Northern California Funder Tour: #GenIndigenous in action

Northern California Funder Tour: #GenIndigenous in action

Last month, Native Americans in Philanthropy in partnership with The California Endowment (TCE) showed Generation Indigenous (#GenIndigenous) in action in the northwestern California region of Del Norte County. The educational funder tour, spearheaded by Geneva Wiki, Program Manager for TCE, showcased TCE’s Del Norte County and adjacent tribal lands (DNATL) Building Healthy Communities initiative and local tribal efforts towards sustaining healthy communities. The DNATL collaborates with residents, community organizations, and service providers working together to make DNATL the model of a healthy rural community.

The funder group was first welcomed onto tribal lands by the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Chairman at the opening dinner in Smith River. As a mix of both national and local funders, the group was given an introduction to the tribe, its history, and tribal programs before CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy, Sarah Eagle Heart, and Geneva provided important context for the tour programming.

Del Norte Equity Days
As part of our visit to Del Norte County, Native Americans in Philanthropy was invited to present workshop sessions for Del Norte Equity Days hosted by the Crescent Elk Middle School. The first workshop presented was led by our CEO alongside Morning Star Gali, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Pit River Tribe, on “Indian Boarding Schools and Missions”. The workshop provided powerful historical information on Indian Boarding Schools and their legacy of inflicting intergenerational trauma on our communities. Dr. Michael Yellowbird, a key researcher for Native Americans in Philanthropy’s Indigenous Lifecourse Framework report, presented on “Decolonizing the Mind: Mindfulness in Indian Country”.

Field Excursion: Yurok Country
We were honored to be invited onto Yurok tribal lands with a field excursion to the Yurok Country Visitor Center and tribal chambers, welcomed by several members of the tribal council and Chief Judge Abby Abinanti. Tribal administration representatives told a story of “Fire and Water”, highlighting the importance of traditional burning of the land to allow new growth and native plants to flourish, and the Klamath River as the lifesource of the tribe. A boat ride on the river gave insight on past and current struggles between the tribe and federal government over rights, restrictions, and the river’s health. The boat ride ended with a stop to a Yurok ceremonial site along the river bank, taking time to appreciate the spirit and significance of the river and surrounding area.

#GenIndigenous Community Dinner
The day ended with a #GenIndigenous Community Dinner at the Elk Valley Rancheria hosted by Native Americans in Philanthropy, The California Endowment with Wild Rivers Community Foundation, The Humboldt Area Foundation, and Del Norte Unified School District.

Geneva and Sarah started off the dinner with presentations on the current work of Native Americans in Philanthropy and TCE and uplifting youth work that has been done under #GenIndigenous. Guests were treated to presentation on our Indigenous Lifecourse Framework by Dr. Michael Yellowbird and community presentations by True North Organizing on education equity; Community Food Council on food sovereignty & Indigenous food forests; Opportunity Youth Initiative; Native Cultures Fund; Warrior Institute; and Redwood Voices Youth Media.

Youth Activation
For the last field excursion, the group traveled to College of the Redwoods in Eureka for an introduction to the various youth groups that are organizing under #GenIndigenous to improve the lives of Native youth and cultivate the next generation of Native leaders.

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