Celebrating the Indigenous Women’s Flow Fund

Jul 14, 2021

In 2020, Kindle Project embarked on a new 3-year participatory grantmaking journey called the Indigenous Women’s Flow Fund (IWFF). The IWFF was created with the dream of uplifting the wisdom and leadership of Indigenous women, building bridges of trust, sharing power, and nourishing community-sourced initiatives that would offer bright solutions to systems in crisis.

To bring forward strong participatory processes, it takes a village. Our unique ecosystem is made up of a cohort of community-based decision-makers, donors, grantees, and Kindle Project all working in concert.

The IWFF Cohort is composed of five Indigenous, multi-generational women representing Ho-Chunk, Diné, Isanti Dakhota Oyate, Raramuri, and Northern Arapaho. They are artists, seed savers, community advocates, poets, organizers, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers. They each bring their own unique vision and experience to our circle. Over the last year, the IWFF women articulated the vision for the fund and 22 Indigenous-led organizations were supported by that vision. They will work together over 3 years to move money with love and grace, intuition and strategy, and in a supportive, exploratory container. 

IWFF Donors are multi-generational and committed to leading with trust, sharing power, and using creativity in their grantmaking. They bring their curiosity and openness to our collective work. We are always welcoming new donors to join our community—if you are interested, please be in touch.

IWFF Grantees are local grassroots groups serving a vital frontline role in their communities. Each contributes to vibrant Indigenous communities through their work in food and land sovereignty, language revitalization, nourishment for women, girls, and two-spirit relatives, seed sharing, arts and culture, and rematriation. Join us in celebrating them and learning from their inspiring work!

To learn more about the intricate processes behind IWFF and the outcomes of our first year together, please read our Year One Storytelling report.

Brave Heart Society is a Native revived traditional Society that preserves and enhances the cultural identity of the Ihanktonwan Dakota of the Oceti Sakowin, or 7 Council Fires through community organizing skills with youth and other Indigenous groups, sharing culturally grounded best practices, collaborating across communities and advancing our impact towards cultural preservation, food sovereignty, health, environmental and racial justice.

Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (DIO) was created out of an international need for language materials to be implemented for language learning in the home, community and classroom. There are currently more second language learners than first speakers of Dakhóta. The coming generations need the Dakhóta language. DIO creates language materials and events that are designed to serve the existing seventeen Dakhóta nations located within five states, two Canadian provinces, the substantial urban community, as well as a growing amount of individual interest in learning to speak and revitalize the Dakhóta language.

The mission of Dream of Wild Health is to restore health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines, and lifeways. We do this by: Creating culturally-based opportunities for youth employment, entrepreneurship and leadership; Increasing access to Indigenous foods through farm production, sales and distribution; and Community outreach and education around reclaiming cultural traditions, healthy indigenous food, cooking skills, and nutrition. Our programs serve over 12,500 people each year from our youngest community members to our oldest.

The Dzil Yijiin Food Sovereignty Project vision is to restore and strengthen the local food systems on the Black Mesa (Dzil Yijiin) region, which is comprised of seven Navajo communities. The following goals will help us move towards our vision:

1. Restore corn fields and watersheds that support farmlands
2. Support farmers with plowing services and water hauling for fields
3. Continue to grow local heirloom seeds for community distribution
4. Organize workshops and presentations for continued learning around Food Sovereignty
5. Collaborate/expand network with communities, organizations, individuals in rebuilding local food systems.

Honor Our Pueblo Existence (HOPE) Mission Statement: “We embrace the Pueblo teachings of love, respect and care, working together improving the life ways of our people in order to provide an enhanced and sustainable environment for generations to come.” Our work is addressing Environmental /Health issues of concern and Cultural Preservation/Reclamation Projects @ Santa Clara Pueblo and Tewa World Sacred Places. HOPE Headquarters is located at the Pueblo where we built a Women’s House to continue our women’s ceremonial practices along with traditional healing gatherings with our Spiritual Leaders. We also are co-founders of 4 coalitions that enhance our concerns.

At mak-‘amham, we are working toward a full revival of Ohlone Indian food traditions as a part of a larger, ongoing cultural restoration that empowers Ohlone people to decolonize ourselves of layers of forcibly imposed identity and return to an identity that is aligned with that of our ancestors. Our food is full of power, and our food dispels stereotypes. Our food connects us to those we love and to our land, which we also love. By eating, cherishing and respecting these old foods and fully embracing our Ohlone culture, we honor our identities and the people we come from.

MENDING THE SACRED HOOP works from a social change perspective to end violence against Native women and children while restoring the safety, sovereignty, and sacredness of Native women. We are committed to strengthening the voice and vision of Native peoples through grassroots efforts to restore the leadership of Native women.

For over 40 years, we have served American Indian youth in various innovative programs that are culturally grounded, participatory and fully engage youth in a self-directed path to holistic wellness and to success in education and employment. MIGIZI acts as a circle of support that nurtures the development of Native American youth in order to unleash their creativity and dreams – to benefit themselves, their families and community. In our Education, Leadership, and Culture goal areas we have programs such as Sacred Visions, Native Academy, and our Academic Support program that focuses on integrating cultural practices with academic studies that allows for a relatable and engaging time of learning. Working with our partners we provide engaging, interactive learning activities and a space to discover and develop youth secondary and post-secondary education, career pathways and a sense of belonging.

My name is Rose Fraser, executive Director for the Oyate Teca Project, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Oyate Teca Project is a native-led non-profit organization located in Kyle, SD. Our mission is to promote the well-being of children and their families through education, health, cultural and recreational programs and activities. We are honored to be recognized for our work. We offer several programs, one is the Medicine Root gardening program which a 9-month gardening program geared at educating our families in growing their own food, becoming self-sufficient, and our cultural program helping our people remember how self-sufficient we once were, we share our elder stories, traditional food gathering and preservation, regalia and start quilt making, and arts & crafts, both programs give the participants an opportunity to become seasonal entrepreneurs, by selling their fresh locally grown produce or art & crafts at our summer farmers markets, we also provide quarterly community events, and summer recreational programs for our youth and their families. Follow us on Facebook: Oyate Teca Project and Medicine Root Farmers Market.

Our mission is to build the capacity of Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect sacred lands, waters and cultures. SPI is an Indigenous-led, grassroots, community-based organization located in the ancestral homelands of the Tongva People in Los Angeles. We work with Native Nations, Elders, traditional cultural practitioners, Indigenous organizations, environmental justice groups, universities, artists, youth, and others to protect environmentally and culturally significant places, practices, and ideologies and create paradigm shifts that support environmentally and socially just systems that assure the continuation of Indigenous cultures for all time. California Native Nations have been fighting since those first acts of violent displacement to protect the lands and waters within their ancestral territories and undo the environmental damage caused by colonization. Industries such as gold mining and oil and gas extraction continue to threaten culturally and environmentally significant lands and waters, and tribal communities continue to respond. SPI was founded to support and uplift these campaigns and work alongside tribal governments and traditional community leaders to advance policies and procedures in support of Indigenous environmental justice goals.

Seeding Sovereignty, an Indigenous-led collective, works to radicalize and disrupt colonized spaces through land, water, body, and food sovereignty, community and movement building, and cultural preservation and thrival. In kinship with others, we revision new systems that work for our collective liberation and shift power to people of the global majority. Seeding Sovereignty co-creates with communities programs that honor the leadership and vision those most impacted, including: Ancestral Acres Farm & Garden, Climate Legal Justice Initiative, Community Defense and Land Liberation, Healing and Saving our Stories through Storytelling, Indigenous Impact Community Care Initiative, and Medicine Wheels.

Sunkawakan Ta Wounspe: Teachings from the Horse Nation is committed to preserving the teachings of our ancestors and nurturing the relationship between the horse nation and the people of Standing Rock. We come from a horse culture and are actively working on bringing horses back into the lives of our people. We often talk of the affects the Indian Wars, forced  assimilation, US federal Indian policy and boarding schools have had on our people but what we seemed to have forgotten was how traumatic the loss of the horse was to our ancestors.

Founded in 1977, the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples emerged from a call from Indigenous communities in the Americas during the cultural, social and political renaissance era of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Leaders of the time, such as our primary founder, the late Daniel Bomberry (Salish/Cayuga), included chiefs, clan mothers, youth and community activists who established the organization to respond to the needs of grassroots Indigenous communities and initiatives engaged in cultural revitalization, leadership development, tribal sovereignty, and culturally appropriate economic development strategies. Seventh Generation Fund grew and evolved into the foremost Indigenous non-profit/social-profit organization in the United States. We have long recognized the critical need at the Native grassroots community level for access to resources, technical assistance and training to address an overall need for healthy and sustainable environments. Our work throughout the Americas has consistently been based on traditional Native concepts of holistic ecological stewardship. Seventh Generation Fund and the communities we serve have long understood the direct relationships between a healthy environment, social justice and community well-being. We remain focused on supporting grassroots development through Native community empowerment and action.

At our 10-acre farmstead on the Oneida Reservation, our goal is to serve as a place to host events where the community comes to learn about planting, growing, harvesting, seed keeping, food preparation, food storage, as well as making traditional tools and crafts. With these goals in mind, an Oneida faithkeeper named our property Ukwakhwa: Tsinu Niyukwayayʌthoslu (Our foods: Where we plant things). One of our current projects is building a certified kitchen to help the community have more access to indigenous foods and to build their skills and confidence to process their own foods.

White Buffalo Recovery is a CARF accredited drug and alcohol prevention and recovery program operated through the Northern Arapaho Tribal health program, Wind River Family and Community Cares. White Buffalo Recovery operates a transitional house, intensive outpatient, outpatient and prevention programs, providing evidence based, culturally centered, healing and prevention resources for clients, their families and the communities within and neighboring the Wind River Reservation. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, White Buffalo Recovery has expanded its services to include working in concert with the Northern Arapaho Tribe and its tribal health program, to operate a temporary shelter and provide medical and support services for local indigent populations affected by the pandemic.

Wicoi Wawokiya, Inc. was started by a grassroots group of people in 1982 and in 1985 a domestic violence shelter (Project Safe) was established for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault victims. The goal is to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation and surrounding area by implementing strategies that will increase awareness, provide safety, and assist in prevention. The objectives are (1) to provide and enhance trauma informed crisis on, counseling and advocacy; (2) to provide awareness activities for youth on the prevention of dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, sexting, trafficking, and domestic violence; (3) to expand the education of Wiconi staff and other agency service providers; (4) to promote community awareness on the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence and encourage youth and adults in establishing healthy lifestyles; (5) to integrate culturally appropriate practices in services to victims and their children from all agencies in the community; (6) to establish coordinated community response policies, protocols and procedures to enhance services; (7) to educate and train service providers on trauma, domestic violence and sexual assault, and (8) to improve organizational practices to improve services for individuals.

Wind River Grow Our 307 started during the wake of the pandemic in 2020. A small group of friends made a call to action in providing the Wind River Reservation community with garden supplies. To date, the organization is currently serving 225 community participants. These gardeners are provided the materials to be successful in learning how to garden. The organization’s motto is: “Learn as we go, Learn as we grow.” In helping to keep the community motivated in learning and growing, the nonprofit is documenting the process so that no one is left out in knowing how to grow their own fruits and vegetables.