September 2017 CEO Message

September 2017 CEO Message

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

Cante waste ya nape ciyu zape ye (“I shake your hand with a good heart” in the Lakota language)

MTV Video Music Awards
As I sat in the van on my way to the MTV Video Music Awards, I watched Indigenous musicians excitedly facetiming their children. I thought to myself how incredible it would be for our children to see us reflected for the first time on the “blue carpet”. This is the beginning of the dreams of Generation Indigenous expanding to new heights. Heights I didn’t even dare to dream at their age. Taboo has stepped up in a major way as a social impact warrior by using his platform to bring visibility to indigenous issues. And I am not the only one that’s proud, several elders have told me how happy they are to see the doors opening to long term opportunities.

The 2017 MTV Video Music Awards celebrated all nominees in the ‘Fight Against the System’ category, including “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL” from Taboo. Native Americans in Philanthropy is proud to support influencers like Taboo and his efforts to empower Native youth and amplifying the issues our Native communities are facing. Our new partnership with Taboo resulted in a generous gift of $50,000 (with a pledge to fundraise an additional $50,000) to support our social impact work. I was honored to walk the blue carpet with Taboo, Crow fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail, as well as several co-founders of advocacy network Indigenous Women Rise and Native musician group Magnificent 7 in an effort bring awareness to issues affecting Indigenous Women.

Indigenous People’s Day in LA
Congratulations to Los Angeles and all the grassroots organizers who have worked on the ground to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day! Los Angeles joins the growing list of cities that now celebrate Indigenous People’s Day:

  • Berkeley, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Traverse City, Michigan
  • Akron/Newstead, New York
  • Olympia, Washington
  • Anadarko, Oklahoma
  • Carrboro, North Carolina
  • Belfast, Maine
  • San Fernando, California
  • Alpena, Michigan
  • Bexar County, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Bainbridge Island, Washington
  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • Durango, Colorado
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Lawrence, Kansas
  • Oberlin, Ohio
  • Bangor, Maine
  • Ithaca, New York
  • State of Minnesota
  • State of Vermont
  • State of Alaska

This list reflects great progress, but the grassroots work will continue until we see every major city and state replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. Cities like Cincinnati, Ohio, which rejected an Indigenous People’s Day proclamation in 2016, will face tremendous pushback as we strive for a nationally recognized holiday.

Native Youth/Anniversary of #GenIndigenous
August saw the first year anniversary of Native Americans in Philanthropy’s involvement with the Obama Administration’s initiative, Generation Indigenous (#GenIndigenous) and we’ve just announced the next round of funding. The submission deadline for the second round of grants is October 20, 2017. Organizing groups working to building lasting movements for social change with Native youth are encouraged to apply on our website.

Next week we go to 2017 UNITY Summit in New Orleans, LA, kicking off the national conference with a Welcome Reception on Sunday, September 17 with our CHANGE Philanthropy partners and over 600 registrants. At the conference, I’ll be presenting on the Brilliance in Resilience plenary to discuss civic engagement and how human rights begin at home, as well as the Keeping our Sons and Brothers plenary to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and what is still underway in the boys and men of color space. I am also helping to close with the Movement Building Call to Action panel. We hope to see you there!


Wopila (deep gratitude),
Sarah Eagle Heart
Follow me on Twitter! @ms_eagleheart