The Importance of Our New Name: Partnership With Native Americans
I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many people in the past two years about a name change for our organization – including our partners on the reservations; donors, corporate sponsors and foundations; and our Board members and staff. It’s been encouraging to learn they not only agree with the recommendation to change a name we’ve had for many years, and one well known and respected on the 60 reservations we serve, but also that our new name – Partnership With Native Americans – was their overwhelming favorite choice.
I feel Partnership With Native Americans is a fitting name for an organization with a 25- year history of aiding remote and isolated reservations and supporting self-determination of the tribes. The reputation we’ve earned in these tribal communities is based on cultural competency and consistency in supporting the immediate needs and long-term solutions identified by our tribal partners. We wanted a name that honors these longstanding relationships and the impact we share through collaboration. As Dr. Jim Pete, Chairman of PWNA’s Board of Directors and a member of the Red Cliff Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa, stated recently: “We touch many lives every day in ways that honor the culture and traditions of the tribes.”
The name Partnership With Native Americans also does more: it clearly and readily communicates to the public who we are and what we do. Since we rely on monetary and in-kind donations to support our work with the reservations, it is important that people like you with an interest in Native causes can quickly and easily connect with us. We want you to understand what makes PWNA different from other nonprofits and to understand realities on the reservations and how the needs and challenges differ from what many people perceive. In my visits with partners on Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Northern Cheyenne, Navajo, Jemez and many other reservations, I am always inspired by the motivation and quiet leadership of our tribal partners and our shared purpose of supporting positive change on the reservations. Together, we improve quality of life for 250,000 Native Americans each year.
Native Americans suffer the highest need in the U.S., yet less than 1 percent of charitable giving in our country supports Native American causes. Our new name and supply drive underway for #NativePartnerHOPE will help raise awareness of the needs on these reservations and support our partnership with Native Americans.