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July 29, 2020

Defend the rights of Native Americans

topic: Indigenous people
type: Donation, NGO
by: Yair Oded

Native Americans remain, to this day, among the most marginalised and discriminated against demographics in the United States. 

Following centuries of bloody persecution campaigns by the United States government, which included the forced removal from their ancestral lands and abrogation of treaties protecting their territories, Indigenous tribes continue to face systemic oppression and violation of their rights, encroachment on and degradation of their lands, and inadequate access to resources. 

Cases that made national headlines, such as the Dakota Access pipeline crisis, represent a mere fraction of the struggle Indigenous people face to achieve justice and freedom. 

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is a non-profit organisation working to provide legal assistance to Native tribes, organisations, and individuals who could not otherwise afford adequate representation. 

Established in 1970, NARF focuses primarily on issues involving tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, natural resource protection, and Indian education, and presses both the federal and states government to abide by existing laws to protect the rights of Native Americans. 

The organisation is staffed and run by a diverse group of Native Americans coming from across the United States who hold expertise in various Indigenous matters. The organisation also provides guidance and consultation to policy makers drafting legislation that impacts (either directly or indirectly) the lives and well-being of Native Americans. 

Thus far, NARF has defended the rights of more than 250 Native tribes and tens of thousands of individuals in hundreds of victorious cases. 

It has successfully protected and established the inherent sovereignty of tribes, obtained official tribal recognition for numerous Indian tribes, ensured the continuation of ancient tribal traditions by protecting their rights to hunt, fish and use the water on their lands, and protected voting rights of Native Americans. 

NARF is also committed to using its resources toward fighting environmental degradation and the climate crisis, which disproportionately affects Indigenous tribes (as well as people of colour).

“NARF is engaged in environmental work and has established a Green Office Committee whose responsibility is to lead and coordinate staff participation in establishing and implementing policies and procedures to minimize waste, reduce energy consumption and pollution, and create a healthful work environment,” the organisation states on its website.

Please visit the NARF website to access their reports, learn about its ongoing missions and cases, inquire about ways to support its team, access its online store, and pledge a donation

Image: Victoria Pickering