Afro-Indigenous and Black Indigenous peoples face a myriad of issues including erasure of their identities, colorism, anti-Blackness in Indigenous communities, and a complex web of historical, cultural, social, and political influences. As a national organization, Native Americans in Philanthropy represents a wide range of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and identities. We recognize and support the relatives in our communities that are battling against intersectional layers of oppression and underrepresentation. Our moderator, Stephine “Steph” Poston (Pueblo of Sandia), and philanthropic changemakers, Sutton King, MPH (Menominee/Oneida), the Hon. Tammi Lambert (Jicarilla Apache Nation), and Darius Smith (Navajo and Black) share their personal experiences and discuss how philanthropy can better understand and support the issues facing our Black and Afro-Indigenous relatives.
About the Series: Our curated education sessions of virtual conversations, panels, and speakers represent the diversity of Indian Country and the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in what is now known as America. These sessions are designed for NAP members working in philanthropy and will focus on how philanthropy can operate differently to center Indigenous perspectives. Through these sessions, NAP is passing the mic to individuals, Tribes, and Native nonprofits who are experts in their respective fields. This platform will foster an informed membership that will lead the shifting of the philanthropic sector in deeper, more impactful ways that serve the people, communities, and causes they care about.
ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS: SUTTON KING, MPH (Menominee/Oneida) (she/her) Co-Founder, Co-Director, Urban Indigenous Collective Sutton King, MPH, Nāēqtaw-Pianakiw (comes first woman), is the Co-Founder, President, and Co-Director of Urban Indigenous Collective. Afro-Indigenous of the Menominee and Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, she holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in sociology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health from NYU School of Global Public Health. Living on unceded territory of the Siwanoy (The Bronx) for over a decade, she is an internationally recognized Indigenous rights activist, social entrepreneur, and published researcher dedicated to developing and scaling innovative solutions to improve Indigenous health equity across sectors. Her focus centers access benefit sharing and culturally appropriate methodologies within technology, healthcare, and business. In 2020, Sutton was named a New York visionary and nominated as a David Prize finalist. She is a MIT Indigenous Solve fellow and a 3x NYU Fellow participating in the NYU Ignite Alpha and Beta fellowships. In 2021, she was named an NYU Female Founder and one of the “100 Most Influential People in Psychedelics” by Psychedelic Invest and PsychedStudio. In 2022, Business Insider recognized her as one of the “16 Most Influential Women Shaping Psychedelics.” Early in her career, in partnership with Kognito, the DOJ, and Indian Country Child Trauma Center, she led the development of the first culturally tailored trauma-informed simulation training law enforcement professionals how to engage with tribal youth. She implemented this programming as well as suicide prevention technology in eighty different tribes across the country. Following that, she joined the New York Indian Council, the Urban Indian Health Program of NYC as the Director of health and wellness. Currently, she is the Co-Founder of ShockTalk, a culturally tailored telemental health platform that facilitates culturally appropriate patient-provider relationships for Indigenous communities. She joins the Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund as a Program Manager and Bridge Maker sitting on the operations committee. She facilitates a relationship between the Psychedelic Space and Indigenous traditional cultures that centers Indigenous sovereignty. Through her consulting business, Sutton King LLC, she advises organizations ranging from startup companies to philanthropies on stakeholder models and access benefit and sharing through social impact investment and giving. In her role as an advocate, she sits on the Sovereign Bodies Institute Survivors’ Leadership Council, made up of Indigenous survivors of trafficking and survival sex work from across North America. This council was put together to advocate for victims and survivors, provide peer support to movement leaders who are survivors, and create a platform for survivor voices so that the world can learn directly from us. She also serves as a Member of the Natives Working Well in Philanthropy (NWWP) (Formerly Native Program Officer (NPO)) Planning Group.
HON. TAMMI LAMBERT (Jicarilla Apache Nation) (she/her) Chief Presiding Judge, Pueblo of Santa Ana Tammi M. Lambert is an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation in New Mexico. Her clan is Ollero, the White Clan. Her commitment is to create a world that is powerfully conscious and transforming itself in every area of life, which includes government, courts, the private sector, and any area where there is a potential for making a positive difference. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 1996. In 1999, she earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law with a Certificate in Federal Indian Law. In 2022, she received her master’s degree in Consciousness Studies from the Holmes Institute and is a minister licensed by the global organization called Centers for Spiritual Living. She is a staff minister at the Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living. Tammi has been a licensed attorney in New Mexico for 23 years. She is currently the chief presiding judge for the Pueblo of Santa Ana in New Mexico and accepts work as a Pro Tem judge in other tribal jurisdictions. Tammi has directed a statewide office and was a policy advisor to the New Mexico governor on public safety, victim rights, and Indian Law issues. She provided leadership and facilitated community collaboration for policy and code development for several tribal governments in areas such as public safety, child welfare, domestic relations, economic development, natural resources, cultural resources, and health and welfare issues. Tammi has been on numerous boards, both civic and spiritual. She has recently been a faculty member of the National Judicial College located at the University of Reno. In 2018, she created a Healing to Wellness Court at the Pueblo of Santa Ana. This treatment court is designed to address substance abuse issues before the Court from a holistic standpoint, blending western, cultural, and mindfulness practices to address sobriety. In October 2019, she received the New Mexico Community Champion Award from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving for this work.
DARIUS LEE SMITH (Navajo and Black) (he/him) Director, Denver Anti-Discrimination Office Darius Lee Smith was born and raised in the Denver suburb of Montbello and spent many summer months with his maternal grandmother on the Navajo reservation. Although raised in a predominantly urban community, he was heavily influenced by the culture, language, and experience of the Navajo way of life. For Darius, viewing the world through a multicultural lens is an inseparable part of his identity/politics as a Navajo and Black. Darius earned a Baccalaureate degree in Communications from Azusa Pacific University, a certificate in American Indian History and Cultures from the University of Denver, and a Master of Nonprofit Management/Leadership Training and Development from Regis University. Darius has served the American Indian community since 1992 as the Director of Indian Education for Denver Public Schools, National Director of the Native Peoples’ Initiative for Habitat for Humanity International, Board Member of the Denver Indian Center, and President of the Colorado Indian Education Foundation. In March 2023, Darius is retiring, after 19 years, as the Director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office within the City and County of Denver’s Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships, and the Liaison to both the Denver African American and American Indian Commissions. Darius has developed many published education materials and has been recognized for his service to the community with numerous honors and awards. He speaks nationally on the topic of American Indians as Mascots and the negative effect it has on the self-esteem and self-determination of Native people. Running has not only been influential for Darius throughout his life, but it has also opened many doors to academic and professional opportunities and is an honest reflection of his pride in his Navajo heritage. While no longer a competitive runner, he continues to run most days to maintain health and fitness while role-modeling the Navajo running tradition. Darius draws inspiration from interacting with youth in the Indian community through his volunteering with the Stronghold Society, Inc. and as a Board Member of Vision Maker Media. Darius considers serving his people to be an honor and a privilege as well as his responsibility.
MODERATOR: STEPHINE “STEPH” POSTON (Pueblo of Sandia) (she/her) President & CEO, Poston & Associates, LLC “Steph” was born and raised on the Sandia Pueblo Indian Reservation. She worked for her tribe for eleven years before launching Poston & Associates, a full-service communications firm. Steph’s expertise includes strategic facilitation, capacity-building training, leadership development, strategic communication, and event planning. She has worked with numerous tribes and tribal entities in New Mexico and throughout Indian Country on public relations and marketing campaigns, sacred site protection, voter empowerment, water rights, tribal policy development, economic development, education, and healthcare. She is a co-founder of Native Women Lead and is the current Chairwoman of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts which hosts Indian Market.
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Native Americans in Philanthropy is a powerful and growing network of Native and non-Native nonprofits, Tribal communities, foundations, and community leaders committed to engaging, learning, and sharing resources and best practices grounded the Native tradition of reciprocity.
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