Message from the Executive Director

I am inspired and humbled reflecting back on the work of the Center this past year. In 2013, we celebrated our 35th anniversary, and I was in awe thinking of the long list of friends, foundations, and advocates who have stood by our side over the decades and worked with us to reform the most unjust laws and to protect the rights of indigenous peoples around the world.

With your continued support, we made significant strides in our work. We are carrying out a very extensive effort to win some major actions by the United Nations in connection with the upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. This is a remarkable opportunity to achieve some long-needed steps in the UN to secure a better status for indigenous peoples, to get a serious monitoring mechanism for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to gain global action against violence against indigenous women. It has been gratifying that more than 70 tribal governments in the United States have joined us in the effort, and many more are likely to join. 
 
When you set ambitious goals to preserve the human rights and dignity of indigenous peoples, the results are not always quick enough, not always obvious, and certainly not easy. However, in this 35th anniversary year, we are able to see the results and lasting change we created together.
 

 

In addition, we continue to support indigenous leaders in North, Central, and South America to protect their human and land rights and to voice their concerns at the highest levels. Many of you joined in our e-letter writing campaign to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights requesting action on our case with the Maya Q’eqchi’ community of Agua Caliente in Guatemala. At great cost, the Maya Q’eqchi’ have fought to defend their lands and resources from mining interests.  Your help in creating awareness and sending e-letters is powerful and moves us closer to securing the support they need.The great victory of Indian women in winning reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 brought about the most important improvement in federal Indian law in a generation. We are proud to have helped create the groundswell of demand for increasing protections for Native women. The Center went all out to raise awareness domestically and internationally about violence against Native women, including educating the public about the links between the jurisdictional gaps in United States law and the high rates of violence in Indian Country. We appreciate those of you who watched and shared our videos and resources. We would not be successful without you. 

 
Your donations, support, and advocacy have truly moved me during this 35-year journey. When you set ambitious goals to preserve the human rights and dignity of indigenous peoples, the results are not always quick enough, not always obvious, and certainly not easy. However, in this 35th anniversary year, we are able to see the results and lasting change we created together. 
 
I am grateful to all of you who gave generously to the Center in 2013, especially for the generous support of the Ford Foundation, Lannan Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Overbrook Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Libra Foundation, The Bay and Paul Foundations, The Christensen Fund, and the Tides Foundation. 
 
 
Megwetch,

Robert “Tim” Coulter

April 2013