St. Paul, Minn., June 4, 2020 — George Floyd’s family and friends celebrated his life, and mourned his death, today at his memorial. It has been just over a week since Mr. Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, while other officers stood by, complicit in his murder. His death is being broadly mourned and has catalyzed direct action as people across the world, take to the streets to publicly express their pain, anger and frustration at both a policing system and a broader system that failed Mr. Floyd and has been failing people of color and Indigenous people for generations. We stand in solidarity with our Black relatives in mourning the death of Mr. Floyd and in the fight to end police violence against black and brown bodies.

Native Ways Federation (NWF), is comprised of seven national non-profits led by and serving Native people throughout the United States. NWF’s main office is in Minneapolis, or Bdeota Otunwe (City of Many Lakes, in the Dakota language), the home and ancestral homeland of our Executive Director, who is Dakota. It is territory now shared with many nations of Indigenous relatives and is the present home of people with roots stemming from across the globe. It is on this sacred Dakota homeland that George Floyd took his last breath.

The history of police violence against Black and Indigenous people in Minneapolis is rooted in historic racism. In fact, the officer who killed George Floyd was involved in multiple shootings of people of color, including that of a Native man in 2011. The law enforcement system that failed George Floyd was not created in a vacuum. This nation was built upon inequities and oppressive policies. It was built for systems that not only do not work for our communities of color and Indigenous people, but are causing us significant harm, including death.

At Native Ways Federation, we strongly believe that the answers to addressing the systemic inequities of this nation can be found by listening to the voices and leaders from the communities that have been most impacted by them. Organizations that are led by and for communities of color and Indigenous people are on the front lines of addressing the harm caused by, and dismantling, the oppressive systems their communities face every day. We call on individual donors and the broader field of philanthropy to support them in this incredibly important work, both in Minneapolis and across the nation.

There are multiple Black and community-led organizations actively working to address what police reform and other systemic change should look like moving forward, in Minneapolis and beyond. Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block, and MPD 150 are all excellent resources for learning more about what is happening in Minneapolis, and to consider supporting. The Minneapolis Urban Indian Directors (MUID) released this joint statement. Please consider supporting the work their leadership is putting forward.

There are also Native-led organizations in Minneapolis that have been particularly impacted by the recent events and could use your support, including:

  • Migizi Communications, a 40-year-old staple in the Minneapolis non-profit community focused on supporting Native youth. Migizi lost their new building on Lake Street in South Minneapolis to the fires this past week.
  • Little Earth of United Tribes Residents Association, located in South Minneapolis, is the only Native-preference urban housing community in the country. The residents are dealing with food and supply access issues during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and many of the grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses that were close by are now gone due to the fires.

Native Ways Federation sends our condolences out to the friends and family of Mr. Floyd. We stand with our relatives in the Black community in the fight to end police violence against black and brown bodies here in Minneapolis and across the nation. We also send our support to the organizations led by communities of color and Indigenous people who are leading the fight against the perpetuation of such injustice, and working toward a better, more equitable, tomorrow.

Wopida tanka (with immense gratitude),

Native Ways Federation