Issue #06 / 2019

Aligning with Our Power During Climate Crisis

An Indigenous youth raises his fist on the lawn of the North Dakota Capitol during the resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline. September 2016. Photo by Sarah Sunshine Manning.

While the world engages in important conversations around the climate crisis, Indigenous people are faced with especially unique experiences, challenges and opportunities. As the result of centuries of colonialism and disenfranchisement, Indigenous lands and life ways have already been deeply impacted by environmental degradation. With the growing climate crisis, Indigenous cultures, which are inextricably connected to the land, are now being threatened in unprecedented ways. 

During this critical time, our values and inherent responsibilities call upon us to take action.

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NDN Collective Position Paper

Mobilizing an Indigenous Green New Deal

Water protectors stand arm-in-arm in ND Highway 1806 during the resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline. Photo by Josue Rivas. 

It is time to build active, linked strategy and action to catalyze a systemic Just Transition from extractive economies and industries that commodify lands, peoples, and the climate to economies and industries that support the continuous regeneration of life. This Just Transition must both emerge from and benefit the front-line communities who have borne the heavy price of historical and contemporary extractive economies, policies, and industry.

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VIDEO: The Green New Deal Must Center Indigenous People

SD Riot Boosting Act Blocked in Preliminary Injunction

Dozens of Indigenous people walk in the Protect the Protectors march in downtown Rapid City leading up to the hearing on the unconstitutional “riot boosting” act. June 12, 2019. Photo Courtesy of Indigene Studios.

On September 19, a federal court blocked unconstitutional provisions of the South Dakota “Riot Boosting” act, a law clearly intended to suppress and criminalize protests of the Keystone XL pipeline.   

In granting plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol wrote: “Imagine that if these riot boosting statutes were applied to the protests that took place in Birmingham, Alabama, what might be the result? . . . Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference could have been liable under an identical riot boosting law[.]”

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Subscribe to the NDN Collective Podcast, While Indigenous

While Indigenous is an NDN Collective solutions podcast hosted by Sarah Sunshine Manning, exploring topics impacting Indigenous lands and communities and from a decolonial Indigenous lens.  Guests on the podcast discuss, analyze and unpack many of our everyday experiences in order to create a more just and sustainable world for all people and the planet.

While Indigenous is available on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

Recent Events Attended by NDN Collective Staff 

NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen speaks on a panel with Judith Leblanc of Native Organizers Alliance, and Mark Trahant of Indian Country Today at the Native Americans in Philanthropy Summit. September 2019. Photo Courtesy of Native Americans in Philanthropy.

Native Americans in Philanthropy Summit – Chicago, IL

NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen, Director of Advancement Michael Johnson, and Advancement Coordinator Billie White attended the Native Americans in Philanthropy 30th Anniversary Summit and Celebration in Chicago. NDN Collective board members Edgar Villanueva, Crystal Echo Hawk and Judith LeBlanc were also in attendance, along with Indigenous friends and allies who have dedicated their lives to creating change for our Indigenous communities.

“The event was a great celebration of Indigeneity, power and how far we have come over the last 30 years,” said Michael Johnson, NDN Collective Director of Advancement. “But it was also a daunting reminder of how much work lies before us and the next generations of Indigenous advocates to achieve parity, equity and justice for all people and the planet.”

NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen and NDN Board President Judith Leblanc presented on the Resistance and Resilience panel, and NDN Collective friend and partner Andre Perez of the Hawai’i Unity and Liberation Institute (HULI) gave an update on the effort to stop the Thirty Meter Telescope from breaking ground on Mauna Kea.  

“We here at NDN are honored and energized by the amazing work of Indigenous people across the country,” said Johnson. “We are proud to be part of a movement dedicated to stewarding, growing and sustaining Indigenous power.”

Our Village Flash Talks and Reception- New York, New York 

During the UN Climate Week, NDN Collective’s Creative Director Jade Begay spoke at the Ford Foundation for the Our Village Flash Talks and Reception event, hosted and organized by the Hip Hop Caucus and If Not Us Then Who

Jade joined nine Indigenous leaders, frontline activists, and organizers within philanthropy on stage to lift up community-based solutions that respond to the climate crisis. Each speaker spoke to one of five demands presented by Our Village. These demands are meant to ensure that Indigenous and frontline communities have agency and sovereignty in determining how they respond, adapt, and protect their communities from climate change.

The five demands include: 

I. Ending Violence and Criminalization
II. Ownership and Recognition
III. Consent and Community driven decision making
IV. Respect Ancestral Knowledge and Cultural Leadership
V. Direct Funding and Finance

In alignment with NDN Collective’s mission and vision, Jade spoke to the 5th demand, Direct Funding and Finance. Here is an excerpt from her spark talk: 

“NDN Collective is dedicated to building Indigenous power through systemic change in philanthropy and investment. The truth of the matter is that .3% of philanthropy goes to Indigenous Communities in North America…Now is the time to change the game in philanthropy and bring funds directly to the front lines. Because we know that the people closest to the problem, closest to the pain, have the best knowledge, context, and solutions for their own communities.”

Learn more about the event and the 5 demands here:

NDN Changemaker Fellowship: Application Process Update

From Dr. PennElys Droz, Director of the NDN Fellowship:

The Changemaker Fellowship team has been busy working with our applicants and Regional Selection Boards across the Nations in these last weeks before the end of the first selection period.  We have had hundreds of applications from a broad diversity of Indigenous changemakers, and our boards have been working to build a consensus to advance the top four candidates from each region.  It has been a challenge; There are so many people doing profound and impacting work for our communities and Nations!  

After October 5, notifications will go out to the finalists, inviting their full applications. 

It has been an inspiring journey to learn about each one of the people applying.  We have applicants who are launching new equitable and sustainable businesses, renewing and re-emerging traditional hunting, farming, and harvesting techniques, developing apps and software to advance Indigenous languages, histories, and legal understandings, and opening schools to raise strong and powerful Indigenous young people.  We have applicants who are building sustainable homes and water systems, bringing back ancestral seeds, working to combat substance abuse and community violence in unique and groundbreaking ways, and bringing midwifery back to their communities.  

We are so honored and excited to be able to move this work forward and support these remarkable people.  

For more information about the NDN Changemaker Fellowship, visit the Changemaker Fellowship page on the NDN Collective website.

NDN Staff Gathering, and Shout-Out to New Native Theater!

The New Native Theater performs “Rez Sisters.” Photo Courtesy of New Native Theater. 

NDN Collective staff members came together in Minneapolis, Minnesota for our quarterly staff gathering which was facilitated by special guest Rhiana Yazzie of New Native Theater.  Yazzie expertly guided NDN Collective through a day-long series of improv and team-building exercises, with the first day of the staff gathering culminating in a performance by members of the New Native Theater in the iconic play, “Rez Sisters.”

The NDN Collective expresses our most sincere gratitude to Rhiana and New Native Theater for an incredibly memorable time, deepened relationships and new skills to carry us into the future.

NDN Collective is Hiring!

Director of Grantmaking
Reporting to and in partnership with the President & CEO, the Director of Grantmaking will oversee grant programs and participate actively in shaping and refining NDN Collective’s holistic changemaking strategy. The Director of Grantmaking will also be an organizational thought leader on all philanthropic issues and develop grantmaking tools and processes that will be deployed across the organization.

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Communications Associate
The Communications Associate is a member of the NDN Collective team, working with staff to implement our strategic communications goals and monitor progress towards these goals. The successful candidate will support all of NDN Collective’s communication tools from print media to the web, and from to our podcast to our blog.

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Director of Evaluation
Reporting to and in partnership with the President & CEO, the Director of Evaluation is responsible for NDN Collective’s monitoring, evaluation, and research components. The Director of Evaluation will contribute to NDN Collective’s information management by advising on the planning, design, and strengthening of program evaluation systems throughout the organization.

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Director of Finance
The Director of Finance contributes to NDN Collective’s overall success of the organization by effectively managing all financial activities for the organization. In addition, the position provides support to directors in the implementation and presentation of information vital to making data-based decisions for the organization.

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Finance Technician
The Finance Technician performs a variety of technical, and administrative financial support duties in the financial activities of the organization.

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