Through a variety of collaborative and multicultural projects, we strive to alleviate conditions of poverty, honor Indigenous wisdom, reconcile our shared history with the Peoples of the First Nations and empower youth with the leadership skills needed to affect social change in their communities.
The Four Central Themes of Our Mission:
Alleviating Conditions of Poverty:
The roots of the socioeconomic challenges faced by the communities we serve are complex: Ongoing injustices and inequities stemming from a history of colonization, genocide, dispossession and discrimination underlie the conditions of poverty on many reservations throughout the country. At the Tipi Raisers, we collaborate with our Indigenous partners towards the alleviation of these conditions through a variety of initiatives. While there are no simple solutions, we are committed to addressing the immediate needs of the families we serve and to advancing reconciliation through service. Our initiatives for alleviating poverty in the communities we work with include providing jobs, internships and skills training as well as operating a year round firewood bank, regular distribution of needed food and hygiene supplies and responding to requests for unique requests such as a wheelchair, funeral support, housing repairs, mattresses and provisions of warmth.
Education, shared experiences and courageous conversations create authentic community between Natives and non-Natives. This is complex work with no agreed upon definitions. It is wrought with generations of trauma from broken treaties, attempted genocide, overt racism and white guilt. We approach it with humility, curiosity and a deeply held conviction to get it right over time. Mistakes are made, misunderstandings happen. For our volunteers, where is their white privilege showing? For our Indigenous friends, where are assumptions of prejudice or racism? A Lakota elder who speaks to our groups, teaches us that reconciliation is "moving toward our own divinity" and that is where you will find forgiveness. This is the work of reconciliation that we seek to integrate throughout all of our activities.
At the core of our mission is a commitment to honor and take guidance from sacred Indigenous wisdom. We learn of Hózhó, the concept of the Beauty Way- a way of living in balance with the beauty, harmony and well-being of all life from our Navajo friends, and of Mitakuye Oasin(we are all related) from the Lakota People.
Indigenous wisdom from all corners of the earth teaches us that water is life, the power of the circle, that respecting and learning from ones elders is a sacred duty and that we must tend to the land today so that those who will live on it in seven generations will have a beautiful and thriving Unci Maca (Grandmother Earth). As best we can, we seek to integrate this ancient wisdom through all of our activities, operations and relations.
Gen7 Youth Leadership:
The Gen7 mission is to convene, mobilize and empower Native and non-Native young leaders; building relationships, bridging cultural gaps and providing the tools and resources necessary to bring awareness to pressing issues and make genuine change in the world around them.
Through multiple annual gatherings, Gen7 youth gain skills and build lasting friendships across tribes and cultural identities. They are supported in exploring their unique gifts and ways in which to bring them forth.
The Tipi Raisers is a Community Grounded in the Following Traditional Indigenous Values: