Issue #04 / 2021

Indigenous People Are the Future

Honoring the Past, Present and Future of Indigenous Power

Another Year, Another Season of Indigenous Movement Building

With Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the forefront of this season, NDN Collective honors our history of resistance, movement building, and the strength and vibrancy of who we are as Indigenous Peoples. Three years ago, we were also just launching as an organization, making our public debut on Indigenous Peoples’ Day of 2018. We are honored that each of you have joined us in this work to build Indigenous Power since then.

In this month’s newsletter, we announce the debut of NDN Collective’s FIRST book, we share updates from the ecosystem, new opportunities to join the NDN Collective team, and as always, we provide ways for our community to take action. We also honor the life of Lakota Matriarch, Marie Randall Brushbreaker– a fierce yet gentle Unci (Grandmother) and Land Defender whose recent passing reminds us all to continue the work of defending and protecting from that deep place of love for the Land and All Our relations.

In this season of transition, we also encourage all of our relatives, friends and allies to carve out space for self and community care. Whether that looks like a quiet time to reflect, direct action, ceremony, time with family, being with the land, creating art, visiting with Elders or sitting with the Youth, we know and understand that our power as Indigenous Peoples is found with each other.

Unapologetically Indigenous

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day and 3 Years Since NDN’s Official Launch

‘While Indigenous’ on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD), the NDN Collective Communications and Narrative team produced the first ‘While Indigenous’ livestream from the NDN studio in Rapid City, South Dakota. Sarah Sunshine Manning (Director of Communications) and Brandy Calabaza (Communications Associate) co-hosted a conversation about IPD and the unique and complex experiences of being Indigenous. Lorenzo Serna (Director of Tactical Media) hosted another segment of the show, taking viewers outside of NDN headquarters to visit with artist Votan of NSRGNTS, who showcased the ‘Defend’ mural which is currently in progress.

Willi White (Head of Content and Production), Lorenzo Serna (Director of Tactical Media) and Jordan Brien (Creative Director) co-produced the show and also contributed to the conversation while working behind the scenes.

As part of NDN’s celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we also produced content to pay respects to the Movement and our shared legacy of building Indigenous Power. This included an Indigenous Peoples’ Day video and IPD graphics that can be used year-round as desktop screensavers, or wallpapers for smartphones.

As an ecosystem devoted to building Indigenous power, we also recognize that while Indigenous Peoples’ Day is emblematic of the ongoing work of Indigenous movement building and deserves to be celebrated, we also deeply understand that symbolic days and name changes can not only take us so far. The real work continues every day of the year– in our Communities, with our Nations, and with our Relatives and Loved Ones. This is the very work that also continues to nourish us as a collective as we co-create solutions that are just and equitable for all people and the planet.

Honoring the Life of Marie Randall Brush Breaker

Lakota Matriarch and Land Defender

“This is Our Land. This is Our Nation.” – Marie Randall Brushbreaker

There are certain people who come into our lives and forever shape the way we move through the world. One of those people for the NDN Collective and many Land Defenders among the Oceti Sakowin was Lakota Matriarch Marie Randall Brushbreaker, known by her Lakota Name, Oyate Akitapi Win (Nation Woman). Marie was also known to many as ‘Unci’ (Grandmother). She passed away on September 18 at 101 years old.

NDN Collective offers our condolences to her family and loved ones.

“What I learned from Grandma Marie is that Wolakota [living a Lakota way of life] is an action, ” said Andrew Catt-Iron Shell, NDN Collective Organizer. “She lived what she taught– be kind to others and ourselves, as that gives us the courage and power to build a Lakota community that uplifts all. Living Wolakota is an act of love.”

Read NDN Collective’s Statement of Condolence Here

Wearing Orange To Heal, To Remember, and Build Collective Power

NDN Collective on Orange Shirt Day

Parents, Children, and Allies marching in the Oceti Sakowin March for Our Children in Pierre, SD. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

From the NDN Blog:

On Orange Shirt Day, we honor all of the children who suffered unimaginable pain and devastation in boarding and residential school systems. At NDN Collective, we remember them today and every day, and we lift up their spirits– survivors who are still with us, and the countless loved ones and children in the spirit world who never made it home.

“Today for Orange Shirt Day, we honor the abinoojiiyag (children) who were taken from us too soon,” says Korina Barry (Anishinaabe), NDN Collective Managing Director of NDN Action. “Our people are still healing from the trauma of the boarding school era and the violence that was inflicted on our children and families. White Supremacy is the foundation, the core of the United States educational system– a system that is still working to assimilate and indoctrinate our children to this day.”

Read More Here: ‘Wearing Orange to Heal, To Remember, and Build Collective Power’

NDN Climate Justice Campaign Team Debuts NDN Collective’s First Book

 ‘Required Reading: Climate Justice, Adaptation + Investing in Indigenous Power’

Official Book Launch on Lenape Lands

During New York Climate Week, the NDN Collective Climate Justice Campaign Team launched Required Reading: Climate Justice Adaptation and Investing in Indigenous Power, a practical guide for seasoned politicians and grassroots advocates alike to establish equitable and meaningful solutions to the climate catastrophe. The official book launch took place in NYC on Lenape Lands during a launch event and panel hosted by the Climate Justice team.

The panel, Liberatory Solutions to the Climate Crisis, was moderated by Climate Justice Organizer Kailea Frederick, featuring Nicole Carty of the Project Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations, Céline Semaan of The Slow Factory and our Climate Justice Campaign Director, Jade Begay.

“Now more than ever, we need bold action around climate change — Indigenous people both hold the knowledge necessary to save our planet, and are unafraid of rejecting the status quo,” said Jade Begay, Director of Climate Justice for NDN Collective. “We need leaders — from those running climate organizations, to government officials, and more — to heed our words and implement our solutions before it’s too late.”

Learn More and Purchase the Book Here

A Pathway Forward

NDN Collective on the Restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante

On October 8, President Biden signed proclamations fully restoring two monuments of cultural and spiritual significance to Southwestern Tribal Nations. The monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, cover more than 2 million acres of land where the Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Navajo Nation, and Ute Indian Tribe have historic and current cultural and spiritual connections. 

“The news that the Biden Administration is expanding Shash Jaa’ (Bears Ears) National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante is a bittersweet one. First, there is thanks to be given to the Indigenous women,youth, LGBTQ2+ relatives, and tribal coalitions who have been the backbone for the advocacy, protection, and resistance efforts. Secondly, it is good to hear that some of the damage done by the Trump administration to shrink the National Monument is being undone.

However, it is important to remember that the ultimate goal is not for Shash Jaa’ to be a National Monument, no matter how big or small the area is. The goal is for this sacred site to many different peoples, including my own, to be returned and managed by us — the people who have cultural and ancestral ties to this land. Public land is stolen land, and LANDBACK will always be at the forefront of our demands until our human and non-human relatives can live dignified lives.” –Demetrius Johnson, Diné, LANDBACK Organizer, NDN Collective.

Read More from the NDN Collective on the Restoration of Bears Ears Here

More from the NDN Collective Ecosystem

Members and Allies Outside the State Capitol Building for the Oceti Sakowin March For Our Children, Photo By: Willi White for NDN Collective

From the Education Equity Campaign:

NDN Collective and the Education Equity team were honored to host our Second Annual Backpack Giveaway and partner with local Indigenous organizations to offer vaccinations, testing, and gift cards for the youth people in Rapid City on September 7, 2021. In addition to school supplies we gave away NDN Collective hoodies, shirts, and to-go meals for everyone who came though. Hundreds of children and families showed up and we were out of supplies in roughly an hour. It was an amazing experience and we are grateful for the opportunity to give back to the Mni Luzahan (Rapid City) community in this way.

On Monday, September 13, NDN Collective’s Education Equity team, in partnership with the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition led the Oceti Sakowin March for Our Children, an action in opposition of SD Department of Education’s newly proposed social studies standards, of which contribute to the perpetuated erasure of Indigenous history, experience, and perspective in Pierre, SD. Hundreds of supporters and advocates, including youth from across the state, joined us to march on the streets of Pierre, despite adverse weather conditions and a steady downpour of rain. Governor Noem has since delayed the Social Studies standards revision process and the SDEEC and the NDN Collective Education Equity team continue to organize opposition to the proposed Social Studies standards and monitor the process as it unfolds this next year.

From the LANDBACK Campaign:

The LANDBACK team welcomed their first fellow, Jillian Topsky (Nehiyahw Iskwew). Jillian will be supporting the LANDBACK team with various projects and research.

LANDBACK also facilitated the 3rd session of the LANDBACK U: Hawaiian Kingdom Module – LANDBACK: E Ho’i I ka’āina (Return to the Land). This session included a panel of all wahine (women) discussing their grassroots experiences from the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Nadya Tannous, LANDBACK Organizer, moderated an event on September 29th with the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network called “Rematriating the Land: Indigenous Sovereignty and the LANDBACK Movement”. Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, was also a panelist along with Corrina Gould. We closed out Day 5 of the conference with a very large and engaged audience online. Watch the panel discussion here.

Nadya Tannous, LANDBACK Organizer, was also part of the Dissenters Dis-Orientation 2021 , focusing on skill sharing and organizing for No More War. The panel was called: Abolition Means No War: The New Generation of Anti-Imperialists.

Learn More About NDNs LANDBACK Campaign Here

Take Action

Provide Public Comment For Proposed SD Social Studies Standards

Students Participating in the Oceti Sakowin March for Our Children, Photo By: Willi White for NDN Collective

Since NDN Collective’s Education Equity team, in partnership with the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition (SDEEC), hosted the Oceti Sakowin March for Our Children in opposition of SD Department of Education’s newly proposed social studies standards which erase over a dozen different references to Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people Indigenous to the South Dakota, Governor Noem has delayed the Social Studies standards revision process. The SDEEC and the NDN Collective Education Equity team continue to organize opposition to the proposed Social Studies standards and monitor the process as it unfolds this next year. 
As we move forward, there is still opportunity to oppose South Dakota’s proposed social studies standards by providing public comment.  Below are a set of talking points that you can include and/or consider when leaving your public comment: 

▪️ Meaningful and maximum consultation with Oceti Sakowin tribes was not conducted prior to the release of the proposed social studies standards.
▪️Perpetuates the active erasure of the Indigenous narrative/perspective of our state’s history.
▪️Is not inclusive of the Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings– a state-recognized set of standards designed to be inclusive of the land, culture, language, and history of the Oceti Sakowin of South Dakota.
▪️Classrooms should be safe, diverse, inclusive, accepting, non-partisan environments for students to develop their critical-thinking skills in order to discover their unique role and purpose.
▪️Politics should not play a role in education and this an attempt at political indoctrination.

 Provide Public Comment Here

NDN Collective is Hiring!

Join our Team of Indigenous Movement Builders

Media and Public Relations Officer

The Media & Public Relations Officer acts as the primacy 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 and Public Relations Officer Position and Apply Here

Graphic Designer

The Graphic Designer creates digital and print materials for the NDN Collective ecosystem following NDN Collective brand guidelines.

Learn More about the Graphic Designer Position and Apply Here

Research and Evaluation Manager

The Research and Evaluation Manager will contribute to NDN Collective’s overall success by supporting research and evaluation efforts to understand and continuously evolve how the NDN Collective ecosystem of organizations drives social change.

Learn More about the Research and Evaluation Manager Position and Apply Here

Chief Financial Officer

The Chief Financial Officer contributes to NDN Collective’s overall success of the organization by effectively managing all financial activities for the organization and as a member of the Leadership Team.

Learn More about the Chief Financial Officer Position and Apply Here

Program Associate, NDN Partners

The Program Associate provides administrative and programmatic support to the NDN Partners Managing Director in planning, developing business strategies, building client relationships and identifying new business opportunities as part of the NDN Eco-system, internally and externally.

Learn More about the Program Associate Position and Apply Here

Website Content Manager

The Website Content Manager leads the content coordination, development, and maintenance of the NDN Collective website and related websites.

Learn More about the Website Content Manager Position and Apply Here

Reporting to the Director of Finance, the Controller contributes to NDN Collective’s overall success by effectively overseeing the day-to-day financial activities for the NDN Ecosystem including accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll.

Learn More about the Controller Position and Apply Here
Director of Policy and Advocacy

The Director of Policy and Advocacy will 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 and Apply Here