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PhiLab Magazine Edition on Participatory Granting and Philanthropy from an Equity and Social Justice Lens



Juniper Glass had reached out to the Arctic Indigenous Fund after attending the Environment Funders of Canada online conference and thought that it would be useful for others to hear about what AIF has tried and learned so far about Indigenous and community driven grant making.

In the Article, Shene Catholique-Valpy, Marion Ravna, and Verner Wilson share their insights of the importance of Indigenous led funding in the Arctic. 

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Click here to read the entire interview!

Webinar: Indigenous-Led Philanthropy 
Shifting Decision Making Power to Communities

Liz Liske and Christina Henriksen of Arctic Indigenous Fund take part in this webinar with RSF Social Finance staff members, Donna Daniels and Ellie Lanphier and share the discussion with Carla Busgirl of Pawanka Fund. They explore how Indigenous-led philanthropy take part in their decision making within their communities. 

Watch the Webinar here
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International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Conference (IFIP) 
Merida, Yucatan, Mexico

The Arctic Indigenous Fund travelled to Mérida, Mexico to host a session and share the impact of Indigenous-Led trust based funding in the circumpolar North.

Objective of the session:

Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the importance and impact of shifting power and resources to young leaders in philanthropy; and ideas about how they can take action or change approaches to better support emerging Indigenous leaders to thrive.

The sessions focus was to:

  1. Highlight the importance of Indigenous emerging leadership in philanthropy

  2. Understand how to better support emerging leaders to grow and thrive in philanthropy

We wanted to showcase trust-based philanthropy and leadership development supports (cultural learning)

Session Description: Come participate in a dialogue with the next generation! Learn about the importance of intergenerational leadership and how philanthropy can better support emerging leaders to grow and thrive in the sector. Studies show that young leadership in philanthropy is lacking and the Arctic Indigenous Fund is helping to fill the gap. Since 2018, 12 young new leaders have been empowered with resources to do grant-making for Indigenous people, by Indigenous people, in an Indigenous way. These young Indigenous leaders are blazing powerful new trails and disrupting the status quo in how we do grant-making. Come share space us.

Liz Liske and Chandre Szafran with Arctic Indigenous Fund talks with
RSF Social Finance's Kelley Buhles in their Newsletter about
'Empowering Communities & Transforming Power Dynamics'
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"Kelley: The structure is set up so there are two representatives that act as grantmaking advisors from each region: there are two in Alaska, two in Canada, two in Greenland, and two from the Sápmi region. Can you share a little more about the inspiration behind the structure?


Liz: My involvement with AIF is based on wanting
to work on an international level, to learn about philanthropy, and to hopefully be able to build some bridges, not only for my community but for indigenous people as a whole.


Chandre: One thing that continues to inspire me is that the AIF connects our Arctic indigenous regions. Our peoples across the circumpolar Arctic have been connected for thousands of years not just through our heritage, traditions, and practices, but also through our relationship to the land and the ocean. We’re a part of the..." click here to read full article

Dewey Kk'ołeyo Putyuk with Arctic Indigenous Fund talks with
International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) about
Investing in Movement Making Across the Circumpolar North

"AIF is kinship-based, just like many of our local Indigenous communities. We treat each other like family. As a group we have agreed to ensure that everyone in the discussion feels heard. We facilitate our meetings ourselves with a rotation of AIF staff and advisors. When we aren’t sure how to reach consensus on an issue, we might ask ourselves “what would my aunt/uncle/grandparent/local Elder back home do?”, or not, make a decision and move forward. We promote free prior and informed consent, and safe spaces to share..."

Read full article here

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AIF Annual Meeting in Sápmi (Norway)

In September 2019, the Arctic Indigenous Fund (AIF) held a successful meeting in Sápmi, which is the home of two Indigenous advisors out of the eight. On top of the traditional food, beautiful scenery and indirect knowledge exchange we all experienced, the AIF team worked hard on our upcoming grant cycle well as other organizational matters.

The meeting in Sápmi brought the AIF team closer together and the visions for the Fund got clearer. We reviewed our first grant cycle, and identified the procedure for the second grant cycle. The AIF invited our partners to participate in our meetings. We are thankful for the wisdom and knowledge shared by the participants form Tides Canada, Tamalpais Trust and RSF Social Finance. 

Photo Credit by Shayla Snowshoe, Canada Advisor

Supporting and Celebrating 

Indigenous Languages in

Bethel, Alaska 

Healing Through Language

The AIF hosted a Knowledge Exchange in Bethel in October 2018. We invited language workers from Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Sápmi to Bethel to learn from each other about the different ways to work with and support Indigenous languages in the Arctic. We hope the language workers and supporters found the exchange valuable for their important work. Being a part of our first grant cycle, the knowledge exchange helped the AIF to learn about grant giving and how to support our communities. It was meaningful for us to see the resoursfulness and hard work being put down by our communities to maintain our languages. The AIF is grateful for the good discussions we had with our grant partners and guests, and the inspiration from the knowledge exchange has been a fundament for future grant cycles. 

Arctic Indigenous Fund visits Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

The Arctic Indigenous Fund met in Yellowknife for our first official meeting as a new group in March 2018. We used this meeting to identify and establish the AIF values and mission, in addition to create relationships and learn who each advisor is. We had days filled with meetings both indoors and on the land. We find it to be an important element to go out on the land and learn how each Indigenous groups see their own home. Being on the land and sharing local/country food is important when building relationships, and it helps us make decisions that is rooted in our traditional values.

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