December 2016 CEO Message

December 2016 CEO Message

Dear Mitakuyapi (“Relatives” is a traditional greeting in the Lakota language),

Cante Waste ya Nape Ciyu zape ye (“I shake your hand with a good heart”). Indigenous People across the world are celebrating this week like they haven’t celebrated in over 500 years. This is a people who have taken the brunt of the Doctrine of Discovery from stolen land, childhood assimilations and attempts to destroy our spiritual world. Now, we see what unity and prayer can bring through the victory at Standing Rock with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denying the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access pipeline. Instead, they will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement regarding alternate routes.

“This is an historic moment. For centuries, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and tribes across the country, have faced fundamental injustice at the hands of the federal government – which time and again took our lands and tried to destroy our way of life. Our Treaties and our human rights were ignored, our interests in protecting lands and waters were considered unimportant, and our voices were not heard.

It was this shared history that led Tribes to come together as never before to seek the protection of our waters against the threat of the Dakota Access pipeline. With peace and prayer, indigenous people from hundreds of Tribes said: our future is too important. We can no longer be ignored. The goal was to protect these sacred waters, and to do so in the name of our children.”

Chairman Dave Archambault

Native Americans in Philanthropy was honored to play a part in educating and advising the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on philanthropy practices, as well as bringing funders to learn about the issues at Standing Rock, under the umbrella of philanthropic work for the Native youth of Generation Indigenous. We look forward to continuing our #GenIndigenous work of educating and bridge building in partnership with The Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers (please email [email protected] if you’re interested in opportunities to partner in the Midwest, Northwest, California and the Southwest in Spring 2017).

However, it’s important not to forget that this victory for Standing Rock does not mean the fight is over. Energy Transfer Partners is already pressing for a quick reversal of the Obama administration’s decision in denying the pipeline’s completion. As Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) said in their statement: “ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.”

While Standing Rock has been a catalyst moment for youth organizing and activism, we cannot forget this fight continues state by state with each issue surrounding racial justice, sacred site protection, water rights, environmental justice and tribal sovereignty. Across the country, and at Standing Rock, young people are playing leading roles in social justice movements that advance a vision for a just society. Please do not forget that NOW is a still critical moment to support Native American youth who are just realizing the strength of unity and demonstrating their readiness to organize in building lasting movements for social change. Please support Generation Indigenous (#GenIndigenous) Response Fund housed at The Minneapolis Foundation  which will bridge funders and organizers to support Native American youth organizing and its commitment to systemic change and social justice in Indigenous communities.

We give thanks to the many philanthropic organizations who leant their voice and/or educational platform for Standing Rock, including: CHANGE Philanthropy, Common Counsel Foundation, Council on Foundations, Executive Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, Independent Sector, The California Endowment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation, The NoVo Foundation, Chorus Foundation, The Solutions Project, The Christensen Fund, PFund Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, Groundswell Fund, American Heart Association, Tides Foundation, Solidaire Network, Dietel Partners, Arcus Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, San Diego Grantmakers, American Indian Cancer Foundation, Center for Native American Youth, Funders for Justice, International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, and National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.


Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO
Native Americans in Philanthropy