDN Collective recently appointed Gabrielle (Gaby) Strong, Dakota to the Managing Director position of the NDN Foundation, a newly formed public charity.  Gaby joined NDN Collective in February 2020 as the Director of Grantmaking, managing the full arc of NDN grantmaking programs, including a significant COVID- 19 Rapid Response Grant program which deployed over $2 million in gap support across Indian Country, Canada and Mexico to Indigenous communities, Tribes, and non-profits.  

Read More at the NDN Collective Blog

Native Businesses Pitch to Investors in the Native American Impact Showcase

Shilo and Shawna Clifford of Native Botanicals were among the group of Native entrepreneurs featured in the Native American impact showcase.

NDN Fund worked with Social Venture Circle (SVC) to help deliver the Native American Impact Showcase on September 29 where Native entrepreneurs had the chance to pitch to impact investors for equity investments. Native businesses typically lack the social networks available to reach the private investment community, which is why most Native startups launch with less than $5,000. The goal of this event was to open access to capital to businesses ready to expand, working towards a more equitable economy that properly values the contributions of Indigenous peoples to our local, national, and global economies. 
SVC was able to make this event possible from Bush Foundation and Native CDFI Network grants. Funding helped provide mentors who were able to coach the Native businesses over the last few weeks to deliver their best pitch to SVC’s network of impact investors, angel groups, family offices, and more. The selected businesses exemplify the innovative and entrepreneurial talents across Indian Country and went through SVC’s due diligence process. To learn more about them, please check out their websites or social media sites below. In the upcoming weeks, these businesses were also given opportunities to visit with participating investors interested in learning more about the capital investment opportunities available and how these businesses are structured to give back to their communities.

Pictured: SolarBear In Action Standing Rock. Solar Bear is a solar panel installation service founded by Red Lake Tribal member Robert Blake, and was also featured at the Native Impact Showcase.

The event was emceed by Tawny Wilson, NDN Fund Loan Officer, who brought panache and helped contextualize the businesses for investors who may not be as familiar with working outside Indigenous communities. NDN Collective expects to facilitate our own pitch events in the future so this was a great learning opportunity and we will be issuing a call out for businesses and projects in 2021. For all of those businesses that missed this showcase, please stay tuned for future opportunities.

The Native American Impact Showcase featured pitches and conversation from the following entrepreneurs:

▪️ Wizipan Little Elk, Wolakota Buffalo Range
▪️ Tahda Ahtone, JackRabbit Development
▪️ Denise + Dani Pieratos, Harvest Nation
▪️ Shilo + Shawna Clifford, Native Botanicals
▪️ Walt Swan, HeSapa Enterprises
▪️ Robert Blake, Solar Bear
▪️ Amanda June, SmokeFire Media
▪️ Kurt Brenkus, Indigenous Pact PBC, Inc.

Learn more about NDN Fund and NDN’s Impact Investing & Lending

Fellow Spotlight

NDN Changemaker Fellows Building Indigenous Power

L-R: NDN Changemaker Fellows Oswoldo Martinez, Mahalia Newmark, Joel Cabral.

Oswoldo Martinez Flores, West Mexico Region

Oswaldo Martínez Flores is from the Xhidza People, born in the Xhidza community of Santa María Yaviche, in the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca, Mexico. He has founded different farmer schools and community radio stations. His work is extensive in sustainable energy and food sovereignty.

With the NDN Changemaker Fellowship, Oswaldo has successfully restarted the community radio CEU-Xhidza, where information is shared in the Xhidza language on Covid-19 care and prevention.

Additionally, he has been able to consolidate a far-reaching healthy food project for his people through the Agro-Ecological Autonomous Center for Learning (in Spanish, CAAA) that carries out independent participatory research in the field to produce a permaculture system, gardens known as living pharmacies, agro-forestry, sources of alternative energies and micro-industries. Above all, it has given Oswaldo the opportunity to restore his strength to face upcoming challenges and continue defending, developing and decolonizing within his community. 

Mahalia Newmark, Northwest Territories/Yukon Region

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

Inspired by the rich perspectives of Indigenous artists, Mahalia is leading a mural and art project “Strong People, Strong Communities,” art in Somba K’e/Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. From the project Facebook page, “Strong People, Strong Communities is a grassroots Indigenous led arts mural project focusing on the beauty of our Indigenous communities, our cultures and identities through art.” The project was initially expected to be completed during this past summer, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now slated to be completed in the summer of 2021. Read more about the project and the artists in this article, where Mahalia shares more about her inspiration behind the project.

Mahalia also recently gave birth to her second child, Lily, on September 22, 2020. Congratulations, Mahalia! Baby Lily is the younger sister to Mahalia’s first daughter, Rose. And in other good news, Mahalia is also now a Steering Committee Member of the Northern Birthwork Collective. 

Joel Cabral, North Mexico Region

Joel Cabral is Chief of the Lipan Apache of Nogales Sonora Mexico and is dedicated in revitalizing and protecting the Lipan Apache culture, language and way of life. 

Joel recently partnered with NDN’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Project to provide immediate relief to Tribes and Indigenous migrants and families by delivering food baskets, cleaning supplies and drinking water. So far the coalition made up of the Lipan Apache Tribe in Nogales Sonora Mexico and the Opata Nation has been able to deliver food baskets and cleaning supplies to 1,500 Indigenous families and drinking water to 500 Seri families in Punta Chueca.  In addition, due to Trump’s current orders to deport asylum seekers due the pandemic, the coalition has been delivering breakfasts daily to 50 Indigenous migrants in Nogales mostly women and children for two weeks. 

“Thanks to NDN’s Covid-19 Rapid Response Project and the support I have as an NDN Changemaker Fellow, I can not only support my people but also neighboring Tribes as well as our migrant brothers and sisters. I am honored to be a Changemaker Fellow and be a part of NDN Collective who has responded rapidly to the needs that Indigneous Peoples are facing.”

This project is running as a Matching Fund Campaign to keep providing this support during this coming month. Each dollar you donate will be matched! If you would like to make a donation please reach out to or on Facebook.

Learn more about the 2020 Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows Here

Our Team is Growing!

Introducing New NDN Collective Team Members

We are thrilled to share that our team has grown exponentially in the past few months. Meet the new staff members of the NDN Collective team!

Korina Barry (Leech Lake Ojibwe), NDN Action Managing Director

Jaime Arsenault (Mi’kmaq), Advancement Officer

Megan Tom (Diné), Advancement Coordinator

Bre Jackson (Oglala Lakota), Executive Assistant

Sherrie Ann André (Puerto Rican/Thai), Fiscal Sponsor Coordinator

Heather Montoya (Bay Mills Ojibwe), Administrative Associate

Jordan Brien (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), Social & Digital Marketing Coordinator

Lorenzo Serna (Chicanx), Director of Tactical Media

Conor Varela Handley (Yaqui), LANDBACK Campaign Organizer

Krystal Two Bulls (Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota), Director of the LANDBACK Campaign

Janet Maylen (Muscogee Creek), NDN Program Officer

Tiana Begay (Diné/Hopi), Program Associate

Liberty Green (Red Lake Ojibwe), NDN Fund Program Associate

Cole St. Arnold (Jicarilla Apache), NDN Fund Capacity Building Coorinator

Tawny Wilson (Sicangu Lakota), NDN Fund Loan Officer

Meet all of the NDN Collective Staff


Donate to Indigenous-led GOTV Work

Support Indigenous Power Building with GOTV Efforts 

Mobilizing the Native Vote has happened in extraordinary ways this past election cycle, and we are proud to lift up Indigenous organizations that have devoted time, energy, and resources to this work. In gratitude for all the work done to get our folx to show up in record numbers, please donate and support these groups who GOTV in Indian Country:

Natives Vote, IllumiNative, Native Organizers Alliance, Natives Outdoors, NDN Collective, Rural Utah Project, and Great Plains Action Society.

Join Our Team!

TEN Positions Open at NDN Collective

Capacity Building Coordinator

Develop, coordinate and offer an array of capacity building programming and resources relevant to the self-determination, sovereignty, regenerative sustainability and power of Indigenous Peoples, tribes and Indigenous-led organizations.

Learn More about the Capacity Building Coordinator Position

Finance Technician

Perform a variety of technical, and administrative financial support duties in the financial activities of the organization.

Learn More about the Finance Technician Position


Oversee day-to-day financial activities for the NDN Ecosystem including accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll.

Learn More about the Controller Position

Public Relations Officer

Acts as the primacy media contact for the President & CEO, creating and managing communications and messaging that shape public opinion and increase awareness of the NDN brand through the lens of the President & CEO.

Learn More about the Public Relations Officer Position

Political Director

Provide leadership for our political and elections work, working collaboratively with our Director of Policy and Advocacy, NDN Collective ecosystem of organizations, board of directors, and contract lobbyists.

Learn More about the Political Director Position

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Provide leadership for our public policy and advocacy work, working collaboratively with our Political Director, NDN Collective ecosystem of organizations, board of directors, and contract lobbyists.

Learn More about the Director of Policy and Advocacy Position

Business Development Officer

Responsible for all aspects of managing project development for NDN Partners, the business development arm of NDN Collective. Plays a key role in new business acquisition and leads multiple activities such as customer relations, business process activities and managing complex requirements

Learn More about the Business Development Officer Position

Climate Justice Campaign Director

The Climate Justice Campaign Director will spearhead Climate Justice Campaigns to defeat fossil fuel and other extractive industries and promote transformative, renewable, sustainable and equitable climate policies for Indigenous Peoples and communities. 

Learn More about the Climate Justice Campaign Director Position

Digital Organizer

The Digital Organizer is responsible for building relationships with important community stakeholders including non-traditional partners through targeted outreach efforts.

Learn More about the Digital Organizer Position
Director of Grantmaking

Oversee grant programs and participate actively in shaping and refining NDN Collective’s holistic changemaking strategy. An organizational thought leader on all philanthropic issues and develop grantmaking tools and processes that will be deployed across the organization.

Learn More about the Director of Grantmaking Position