Tanya Fiddler (Cheyenne River Sioux), Executive Director of the Native CDFI Network, talks to Power Station about being a self-proclaimed wayuiyeska, a Lakota word for translator. In all of her interactions with policy makers, funders and fellow nonprofit leaders, she translates the experience of Native Americans to those of us who do not fully know it. She starts by explaining that, according to Native spirituality and culture, the concept of asset building is based in the idea that, Everything is for us, but we don't have to own it." As Tonya explains, investing capital in Indian country is not just about addressing poverty, it is about seizing opportunity.
The Network's 74 member organizations are certified and emerging CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions), Native run nonprofits that are investing in their community's economic future by making home ownership and small business development possible. And financial education is becoming enshrined in early childhood education.
Tanya talks about navigating multiple layers of government - tribal, state and federal - to make the needs and capacities of over 500 federally recognized tribes understood. And she relates the ongoing challenge of inclusion at nonprofit tables as well. Listen, learn, engage.