Dean Chavers: Indian Country not receiving a fair share of funds
"Indian Country does not get its fair share of private funding. That is a theme that has been playing in my head for almost 40 years. I wrote my first grant in 1970 to get some Pit River people out of jail. I wrote it on Beverly LeBeau’s kitchen table in Redding, CA, using a portable typewriter. To my surprise, it was funded in a week. That’s when I learned that some people give away money for free.

Then a decade later I did some calculations and figured that Indians were only getting about 10% of their fair share of foundation and corporation grants. So I wrote a book in 1983 called the “Funding Guide for Native Americans.” No one would publish it, so I did it myself. The following year I wrote another one called “Grants to Indians,” also self-published.

It seemed to help. What helped also was the emergence of the Native American Rights Fund, the American Indian College Fund, the Cherokee Nation’s private grants program, Native Americans in Philanthropy, and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. These national Indian organizations have raised the consciousness of the giving community, and gotten more of their money into Indian Country. Wilma Mankiller, who started as the grant writer for the Cherokee Nation when she moved back home in 1977, brought millions of dollars to the tribe. She then served 10 years as Principal Chief. I trained her in proposal writing before she left Oakland in 1977 to move back home.

John Echohawk and NARF have raised many millions in private funding for that national Indian law firm, which has won hundreds of battles for Indians over water rights, land rights, cultural preservation, and other issues. The American Indian College Fund under Rick Williams is now one of the largest fund raising organizations in the U. S. Elouise Cobell raised several million dollars in grants to support her lawsuit."

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DEAN CHAVERS: Funding in Indian Country not fair (The Native American Times 9/28)