Native Americans in Philanthropy: Statement on Charlottesville

Native Americans in Philanthropy: Statement on Charlottesville

Charlottesville and the importance of accurate historical education

Charlottesville has once again sparked a national conversation on racism. Native Americans in Philanthropy condemns the terrorism and hate displayed last weekend as we stand in solidarity with those opposing the aggression of white supremacy and white nationalism. The environment that fostered the violence and racism on Saturday is the direct result of a lack of acknowledgment that we are a country founded on genocide.

The state of Virginia has a long history of racially charged friction that goes back to colonialism. The first settlers to land on it’s shores, though dependent on the local Indigenous communities for food and survival, committed atrocities against our ancestors that has been long overlooked in history and the American education system. The Doctrine of Discovery in the 15th century gave Christian explorers the right to claim lands they “discovered”. Indigenous inhabitants, if not converted to Christianity, were enslaved or killed. The effects the Doctrine of Discovery and its stance on Indigenous peoples have been felt for generations with slavery, assimilation, massacres, and the forced removal of Native Americans. Virginia was also the birthplace of the romanticization of Native American history with the story of Pocahontas (known as Matoaka to her people), which has been inaccurately told throughout the years.

Recently, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline elevated attention to issues that Native American communities have been dealing with for over 500 years. But the outrage that was sparked at the sight of Native and non-Native men, women, and children being sprayed by water cannons in frigid weather was not enough to stop the pipeline from being approved two days into Trump’s presidency and we have witnessed the increase of hate crimes against our communities over the past year.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Heather Heyer, her family, and the 19 that were injured during the attack and recognize that this is not an isolated incident. We cannot continue to go backwards. Native Americans in Philanthropy stands with those continuously making efforts in bringing light to injustices like these. We stand with our CHANGE Philanthropy partners for being good advocates and bringing positive impacts into our communities, and making long-lasting, systemic and sustainable change.

Native Americans in Philanthropy will continue to work with our members, partners, allies and within our networks to advance racial equity. We encourage the philanthropic community to:


Resources on Virginia Native American History:


Recommended Readings:

  • Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Facts – Vine Deloria Jr.
  • 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created – Charles C. Mann
  • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years – Bill Bigelow
  • American Colonies: The Settling of North America, Vol. I – Alan Taylor
  • New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (The American Moment) – Colin G. Calloway
  • The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History – Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow & Angela L. Daniel Silver Star
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present, 1492-2000, Revised Edition – Peter Nabokov, Vine Deloria (Forward)


Other Resources: