NAFSA staff participating in strategic planning, 2021.

This past year, the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) has embraced positive growth, turning a new page in our development as an Indigenous-led organization. We are growing upwards from our strong foundations as a nascent start-up grassroots organization into an emerging force with effective structures, strong women-led staffing, systems and resources to support the dynamic growth of the Indigenous Food Sovereignty Movement. We stand rooted in our collective strategic vision that leads our actions and intentions while making space for a new generation of Indigenous leaders to clearly articulate our emerging Theory of Change. We have had enthusiastic support from our community and growing network and alliance and we wanted to take this opportunity to update our community of supporters and collaborators on NAFSA’s strategic vision for the coming years.

Recognizing the rapid pace of change in the world and the evolution of NAFSA from start-up organization into this chapter of foundational organizational growth, NAFSA will focus attention on several key areas of impact through the many facets of our work and programs, including building our capacity, alliances, and communications sectors. Our organizational capacity building approach focuses on what is needed to bring our organization to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so that it may more effectively advance its mission and work into the future. Capacity building is not a one-time effort to improve short-term effectiveness, but a continuous improvement strategy toward the creation of a sustainable organization. This includes challenging the culture of hierarchy to cultivate a practice rooted in a culture of care, centering the human experience to nurture a balanced approach to our work.

We are committed to building good relations to support the work that is underway in Indigenous and tribal communities to rebuild our Indigenous food Systems and center food economies that are Indigenous-led. We approach this work by nurturing a resilient, resourced, connected network and community within the Indigenous food sovereignty movement that amplifies the impact of our collective work through expanded collaborative partnerships, mentorship programs, meaningful networking, and resource sharing. Our overall strategy is to build economic and political power to fundamentally shift away from extractive systems and structures while pivoting towards the cultivation of generative, just solutions and innovative approaches that emerge from within our Indigenous territories. Indigenous communities provide a nexus for this new path and have a unique opportunity to participate as active leaders in building and nurturing a new path forward. NAFSA is poised to address historical and recurring issues related to capitalism, colonization, white supremacy, internal oppression, wealth inequality, and structural racism. We have the opportunity to move towards the embodiment of a movement infrastructure organization that centers Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, utilizing invisible structures to advance and amplify radical social change, all while nurturing kinship in movement building and amplifying efforts underway to heal through decolonization and deep immersive practices imbedded in our Indigenous traditions, languages, and cultures. We also have the responsibility to nurture an emergent Indigenous non-profit sector that is accountable, transparent, equitable, and just. This raises a number of questions that I invite you to be in conversation with me as we navigate and move through changing and uncertain times:

  • What do Indigenous, reciprocal, non-capitalistic food systems look like?

  • How does capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy show up in the work that we do?

  • What strategic partnerships, governance structures, financial, legal and administrative aspects are needed to grow, develop, foster, and sustain Indigenous food systems?

  • What does it mean to practice a culture of care?

  • Does my/our/your organization have an equitable pay structure that centers gender equality, social and racial justice?

I understand that our collective work is generational, we stand on the strong foundation of those who have come before and it is our responsibility to ensure that our children and future generations will have a safe, stable, secure, and healthy future. I look forward to using my skills, talents, and platform in service to being part of the change that needs to happen so that those who come after will know that someone prayed for them to be here.