On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 9, 2023, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recognizes and honors Native people and their unwavering perseverance to uphold their traditions and cultures while making innovative contributions since time immemorial for a sustainable future in which all people thrive. Read on for stories from 2023 about these efforts among our grantees.
This day, recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, invites all of us to honor the sovereignty of all Tribal Nations, celebrate the innovations and leadership of Native people, and commit to a future grounded in respect for the sovereign rights of Indigenous peoples.
In rural Chiapas, Mexico, an innovative educational model for Indigenous children called “Guidelines for Thinking in My Language” has officially been adopted. Juan Carlos Hernández Barrios, director of the education organization Nenemi Paxia – Sinergias Educativas AC, shares their process and intention in this revolutionary method of engaging and preserving Indigenous languages.
After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Haaland v. Brackeen, which upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act and maintained federal protection for Tribal sovereignty over Native child welfare matters, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation released this statement in celebration of the ruling and in recognition of the continued work ahead to preserve the rights and dignity of Native people in America.
Though the state’s name is a derivative of the Dakota words mní sóta meaning clear blue water, the Dakota language is critically endangered in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, Wicoie Nandagikendan (“words” in Dakota and “learning” in Ojibwe) takes a whole systems approach to re-imagining early childhood education grounded in Indigenous language and culture.
Indigenous Americans have been and still are systemically shut out of discussions around utility grid expansions and clean energy. Brett Isaac, founder of Navajo Power, has been working to change that, expanding access to electricity throughout the Navajo Nation with local solar panel installations.
On Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is committed to revitalizing Native culture and language – not only among its children, but among the many Native adults long separated from their roots, and among the non-Native teachers who live in and around the community.
The Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative, a program of WKKF grantee Brazelton Touchpoints, brings together four Native programs in Michigan, Minnesota, Washington State, and Hawai’i to share their wisdom and experience in creating early learning opportunities for Native children and families.
Minneapolis includes one of the largest urban American Indian communities in the United States – but in 2020, it also became the flashpoint for national protests against police brutality. MIGIZI, a longstanding Native-led youth center, found itself at the collision of these two communities when fire destroyed the center’s building. MIGIZI staff spoke to WKKF communications manager Kari Carlson about the loss and MIGIZI’s future.
As part of the 2022 National Day of Racial Healing, national health equity data provider County Health Rankings and Roadmaps (CHR&R) hosted a webinar to explore solutions to health crises directly stemming from systemic racism. Speakers examined the historical and present-day impacts of settler colonialism among the Pacific Islands and the post-WWII federal Indian Adoption Project which forced Native children into non-Native, mostly White, families.