#followfriday- 4 Indigenous Organizations to Follow
We stand in awe of the amazing people and organizations creating positive change in the lives of our Indigenous kin. These Indigenous led initiatives are providing much needed and highly valued information and care to our communities. Each of the following organizations has led the way with innovative tools for changing the ways we access knowledge about Indigenous safety and experiences.
Through new databases, creative programming and resources, and important online workshops, each of these Indigenous organizations are preserving our stories, protecting our people, and carving out a place for cultural information sharing in the online space.
We're grateful and encourage you to take a deep dive into the work of each of the following Indigenous organizations.
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is a Native woman-led nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to provide national leadership to end violence against American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian women by supporting culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy.
Their work is extensive, bringing awareness and providing important resources in such areas as human trafficking, poverty, safe housing, stalking awareness, and intimate partner violence. Their social media focuses on a new topic each month, most recently using February to open dialogue about Teen dating violence and what constitutes a healthy relationship.
NIWRC regularly offers webinars providing the foundations to working with Indigenous people facing violence or systemic barriers to health and safety. Their posts note the ideal participants and are often geared toward indigenous youth, grassroots advocates, or others who are most affected.
NIWRC encourages their followers to get politically involved and self-educate, even offering a tool for doing so with the creation of their Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) State Legislative Tracker, a navigational database designed to easily search legislation relating to MMIW within their state and across the country. The Tracker is a continuation of the MMIW Monthly Legislative Summary, previously released as part of their monthly legislative update.
Their valuable work takes many forms as they produce a podcast and publish a magazine.
Follow NIWRC on Instagram and check out their website.
Native Women's Association of Canada
Since 1974, the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) has advocated for Indigenous women, girls & gender-diverse people. Having long been at the forefront of advocating for Indigenous human rights, NWAC’s work is diverse- tackling everything from violence prevention, poverty reduction, language preservation, climate change, accessibility rights, forced sterilization, water rights, to reproductive health.
Notably, NWAC brought the original petition to the Canadian government requesting a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. Their work in keeping Indigenous women safe engages with policy, community programming, and individual supports. In the past year, NWAC created the Safe Passage Program. A holistic national database, with a map interface to crowdsource MMIWG data, Safe Passage is the first of its kind. In collecting MMIWG case data, Safe Passage helps identify patterns of violence in geographic areas, and pinpoints where someone was last seen or where remains have been found. This critical information could save a life.
The work that NWAC contributes is immensely important to the Indigenous women and families they serve.
Follow NWAC on Instagram and check out their website.
Sovereign Bodies Institute
Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI) builds on Indigenous traditions of data gathering and knowledge transfer to create, disseminate, and put into action research on gender and sexual violence against Indigenous people.
SBI provides direct services and support to the families and survivors who reach out to them, noting that community support networks and word-of-mouth are vitally important to their ability to provide community care. They assert that “Violence is happening within our communities, and we must be ready to believe and support the needs of survivors.”
The SBI Instagram page offers insight into the issues that Indigenous people are facing, information about memorial events, and status updates about cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP). They use their platform to promote the healing power of creativity through artist features and invitations to access arts programming such as their writing group for survivors of violence. They honour Indigenous students with awards recognizing their achievements, and support through their Back to School Supply Drive.
The Sovereign Bodies Institute champions that: “Replenishing your spirit in a time of growing social unrest is a revolutionary act.”
Follow SBI on Instagram and check out their website.
Native Wellness Institute
The Native Wellness Institute exists to promote the well-being of Native people through programs and trainings that embrace the teachings and traditions of our ancestors. Their goal is to continue bringing about positive changes in the lifestyles, relationships, education, and overall wellness of Native Americans.
Guided by the 7 Generations teachings, NWI is committed to preparing Native youth for a brighter future. They remind us that it is our cultural responsibility to prepare our young people to be positive, productive, and proactive members of their families and communities.
NWI offers online trainings with leading voices in Indian country, available to Indigenous people. NWI strives to provide a process where our young ones can make a "head to heart" connection and understand the "why" of behaviours and how we can promote and maintain healthy living. Their workshops can be accessed live or on their YouTube channel, where one can find long form videos offering valued insight into Indigenous healing and care.
Their upcoming event about allyship in Indian Country is a unique opportunity for non-Indigenous people to engage with essential information about their role in creating positive change.
NWI has created a Native Wellness Colouring Book that is full of beautiful culturally relevant artwork by Shalene Joseph. Colouring pages depict vibrant and dynamic visuals of Indigeneity and healthy Indigenous relationships, unlike anything you’ve seen before. We highly recommend that you check it out (it’s free to download!).
Follow NWI on Instagram and check out their website.
written by Rebekah Elkerton/ @moccasinmama