Shakopee Tribe Donates $100,000 to "Reclaiming Native Truth" Project Co-Managed by First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting
February 10, 2017
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.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following a Dakota tradition of generosity, the SMSC is one of the top 10 philanthropists in Minnesota and is the largest contributor to Native American tribes and causes across the country. It is a strong community partner and a leader in protecting and restoring natural resources. The SMSC's government, Gaming Enterprise, and various other enterprises are collectively the largest employer in Scott County. For more information, visit https://shakopeedakota.org/.
About First Nations Development Institute
For 36 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit http://www.firstnations.org.
About Echo Hawk Consulting
Echo Hawk Consulting offers expert services in executive nonprofit leadership, philanthropic giving, program design, fundraising, and marketing to tribes, grantmakers, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic individuals focused on strategic growth, social change, and investment in Indian Country. For more information, visit http://www.echohawkconsulting.com.