Many cities across America have adopted and declared October 14th as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s a celebration in remembrance of the many indigenous people who lived and currently live in the U.S.A. As you may know, AGI’s office is based in Wichita, KS and on October 9, 2019 the City of Wichita’s Mayor, Jeff Longwell signed a proclamation acknowledging 10/14 as Indigenous Peoples’ day also.
This observance recognizes the tremendous heritage and contributions Indigenous communities have made to our cultural diversity. Today, more than 5.5 million Indigenous people live in the United States, including Native Americans and Alaskan Native populations, mostly in rural reservations across 34 states.
At AGI we believe in observing, understanding and then taking action. Observing the need, understanding how it is impacting communities and following up with action. Sadly, we are observing serious issues plaguing Indigenous communities today. Systemic inequities through racial and gender discrimination are a direct link. Although, the U.S. poverty rate is 12.3 percent, Indigenous communities have a poverty rate of 25.4 percent. The poverty rates are even higher among female-headed households (54 percent).
75% – 93% of American Indian/Alaskan Native students drop out of college before completing their degree.
Other contributing factors are:
• Lack of access to education
• Unemployment and low wages
• Inadequate health care and resources
• Credit opportunities
• High incarceration rates
AGI has had a long history working with agencies to address the systemic issues that prevent Indigenous communities from thriving. In this year’s Gifts Inspiring Change catalog there are two causes aimed at life preservation, education and sustainability among these communities. Cause 6 Swimming Lessons Save Lives in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Western Alaska, and Cause 8 Solar Warriors in Tribal Lands, US, are both opportunities to take action. Giving the gift of swimming lessons for the Yup’ik Indigenous communities, who live and work near the water, will be life-saving! Or, help install STEM and Solar Energy programs in Tribal schools, and you’re opening new doors for indigenous girls to seek careers in solar technology. Gift-by-gift we can level the playing field and help these communities steady their future.
Statistical sources: breadforlife.org and the Center for Social DevelopmentView all news stories