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”). Native Americans in Philanthropy is happy to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day everyday, but especially this month as Los Angeles became the latest major city to change the narrative of history by eliminating Columbus Day and replacing with Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October. Congratulations Los Angeles! We are also looking forward to Native American Heritage Month in November and have a series of webinars to support education of Native issues.
Indigenous Peoples Day
First started in 1992 in Berkeley, CA, and since then we have seen more than 70 cities and states voting to repeal and replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Celebrating the Indigenous people of this land is a direct protest to the historical conquest of North America by Europeans narrative, and calls attention to the losses suffered by the Indigenous people and our cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation. Not only is it now widely known and accepted that Columbus did not ‘discover’ America in 1492 when he landed in the Caribbean where there were already millions of Indigenous people living, but he was also a brutal murderer and slave trader. Seeing figures like Columbus who brought detrimental consequences to our ancestors and communities held up as a hero hurts our children. The American Psychological Association and other professional organizations have shown that exposure to culturally and racially demeaning symbols, mascots, and messages like Columbus Day causes real psychological harm to our Native youth.
With Charlottesville still fresh on our minds and other recent resurgences of white nationalists defending and protecting the legacies of colonization and enslavement, it’s important to stand with those who continue to resist. That is why this year in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day and the recent L.A. City Council vote to replace Columbus Day, Native Americans in Philanthropy teamed up with The California Endowment to honor those places that have already made the change and in support of those that are still fighting to make the change in their communities.
Native American Heritage Month
Continuing the celebration of our peoples and cultures, for Native American Heritage Month, we’ll be sharing stories of the amazing work happening across Indian Country. Our Native Advocacy Leaders profile campaign will lift up the voices of those making change and movements happen and doing work to advance Native issues. I’m also teaming up with Independent Sector for an in depth Q&A and a webinar on next generation leadership. Please watch our social media for those stories to be shared and webinar registration.
Earlier this month we announced that our team here at Native Americans in Philanthropy is continuing to grow with the addition of Gina Jackson as Program Director. Native Americans in Philanthropy is thrilled to welcome Gina Jackson to our team. Gina will provide leadership and implementation for the programmatic development of all our national and regional programs. Gina has been engaged with Native Americans in Philanthropy since 2016 while managing the Generation Indigenous initiative under the Obama Administration. She was an essential part in planning and conducting the 2016 philanthropic event, “Generation Indigenous: Raising Impact with Innovation and Proven Strategies” at the White House. Her experience in systems, community improvement, policy and solutions will be a great addition to our work. Gina will officially start in her new role on October 25, 2017, based in the Los Angeles, CA office.