Elevating Indigenous Voices
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Show up. Listen. Learn.
Storyteller Linda Meanus (Warm Springs) shares stories about growing up near Celilo Falls with students from White Salmon, WA. Photo courtesy of Confluence Project
A project of the Warm Springs Community Action Team, the 126-year-old commissary on the Warm Springs reservation in its new location off Highway 26 – to be transformed into a place for launching and growing businesses.
Culture, language and storytelling are powerful medicine. They create healing spaces to connect deeply with who we are, to process trauma and harness the power of clarity and resilience. Honest relationships, that support creative thinking and problem-solving help us build communities where people feel seen, heard and valued.
At The Roundhouse Foundation, we strive to elevate the Indigenous voices of the region we have the privilege of working to support. We engage deeply, with humility, as a partner – not just a funder. Recently our organization has undergone a transformative period of growth. With this increased opportunity we have prioritized building relationships with Tribal Nations and communities including support for Indigenous-led and Tribally-serving organizations. In 2021, 24 percent of our grant dollars had an explicit benefit to Indigenous communities and Tribal Nations.**
In addition to the nine federally recognized Tribes in the state of Oregon, we work to honor and recognize the 54 historic bands of Indigenous people who once called this region home. We also bridge across colonized state lines and broaden our work to build relationships across state borders.
As a family-run foundation grounded in the roots of our matriarch, we believe in sharing generational wisdom. We believe in learning from those who came before us and inspiring future generations by supporting opportunities to share and encourage others to understand those teachings and teachers. We believe in the importance of understanding the history and many challenges faced by all the Indigenous communities of our region while also honoring the culture and celebrating the successes of Native peoples today.
The Roundhouse Foundation staff and trustees continue to learn and approach each new relationship with humility. Ultimately, together, we rise alongside our Indigenous partners to ensure an authentic, accurate and current Native American narrative is highlighted and supported both culturally and economically.
**The Roundhouse Foundation used similar methodology to identify Explicit Benefit as defined by the Native Americans in Philanthropy 2019 report ‘Investing in Native Communities.’
How We Ground Our Work:
1. We show up—in community, on the Reservation, at events. We recognize that presence and sharing together are critical to relationship building and a deep understanding of each other.
2. We listen. But more than just listening, we seek to make connections between partners. We share with an open heart and work to tell our story authentically. We value language and understanding. We speak clearly and with intention, knowing that words live long after they are spoken.
3. We come up with a plan—together. We work through challenges together and explore potential opportunities for support beyond financial support and often beyond our organization. We use the “other tools in the philanthropic toolkit.”
4. We follow through. Our visits and meetings are more than just that. We strive for action-oriented solutions. Organizations and communities hear from us again and again as we face challenges collectively and share successes far and wide. Other steps along our journey have included working with Indigenous advisors, joining Native Americans in Philanthropy as an ally, expanding our network of Tribal partners and hearing directly from them.
Resources for Philanthropy
Learn more about including Indigenous partners in your grantmaking from the resources below:
- Download our ‘Building Philanthropic Partnerships with Tribal Communities – Roundhouse Foundation’s First Steps’ Flyer
- Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAIP)
- Take the philanthropy self-assessment for working with Tribal Communities – NAIP
- Participate in the Institute for Tribal Government Certificate in Tribal Relations program at Portland State University