While being asked to be a grant reviewer is a great honor, it’s also a great responsibility to be trusted to make such impactful decisions. For me, as a Native person, the weight of that responsibility is felt even more when reviewing proposals from folks doing incredible work in Indian Country. I am proud of all the work being done and want to ensure everyone has the greatest opportunity for funding. My hope is that one day philanthropy will make enough resources available for every initiative that these proposals outline, because each one addresses critical issues and advances ideas that will ultimately benefit Native communities.
As this was the first time I’d participated in the granting process officially, I was excited to learn about the great work our relatives are doing out there across Turtle Island, from grassroots organizing to taking that next big step as a nonprofit. It is reassuring to read such strong proposals and know that members of our community are taking great initiative and doing tireless work to improve, revitalize, and reclaim our ways of life. The attention to our Mother Earth, Native women and youth, representation and visibility, all give me great confidence that we are returning to balance.
The healing that is happening in our communities can be supported by grant dollars and so it is with great precision and attention that I am reading each proposal. My recommendations and feedback will help determine which grantees will receive funding, so I am careful to match my effort with the efforts that were put into each application. Many of these smaller organizations seeking funding have found themselves up against a long list of reasons why dollars aren’t going to Native issues, but they still step up to the plate. They understand that there is still a knowledge and culture gap between philanthropy and Indian Country, and they rely on me and colleagues at organizations like NAP to bridge these gaps. Our community isn’t giving up.
Every application so far has been a page-turner and has gotten me excited for the work being done for the next seven generations. I am proud of our community, these organizations, programs and initiatives. Keep up the great work, Indian Country!