There are varied ways anyone can honor Native American Heritage Month. You can read about the history of indigenous peoples — their self-governance, cultural traditions, agricultural practices they originated and other inventions — and explore how to advocate for their continued rights to land and other resources, voting, and more. 

One excellent way to celebrate and stand with Native Americans? Learn about the nonprofits supporting them across a variety of issues, and make a donation to one of many Native American Charities.

What is Native American Heritage Month?

Native American Heritage Month is a time to reflect on and uplift the sovereignty of the native peoples of this land — sovereignty which pre-dates that of the United States. It has been officially proclaimed and annually observed for the full month of November since 1990, the accumulation of several federal government proclamations and statutes under similar names that began initially in 1986. 

Moreover, the impetus for observing Native American Heritage Month goes back to the original displacement of indigenous peoples during the settlement and expansion of the United States. This month offers an opportunity to learn about and respect indigenous cultures as well as contribute to the ongoing effort to protect Native American rights nationwide.

8 Nonprofits to Donate to in Honor of Native Americans

1. Native American Rights Fund

Donate to NARF

The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit legal organization asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide. Founded in 1970, NARF concentrates on five priorities: preserving tribal existence, protecting tribal natural resources, promoting Native American human rights, holding governments accountable to Native Americans; and developing Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues. With a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of Native Americans from tribes throughout the country, alongside a staff of over a dozen attorneys, NARF works to hold federal and state governments accountable to their legal obligations to Native Americans. 

For donors who care about…

  • Protecting land, water, and other resources
  • Upholding human rights
  • Legal support
  • Voting rights

How to Support the Native American Rights Fund

2. Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA Center)

Donate to NAYA Center

The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA Center) is a nonprofit social service agency and community center that provides educational services, cultural arts programming, and direct support to reduce poverty to the Native American community living in the Portland Metropolitan Area. For over 40 years, the organization has pursued its mission “to enhance the diverse strengths of our youth and families in partnership with the community through cultural identity and education.” 

For donors who care about…

  • Youth development
  • Career guidance
  • College prep services
  • Scholarship assistance
  • Community support
  • Elder services
  • Emergency assistance 

How to Support the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA Center)

3. Native Americans for Community Action

Donate to NACA

Native Americans for Community Action is a nonprofit that provides community, wellness, behavioral, and medical services to Native Americans and non-Native people in the Flagstaff, Arizona area. The organization’s guiding mission is “to provide preventive wellness strategies, empower, and advocate for Native peoples and others in need to create a healthy community based on harmony, respect, and indigenous values.” 

For donors who care about…

  • Healthcare access
  • Mental health support
  • Community support
  • Career coaching
  • Family support
  • Cultural enrichment

How to Support Native Americans for Community Action

4. American Indian College Fund

Donate to AICF

American Indian College Fund is the largest and highest-rated American Indian nonprofit organization dedicated to providing scholarships and other financial support to increase the number of American Indians with college degrees. AICF helps over 4,000 students every year to start and stay in school, graduate, and start their careers. Since their founding in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has provided over 140,000 scholarships totaling $237 million. 

For donors who care about…

  • Higher education access and equity
  • Scholarships and financial aid
  • Degree completion support
  • Career development

How to Support American Indian College Fund

5. Native American Heritage Association

Donate to NAHA

Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) is a nonprofit founded in 1993 to serve the needs of impoverished Native Americans living on reservations in Wyoming and South Dakota. NAHA provides basic life necessities and self-help programs including clothing donations, food deliveries (including full holiday dinners for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas), fuel and stove provision for winter heating support, and vouchers for emergency expenses.

For donors who care about…

  • Economic justice
  • Food insecurity
  • Utility needs
  • Emergency support
  • Poverty relief  

How to Support Native American Heritage Association

6. Partnership with Native Americans

Donate to PWNA

Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA) is a Texas-based nonprofit that for 30 years has worked to provide immediate relief and create long-term solutions for Native Americans living on underserved and impoverished reservations. Their efforts include material aid, community services, and educational support — everything from delivering school supples and food to providing emergency aid during environmental disasters and shelter for the homeless or survivors of domestic abuse; in addition to capacity building, youth development, and higher ed scholarship support.

Due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, PWNA is also seeking contributions for an additional emergency response fund — which helps provide food, water, toilet paper, and other essentials that are even harder to access for the most vulnerable at this time.

For donors who care about…

  • Relief work
  • Education resources and access
  • Food insecurity
  • Access to clean water
  • Emergency services
  • Community development

How to Support Voto Latino

7. White Bison

Donate to White Bison

White Bison is a Colorado-based nonprofit that provides sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention, and wellness/Wellbriety learning resources to the Native American/Alaska Native community nationwide. The organization also assists many non-Native people through its resources — and counts them among its volunteers. 

Founded in 1988, White Bison promotes the Wellbriety Movement, which means “to be sober and well. Wellbriety teaches that we must find sobriety from addictions to alcohol and other drugs and recover from the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on individuals, families and whole communities. The ‘Well’ part of Wellbriety is the inspiration to go on beyond sobriety and recovery, committing to a life of wellness and healing everyday.”

For donors who care about…

  • Addiction prevention and recovery
  • Supporting holistic wellness for Native Americans
  • Building support networks for families and communities 
  • Embracing many ways of healing

How to Support White Bison

8. Navajo Water Project

Donate to Navajo Water Project

Navajo Water Project is an indigenous-led initiative within the nonprofit DigDeep Right to Water Project that provides clean hot and cold running water to families without access to water or sewer lines. They currently operate in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Like many tribes, the Navajo signed treaties with the federal government to exchange their land for funding of infrastructure, housing, and more — and are still waiting for the government to hold up its end of the agreement. The Navajo Water Project pumps, treats, stores, and transports water from new sources and delivers hundreds of families. Every contribution helps them step up and meet the needs of people in need while the fight to hold the government accountable continues.

For donors who care about…

  • Access to clean water
  • Basic human rights
  • Community support

How to Support Navajo Water Project

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