The following joint statement is written by:
The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
International Funders for Indigenous Peoples
Native Americans in Philanthropy 

We share this statement  in solidarity and recognition of our organizations deep practices of community care. These practices mean that even in times like these, we are well placed to stay grounded, support one another uniquely, and pull through this together. 

"Joint Statement on Collective Care in Response to COVID-19"

We begin our statement focused and grounded in “The Four R’s of Indigenous Philanthropy”: Respect, Reciprocity, Responsibility and Relationships 

RESPECT: Honor traditions and respect the ideas of Indigenous Peoples. Respect diverse ways, and use processes and approaches that are transparent, open, adaptable, and flexible. Work directly with communities to gain understanding and knowledge about the community, issues and solutions. Go beyond making grants and think about building long-term relationships and self-reliant communities. 

RECIPROCITY: Embrace the idea that giving and receiving connect people, beliefs and actions. It is not all about money, and funders must be open to receiving. Giving and receiving from the Earth’s endowments is also part of a virtuous circle of healing principles. 

RESPONSIBILITY: Recognize that Indigenous Peoples should speak for themselves and be responsible for their own voice in meetings, negotiations and on issues. Be familiar with the principles articulated in the UN Declaration of Rights for Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and seek to uphold these when working with Indigenous Peoples and to advance these as goals in this work. 

RELATIONSHIPS: Engage with Indigenous communities by understanding the nature of relationships among ancestral cultures, lands and spirituality. Engaging in this way requires long-term commitments and mutual learning. Relationships based on mutual respect eliminate the tendency to exert power over another. 

With “The Four R’s of Indigenous Philanthropy” as our framework, we call on the philanthropic sector to consider the following, in aid, care and support of Indigenous-led and Indigenous- informed organizations and nonprofits (Indigenous Charities Matrix) who face heightened uncertainty:

  1. Amplify the work and wisdom of Indigenous-led organizations 
  2. Collaborate directly with grantees on their specific needs right now, with recognition of the significant shifts due to the global pandemic 
  3. Change current programming grants to general support grants in order to substantially support organizations and programs to adapt to new needs 
  4. Stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, people of color, persons with disabilities, queer, and nonbinary led organizations - ensure their calls to action are heard, uplifted and supported 
  5. Continue working to increase access and equity in the spaces that you occupy 
  6. Care for yourselves by allowing space in day-to-day activities for self care, with recognition of the additional time and needs of those you care for 

In the coming days, we will be finding ways to: 

  • Amplify Indigenous wisdom by hosting virtual conversations/town halls as spaces for communal learning, sharing, and connection 
  • Create virtual coffee break spaces for convening and connecting 
  • Share updates on how indigenous organizational and community leaders are responding to the crisis, through efforts such as the Native Americans in Philanthropy Amplifying the Voices of Tribal Communities platform

We welcome your thoughts and perspectives as we hold space for conversation and sharing. Please contact any of our organizations as we move forward as a community in supporting one another.

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March 30, 2020


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