The Native Justice Coalition was formed in 2016 with the intent of being a platform for healing, social, and racial justice for all Native American people. We seek 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.
"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 grant dollars targeting Native Americans dropped 30.8 percent in the latest year, compared to a 14.1 percent overall downturn in foundation giving." - Report - 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. We seek to change this narrative around and center our people in our work. Addressing current traumas, disparities, 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 teachings 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
Our inaugural Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference took place April 13-15, 2018, which had 32 speakers and 200 event attendees. We also had 60 walk ins who were mostly from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and nearby tribal communities such as Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. This was during a huge spring snowstorm that covered the Great Lakes during our conference weekend.
We had successfully launched our Anishinaabe Healing Stories on Racial Justice Project in 3 Anishinaabe communities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2018! We had recruited 23 Story Sharers and had over 100 event attendees between the 3 communities.
We had two day long Anishinaabe Racial Justice Coalition meetings in the lower peninsula of Michigan in 2018. We held our coalition meetings in Naaminitigong (“the land beneath the trees” - Manistee - July) and Waawiyaatanong (“at the curved shores” - Detroit - December). We had 70 meeting attendees between the two locations.