In another Feel Good Friday celebrating National American Indian Heritage Month, we profile the work of the Native American Rights Fund.
Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is “the oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide.” They do this through litigation, legal advocacy and expertise.
NARF’s legal resources are concentrated in the following five areas:
- Preserve tribal existence – helping tribes gain federal recognition of their tribal status and representing them in their exercises of tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction.
- Protect tribal natural resources – including land, water and timber rights; hunting, fishing and gathering rights; environmental protection; and prudent development of mineral resources.
- Promote Native American human rights – NARF concentrates on enforcing laws regarding rights to equal protection and to be free from discrimination in voting, education, incarceration, and religion. They also create laws to protect Native traditions, culture and property.
- Holds governments accountable to Native Americans – for the broad range of laws that protect tribal sovereignty and Native rights.
- Develop Indian law and educate the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues – laws focus on tribal sovereignty, tribal land and natural resources, human rights, and the accountability of governments to Native people. Education on Indian law is provided through consultations, training and distribution of information.
Current efforts include protecting Native voting rights, creating space for communities to heal from boarding school policies that removed children from their homes and placed them in government run boarding schools from the mid 1800’s to 1950’s, and fighting for fair districting in Indian country.To get involved with any of these efforts, click the links above. You can also support the Native American Rights Fund with a donation and by amplifying their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @NDNrights and Instagram @nativeamericanrightsfund.