Roanhorse Consulting, LLC (RCLLC) is collecting and curating a list of Native-led non-profits, Native-led grassroots efforts, Native-focused funding efforts, and stakeholders interested in moving resources to New Mexico Native American communities deeply affected by COVID-19. In March 2020 as the pandemic was reaching every part of the country, Native communities in New Mexico and Navajo had already been hard hit with some of the highest infection rates in the state compared to other racial/ethnic groups. At that time, RCLLC was hearing from friends, family, and colleagues about communities’ needs and asking where resources and donations could be sent. There was no one place to access this new, growing, and much-needed information.
As a result, RCLLC created NM COVID-19 Resources for Native Communities, a “map” to help showcase the existing resources and efforts targeting tribes and/or Native serving organizations for COVID-19 relief in New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. Thornburg Foundation was honored to make a grant to support this work, alongside other funders including the McCune Charitable Foundation and Anchorum St. Vincent, to help identify Native-led non-profits serving the critical needs of their communities during this pandemic.
The initial focus of the map was to showcase the existing and new organizations and groups who are coordinating COVID-19 relief efforts for Native communities and advocate that these groups should be supported and where possible, invest in. Given the existing systems created by the state, working in partnership with the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, RCLLC wanted the map to be complementary to these efforts, while also giving the Native-led organizations and grassroots a platform.
A concentrated focus to amplify Native-led groups and organizations is not often done. Instead, they are often overlooked and missed due to a lack of access to certain relationships, geography, and lack understanding of Native American people and sovereignty. The map was created to help bridge this gap. RCLLC also recognized the need to include relief funds targeting Native communities from across New Mexico and information on how to access them as well as institutional organizations working as hubs of information. In creating this map, RCLLC approached these activities through informal networks, peer-to-peer discussions, and the use of social media. The crowdsourced approach allows for an organic mobilization of information that centered the Native-led efforts on the ground on activities happening in real-time to be collected and shared broadly with institutions, local government officials, and investors/funders.
A report on the first phase of this work can be found here: NM Native-Led Organizations COVID-19 Resource Map