As outdoor enthusiasts, we often find solace, inspiration, and connection to nature in our adventures. However, it's essential to recognize and honor the Indigenous communities who have been the stewards of these lands for centuries. By supporting Indigenous initiatives and organizations, we can help rectify historical injustices and preserve the natural world for future generations.
Contributing financially to Indigenous funds is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s obviously so much more we should be doing. However, if you have the resources to share, here are six remarkable Indigenous funds that deserve your support. Please let me know if there are any other great funds I can add to this list, it can be updated any time.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I am a white woman with zero ties to the Indigenous communities here in America. Everything I share here is tainted with the inherent bias and world view that comes from not being in this community. If there are Indigenous people in the world who say anything contrary to what’s in this post, LISTEN TO THEM, not me. I’m just sharing info I’ve found online. I am not the authority on any of this and can never speak for this community. Please listen to what Indigenous folks say. And whenever possible, try to support funds and organizations that are Indigenous-led.
7 Indigenous funds to support
Native American Aid (NAA)
Native American Aid (NAA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Indigenous people through various programs and initiatives. They focus on providing assistance in areas such as education, healthcare, housing, and economic development. NAA's work is vital because it helps address the systemic challenges that many Indigenous communities face, empowering them to build brighter futures for themselves and their descendants.
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center
The National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (NIWRC) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending violence against Indigenous women and children. NIWRC provides training, resources, and support to tribal communities and advocates for policies that protect Indigenous women's rights. Supporting NIWRC is essential because it contributes to the safety and well-being of Indigenous women and families, helping to create healthier, thriving communities.
Native Indian College Education Fund
The Native Indian College Education Fund (NICEF) is committed to increasing access to higher education for Indigenous students. They offer scholarships, mentorship programs, and financial assistance to help Indigenous youth pursue their academic dreams. By supporting NICEF, you're investing in the education of the next generation of Indigenous leaders and ensuring their voices are heard in shaping the future.
Potlatch Fund is an Indigenous-led organization that focuses on strengthening the cultural and economic resilience of Native American communities in the Pacific Northwest. They support a wide range of initiatives, including language revitalization, arts and culture preservation, and economic development. Potlatch Fund's work is important because it helps Indigenous communities maintain their cultural heritage and thrive in the modern world.
Native American Rights Fund
The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is a legal organization dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples. They provide legal representation in cases related to land rights, tribal sovereignty, and civil rights. Supporting NARF is crucial because it helps Indigenous communities protect their legal rights and maintain control over their lands and resources.
Native American Rehabilitation Association Northwest
Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA) Northwest is a nonprofit organization that provides culturally responsive healthcare, housing, and addiction recovery services to Indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. Their holistic approach recognizes the importance of addressing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Supporting NARA Northwest is essential because it helps Indigenous individuals and families overcome health challenges and build healthier, more sustainable lives.
Na'ah Illahee Fund
The Na'ah Illahee Fund is an Indigenous women-led organization that serves as a bridge builder, facilitator, and resource partner as we work to catalyze a movement toward positive futures. Through grantmaking, capacity-building, community-based intergenerational programming, and movement-building, we seek transformative change by supporting culturally grounded leadership and organizing. We are committed to remembering and revitalizing traditional values and practices rooted in Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
Why should outdoor enthusiasts support Indigenous funds?
As outdoor enthusiasts, we often explore and enjoy natural landscapes. By supporting Indigenous funds, we recognize and respect the ancestral lands on which we adventure and show gratitude for the Indigenous peoples who have protected and cared for these places for generations. By supporting with our wallets, we're going beyond performative activism and empty land recognition statements.
Indigenous communities have rich cultural traditions deeply intertwined with the natural world. Supporting these funds helps preserve and revitalize these traditions, ensuring that unique Indigenous perspectives and knowledge continue to enrich our outdoor experiences.
Many Indigenous communities have faced historical injustices, including land dispossession and discrimination. Supporting these funds helps rectify past wrongs and contribute to a more equitable future.
By supporting Indigenous organizations, we amplify Indigenous voices in the conservation and outdoor recreation communities, ensuring that their perspectives and concerns are taken into account when making decisions about the environment and public lands.
This blog post is not intended to be an exhaustive resource for people to learn how to give back to and support the Indigenous community. There are so many things to be said here. The goal here is just to shed light on some amazing funds in case you have the resources to help contribute financially.
As outdoor enthusiasts, we have a responsibility to support Indigenous communities and the organizations that champion their rights and well-being. These amazing funds play a vital role in addressing historical injustices, preserving cultural heritage, and empowering Indigenous voices. By contributing to their work, we can build a more equitable and sustainable future.