Native Conservancy honored for environmental work

Native Americans in Philanthropy has selected the Native Conservancy in Cordova as one of the top six environmental organizations to follow and fund.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization cited the Native Conservancy on Earth Day, April 23, for its efforts to empower Alaska Natives to permanently protect and preserve endangered habitats on their ancestral homelands.

The group’s vision is to create resilient futures for indigenous peoples by preserving, repatriating and restoring ancestral homelands, traditional food sources and subsistence practices to revitalize Native culture, habitat, health and spirituality, NAP officials said.

The membership-based organization promotes reciprocity and investment in, with and for Native peoples to build health and sustainable communities for all, they said.

Announcement of the honor came from Dune Lankard, founder and president of the Native Conservancy, in the organization’s May newsletter.

This accolade is particularly meaningful as it comes from an organization that understands the history, the needs and the contributions of indigenous people, Lankard said. NAP also understands that, for indigenous communities, the environment is intertwined with cultural preservation, land and water rights, tribal sovereignty, and ancestral homelands, all of which Native Conservancy has been deeply committed to or close to two decades, he said.

Honor the Earth, founded to raise awareness and financial support for indigenous environmental justice, was also named as an environmental entity to follow and fund. Its founder, Winona LaDuke, serves on the board of the Native Conservancy.

The other four entities selected by NAP are Indigenous Climate Action, Indigenous Environmental Network, Kua’aina Ulu’ Auamo and Seeding Sovereignty.

Native Conservancy also announced the appointment of Theresa Fay-Bustillos to its board.

The founding chair of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, she is an accomplished philanthropic and nonprofit executive, advisor and civil rights and nonprofit lawyer who has served as executive director and general counsel for Levi Strauss Foundation.