Culture

15 Indigenous Organizations You Can Give Back to for Thanksgiving

November is rightfully Native American Heritage Month, a.k.a. Native American Indian Heritage Month. Instead of buying into the lie that is the “Thanksgiving story,” we invite you to take this month to learn more about Native Americans, their history and culture, and of course, to give back.

A perfect opportunity to do this is on Giving Tuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (which falls on December 3 this year), but any day is wonderful to support our Indigenous brothers and sisters. To assist you in finding a great and worthy cause to donate to, we put together a list of 15 organizations that are making a difference in the lives of American Indian people, their communities, and the world at large.

MMIW USA

MMIW USA, also known as Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women USA, is an organization whose “number one mission is to bring our missing home and help the families of the murdered cope and support them through the process of grief.” This is through “hands-on support and guidance,” education, and self-defense classes to help prevent further violence towards women.

You can donate here

Native American Rights Fund

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Make a Difference Monday: (a little late) today we look at the Native American Rights Fund. This organization is dedicated to preserving and supporting the rights of Native Americans everywhere. They fight legal battles to protect land and water rights. They help train and educate future native leaders. Working in concert with local and federal agencies they help protect the environment and foster healthy relationships between native and non-native populations. There are many ways to give back to the NARF, but the most important way is to educate yourself. Be aware of the struggles and hardships the NARF fights to right. Understand the legacy and history of native people in this country. If, possible donate your time or money to help continue the fight. Check them out for yourself at https://www.narf.org/ #narf #nativeamericanrightsfund #makeadifferencemonday #getinvolved #nativeamerican #native #humanrights #nativerights #donate

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The Native American Rights Fund, which has its headquarters in Boulder Colorado, and offices in Anchorage, Alaska, and Washington, D.C., provides legal assistance to “Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals.” Thanks to their work, “significant results” have been achieved in “tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education.”

You can donate here

Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA)

For over 25 years, Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA) has been assisting Indigenous communities —hundreds of tribal communities, and 250,000 native people each year — to be exact. Their two-part approach tackles both immediate relief and long-term gain, so that communities can fully thrive. This includes education, food and water, holiday services, animal welfare, community building, and more.

You can donate here

American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL)

If you would like to help support the business dreams of the American Indian community, then donating to the American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) would be a good idea. They are “the only American Indigenous non-profit organization solely dedicated to empowering business students in the United States.”

You can donate here

American Indian College Fund

Education is so important and it’s imperative that it is easily available to everyone. For three decades, the American Indian College Fund “has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native student access to higher education,” through programs, scholarships, support, and tools.

You can donate here

Vision Maker Media

It is so important that Indigenous narratives be told. Vision Maker Media “empowers and engages Native People to share stories.” This is done by teaming up with producers to “develop, produce and distribute educational telecommunications programs for all media including public television and public radio.”

You can donate here

Women Empowering Women for Indigenous Nations (WEWIN)

Photo: WEWIN/Facebook

Women Empowering Women for Indigenous Nations (WEWIN) is an organization that provides support for American Indian ladies by educating them about Native history, rights, current issues, and promoting “honest dignified tribal leadership who reflect pride for those we represent.”

You can sponsor the 2020 WEWIN Conference here

Native Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA)

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Two Native students Nia & Larae at a Portland High School have been working for years to change dance team name, the Sundancers, a name left over from when the school changed its mascot from Indians in 1988. And the name change is coming!! To commemorate the commitment for change and to fill the gap in education on Indigenous peoples, Nia & Larae along with the school’s CARE (Cleveland Alliance for Racial Equity) student leadership class organized an all school assembly, titled RISE (Reclaiming Indigenous Identity through Solidarity & Education). NYLA leaders met Nia & Larae 3 years ago at one of our youth gatherings and have been in their circle of support ever since. It has been an honor to support these two fierce and powerful leaders. They spoke up as the only 2 Native students at their school willing to educate school staff, administrators & peers on the detriment of Native mascots & cultural appropriation. They volunteered countless hours so that future Native students won’t have to feel the negative impacts of institutional racism within their high school. Thank you for your leadership, Nia & Larae. We are so proud of you! #NativeYouLeadingNow #InspiredNativeYouth #NativeStudentSuccess #ChangeTheName #NotYourMascot #DearNativeYouth #YouArePowerful ✊🏽 In 1st photo are Larae, life long educator Patsy Whitefoot, Nia and their circle of supporters. Photo courtesy of Portland Public Schools. See more photos from RISE assembly here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157678048980367/with/46843492455/

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NYLA, the Native Youth Leadership Alliance, aims to “spark culturally based community change” through investing in Native American leaders. Their leadership society program lasts one year, and holistically offers life and leadership support, access to mentors, scholarship support, and more.

You can donate here

Indigenous Environmental Network

Native cultures see the Earth as sacred and treat it as such. The Indigenous Environmental Network is an alliance that aims to protect it through addressing “environmental and economic justice issues.” If you want to help them help save the planet, a donation would assist in the effort.

You can donate here

Native Hope

Hope is one of the most important things we can have. Native Hope brings it through healing storytelling — in fact, their mission is to share 10,000 Indigenous stories that will inspire others. In addition, the organization provides a fellowship program, and a has a Leaders’ Society.

You can donate here

National Indigenous Women’s Rights Resource Center (NIWRC)

Another organization that directly supports women (as well as children) is the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC). Its mission is “to support and uphold grassroots advocacy by creating and enhancing the capacity of Native communities to end gender-based violence through technical assistance, education, public awareness and policy development.”

You can donate here

National Indian Council on Aging

The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) honors Native seniors with their mission: “to advocate for improved comprehensive health, social services, and economic wellbeing for American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.” You can assist in this important effort with a thoughtful donation.

You can donate here

Native Wellness Institute

Prayer, song, ceremony, language, and courage. Native Wellness uses these ancestral gifts to provide well-being to the community. The organization’s main objectives focus on the following five areas:

“- Healthy Relationships and Parenting
– Youth Leadership and Development
– Workplace Wellness / Staff Development
– Strategic Planning, Program Development and Curriculum Development
– Educational Wellness Conferences, Retreats and Training”

You can donate here

Seeding Sovereignty

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A word.

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Seeding Sovereignty is “an Indigenous womxn-led collective” that smashes colonialism and in turn offers Indigenous alternatives. This is done through a political engagement program entitled SHIFT (Seeing the Hill with Indigenous Free-Thinkers), an Indigenous column at Bustle, the sharing of important petitions, events, and more.

You can donate here

Native Arts & Cultures Foundation

The final organization in this roundup that we recommend donating to is the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation. Art is such an identifier and unifier of culture and healing to both the community at large and each individual with it. This foundation helps foster art through fellowship programs, the Community Inspiration Program, Advocacy and Education Initiatives, and more.

You can donate here

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