S.A.V.E. cannot engage in outreach due to the ongoing and expanding effects of COVID-19. This unfortunate situation has afforded us the opportunity to activate our blog. Our intent is to use this platform to communicate about what we are learning and doing on behalf of vulnerable women. By blogging we are able to share information and offer readers a way to also intensify their commitment to do whatever they can to empower women so women in turn can empower their children and families.


Minnesota Forms Nation's First State Office on Missing, Murdered Indigenous People

Native American women make up less than 1 percent of the Minnesota’s population, but homicide rates for Native women were seven times higher than for white women between 1990 and 2016.

The state’s newly-passed public safety budget included funding to create the first state office in the nation with a focus on missing and murdered Indigenous relatives. Forming the office was a recommendation of a task force focused on the same issues. The task force provided a Report ( to the MN state legislature which helped establish this new office. It is possibly the most comprehensive report in the nation. And the new office is the first in the nation. The bill also funds a new task force on missing and murdered African American women.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is creating a federal level unit ( It will open the world of data collection, accountability and the ability to create more legislation so that those systemic issues that are attributed to the vulnerability of Native women and other groups will be addressed.

For full article (07.06.2021), see:

Posted by: S. Jean Schafer

Illuminatives' Three Year Anniversary

In June 2018 IllumiNative was born from unprecedented research that showed invisibility is the modern form of racism against Native peoples and a primary threat to Native lives and livelihood. We were founded to build power for Native peoples to dismantle invisibility and the racism it fuels by amplifying Native voices, stories, and issues across popular culture, media, and other key sectors of society.

In just three years, IllumiNative has re-educated millions of Americans about who Native peoples are today and sparked a national conversation about the systemic racism we face. We have:  

  • Reached more than 144 million people across social media; 
  • Placed 291 articles and interviews in major media outlets, from the New York Times and Washington Post to People Magazine, Teen Vogue, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Lifetime, and more.
  • Partnered with 18 major entertainment and media companies to increase pathways for Native talent and representation.

With our partners across Indian Country and by tapping into powerful grassroots networks and telling our stories, we have played a leading role in achieving groundbreaking victories, including:

To learn more, go to:

Native Education for All:

Native American Boarding Schools

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) expressed deep gratitude for the leadership of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who announced on June 22, 2021 the Department of Interior Federal Indian Boarding School Truth Initiative. This marks the first major federal investigation into the U.S. government’s Indian boarding school policy. NABS believes this investigation will provide critical resources to address the ongoing historical trauma of Indian boarding schools. 

The NABS has been pursuing truth, justice, and healing for boarding school survivors, descendants, and tribal communities and continues to call for Congress to pass the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act”. NABS is working closely with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office to reintroduce the bill this summer. On June 24, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, approved a resolution calling for a federal commission to build on the Department of Interior’s initiative. Both the Department of Interior’s initiative and the resolution from NCAI request that boarding school sites be examined to identify known and possible student burial sites and the number of children interred at these locations. 

“This federal initiative comes at a critical time when the discovery of our lost children in unmarked graves in Kamloops, Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada, as well as the repatriation of our children from Carlisle Indian Boarding School, is revealing the deep grieving and unhealed wounds of the boarding school era’s impacts on our families and relatives,” said NABS’s CEO, Christine Diindiisi McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe).

NABS has identified 367 historically assimilative Indian boarding schools that operated in the U.S. between approximately 1870 until 1970. However, NABS has only been able to locate records from 38% of the boarding schools that we know of. Because the records have never been fully examined, it is still unknown how many Native American children attended, died, or went missing from Indian boarding schools. We believe that the time is now for truth and healing. We have a right to know what happened to the children who never returned home from Indian boarding schools. 

For more information, go to:

Submitted: Jean Schafer

Boarding School Healing Webinar Series

Learn more about the traumas connected to boarding schools for Native American children.

On June 14, 2021, the Army War College will honor the request of Rosebud Lakota and Aleut family members for what will be the fourth disinterment and repatriation of students from the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. 

Jean Schafer

May 5th - National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit Relatives

Native women face the highest rates of violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault of any group in the United States. On May 5, 2021 President Biden signed an official proclamation bringing attention to the issue. (

Indigenous groups, women, families of the missing and murdered, and allies came together to bring awareness and attention to this ongoing crisis. 

On May 6th there was a widespread problem on Instagram where posts that highlighted the issue were deleted or taken down. Posts we’ve been able to count as deleted range from artwork, videos showing solidarity, resources, and information that highlights organizations who work on this issue. On a day when many Indigenous peoples shared how the epidemic has impacted them, our community, and their families, they were silenced using a platform we have often turned to find community and educate others. (


Erasure of Native peoples and issues is violence and is rooted in white supremacy. Instagram must be held accountable.


We are asking those impacted by this erasure to sign onto a letter that will be sent to Instagram leadership.

Sign Here:

To learn more about the Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit epidemic, please visit the organizations below.

Haaland Confirmed by Senate as First Native American to Lead Interior

On March 15, 2021 Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior Department by a 51-to-40 vote in the Senate, making her the first American Indian to lead an agency that manages a vast portfolio of federal land and the oil and mineral wealth that lies beneath it.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo Nation in New Mexico and whose family ties in the country can be traced back 35 generations, will take control of a department that also oversees Indian Country, 574 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native communities.

Four Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Haaland. The close vote reflected broad support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition from Republicans.

Many Republicans decried Haaland’s support for the Green New Deal, which calls for dramatically lowering fossil-fuel emissions, and her opposition to an expansion of oil and gas drilling on public land, saying the positions disqualified her to lead an agency that has traditionally promoted those ventures.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) recalled how Republicans launched a “ferocious” attack against Haaland, calling her views on managing public land extreme and “radical” during her committee confirmation hearing. Meanwhile, Smith said, some of those same senators posed little opposition to Tom Vilsack’s nomination to run the Agriculture Department, although many of his views are similar to Haaland’s.

“I just find it difficult to take these Republican attacks at face value,” Smith said. “Once again a woman, and a woman of color, is being held to a different standard and we need to call it.”

Two key GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, broke with their caucus days before the vote to announce their support for Haaland.

Murkowski said she would vote to make history despite her strong reservations about the effect a secretary with Haaland’s views could have on her oil-rich state.

Native Alaskans make up about 20 percent of her state’s population, according to the 2014 Census update, and hundreds of women submitted an open letter in the Anchorage Daily News in support of Haaland. Alaska’s second senator, Dan Sullivan (R), joined Murkowski in voting for Haaland.

Collins praised Haaland’s deep knowledge of Indian affairs and said the nominee gained her trust, and her vote, during a meeting.

The significance of the achievement moved Crystal EchoHawk to tears. “I get emotional right now because our children will know that anything’s possible,” said EchoHawk, executive director of IllumiNative, a group that uses pop culture and media to dispel Native American stereotypes. “We turn on the TV, we look at the news and we don’t see anyone who looks like us.”

Haaland is scheduled to be sworn in on March 17th. In addition to being the first Native American to run Interior, she will be only the third woman to run the agency and the first American Indian to hold a Cabinet-level position.

When she accepted her nomination for the job in December, Haaland recalled that Alexander H.H. Stuart, the department’s third secretary, said the only alternative for the United States after defeating Indians in wars was to “civilize or exterminate them.”

“If it weren’t for covid, there would probably be thousands of Native Americans descending on D.C.,” EchoHawk said. “But thousands of people will gather virtually. We’re organizing a virtual watch party and a virtual celebration.”

During her confirmation hearings, Haaland said repeatedly that her priority as a member of President Biden’s Cabinet will be to help execute his climate plan. Biden’s goal is to allow some oil and gas drilling and mining, while also working to lower the carbon and methane gas emissions from those operations.

Haaland said she will also focus on restoring land that has been scarred by excavation of resources such as coal and uranium. Water issues such as pollution and warming that have decreased fish stocks that Indigenous people rely on for food and ceremonies is another focus.

A personal priority, Haaland said, is the issue of missing and murdered women in Indian Country, which on some reservations is 10 times higher than the national average, according to studies. Native American women are also more likely to be trafficked for sex and labor.

For the full article, go to:

Posted by: S. Jean Schafer



Moral Policy Agenda to Heal America: The Poor People's Jubilee Platform

The Poor People’s Jubilee Platform is organized into five sections: 

Part I. Establish Justice and End Systemic Racism: The Right to Democracy and Equal Protection Under the Law 

Part II. Promote the General Welfare: The Right to Welfare and an Adequate Standard of Living

Part III. Ensure Domestic Tranquility: The Right to Work with Dignity

Part IV. Secure the Blessings of Liberty: The Right to Health and A Healthy Environment 

Part V. Provide for the Common Defense: Reprioritizing our Resources 

The Platform is grounded on five principles: 

  1. We need a moral revolution of values to repair the breach in our society. This platform abides by our deepest Constitutional and moral commitments to justice. Where harm has been done, it must be acknowledged and undone.
  2. Everybody in, nobody out. Too many people are hurting and we can’t be silent anymore. Everybody is deserving of our nation’s abundance.
  3. When you lift from the bottom, everybody rises. Instead of “trickle-down,” we start with the bottom up.
  4. Prioritize the leadership of the poor, low-income and most impacted. Those who are on the frontlines of these crises
    must also be in the lead in identifying their solutions.
  5. Debts that cannot be paid must be relieved. We demand freedom from servicing the debts we cannot pay.

We have been investing in punishing the poor; we must now invest in the welfare of all. We have been investing in systemic racism and voter suppression; we must now invest in expanding democracy. We have been investing in killing people; we now must invest in life. We have been investing in the wealthy and corporations; we must now invest in the people who have built up this country and make it run every day, the 140 million and more who have been abandoned in an era of abundance. 


Jean Schafer

Not all Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving.

The first National Day of Mourning was held on Thanksgiving in 1970. One of the original goals of the National Day of Mourning was to find a connection and peace between Natives and non-Natives. The original speech of Frank "Gray Hawk" James, one-time leader of the Wampanoag Tribe, ended on a hopeful, uplifting message: “What has happened cannot be changed, but today we must work toward a more humane America, a more Indian America, where men and nature once again are important; where the Indian values of honor, truth and brotherhood prevail.”
Native Land Digital:
First Light (Currently streaming free online-13 minute documentary)
Upstander Project-About Us:
A man without a tribe: The true story of Squanto
Sheila Novak

Human Rights and VAWA

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on December 10, 1948. Annually we celebrate this important ‘Human Rights Day’. 

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. [...]
Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.
Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." 
Eleanor Roosevelt 

When we look at our country, it’s all too clear that our Native American and Alaska Native sisters and brothers continue to suffer the violation of their dignity in numerous ways. Across the USA, 1 in 3 Native Americans are living in poverty. Data from the CDC shows COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Native American/Alaska Native populations. 

  • The average per capita income on the Navajo Reservation is $6,217
  • 56% of Navajos on the Reservation live below the Poverty Level. 
  • 43% of labor force on the Reservation is unemployed.

Since colonization, Native American women have suffered disproportionately high rates of violence, according to the recent documentary from the BBC, Missing and Murdered: America's forgotten native girls. Go to:

In the face of these multiple human rights crises against our Native sisters and brothers we must act. First, recognize the great human potential of each individual and offer those in need a hand - not a handout. Purchase gifts from the Southwest Indian Foundation and support their projects ( 

“Grandfather, Sacred One, teach us love, compassion, and honor,
that we may heal the earth and heal each other.”
Ojibway prayer for healing 

Charity, however, will not itself fix the crises facing the Native American communities. Paired with charity must be work for justice. Federal policies must address the various human rights needs, including the epidemic of violence against Native women. Most of these violent acts involve non-Native Americans, and directly contribute to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Because 96% of the perpetrators of sexual violence against women and girls in Indian Country are non-Native, expanding tribal jurisdiction over non-Native assailants is necessary for seeking justice for survivors and victims. The House of Representatives has passed a bill to reauthorize VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) with strong tribal provisions and the Senate needs to do the same. Tell your senators to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with strong tribal provisions, restoring tribal jurisdiction over crimes against women and girls. (

Jean Schafer

Urge Biden to Appoint a Native American Woman to Head the U.S. Department of the Interior

In 2018, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) became one of the first two Native women ever elected to Congress. Deb has been a fierce advocate and organizer in Indian Country for decades. Now she could make history again — this time as the first Native person ever to lead the Department of the Interior.

There has never been a Native member of a U.S. President’s cabinet. The federal government has a unique relationship with and trust responsibility to Native peoples. The Secretary of the Interior should have a deep understanding of the treaty rights of Native Nations. That is why this cabinet position is so important to Indian Country.

Over the last four years, we have seen the danger of having a Secretary of Interior who disregards the Federal government's trust responsibilities to Native people. Under Trump, the Department of the Interior advocated for the dissolution of a reservation for the first time since the termination era. They rolled back environmental protections. They failed to consult with tribal governments during the greatest public health crisis in a century. Deb Haaland would turn such actions around.

Over 120 Indigenous Tribal leaders have called on the Biden Administration to appoint Haaland to the post. A growing list of public officials too. Will you add your name to the list? Your endorsement will help send a message to the incoming Biden Administration that it’s time for Native leadership in the Department of the Interior.

As chair of the Congressional Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, Rep. Haaland has been a champion for our environment. She is a leader in the fight against climate change. She helped pass legislation to protect Chaco Canyon and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling. 

Native Organizer’s Alliance along with the Women’s March and Illuminative strongly recommend Deb Haaland to be the Secretary of the Department of the Interior. We have the highest regard for her integrity and her work. There is no one more qualified and prepared to lead the Department of the Interior during a crisis that has disproportionately harmed Native communities. 

Take a moment right now to add your name to this important grassroots endorsement. Let's help Deb make history.

Go to this link to endorse Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to head the Department of the Interior.

Posted: S. Ellen Sinclair

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