United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

April 24-May 5, 2017 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, NY.

Special Theme: “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to implement the Declaration”

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is a high- level advisory body to the Economic and Social Council. The Forum was established on 28 July 2000 by resolution 2000/22, with the mandate to deal with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

*For more information visit https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/unpfii-sessions-2.html

Shakopee Tribe Donates $100,000 to “Reclaiming Native Truth”!

Longmont, Colorado (February 9, 2017) – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) announced today a $100,000 donation to the Reclaiming Native Truth project that is co-managed by First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting, both based in Colorado. The gift is part of a package of new SMSC donations totaling more than $4 million for Native American causes in several states.

Reclaiming Native Truth is a groundbreaking project that will consolidate and build upon previous research efforts in order to create a long-term, Native-led movement that will positively transform the popular image of and narrative about Native Americans. From 2016-2018, the project team is working with an advisory committee of Native leaders, stakeholders, and racial equity experts and advocates to understand the underlying reasons for society’s negative and inaccurate perceptions of Native Americans. Based on this improved understanding, the project will have the tools necessary to build consensus around tackling this long-standing problem. It is expected that the project will lead to the creation of a national campaign to achieve greater awareness, respect and equality for Native peoples.

“Launching an unprecedented national project like Reclaiming Native Truth requires farsighted dedication from planners and funders. The SMSC’s donation shows a long-term commitment to improving the lives of Native Americans,” said Michael Roberts, co-director of Reclaiming Native Truth and president and CEO of First Nations Development Institute.

“There are so many needs across Indian Country, and this new financial support will go a long way toward improving the lives of many people, especially children and future generations,” said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig.

The SMSC has donated approximately $350 million to organizations and causes since 1992.

Today’s donation to the Reclaiming Native Truth project was made less than one month after making a $200,000 gift to fund living allowances for AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers working to improve Native nutrition, as part of the SMSC’s $5 million Seeds of Native Health campaign. It was the first time in VISTA’s history in which a tribe provided funding to deploy VISTA members nationally. In an editorial lauding the SMSC’s Seeds of Native Health campaign, the Star Tribune – Minnesota’s largest news outlet – called the tribe a “philanthropic force.”

Reclaiming Native Truth is co-directed by Crystal Echo Hawk, president and CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting.

Learn more about the Shakopee Tribe 

Quote: Make a Difference

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Check out This Resource for Native Youth Research!


 Tips for Researchers: Strengthening Research that Benefits Native Youth

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Policy Research Center invited several distinguished scholars to share their best practices to identify key aspects of ethics and process in research developed with and for Native youth.

The report is designed to guide efforts to include American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth in research, so that the research generates the maximum benefit for AI/AN youth and their communities, and importantly, does no harm. It offers some broad insights in five key areas, or “Tips”, in the hopes that this can be tool for communities of researchers, youth, and youth advocates to come together around and use to develop context-specific discussions and partnered research goals. The five key areas with lead author annotations include the following:

  1. Centering Youth Voices (Greg Tafoya)
  2. Engaging Tribal Communities (Catherine Burnette)
  3. The Power of Place-Based, Small-Scale Inquiry (Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz)
  4. Expanding Tribal Youth Research in Urban and National Settings (Michelle Sarche)
  5. Ethical Considerations (Deana Around Him)

View the Report here (PDF)

NCAI Policy Research Center. (2016). Tips for Researchers: Native Youth Research. Author: Washington, DC.

Quote: Improve the World


“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

Evaluation Conference begins Tomorrow!

¡MilwaukeeEvaluation¡ Social Justice & Evaluation conference starts tomorrow, March 2, 2017 here in Madison. The event promises great opportunity to explore social justice as it relates to evaluation practice, all in community with evaluators from around the state.

*Click to view the flyer (PDF)

Visit http://evaluation.wildapricot.org/ for more information!

Quote: Mother Teresa

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.” – Mother Teresa

Quote: Strengthen Communities

“When one neighbor helps another, we strengthen our communities.” – Jennifer Pahlka

Register now for ¡MilwaukeeEvaluation¡

See the link below for a save-the-date for the ¡MilwaukeeEvaluation¡ Social Justice & Evaluation conference coming up March 2, 2017 here in Madison. More details will follow, but the event promises great opportunity to explore social justice as it relates to evaluation practice, all in community with evaluators from around the state. 

Students may be especially interested in participating in the new student poster session. Abstracts will be due Feb. 3, 2017.

*Click to view the flyer (PDF)

Visit http://evaluation.wildapricot.org/ for updates!

Native American Employee of the Department of Energy Sues for Race Discrimination

Washington Lawyers’ Committee Press Release
January 6, 2017


Matthew Handley, matthew_handley@washlaw.org

(202) 319-1000


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jody TallBear, a well-respected Native American employee of the Department of Energy, brought suit yesterday to challenge retaliation she experienced when she sought to address a work environment hostile to Native Americans. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and raises claims of race and national origin discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.

Ms. TallBear began working for DOE in May 2011. She was hired to advance tribal and Native American engagement, programming and policy initiatives. Throughout her employment, Ms. TallBear was subjected to pervasive racially offensive imagery and language, including the frequent use of derogatory language regarding Native people and the posting of “redskins” images in her workplace.

Beginning in 2012, Ms. TallBear continually notified DOE leadership of the offensive language and imagery but DOE refused to take actions to address her concerns. In October 2015, DOE banned Ms. TallBear from educating DOE employees on Native American sensitivities related to Indian representations and retaliated against her. Despite years of exemplary performance, DOE leadership has ostracized and isolated her, stripped her of her title, job responsibilities, and derailed her career path. With nowhere else to turn, Ms. TallBear brings this action against DOE for hostile work environment and retaliation for advancing the civil rights of Native American employees to not be subjected to racial slurs and offensive images in their workplace.

“Our society frequently forgets the incredible violence that makes up our country’s history with Native Americans, but we cannot forget that Native Americans deserve the same workplace protections as everyone else,” said Dennis Corkery, Senior Staff Attorney.  “We want to hold DOE accountable for how Ms. TallBear was treated and see them move forward with more inclusive and sensitive practices.”

Venus McGhee Prince, co-counsel for Ms. TallBear adds, “as a senior policy advisor to the highest ranking diversity and civil rights official within DOE, Ms. TallBear has been leading positive change within DOE over the past four years by raising an awareness of the harmful impact that the ‘redskins’ language and imagery has on many Native Americans. All can agree that there is no harm to Ms. TallBear’s efforts to educate federal employees and build a more sensitive work environment for herself and others, especially when it is part of her job duties. We hope that Ms. TallBear can ultimately resume this necessary and influential work.”

Ms. TallBear is represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

You can read a copy of the complaint here.


ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEEFor more than 45 years, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has handled thousands of cases representing individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations and other aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, and military service and status. For more information, visit www.washlaw.org; or phone (202) 319-1000.

ABOUT KILPATRICK TOWNSEND & STOCKTON LLPFounded 155 years ago, Kilpatrick Townsend is a leading international AmLaw 100 firm with 18 offices extending into the four corners of the continental United States; Asia; and Europe, including: Atlanta, GA; Augusta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; Menlo Park, CA; New York, NY; Raleigh, NC; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Walnut Creek, CA; Washington, DC; Winston-Salem, NC; Shanghai; Stockholm; and Tokyo. For more information, please visit:www.kilpatricktownsend.com