Reflections from Gina Jackson (Western Shoshone), Program Director

Reflections from Gina Jackson (Western Shoshone), Program Director

What an amazing summer! 

Educating Philanthropy, Strengthening Partners and Allies – Our Truth and Healing Movement

We joined Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), one of our CHANGE Philanthropy partners, for their Annual Conference in Washington D.C., and opened up their event with a blessing and a session of The Blanket Exercise – a powerful experiential, educational exercise that teaches about our Native experience in the U.S. with the goal of broadening understanding and building allyship for equity. 

NAP staff was invited to the United Philanthropy Forum’s Annual Conference, once again bringing Truth and Healing through The Blanket Exercise. One participant shared this powerful reflection about their experience:

The Blanket Exercise sticks with you forever. The full-body, visceral, real pain that you experience can’t simply be pushed aside. It was effective. I committed to learning more about the current forms of discrimination that Indigenous Peoples experience. In combination with Decolonizing Wealth, The Blanket Exercise has motivated me to constantly think about how my work intersects with Indigenous Peoples in Colorado, how I can educate others about the current day realities of drug abuse, alcoholism, and obesity and their connection to colonization, and how I can collaborate with other organizations to understand racial equity from different lenses, including the Native lens.”

The largest Native Youth Gathering… ever…

United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) invited Native Americans in Philanthropy to present to over 2400 Native youth and mentors our Truth and Healing work with The Blanket Exercise. The young people were amazing and shared how impactful this exercise was to them and how important it is for their communities. This generation, #Generation Indigenous, is ready for truth-telling and ready to see healing for our communities!


Cultural Learning Tour

Educating philanthropy can create opportunities for Native people to be visible! It is important to share our history, perspectives and the many things that are not taught in school about our people. Cultural learning is a journey and by sharing our stories, histories and experiences we can offer a rich learning experience. We hosted our latest Cultural Learning Tour with Bad Robot/Good Robot Productions, taking a small group of creatives and storytellers to the lands of the Lakota people – what is now known as South Dakota. We partnered with Native Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA) Co-Founder Jesse Shortbull, who served as a Culture Bearer for our experience together, and who led us through learning at sacred places such as Wind Cave, the Badlands, Wounded Knee and Bear Butte. We also made stops at Crazy Horse Memorial and the Oglala Lakota College Powwow while on this learning journey. It was an amazing trip with a modern traditional dinner that even had the vegetarians among our group wanting to try buffalo! We were able to provide a glimpse into the resilience and hope for change through cultural revitalization, narrative change, and Truth and Healing Movement, while at the same time  providing an opportunity for meaningful conversations, sharing insights, learnings, and for deepening connections. 

Strength in our common vision for equity and justice for all people

It is pure joy to be apart of the Borealis Racial Equity in Philanthropy (REP) cohort. This group centers race as a priority, while also looking at how other aspects of identity, such as gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, class, and ability further shape unique experiences of racism. Knowing that we are all in this together and that our support of one another gives us the strength to fight the good fight for equity is so empowering. As our work as organizations becomes more collaborative, our collective vision becomes bigger.

Going back to where it all began…

We are going back to where it all began… A small group of Natives working in philanthropy came together at a restaurant while attending a conference 30 years ago in Chicago. Inspired by a vision to bring philanthropic investment into Native communities, they imagined representation, presence, and equity for Native people. Then while at the conference Banquet, not even able to fill a conference table, a small group of Asian American colleagues joined them. That’s when conversations sparked and fueled the need for action and catalyzed the genesis of both organizations. This meeting came to be known as the “original table” and is a key historical reference point in the development of both Native Americans in Philanthropy and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) 30 years ago! 

Come join us for Native Americans in Philanthropy’s 30th Anniversary Summit and Celebration.  We will recognize and honor NAP’s Founders, and hear some of them share how the vision began. We’d love to see you, while we take some time to learn and grow together, deepen relationships, partnerships, and new collaborations!