Issue #03 / 2021

We Decolonize & Indigenize Spaces by Being in Them

Organizing for Indigenous Liberation

Indigenous Youth marching in the Oceti Sakowin March for Our Children in Pierre, SD. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

Since the advent of settler-colonialism, we have fought arduously for our self-determination as Indigenous Peoples. We have fought to be seen, heard and included in spaces that were intended to erase us.

Yet despite the assimilative efforts of white supremacy to dictate who we should be, how we should look, speak and act — to “kill the Indian and save the man” — we as Indigenous Peoples know how to stand in our power, and we do so as a community. We do so by showing up, holding space, activating our voices and uplifting our youth as they activate and find their voices, too.

In this month’s newsletter, we highlight this reclamation of space, visibility and voice as an indicator from our collective efforts that we will continue to organize and show up in numbers. We will continue to stand in our power here at NDN Collective, honoring our past, embracing the present, and moving toward a vibrant future, because our People and Future Generations depend on us.

Keep reading for more updates from NDN, ways to take action, and opportunities to join the NDN Collective team.

NDN Collective Hosts March

Hundreds Gather in Pierre, SD in Opposition to SD’s Proposed Social Studies Standards

NDN Collective staff prepared banners for the march in Pierre on September 13th. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

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 Governor Noem and SD Department of Education’s newly proposed social studies standards, of which contribute to the perpetuated erasure of Indigenous history, experience, and perspective with several demands being made by those marching.

A fifth demand, calling for the resignation of Governor Noem, Tiffany Sanderson (SD Department of Education Secretary), David Flute (Secretary of Tribal Relations) and Fred Osborn (Director of Indian Education), was also presented during the event.

Read More About the March + Demands Here

NDN Collective Responds

Blatant Erasure of Indigenous People in SD Education Standards

NDN recently responded to the blatant erasure of Indigenous history from South Dakota’s newly proposed social studies standards, which includes over a dozen omitted references to the Oceti Sakowin — the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people who are Indigenous to South Dakota and surrounding states.  

“The elimination of some of the inquiry-based standards and continued focus on patriotism and ‘American’ values does not create the optimal conditions for critical thinking. It places young people in a position of absorbing information from textbooks based on one perspective and their own lived experiences, then having to figure out where the truth is. Our young people are more than capable of learning accurate historical and current information and forming their own opinions. By whitewashing the social studies curriculum, we deprive all of our children of the opportunity and continue down a path of destructive indoctrination.” – Amy Sazue, NDN Collective Education Equity Organizer.

Read the Full Press Release Here
Do you reside in South Dakota? Provide comment on the blatant erasure of the Oceti Sakowin Peoples
Provide Public Comment Here

NDN Collective’s 2nd Annual Backpack Giveaway Draws Hundreds

Students received backpacks, supplies and swag; pre-enrollment for Oceti Sakowin Community Academy

Amy Sazue, NDN Collective Education Equity Organizer, folding t-shirts that were given away during the backpack giveaway event. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

On Tuesday, September 7th, NDN Collective hosted our 2nd Annual Backpack Giveaway event at the Mother Butler Center in Rapid City, SD where parents and excited youth arrived to find backpacks filled with school supplies, tables lined with free stainless steel water bottles and NDN Collective t-shirts and sweatshirts, all in preparation for the onset of the school year.

“Giving away is how we connect; It’s how we honor each other,” said Amy Sazue, NDN Collective Education Equity Organizer. “The NDN Collective Education Equity Campaign is able to give back to our community and show them that we’re here for them.”

Several parents and guardians in attendance also took advantage of the opportunity to pre-enroll children entering kindergarten in the Fall of 2022 into the Oceti Sakowin Community Academy, the Indigenous-led school opening next year by NDN Collective in partnership with the NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN).

“It really becomes a type of medicine for our youth to be able to learn who they are and where they come from, and to hear their language.” said Mary Bowman, NISN Fellow.

Read More About the Event

On the NDN Blog

“RPCD’s ‘Wild West’ Behavior Needs to Stop”

Photo By Angel White Eyes for NDN Collective.

On the NDN Blog by Sunny Red Bear, Director of Racial Equity:

Daniel Yazzie, founding member of Creek Patrol, had his life tragically cut short last week, after he was subjected to systemic racism, the fundamental failure of the healthcare system to treat his needs, and complications resulting from COVID-19. 

We at NDN Collective honor Yazzie, who we stood alongside in October 2020 at the start of what would become Camp MniLuzahan. We send our condolences to his family, and will continue to support them in his memory.

This type of maltreatment of Native People on the streets of Rapid City, and inside of its institutions is directly connected to the racism and violence against Native Peoples that is part and parcel to the foundation of this country.

Read More Here

Books That Build Indigenous Power

What the NDN Ecosystem is Reading in Honor of National Read A Book Day

In honor of National Read A Book Day on September 6, our NDN Collective team compiled a list of the books that have helped to inspire and guide us all in building Indigenous Power. Each of these books have connected with us in ways that are reflective of the struggles that we as Indigenous Peoples have encountered within our history and at present. Stories that have helped us look at the bigger picture  as well as provide a means of grounding the parts of our spirits that have felt unsteady.

We encourage you to continue immersing yourself in books that build Indigenous power, uplifting the vast array of literature that exists by Indigenous authors which honors our communities, rich narratives and existence.

Read the Full List Here

Updates from the NDN Collective Ecosystem

1 of 7 billboards in Radical Imagination Artist Cara Romero’s “Tongvaland”” billboard series, located in Los Angeles, CA. This billboard is titled, “Mercedes at Kuruvungna.” Photo By Steph Viera for NDN Collective

From the NDN Foundation Team
Radical Imagination Artist Spotlight: Cara Romero

Cara Romero (b. 1977, Inglewood, CA) is a contemporary fine art photographer. An enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Romero was raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, CA and the urban sprawl of Houston, TX. Romero’s identity informs her photography, a blend of fine art and editorial photography, shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences from a Native American female perspective.

“The images in this collection of work, made in Los Angeles by both Tongva artists and myself and are a living dialogue between California Indians, urban Indian transplants, settlers, and diasporic peoples.

By utilizing public art and/or advertising space as a medium for installation, the imagery is accessible to all people. The imagery evokes the old American Indian Movement adage, “We are still here.”

View More of the “Tongvaland” Series Here
NDN Collective Staff Participates in “Art of Leadership” Training

At NDN Collective we’re grateful to advance a mission to build Indigenous power in numerous ways, while simultaneously working in the defense, development and decolonization of our people and the planet. In these pandemic and revolutionary times, we bring forth all of our strength, imagination, love and ancestral connections.
During the week of August 16th,18 NDN Collective staff and board members took a deeper dive into the journey of changemaking and leadership. The Art of Leadership, NDN style, is a curriculum and education series being refined as a permanent resource for the entire NDN ecosystem.

Chrissie Castro and Janene Yazzie facilitated the weeklong series, during which participants were offered an opportunity to explore their own capacities as leaders and changemakers, and consider how to be more effective in their community and in movements or projects that they care about. As we work to lead, inspire and support change in our communities, we can fortify our capacity to do so by living out our values and our culture and spirituality, cultivating a deep sense of purpose and clear vision that is dedicated to both community and self-care.

“Many of us have participated in various ‘leadership’ trainings in the past, but nothing has ever connected quite like this,” said Gaby Strong, Managing Director-NDN Foundation and Art of Leadership participant. “This was truly an amazing, transformational experience for me as an Indigenous woman.”

Participant feedback from staff, board and Changemaker Fellows will shape the final iteration of the Art of Leadership curriculum in 2022, after which it will be offered more broadly to other partners and allies across the NDN eco-system.

Community Self-Determination Grantee Spotlight

Pawnee Seed Preservation Society Harvests Ancestral Foods

Earlier this year the Pawnee Seed Preservation Society (PSPS) received an NDN Collective Community Self-Determination grant in support of their mission to replenish the ancestral seeds from pre-location times in the homeland of present-day Nebraska and Kansas.

The society is establishing a seed bank and revitalizing the strength and spiritual agricultural practices of the Pawnee community by bridging a culture of health through stewardship of traditional seed sources. They recently celebrated an Eagle Corn Harvest in Pleasant Dale, NB.

Seedkeeper, Deb Echo-Hawk, Kitkehaki, Pawnee nation, expressed her excitement about the harvest:

“Thank you NDN Collective, Heather Henson, Pawnee Nation College, AmeriCorps volunteers and Pawnee Volunteers …we will work together to harvest and prepare the Eagle Corn (roast and sun-dry) for future corn soup. I overheard one volunteer recruit saying how hard the work is, but when you taste that Eagle Corn Soup all that work is well worth it! Never has that taste been matched anywhere, aye.” 

Follow + Support the Pawnee Seed Preservation Society Here

NDN Action Network

From the LANDBACK Campaign:

The LANDBACK U website is live! Visit the website to access information on upcoming LANDBACK U modules and to access recordings and resources for previous modules. You can now access the recordings for the LANDBACK U Palestine Session 1 and Session 2.

If you want to learn more about how to navigate the LANDBACK U website, watch the walkthrough reel on Instagram.

Visit the LANDBACK U Website Here

From the Climate Justice Campaign:

This past month was stark when it comes to climate change.

The IPCC Climate Report was released on August 9th and confirmed that humanity is on “code red” and that the climate crisis is here to stay and worsen over the next 30 years. While this affirmation stirs up anxiety and uncertainty about our future on Earth, the Climate Report also gives us clear direction about what is needed to keep our climate and planet safe: large scale and immediate reductions in carbon emissions.

This means doubling down on ending fossil fuel extraction from the wetlands of Minnesota to the coastal tundra of the Arctic. It also means we have our marching orders on how to pressure our elected leaders: We need BOLD climate action now: which means ending fossil fuel subsidies and projects like LINE 3 and DAPL and investment in clean energy and jobs. Because the signs of the climate crisis are all around us. From wildfires in Northern California to Hurricane Ida that is devastating communities across Louisiana.

Read More On What the IPCC Climate Report Means for Indigenous Communities Here

Read More About NDN’s Climate Justice Campaign Here

Take Action

5 Ways to Support Justice and Equity for All People and the Planet

Supporting Communities Affected By Hurricane Ida

The destruction caused by Hurricane Ida has left numerous and already vulnerable communities in need of support. Below are several opportunities to donate and assist families and individuals in recovery efforts:

Another Gulf Is Possible will distribute goods and donations directly to Indigenous, Black, and brown frontline folks impacted by Hurricane Ida and groups who currently don’t have online donations capacity, as well as directly to individual families impacted by the storm.

Donate to Another Gulf’s Mutual Aid + Rapid Response Fund Here

Donations to Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy’s (GCCLP) Disaster Relief Fund go directly to frontline communities in the Gulf South impacted by climate disasters. Local leaders have committed to a transparent and accountable process for the money – which will allow communities to practice self-governance and self-determination.

Donate to the GCCLP Disaster Relief Fund Here

The Gulf South for a Green New Deal Community-Controlled Fund is a regenerative, community-controlled fund provides resources to foster power and promote togetherness in the region and exists to restore communities and to honor the legacy of strength and resistance in the Gulf South.

Donate to GS4GND Community-Controlled Fund Here

Support Afghan Womxn, Girls, Artists and Artisans

The Kindle Project Afghanistan Fund will provide support to organizations working with artists, artisans, women, and girls who are at risk inside Afghanistan or have managed to relocate outside of the country.

Donate To the Kindle Project Afghanistan Fund Here

Unearthing Evaluation Roots

Narratives have power. They shape what we believe reality to be, how we see the world, and what we think is important. When a dominant narrative oppresses, alternative, counter narratives can liberate. 

The first edition of ‘Evaluation Roots: Tracing Theorists’ Views and Influences,’ edited by Marv Alkin in 2004, solidifies a narrative about how the field of evaluation unfolded, who it is for, and what its purpose is. Its categorization of evaluation continues to exclude and marginalize evaluators of color, indigenous evaluators, and evaluators using evaluation for racial, gender, and economic justice

Join the Call for Equity and inclusivity in the Evaluation Realm

NDN is Hiring!

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 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 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 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 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 and Apply Here