We’re expanding our work with a new Radical Hope Fund! Learn More and Apply!

Initiative Description

Throughout North America, a robust group of Indigenous organizations have emerged to dismantle centuries-old systems of oppression, colonization, and historical trauma. By lifting up community strengths and drawing on new models of leadership and organizing, this 21st Century intergenerational movement is pointing the way toward transformative change that is deeply rooted in Indigenous thinking and ways of life.

However, a history of exploitation, discrimination, and genocide has rendered Indigenous communities a part of the most excluded, marginalized, and vulnerable in the world. The combined efforts of government and other groups to eradicate traditional knowledge systems and ways of living have had a profoundly negative effect on the culture, economic and social systems of Indigenous communities.

THE IMPACT OF THIS HISTORICAL OPPRESSION IS PROFOUND

  • In Canada, Indigenous women are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered than other women. There are some 1,200 unresolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country.
  • Native Americans are the most economically disadvantaged people in the United States, with a poverty rate in 2013 that was about twice the national average.
  • Native American youth have the highest suicide rate of any United States ethnic group.
  • In the U.S., Native adolescent women have suicide rates four times the rate of white women in the same age group.
  • Also in the U.S., Native peoples suffer from an infant mortality rate 60 percent higher than that of Caucasians, a 50 percent higher AIDS rate, and a rate of accidental death (including car crashes) more than twice that of the general population.

YET INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE HAS TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL TO DRIVE LASTING CHANGE

Amazingly, amid centuries of violence and exploitation, Indigenous cultures have survived and retained their ancestral connections and responsibility to the Earth and to each other.

Our initiative seeks to help restore and strengthen indigenous knowledge and life-ways as potentially transformative in addressing some of the world’s—and similarly, some of Indigenous communities’—most pressing problems.