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The Philanthropic Sector Must Fully Support Indigenous Peoples in Work to Solve the Global Climate Crisis

November 15, 2021 | 1 min read

The Philanthropic Sector Must Fully Support Indigenous Peoples in Work to Solve the Global Climate Crisis

Last week marked the completion of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, and I now reflect on the powerful shift in narrative that occurred at this year’s meeting. For the first time in the history of this gathering, Indigenous Peoples received widespread recognition of their inherent rights, as well as appreciation for the ground-level research, analysis, and data they possess for creating solutions to our global climate crisis.  

World leaders must now navigate the way forward by grounding their policy solutions in the work already being done by Indigenous Peoples who have proved themselves, time and time again, as innovative problem solvers with the specific understanding, expertise, and technology to turbo charge the changes necessary to protect our planet for generations to come.  

The Christensen Fund has joined a major philanthropic and governmental commitment of 1.7B USD to support Indigenous Peoples in this important work. The field of philanthropy has a critical role to play in resourcing and supporting the capacity of Indigenous leaders in this important work. Here is how we are carrying out our commitment:  

  • Approaching this work from a position of trust, giving Indigenous Peoples the flexibility and general support to solve problems from the ground-level up; 
  • Removing onerous and unhelpful grant reporting requirements; and 
  • Providing multi-year, consistent funding to Indigenous communities directly.  

I invite leaders in the philanthropic sector to carry out the oft-mentioned commitment to listening and learning. We must engage in meaningful dialogue with Indigenous communities—and, most importantly, commit to honoring the feedback we receive, integrate it into our programming, and provide full accountability for what we are doing. 

Indigenous Peoples have incredible capacity and technical expertise, and are very well positioned to utilize and honor the resources they receive. I know this from the experience of my professional life serving as a lawyer, scholar, and advocate for Indigenous Peoples as well as from a place deep inside my own heart as a Native person—when we make a commitment, we honor it. 
Indigenous Peoples, in full exercise of their right to self-determination, have much to teach the world about relationships and stewardship of the environment. We should support them fully as they generously share the solutions we all must deploy to address the global climate crisis.  

Meet The Author:

Carla F. Fredericks is the CEO of The Christensen Fund and is an enrolled citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation of North Dakota.  


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