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For as long as anyone can remember, today was celebrated as Columbus Day. Nowadays most people realize that Columbus never discovered America. In fact, as Native Americans have pointed out on several occasions, there were already thousands of Indigenous people here when he landed at the Bahamas.
So in honor of a day also celebrated as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, here are a few Native American causes that need your support, not just today but every day:
Adopt A Native Elder
As the name implies, this nonprofit helps elders in the Native American communities and seeks to raise awareness to the crisis currently facing the Navajo Nation. “There are many ways to provide support for the Elders as we do our best to provide as much assistance to the Elders through the mail. We are prioritizing the distribution of food certificates while also working to mail as many firewood vouchers and yarn bundles as we can now and in the upcoming months. Your donations make this possible.”
For information visit anelder.org
First Nations Development Institute
First Nations Development Institute seeks to improve the economic conditions for Native Americans by offering direct financial grants, technical assistance, and training as well as through advocacy and policy. There are several ways to give from secure online donations to PayPal.
For information about the organization visit firstnations.org
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women USA
The MMIW USA’s number one mission is to bring their missing home and support families of murdered women through the grief process. “Our broader goal is to eradicate this problem so that the future generations thrive,” the organization points out. “We are doing that through education of the threats that they face and self-defense.”
There is no reliable count for how many Native American women go missing each year. In 2019 alone, nearly 5,600 Native American women were reported missing, according to a Jan. 31 Los Angeles Times report.
In November 2019, President Trump established a federal task force to investigate.
For information about MMIW USA visit mmiwusa.org
Native Americans in Philanthropy
This organization’s mission is to engage, educate, and empower a sacred circle of Indigenous Peoples and philanthropies to create healthy and sustainable communities. “Centuries of colonialism and destructive federal policies and actions have hurt Native American communities and accelerated the loss of tribal cultural traditions. The legacy of thriving indigenous peoples must be restored through greater investments in Indian Country.”
For information visit nativephilanthropy.org
Native American Rights Fund
Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund is the oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization asserting and defending the rights of the First Peoples tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide. They focus on preserving tribal existence, protecting tribal natural resources, promoting Native American human rights, holding governments accountable to Native Americans, and developing Indian law and educating the public about Native American rights, laws, and issues.
For more information visit narf.org
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
The NIWRC is a Native-led nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ending violence against Native children. They provide leadership in ending gender-based violence in tribal communities by helping grassroots advocates and offering culturally grounded resources, technical assistance and training as well as policy development to strengthen tribal sovereignty. Their staff and board of directors consist of Native women from across the country who are committed to ending violence against Native women and their children.
For information visit niwrc.org
Navajo Water Project
The Navajo Water Project points out on its website that it just takes 24 hours for them to bring clean hot and cold running water to a Navajo family, more than 30 percent of whom still don’t have a tap or toilet at home. They’re seeking to raise $1.03 million to bring running water and solar power to 230 families.
For information visit navajowaterproject.org
Partnership with Native Americans
“Every day, there is a shortage of healthy food, safe drinking water, healthcare, and stores in remote reservation communities—and now more than ever with COVID-19. Elders who need to shop are finding the shelves empty and many Elders and families have “stay at home” orders.
“More and more tribes have travel restrictions in place, such as Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, Northern Cheyenne, and Navajo to name a few. Yet, the tribes we serve are allowing PWNA to continue its critical deliveries as an essential service and first responder for the reservations — even the tribes with travel restrictions.
“PWNA is responding daily to a high volume of requests from our reservation partners, who are requesting food, water, toilet paper, sanitizer and other essentials to weather the coronavirus pandemic. PWNA drivers are working the maximum hours allowed by DOT (Dept. of Transportation) to ensure vital supplies get to those in need on the reservations. But so many orders are going out that our warehouses are running low and we need your help to replenish! Please donate today.”
For information visit nativepartnership.org
The American Indian College Fund
For 30 years, the American Indian College Fund has been the largest charity supporting Native students access to higher education. By providing scholarships, they are seeking to improve Native communities across the country.
For information visit collegefund.org
The Native American Heritage Association
Started in 1993 by David G. Myers, Native American Heritage Association is dedicated to helping Native American families in need living on reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming. “After seeing the extremely poor conditions Native Americans have to cope with on a daily basis, Mr. Myers knew he had to do something to help them. So the mission began to help as many Native American families as possible with basic life necessities and self-help programs. Over the years, we have provided much needed hope and dignity to many Native Americans that need a helping hand.”
The nonprofit organization provides food, clothing, heating assistance and other emergency programs to help Native families make ends meet each month.
For information visit naha-inc.org
Big thanks to Local Profile contributor Tyler Hicks for mentioning these organizations on his Facebook page. Check out his author’s page here.