I’ve always liked Gandhi’s philosophy: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It has been adopted by TOMS Shoes, Michael Jackson, and many others, and it’s been on my mind today… Today, on this #GivingTuesday, I am wondering whether you will be a part of the change we need to see in the US. I am wondering whether you will start off this holiday season in the spirit of giving that was so generous among American Indians who kept the early settlers alive before the first Thanksgiving. I’m wondering whether you will take some time today to think on these questions…
Why is it that less than 1% of philanthropic giving goes to support Native American causes?
Why are American Indians the most underserved group in the US, despite the fact that they gave the most?
Why do most Americans seem to not know that forced colonization continues to cost the Indian people? Is this just an inconvenient truth? Or do we not want to know?
As I’ve mentioned before, there is no free ride for Native Americans. Over 500 treaties were made with the tribes, and over 500 treaties were broken by the U.S. government. It has continued to be inconvenient to honor the treaties made, and so the treaties were changed, new rules were made when there was something more the U.S. wanted. But all of this has left much of Indian country in disarray and struggling on a daily basis – right here on American soil.
- College is not free: Native Americans are half as likely as other Americans to have a college degree.
- Food is not free: Native Americans experience more food insecurity than other Americans.
- Healthcare is not free: Native Americans have epidemic disease rates but healthcare is funded at 50% less than what is funded for federal prisoners.
- Housing is not free: Native Americans are more likely to be homeless than other Americans.
- Jobs are not readily accessible: Half of American Indians are unemployed and living below poverty level.
And so today, on this #GivingTuesday, I am wondering whether you will think about the people who were forced onto isolated reservations. Think about the prejudice that still exists off the reservations. And be a part of the change that we all need to see for Indian country. Visit National Relief Charities at #GivingTuesday and let us know.