8 Indigenous Rights Groups To Support On Indigenous Peoples’ Day This Year10/09/2020
Here’s where to donate on October 13.
Columbus Day, which commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, has been recognized as a federal holiday since the 1930s, despite its genocidal roots. But after Berkeley, California renamed Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992, people have urged their cities and states to do the same. This year, if you’d rather celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and take action, there are plenty of Indigenous rights organizations.
The history of Columbus Day is inextricably connected to the widespread extermination of Native American people at the hands of European settlers. And even today, Native American women face one of the largest gender pay gaps, earning 60 cents for every dollar a white man earns on average, according to Equal Pay Today. As Congresswoman Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, wrote on Native Women’s Equal Pay Day for CNBC in 2019,
Taking history and these disparities into account, over 100 cities and a handful of states including New Mexico, Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, and Oregon celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor Native American people and raise awareness. Most of the time, this involves the state legislature passing a measure to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. However, there are some states, like Oklahoma, that choose to recognize both, either on separate days or on the same day.
If you want to show where you stand on Oct. 13, you could consider looking into the various organizations that are working to protect, support, and empower Native Americans and other Indigenous people across the world.
The American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest charity that supports Native American students who want to attend college and graduate school. The organization raises money for scholarships, academic resources, and more for students. Per the site, 73% of cumulative donations are used for "scholarships, programs, and public education." The remaining percentage of donations are used for management and fundraising for the organization.
Cultural Survival is an organization that advocates for the rights of Indigenous peoples and "supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience," per its site. The non-profit is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts but works on-the-ground with Indigenous people all over the world. You can donate to Cultural Survival’s mission here.
The Native American Rights Fund provides legal resources and representation to Indigenous people and organizations around the world. Specifically, it "focuses on applying existing laws and treaties to guarantee that national and state governments live up to their legal obligations," per the site. You can donate to the non-profit here.
Survival International is a self-described "global movement for tribal peoples." The mission statement for the organization reads,
You can volunteer for Survival International, or consider helping the organization by signing petitions or hosting a fundraiser. Information on all of those options is available on its "Get Involved" page.
The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs is "a global human rights organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending indigenous peoples’ rights," according to its site. Every year, the organization publishes its annual report, "The Indigenous World," which provides in-depth updates into the state of Indigenous cultures around the world. You can read the most recent report from 2020 here.
Indigenous Environmental Network is a non-profit that seeks to protect the earth from "contamination and exploitation" through "strengthening, maintaining and respecting Indigenous teachings and natural laws."
You can donate to the organization here.
The Indian Law Resource Center provides legal assistance to Indigenous people and specifically helps them combat racism and oppression, per its site. More specifically, it "seeks to overcome the grave problems that threaten Native peoples by advancing the rule of law, by establishing national and international legal standards that preserve their human rights and dignity, and by challenging the governments of the world to accord justice and equality before the law to all indigenous peoples of the Americas."
You can donate to the Indian Law Resource Center here.
The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women was founded by three Native women, according to its site, and aims to "provide support to other Native advocates working in domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and sex trafficking in New Mexico’s tribal communities." You can donate to the coalition here, and you can learn the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women here.
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