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COVID-19 Community Conversation Explores The Value Of Indigenous Wisdom In Pandemic Response

January 28, 2021 | 1 min read

COVID-19 Community Conversation Explores The Value Of Indigenous Wisdom In Pandemic Response

Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) hosted their first COVID-19 Community Conversation on January 26th, just a few short weeks after releasing their report, “Indigenous Community Leadership in Response to COVID-19:  A Call to Action for the Philanthropic Sector”.

The online panel discussion just wasn’t for the sake of promotion. In fact, it was essentially unavoidable since an entire section of the report includes several interviews with Indigenous leaders about how they were able to leverage their resources to quickly get supplies and services to Native communities in need.

These first-hand perspectives are crucial in illustrating a fundamental call-to-action for the largely non-Native philanthropic sector: Listen to Native people about the needs of Native people.

Considering the focus on Indigenous perspectives, NAP felt it necessary that the COVID-19 Community Conversation include the same voices featured in the report such as Krystal Curley (Diné) of Indigenous Life Ways, Shandiin Herrera (Diné) of Yee Ha’ólníi Doo d.b.a Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund, and Olivia Roanhorse (Diné), MPH, of Roanhorse Consulting, LLC. Negeen Darani of 11th Hour Project rounded out the panel of guest speakers as its only non-Native participant, however, under her leadership, 11th Hour Project has become an investor of several Indigenous-led funds across the country.

The report and the Community Conversation focuses on the value of Indigenous cultural knowledge during a crisis response, with Krystal Curley even commenting, “I really feel like [Indigenous peoples’] insight and knowing our communities and knowing how it is on the reservations they were really able to make a rapid response. From our experience, it was a very streamlined process. That’s what we really needed at the time.”

The original report highlighted different community issues that were magnified during the coronavirus pandemic such as food systems, youth leadership, urban centers and communities, and small businesses. With that in mind, NAP intends to hold more COVID-19 Community Conversations in the near future in order to further explore the lessons that Indigenous leaders can impart for their particular area of concern.

You can find the full report, the presentation deck featured during this event, and the full recording of the webinar event at


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