“Accessibility for All” Holds Meaning on World Tourism Day

Today is World Tourism Day, recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.” Tourism is something many Native American tribes are familiar with, particularly in the U.S. and even more specifically tribes on Historic Route 66.

9.27.16-World-Tourism-Day---Rez-Need-Church-3-Supai-crThrough this year’s theme of “Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility,” UNWTO is inspiring everyone to “experience the incredible diversity of our planet and the beauty of the world we live in.” We encourage you to consider this and the many wonders that can be seen when you visit an Indian reservation.

We also encourage you to remember to be discerning in your purchases of Native American goods, should your travels bring you to Indian Country. “Native-inspired” does not mean Native-made and we previously posted some guidelines to follow when you’re wondering about authenticity.

The UNWTO’s broader theme of accessibility is one we wholeheartedly support. Accessibility – to nutrition, education, health care – is a challenge faced by many Native Americans living on the reservation, due to geographically remote and isolated locations. Also, many Elders have physical limitations that keep them homebound. Partnership With Native Americans addresses these needs through a number of services, at the right time, in the right way, made possible with the help of donors, collaborators and reservation partners.

Whether you’re planning a weekend road trip, or a multi-country, globe-trotting adventure, we wish you safe travels and accessibility to all the joyful experiences and perspective travel has to offer.

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Charity Evaluator Groups Recognize PWNA

Today we have good news to share: PWNA recently received our newest recognition from several well-respected groups that evaluate nonprofits, and we are excited to share these honors with you.

9.20.16-badgesPWNA is now a Platinum GuideStar Exchange Member.
The GuideStar Exchange is a network for voluntary exchange of nonprofit information. Annually, this information is used by nearly 7 million individual, corporate and foundation donors. GuideStar offers Bronze, Silver, Gold and now Platinum membership levels. In our seven years as an Exchange member, PWNA held Gold status for several years, embracing maximum financial transparency to donors. PWNA recently achieved Platinum status by adding annual results metrics to our profile, conveying our focus on measuring progress and results. This allows donors such as you a way to compare our key results year over year, and a more concrete way to understand our impact, rather than evaluating solely on financial ratios.

PWNA is a 2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit, our 7th consecutive annual award.
As a result of solid customer service and programs effectively aligned with the needs of our reservation partners, PWNA has earned a 2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit award. This rating is based on independent reviews about working with us, as posted on the Great Nonprofits (GNP) website by our partners, donors, suppliers and corporate or nonprofit collaborators. Monthly, 360,000 donors read Great Nonprofits reviews.

PWNA is a 2016 CFC-participating charity, our 6th consecutive year of approval. 
Did you know only 1 percent of the 1.5 million charities in the U.S. are approved to participate in federal workplace giving through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), and that PWNA is one of them? The CFC is the largest workplace giving campaign in the U.S., including all federal employees and the military. To participate in the CFC, PWNA undergoes an annual application process, certification of services provided to each community, and a three-stage approval by Independent Charities of America, a charity federation and the federal Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. Pledges for the 2016 CFC will begin this November. Our CFC charity code is 95225, and we are listed this year in the CFC catalog under our education program name, AIEF.

 Our staff, board members and volunteers are passionate about supporting our Native American partners’ community-led initiatives to achieve a better quality of life. We are proud to have achieved these ratings, along with our continuing BBB-accreditation, to help share our story with the world. We will be displaying these acknowledgements on our website at www.nativepartnership.org and hope to see you there.

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is the start of many things: a new school year, football season, the official kick-off of fall. And with this new season comes an important focus for the month of September: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

This issue is particularly profound to Native Americans who have seen an increase of youth suicides on reservations in recent years. The Indian Health Service (IHS) reports suicide rates for Native American youth aged 15 to 24 are more than 3 times than the national average. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) shares, “Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is often the result of mental health conditions that affect people when they are most vulnerable.”

9.13.16 Suicide Prevention Awareness Month - TedxRapid CityWhile a number of insightful and helpful resources are available through IHS and NAMI, we are also encouraged by the work being done within local communities themselves. Last month, Taylor Schad, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, spoke at TEDxRapidCity, where she described death and suicide as “somehow normal in her high school experience,” and shared meaningful discussion on the benefits of peer-to-peer mentoring and its impact on suicide prevention.

Taylor was involved in Cobbler 2 Cobbler peer mentoring program. (The Cobbler is the mascot of Central High School, which Taylor attended.) This peer program showed students they had the capacity and potential to be as strong, resilient and durable as a mountain. Throughout the TEDx talk, Taylor describes how peer mentoring helped cut down the forest of trees that blocked the views of the mountains the students could become.

PWNA applauds the sincere and vital work of our reservation partners who are addressing suicide prevention and awareness. And we encourage you to view Taylor’s TEDx talk, and to consider how you can help those in your life who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Taylor and her classmates knew something had to be done, took action, and saved lives.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, or think a loved one or someone you know may be at risk, check out the Suicide Prevention Resource Center or call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) for more information.

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International Literacy Day and the Literacy-Poverty Link

“Reading the Past, Writing the Future.” This is the theme for International Literacy Day on Sept. 8, marking the 50th anniversary of the World Congress of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy. Their aim is raising literacy rates across the globe and addressing issues that challenge illiteracy, which is most prevalent in impoverished communities.

The population most affected by illiteracy are students from low-income families.

Studies show there is a significant amount of cognitive brain development while students are in their earlier grades of school, and events such as missing many days of school is a hindrance to this development. Even greater detriments to early development include inadequate nutrition, health issues and the stress of dealing with personal issues, and the literacy-poverty link has its own impact. Many Native American students come from this exact environment.

9.06.16 International Literacy Day copyright - AIRC-Literacy 11-Tayson Williams and mom StephanieA report by UNICEF shows world poverty has spiked in recent years, touching 1 in 10 people. This is an alarming statistic by itself, but poverty rates tend to show a strong connection to literacy rates, as do family abilities to afford higher education. While literacy programs cannot directly address the base issue, they can at least give these students the skills that will help them continue their education, and in the long run, possibly improve economic conditions through broader choices in livelihood. Literacy programs have been shown to improve interest and retention of students, improve workplace production in adults, and improve recidivism rates of inmates, bringing overall benefit across many groups.

Today, literacy programs across the U.S. assist some 200,000 people from ages 8 to 65+.

Although a significant number of people are being reached, some 40 million Americans are hindered by inadequate reading skills. PWNA is doing its part to help alleviate illiteracy, by providing books and incentives to encourage adult-child reading time and literacy development of youth in reservation communities. In 2015, alone, PWNA and its American Indian Education Fund program provided literacy supplies for more than 25,000 Native American students.

I heard a phrase from a friend once, “Education is the new Buffalo.” His meaning? That the ways we can live our lives improves drastically when we are able to improve our skills through education, and these are skills important to every aspect of our lives – the issue being that the opportunity to develop reading and retention skills are sometimes in short supply. In keeping with this year’s theme of International Literacy Day, I’d like to end saying: read the past, and support literacy programs, so that our youth and our society can learn to write their own future.

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Recently in Native News

News listicle icon - blogIf you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you know we like to stay apprised of Native news and relevant articles. We’re excited to further share what we discover by providing links to this news on a regular basis on our blog. Take a look at information that piqued our interest this month:
The real history of Native American team names via USA Today

  • “Native American team names mean honor and respect. That’s what executives of pro sports clubs often say. History tells a different story. Kevin Gover punctuates this point with a rueful smile. He is director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and a citizen of the Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. The Capitol dome looms outside the windows of his fifth-floor office as he talks about the historical context of an era when Native American mascots proliferated like wildflowers.”

Helping College-bound Native Americans Beat the Odds via NPR

  • “Native American students make up only 1.1 percent of the nation’s high school population. And in college, the number is even smaller. More than any other ethnic or racial group, they’re the least likely to have access to college prep or advanced placement courses. Many get little college counseling, if any. In 1998, College Horizons, a small nonprofit based in New Mexico, set out to change that through five-day summer workshops on admissions, financial aid and the unique challenges they’ll face on campus.”

Protests over huge North Dakota pipeline via BBA News

  • “More than 100 peaceful protesters have gathered in Washington DC to express their fears about a huge oil pipeline which will cross four states in the western US. The $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline has prompted huge protests, notably in North Dakota where Native Americans have halted its construction. It will run 1,168 miles through Iowa, Illinois, and North and South Dakotas.”

Sacred Powwow Draws Native Americans to California Foothills via KQED News

  • “They came from all over the U.S. to the small foothill town of O’Neals. Members of Indian tribes as far away as South Dakota converged for a powwow to help celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Sierra Mono Museum. For the last two summers, wildfires forced cancellation of the long-standing powwow. But not this year.”

What Native news are you reading? What would you like to see us include here in the future?

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Olympics and the Spirit of Friendship and Solidarity

Oympic flags copyright Brad Caulkins: http://www.123rf.com/profile_bradcalkins

Oympic flags copyright Brad Caulkins: http://www.123rf.com/profile_bradcalkins

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are now complete. Myriad countries won medals, records were broken and millions of people around the world united for a common cause: cheering on athletes of all different nations, cultures and backgrounds.

In support of this worldwide opportunity to find common ground, it’s encouraging to note that the International Olympic Committee created the Olympic Movement, with the goal “to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

With this in mind, PWNA is proud and excited to spotlight three Native American athletes at the 2016 Olympics.

  • Pow-wows.com spoke with gymnast Ashton Locklear, Lumbee, who is the first-ever Native American on the United States Women’s Gymnastics Olympic team. Locklear is an alternate on the team, and said during the interview,I feel a great sense of pride and am honored to represent native people.”
  • Rickie Fowler, who is Navajo (and Japanese) on his mother’s side, is a well-known professional golfer, and represented the U.S. at the Olympics.
  • Jamie Thibeau, T’Sou-ke Nation, is a member of the Canadian Women’s Volleyball Olympic team.

Who did you cheer for during this year’s Olympic Games? Which Native athletes do you want to see at the next Olympics?

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Giving Back-to-School Hope for Students

The greatest gifts are generosity and hope, and we saw plenty of both through our 2016 Student Backpack Drive, raising funds and securing gift-in-kind donations for Native American students in need.

8.23.16 Giving Back-to-School Hope - AD - Backpack Draft FB (no hashtags)Yoobi (pronounced “you-be”) means “one for you, one for me.” For every Yoobi item you purchase, a Yoobi item is donated to a classroom in need, right here in the U.S. PWNA learned this, firsthand, when Yoobi donated an extensive array of school supplies through our Student Backpack Drive. Yoobi items are available at Target.

Joining in on the event, Riteline USA also donated some awesome stylus pens for use in Native classrooms.

PWNA welcomes these newest in-kind donors and appreciates their support for the students!

More than 850 individual donors also contributed, with heartfelt donations and social shares reaching out to spread the word.

Thanks to all of you for your generosity and the gift of hope that brought more than $43,000 in backpack supplies and aid, with gifts still coming in. Up to 35 percent of Native American children live below poverty level, so this support is vital to the students and their schools.

As our CEO/President Robbi Rice Dietrich shared earlier this summer, “The first day of school is a milestone event for students, and the excitement of a new school year shouldn’t be tarnished by a lack of supplies.”

The school supplies distributed by PWNA and our AIEF program help teachers ensure more children return to school this fall, setting Native American students up for success.

You made a difference – please join us in sharing this impact through your social pages! And remember, PWNA is stocking up on school supplies year-round for future distributions.


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Voting Challenges Faced by Native Americans

8.16.16 Native Voting - stock photo -13716821-vote-image-copyright---twThere is no doubt that this Presidential election is perhaps one of the most important decisions Americans are going to make this year. With the Native American population growing, individuals must be willing to register, educate themselves on the candidates and be prepared to vote this November.

However, there are challenges exclusively facing Native Americans in regards to voting laws, such as North Dakota’s new voter ID law, which requires a street address on a voter’s identification card – something old tribal IDs do not print. It’s believed that these new restrictions are part of a much broader effort by one political party to reduce turnout among Native American voters on Election Day. In fact, North Dakota is one of 17 states that have new voting restrictions in place since the last Presidential election.

Tribal members in those states are suing in order to change the laws – five federal lawsuits involving Native Americans have been filed, including three this year alone. As Americans, it’s important for all of us to have a voice, and in this case, to recognize that some of the tribes facing voting issues are in key counties where increased voter turnout has tipped the balance in recent congressional races.

It’s important we all have a voice and particularly important for the Native voice to be heard. Many Native American Elders encourage tribal members to vote for change. As of right now, more than 1 million Native Americans who are eligible to vote are unregistered voters.

The National Congress of American Indians and Native Vote 2016 are educating Native voters about the candidates and ballot measures – especially the issues central to Indian country and the need to develop Native policy platforms. Native Vote 2016 will be preparing materials to aid in these efforts, working with regional organizations and other non-profits to increase voter awareness and education efforts.

In the meantime, open the door for your voices be heard. Register to vote, encourage your friends and family to do the same.

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and with it we celebrate our culture, our identity, in hopes of improving lives socially, economically, educationally and spiritually. Established by the United Nations and dating as far back as 1994, this important day goes fairly under the radar. So, PWNA would like to take a moment to talk about it and the indigenous culture in the U.S., and bring some education into an age-old truth experienced by many in today’s society – walking in two worlds.

8.09.16-International-Day-of-Indigenous-Peoples---IMG_5195-TWMany cultures encounter this challenge: How do we practice our culture in a society that demands a large portion of our time outside of that  culture? How do we connect our culture to our daily lives?

I was raised traditionally by my father, and since my independence have had issues tying my culture to my everyday life… where I work, where I go to college to complete my formal education, and even in everyday social situations. Many of us indigenous to America know this can be a struggle, but it’s not just about our ceremonies. It’s about our outlook and the keeping of our values in our day-to-day lives.

Frankie Orona from the Borrado and Comecrudo of Texas, and the Chumash and Tongva of California, was kind enough to offer a few words on this topic.

“I have found it is very difficult at first when learning how to prioritize what’s important and critical on living and walking the spirituality and way of life of your people, versus surviving in today’s society. I was told one time by one of my elders that ‘we don’t really need all the physical ceremonies we do as Native people because we have them inside of us and were born with those teachings that come from the ceremonies already…’ I think the difference between our spiritual beliefs as Native people and the mentality of today’s society is that we are taught spiritually through teaching passed down to think of future generations… rather than today’s society teaching you must think and put yourself first without considering the consequences to others and future generations.”

As it turns out, Native Americans may carry our culture closer than we think, according to a small study done by Evergreen State College that gives a quick generalization of Native behaviors and values, including acceptance, mutualism, non-verbal orientation, and practicality, among others. Through our background, and our ancestral upbringing, it could be argued that it is an inherent part of our nature to “walk in two worlds” every day.

With so many cultures and social intersections occurring all around us, and obligations following us home through technology long after normal working hours, it can be easy to forget a simple teaching in my culture: “Mitakuye Oyasin” (we are all related), reminding us that we are intertwined with our cultures, and our devotion to each other. Let’s all be mindful of this, on this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

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137 Ways to Just Move It on the Navajo Nation

move·ment (müv-mənt)

Defined by Webster as “the act or process of moving,” on a more significant scale, movement is also a change of conditions or “the act or process of changing a situation or event…” 8.2-Just-Move-It-logo-credit-added

The original kick-off to the Navajo Nation’s Just Move It (JMI) campaign, which runs each year between May and July, dates back to 1993. This year, July 28th will mark the final event for the 2016 season, and Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) wants to extend our hearty compliments for another year of Just Move It. What began in just 20 communities with fewer than 500 participants has grown exponentially to a whopping 40,000 people in 137 communities across the Navajo Nation.

Movement is really the only way to describe the Just Move It program, which was established to combat health disparities that are facing Navajo and other indigenous communities daily. According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death among American Indian/Alaska Natives and diabetes ranks fifth in the same listing. Obesity is not only impacting our adult population, but Native youth are also at risk at an alarming rate. Community efforts are necessary to effectively combat these inequities.

PWNA has been fortunate enough to support events such as Just Move It for many years, and this year we are providing incentives and supplies for more than 2,000 participants through 11 Program Partners in Arizona and New Mexico. Three tons of supplies have gone out – reaching all five agencies of the Navajo Nation. PWNA tribal partners use our supplies to help participants stay hydrated and protected in the summer heat. Water, sunscreen and lip balm are just a few examples of necessities that help those attending the Just Move It community events.

8.2.16 Just Move It - Madison Toledo1My own experience with JMI was hosted at the Red Rock Chapter near Gallup, New Mexico, several years ago. Community members of all ages were arriving to run or walk the designated path towards better health. Although the event is non-competitive, many participants came prepared to run – setting a faster pace for those wishing to challenge their cardio levels. Elders, children and families with babies in strollers were all encouraging one another, smiling and visiting as they walked. Many sported their JMI t-shirts and I even earned one for participating. Staff from the Indian Health Service (I.H.S.) and the Community Health Representative program were on hand to educate and provide important screenings for blood pressure and blood sugar levels, keeping their community members informed.

PWNA congratulates the Navajo Nation, our Program Partners and I.H.S. on closing out another year of Just Move It, and we look forward to supporting JMI as they approach their 25th anniversary and beyond. Through JMI, the Navajo Nation has successfully provided the stage (actually 137 “stages”) for individuals to actively defy the health disparities afflicting their communities. On the Navajo JMI website it challenges each person to create their own change of condition: “You can do something about your health – It’s Up to You…It is up to each of us to shape healthier lives and communities.”

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