Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Native American Rights Fund

September 30, 2021
What is the Native American Rights Fund’s issue focus?

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) fights to protect Native American rights, resources, and lifeways through litigation, legal advocacy, and expertise. Since 1970, we have provided legal assistance to tribes, Native organizations, and individuals who seek to preserve tribal existence, defend Native human rights, protect tribal natural resources, and hold governments accountable to Native peoples. NARF has successfully asserted and defended the most important rights of Native Americans and tribes in hundreds of major cases with long-reaching effects.

What is something the Native American Rights Fund is currently prioritizing? Can you tell our readers a little about the goals of the campaign/project? 

Currently, we are prioritizing our Native American Voting Rights and Fair Districting in Indian Country projects (both available at https://vote.narf.org/). Native American voters continue to face unique challenges when exercising their right to vote and any legislative response needs to address these obstacles. Meanwhile, fair districting empowers Native communities to have appropriate resources and representation that they have long been denied. Coming together and taking action during the current redistricting will affect communities for the next 10 years.

Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns? Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy?

As many of our advocacy peers likely know, issues of justice often have many underlying factors and layers of intricacy. We want to educate, but we also have to remind ourselves that to inspire advocacy and action, it is most important that we explain why it matters. We aim to meet people where they are, with enough information to generate curiosity and empathy, then encourage them to seek additional information.

Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative on c3/c4 advocacy rules and guidance, and our Justice programs on the importance of the courts and judicial nominations. How has either or both most helped you? How have you worked with either or both?

We are so grateful for the resources that AFJ supplies to us and other nonprofit organizations through its Bolder Advocacy program. In addition to their timely updates and immense library of online resources, we especially appreciate our recent online training with AFJ staff in which they provided incredibly useful information about the rules of lobbying and advocacy in a 501(c)(3) charity.

Who inspires you? 

Fifty-one years ago, when we founded our organization, we were building on the resiliency and strength of our ancestors, who fought to ensure our generation would survive and flourish. The fact that generations of Native American people have worked to ensure the survival of their sovereign nations inspires our staff every day to do our part to continue their fight for justice.

All spotlights are written by AFJ members directly. Please reach out to [email protected] if you’d like to complete a member spotlight