Shining a Light on the Past Catalyzes Action for the Future

Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President & CEO, Women’s Funding Network

Dear Colleagues,

This week several countries, including the U.S. and Canada, marked a commemoration and celebration of Indigenous peoples. 

Edgar Villanueva, founder of Decolonizing Wealth, urges people to “draw on Indigenous wisdom and teachings to understand how to heal relationships and leverage the day to talk about the truth and reconciliation.”

We must not ignore what has come before if we are going to forge a stronger foundation for the future.

For example, there were 140 federally-run Indian Residential Schools in Canada between 1831 and 1998. The government separated some 150,000 Indigenous children from their families and forced them to assimilate into Canadian society in an attempt to erase thousands of years of cultural knowledge and heritage.

Today, the Canadian Women’s Foundation is not only helping shine a light on the past but is also using it to catalyze action. They have created a list of key resources to learn more about the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s action plan to end violence against indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse people.

In addition, Native Americans in Philanthropy recently highlighted action steps to honor the National Day of Remembrance for U.S. Indian Schools, and their CEO Erik Stegman shared additional insights as to what philanthropy can do collectively to take action for missing and murdered indigenous women. Stegman calls for philanthropy to invest into an ecosystem of diverse organizations that can support grassroots movements in re-framing issues, building coalitions, advocating for more funding, and pushing for policy change.

Thank you for all you do to uplift the leadership of women, girls, and marginalized genders and races who are advancing solutions for change. We stand beside you and commit to centering your voices and honoring those who hold an unflinching commitment to equity and justice.

In Solidarity, 

Elizabeth Signature
Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Women’s Funding Network 
President & CEO

Letters from Elizabeth