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Native Americans and Philanthropy: Discovering a Case for Promotion of Civil Society as Philanthropy and Development Professionals

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Arts in Philanthropy and Development Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Winona, Minnesota

by

Charles Albert Cunningham November 1, 2009

Final Research Project for PHDE627 Cross-Cultural Philanthropy: Principles for Success and Community Impact Instructor: Dr. Lilya Wagner, CFRE

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Abstract Throughout the history of one of the greatest nations on earth there has been a specific peoples group, many times maliciously abused, evilly treated, murdered, raped, enslaved, acted upon with forced relegation, and all resulting still in abject poverty. This peoples group, though now given pseudo-sovereignty considered one under a larger umbrella, perhaps because of continual type casting, is in fact many nations of relatives. Though human beings, they have literally been treated worse than dogs. They have been falsely called Indians and though this branding has never been true, they continue to be forced to accept this branding. The United States Congress sits in their marble gleaming, white-washed chamber, built from the very minerals and stone that once lay under sacred lands which bore the stain of the blood of countless thousands of Native Americans. These same stones remain hearing continually the lies spoken from these hollowed halls and bare witness to the very Congressional Acts that prove to these First Nations Peoples that their sovereign nations remain as conquered and therefore subservient to the master government which slaughtered and conquered their ancestors.

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Historically, in treatises and in law, some of the largest of the tribes of the First Nations Peoples have been given back certain inalienable rights, lands and protections, but the actual restoration of these rights has scarcely been realized. Even what has been restored has always been less than what was promised. Promises of water rights have been as dry as the paper they were printed on. Treatises have continually been broken. The so-called promises of land have been mostly mere tripes of waste property and whenever any value has ever been found on these lands they were stolen back through means of land trusts laws. The minerals were then raped from the lands and the profits went to anyone other than the legal owners. In the United States Congress, in 1956, full federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina was abandoned for termination language. Rather than provide any real opportunity for self improved economic stability to this Tribe of First Nations Peoples, they were effectively cut-off from any potential relationship with other Native American Tribes and stripped of all rights to access the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Care (see also http://www.lumbeetribe.com/History_Culture/History_Culture%20Index.html). These proud people are continually forced to stand before Congress and the Senate in endless litigation processes. The Lumbee Tribe of Native Americans is not alone when they intensely feel the weight of poverty and unemployment. They are not alone in their need for adequate health care and funding for education. Yet they remain, to this very day, standing literally alone as a singular tribe without legislation overturning the termination language; all the other tribes that Congress had passed termination language on have been given back their rights to full federal access. This means they continue to stand apart from any hope of support by a government that pretends to understand their needs. They stand alone without any rights to any restoration of any reservation

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lands. They feel that their voice of only fifty-five thousand tribal members is too small to be heard. The Lumbee Tribal Peoples are not totally alone. There was found some attempt to create a larger national voice from amongst the multi-national tribes: The National Congress of American Indian website discusses the history of their organization, “The National Congress of American Indians was founded in 1944 in response to termination and assimilation policies that the United States forced upon the tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and status as sovereigns. Since 1944, the National Congress of American Indians has been working to inform the public and Congress on the governmental rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives” (retrieved by Charles Cunningham on October 27, 2009 from the National Congress of American Indians online database). The issues of poverty, unemployment, economic depravity, poor health care, and inequality of education are felt amongst every Native American Tribe and amongst the Alaskan Natives in the United States. Jacqueline Johnson Pata (2009) Testimony for the United States Congress House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: The Silent Depression: How Are Minorities Faring In the Economic Downturn? “The 2000 Census reported the per capita income for American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations at $7,942, merely onethird the U.S. average for all races, which was $21,587. Low average income, coupled with high unemployment, means the poverty rate for Indian families on reservations is 36 percent, which is two and half times the national average” (retrieved by Charles A. Cunningham on October 27, 2009 from the National Congress of American Indian online database). These and other statistics of unemployment prove that Native American unemployment rates have remained at over twice the national average ever since the Great Depression. Even during the Great Depression the

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Native American unemployment was higher than all other peoples groups. Mr. Alex Baker Public Relations Manager for the Lumbee Tribal Council (2009) during a telephone interview with Charles Cunningham said, “Economic development is always a priority issue to our tribal people. Childhood Diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease is higher amongst Native Americans than amongst other Americans. While the science and technology of America has advanced to a point where the discovery of the causes of many diseases are available, the root cause for these two issues to our Native American Peoples remains without being researched because of a lack of adequate health care research funding.” Who will listen? Who will care? Who is watching them through “the Diversity Kaleidoscope” (see Diversity Discussion Forum called Kaleidoscope of Association of Fundraising Professionals and see also http://mattadamo.com/advanced_regex.html)? What are the dreams that they weave? What mountain is touched? What valley? What river will carry them now? What skyscraper window in cityscape drama will bring someone to pray, hope, cry, dream, and most important feel? These human people lay a blanket out for their dance, for those they see in more need then they (see also http://www.nrfc.org/documents/Comm_Based_Philanthropy.pdf). Yet, who? Who is laying a blanket out for them? Will the pastor or priest? Will the church? Will the televangelist? Will the rich foundations or the pharmaceutical companies which are built out of the forests and minerals of the earth? Will the philanthropists? Where is their infomercial? Where is there a single television and radio host consistently promoting their cause? Their well lit casinos that promise tribal money steal the Native soul and turn the Native daughters into prostitutes. Jesus said, “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness” (The Bible, King James Version, Matthew 6:23b).

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Philanthropy professionals really need not look to books to learn to care, to learn to take up a cause, they simply need to see and hear and feel. Philanthropy professionals have not some new secret that enlightens reality. It is not some mystical cosmic centering that brings people to give. People give when they see, hear and feel a need, especially when the cause effects them personally, and they give because they are asked to give. The goal of the philanthropy professional is to help bring the cause and the donor together in a relationship harmony that brings about positive action. Philanthropy professionals are the blanket carriers and voice at the dance; providing for the dancers in the world who dance around the causes of problems a satisfying means to help towards solving the causes of problems. Whether the dancers are in the skyscrapers, or under the chapel bell, in symphony halls, or lying under a park bench, all have felt needs, hopes and dreams. Where the eagle flies from crested mountains high, to the sailor in the depths of the ocean within a submarine, from the International Space Station; wherever “breath of life” (The Bible, King James Version, Genesis 1:30) remains, please speak for justice, for civil society, and especially for the Native American cause. Until these sovereign peoples are given full equal rights then injustice remains the only justice. Americans truly need to stop screaming at other sovereign nations for their human rights abuses, while the members of United States Congress and United States Senate enjoy far better education, medical health benefits, economic security, wealth, water, and quality housing, than virtually all of the Native American peoples and the Alaskan Natives. Jefferson Keel, Vice President of the National Congress of Native Americans (2009) Testimony of the National Congress of American Indians on the Federal Tax Treatment of Health Care Benefits Provided by Tribal Governments to Their Citizens United State Senate Committee on Indian Affairs said,

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This Committee has noted that the IRS is targeting health care benefits and services provided by tribal governments. This is our chief concern. The federal government has treaty and trust responsibilities to provide health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Indian Health Service is the federal agency responsible for providing this care, yet the IHS is funded at only 60% of need. Most tribal communities cannot readily access health care services and, even when services are available, they are often subject to decades-old, outdated practices and services. As detailed in the statement submitted by the National Indian Health Board, across every indicator, American Indian and Alaska Natives face massive disparities in health. (Retrieved by Charles A. Cunningham on October 27, 2009 from the National Congress of American Indian online database).

Ron Allen, Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians (2009) Testimony of the National Congress of American Indians on the Supreme Court Decision in Carcieri v. Salazar and Executive Branch Authority to Acquire Trust Land for Indian Tribes: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said, Section 5: Legislation designed to implement the fundamental principle that all tribes in all circumstances need a tribal homeland that is adequate to support tribal culture and self-determination. As noted by one of the IRA’s principal authors, Congressman Howard of Nebraska, “the land was theirs under titles guaranteed by treaties and law; and when the government of the United States set up a land policy which, in effect, became a forum of legalized misappropriation of the Indian estate, the government became morally responsible for the damage that has resulted to the Indians from its faithless guardianship,” and said the purpose of the IRA was “to build up Indian land holdings until there is sufficient land for all Indians who will

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beneficially use it.”(78 Cong. Rec. 11727-11728, 1934). (Retrieved by Charles A. Cunningham on October 27, 2009 from the National Congress of American Indians online database). To this date, when President Barack Obama set up his Cabinet, which is the most diverse Cabinet in the history of the United States of America, one face has yet been left out; the face of the Native American. Why? The proposal is for philanthropy and development professionals to become a positive voice for civil society and intentionally take up the cause of the Native American Peoples and the Alaskan Natives within the nonprofit organizations and communities in which they serve. Any professional can do this as their respective organizations discuss issues of diversity and inequality. Whenever nonprofit organizations are considering specific program changes, seeking foundation grants, communicating their need to a broader society, adding employees, these are all times where diversity should come into the planning and into the discussion. What is the face of diversity at the organization? Does the organization represent the broader society? Is the face of the Native American included at the table? As philanthropy professionals, that constantly build networks and collaborative relationships, perhaps the discussion should also consider including the for-profit sector as they consider where to build their next factories, fulfillment distribution centers, training centers, and etcetera. Why not speak up in one’s broader community to take the proposal of that new expansion for a corporation to the nearest Native American Tribal Council Headquarters, to see where they might wish that expansion to be built? And, why not add one new mailing piece to a nonprofit’s regular donors? Why not add a few extra pages to the organizations website? Create and online forum? Add a newsletter perhaps? Anything that better informs stakeholders and constituents of the issues that face the Native American Peoples

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that one’s organization serves. Perhaps asking them to assist the organization and the broader society by contacting their respective Senators and Congressman to demand equality for the Native Americans? Why not seek at least one grant that will pay for advocacy for Native Americans from one of the largest corporations in one’s community? Imagine the freedom cry around the dance when someday these Native American Peoples will stand shoulder to shoulder as equals with all other human beings on this great land. Imagine the sparks floating up into the night sky on the evening when the United States Congress and the United States Senate does the right thing on their behalf; the smoke from their fires carrying all of their prayers of thanks, laughter, and tears of joy.

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References Baker, Alex. (2009) Native Americans in Philanthropy: A telephone interview with Charles A. Cunningham. The idea for all the follow-up research for this paper came directly from the telephone interview with Mr. Alex Baker, who says, “I prefer the title Public Affairs Director over Public Relations Manager” of the Lumbee Tribal Council. See also, Lumbee Tribal Council online database at URL: http://www.lumbeetribe.com/History_Culture/History_Culture%20Index.html Allen, Ron. Testimony of the National Congress of American Indians on the Supreme Court Decision in Carcieri v. Salazar and Executive Branch Authority to Acquire Trust Land for Indian Tribes: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs May 21, 2009. Retrieved by Charles A. Cunningham on October 27, 2009 from the National Congress of American Indians online database at URL: http://indian.senate.gov/public/_files/Allentestimony.pdf. Keel, Jefferson. Testimony of the National Congress of American Indians on the Federal Tax Treatment of Health Care Benefits Provided by Tribal Governments to Their Citizens United State Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, September 17, 2009. Retrieved by Charles A. Cunningham on October 27, 2009 from the National Congress of American Indians online database at URL: http://indian.senate.gov/public/_files/JeffersonKeelCORRECTEDtestimony.pdf National Congress of American Indians online database at URL: http://www.ncai.org/Testimony-Before-Congress.434.0.html and at URL:

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http://groc.edgeboss.net/download/groc/fullcommittee/testimonyjacquelinejohnsonpatancai.pdf). Pata, Jacqueline Johnson. Testimony for the United States Congress House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: The Silent Depression: How Are Minorities Faring In the Economic Downturn? 2009. (Retrieved on October 27, 2009 by Charles A. Cunningham from the National Congress of American Indians online database at URL: http://groc.edgeboss.net/download/groc/fullcommittee/testimonyjacquelinejohnsonpatancai.pdf The Bible, King James Version, Genesis 1:30 The Bible, King James Version, Matthew 6:23b The Blanket Dance. http://www.nrfc.org/documents/Comm_Based_Philanthropy.pdf The Diversity Kaleidoscope. Advanced REGEX Language Platform. This title and language platform is discussed by Matt Adamo at URL: http://mattadamo.com/advanced_regex.html. It has been adapted as the title for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Diversity Forum (see also www.afpnet.com).