Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing platform for Native people based in an anti-oppression framework. We seek to collaborate first and foremost with tribal governments, Native American non-profits, and other Native American led community organizations. Our goal is to bring resources, initiatives, and programming into our tribal communities that are creative, engaging, and transformative.
We are a grassroots, community based, and progressive Anishinaabe Native led coalition. How we define being progressive is based in centering Native people in racial justice or harm reduction that has culturally sensitive supports for healing. While our work focuses primarily on racial justice this work is interrelated with many other areas such as addiction recovery or sex trafficking. Since we are still a very new organization our focus is on primarily growing our racial justice work. However, we are open to collaborating on projects with tribal communities, universities, and other community-based organizations that are outside of our key focus areas.
It is extremely important to decolonize philanthropy because it actively supports settler colonialism plain and simple. By denying the problem and providing the lowest amount of funding out of all groups, we will not be able to lead our own work in our own communities. At the Native Justice Coalition, we encourage all potential donors on all levels to learn more about the funding disparity and that in fact this is an injustice in itself. Philanthropic efforts have long ignored Native communities and invest their dollars into urban centers rather than having a critical analysis on why this is, what this maintains, and the overall goals of ignoring our communities. Racial justice can’t be achieved if you ignore the First People in our own place. When we are given no consideration, are ignored, erased, labeled as the “other” or “something else,” this actively contributes to many current injustices that we face on a day to day basis.
“Over the past decade, U.S. Foundation support benefiting Native Americans declined from 0.5 percent to 0.3 percent of total foundation giving. According to Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples, total grand dollars targeting Native Americans dropped 30.8 percent in the latest year, compared to a 14.1 percent overall downturn in foundation giving.” – Foundation Funding for Native American Issues and Peoples
We emphasize working in rural, remote, and reservation communities where little grant or philanthropic dollars go to. We are not opposed to working in cities, however the funding disparity in philanthropy pushes us to break down this injustice. At the Native Justice Coalition, we are passionate about working in our communities that are out of sight from the majority culture and populations.
Four Key Foundations of Our Work
- Healing Justice – Providing a safe space for healing to occur in Native communities. We believe that in order for Native people to heal from historical trauma and racism it is important to create this space and provide the resources for our people to heal. Some forms of healing justice may come in storytelling, which is something we want to practice and emphasize through this organization. Similarly, healing justice can address multiple issues; including racism, sexism, addiction, abuse, gender violence, and historical trauma.
- Racial Justice – In our work we will center Native American people in racial justice and equity work. So often in anti-racism initiatives Native people have been left out of the conversations. In the United States, the Black and White racial binary has not only ignored other groups but ignores settler colonialism on Native lands altogether. We seek to change this narrative around and center our people in our work. Addressing current traumas, disparities, and historical and generational trauma is a key part of our work.
- Restorative Justice – Addressing the root cause of historical trauma. Restorative justice emphasizes healing the harm done by the offense and rehabilitating the offender to avoid future harms. Such processes are in line with traditional Aboriginal views of justice. In a sense, this work is about returning to the teaching and decolonization. This is an example of restorative justice in a remote Ojibway community – Hollow Water First Nation.
- Gender Justice – We seek to redefine what gender justice means based on decolonizing gender roles and identities. Gender justice is about decolonizing and also embracing modern times in the many identities we share. This work may include:
- Restoring Matriarchy
- Decolonizing Masculinities
- Honoring Two-Spirits
- Healthy Native Families and Individuals
- Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference – We had help two previous successful conferences in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Baraga, MI) in 2018 and 2019. We worked in collaboration with Native and non-Native local, statewide, and regional organizations. On average, we had about 32 speakers per conference as well as some amazing panels! In 2018, we had 200 attendees and out of those attendees we had 60 walk in’s which were mostly from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and other communities like the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The number increased in the 2019 conference to 63 walk in’s and again, mostly from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.
- Anishinaabe Healing Stories on Racial Justice Program – This program was launched in 2018. We have held 6 events across our rural and remote Anishinaabe communities in Michigan. A total of 53 Story Sharers and 195 event attendees have participated in this important work for our people and communities. We have held these events in the following communities: Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (2018 & 2019), Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (2018 & 2019), Hannahville Indian Community (2018), and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (2019).
- Two-Spirit Program – We officially launched this program in May 209. We held our first Two-Spirit Healing Stories in Grand Rapids, Michigan in September 2019. For this event we had a total of 13 Story Sharers and 60 event attendees. We also held Two-Spirit Talking Circles in the Oneida Nation (Wisconsin) and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- MMIWG2S Program – This program was launched in August 2019. The MMIWG2S abbreviation stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girlst, and Two-Spirit People. Since the launch, we have successfully run the awareness billboard in 12 locations and a total of 27 times from August 2019 to present. Some of these locations include Manistee, MI (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians), Rudyard, MI (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians), Baraga, MI (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community), Petoskey, MI (Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians), Rapid River, MI (Hannahville and Sault Tribes), Grand Rapids, MI, Ludington, MI, Grand Haven, MI, Mackinaw City, MI, Green Bay, WI, Appleton, WI, Superior, WI, and Duluth, MN. We hosted our inaugural Healing Around the Lakes – MMIWG2S Justice, Action, & Advocacy, held in Rapid River, MI in June 2021. We had 80 attendees throughout the day and a total of 7 amazing speakers. We had vendors, crafts, and a community walk that went to the MMIW awareness billboard located on US-2 in Rapid River.