Each November is designated as Native American Heritage Month and is a time to honor and celebrate diverse Native American cultures and values. The month gives us an opportunity provide education about the vast contributions Native Peoples have made, and provide opportunities to learn more about both historical and ongoing challenges that affect Native Peoples today. During this Native American Heritage Month, we want to introduce you to the concept of giving the Indigenous way.
Giving is not seen as transactional, obligatory, or as needing immediate or direct reciprocation. Giving is a shared community value that creates kinship and relationship. Giving the Indigenous way is rooted in community-based accountability and responsibility for one another – we are bound to take care of one another and are responsible for all things we are dependent upon. It is a Sacred duty to care for one another. It is an honor to receive and equally an honor to give. We strengthen community ties by giving the Indigenous way.
The Association on American Indian Affairs (the Association) was formed in 1922 to change the destructive path of federal policy from assimilation, termination and allotment, to sovereignty, self-determination and self-sufficiency. The Association has provided national advocacy on watershed issues that support sovereignty and culture, while working at a grassroots level with Native Nations to support the implementation of programs that affect lives on the ground. As we look ahead to serving Indian Country and educating the public for next 100 years, we know we cannot do it without the support and generosity of those who are aligned with our vision, mission and goals.
Our vision is to create a world where diverse Native cultures and values are lived, protected and respected. We strive towards our vision by implementing meaningful programming, advocacy and public education. We have three main programmatic areas: Cultural Sovereignty, the Next Generations and Becoming an Ally.
As a non-profit membership organization, much of our programmatic work relies on the compassion and support of like-minded individuals who are committed to Indigenous rights and values. We need your commitment, time, advocacy, and most important, we need you to give the Indigenous way through financial support to help us continue forward on the path that the Association has paved over the last 100 years. Your gift will support our work to strengthen Native voices, human rights, health, and healing—which will strengthen our shared values.
The Association is uniquely situated as the oldest non-profit serving Indian Country with an all-Native Board of Directors and Indigenous staff. Each of the 574 federally recognized Nations and approximately 400 other Native Tribes, Bands and Communities are unique in language, culture and how they govern themselves. But there are shared values among Native Peoples that are deeply rooted in supporting and revitalizing relationships with our shared world.
Collectively, we can raise the voices of Native Nations through unwavering and steadfast commitment to our shared values. We are still here. We are still strong. But we need you to join the movement to help us create a world where diverse Native American cultures and values are truly lived, protected, and respected. Together, we can make a difference today and for our future generations.
This year on #GivingTuesday, join the movement and #GivetheIndigenousWay!