DEI, Native people, and intentional engagement

DEI, Native people, and intentional engagement

// By Jacqueline Brennan

Raymond Foxworth, vice president, grantmaking, development and communications at First Nations Development Institute, says conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) often do not include Native Americans. He’s focused on changing that, and will advance the discussion about inclusion of Native people and communities during the Upswell workshop, “DEI (Don’t Exclude Indians).”

“At First Nations, we work to elevate and promote Native American voices at conferences that specifically target philanthropy, and the nonprofit sector more broadly,” says Raymond, who is also an alum of Independent Sector’s American Express NGen Fellows program (learn more about Raymond). “We want to elevate this critical need for increased representation, increased factual knowledge, and increased visibility for and about Native American people and communities, and community-based organizations that are doing exceptional work.

“I would argue if we look at mainstream and current conversations around DEI work, Native people are not included in those conversations, and without being intentional about our inclusion, we’re subject to leave this small but important population behind in these really critical conversations.”

The workshop will raise awareness of the lack of knowledge that American people in general – including people that work in the nonprofit sector – have about Native people and communities.

“There’s a huge knowledge gap in terms of factual information that people at all levels of American society have about Native Americans. Our workshop will talk about that lack of knowledge, the biases, and stereotypes that people at all levels have about Native people, from overt racist stereotypes to some of the more “good” or benevolent stereotypes that are just as harmful to Native people and communities,” according to Raymond.

“We’ll also talk about how those biases translate into the philanthropic sector in terms of the lack of giving to Native communities and causes, and the lack of giving specifically to Native-led community based organizations.”

Raymond is partnering on the workshop with Hester Dillon, program officer at the NoVo Foundation, who’ll discuss their path to a process to be intentionally inclusive of Native communities and investment in Native-led change. They’ll share what was learned along the way, and resulting best practices they recommend for others in the philanthropic space who are engaged in DEI work.

“It’s my hope that people will leave the workshop excited about learning more about Native communities and Native-led change specifically, continuing to educate themselves on Native communities and populations, and how to be allies in advancing Native-led work,” Raymond adds. “I look forward to talking about the great work going on in Native communities, and doing my part to advocate for the folks served by First Nations Development Institute, which is community-led change.”

DEI (Don’t Exclude Indians) is happening Wednesday, November 13 from 4:30 – 5:30 pm.

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1 Comment
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    […] communities in your DEI discussions, and he’ll drive that point home in his Upswell workshop, “DEI (Don’t Exclude Indians).” We caught up with Raymond to learn more about him, including the one thing that would help him […]

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