MNA Annual Conference 2023
Montana is the traditional homeland and common hunting grounds of several tribes, including the Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Chippewa Cree, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Little Shell, Northern Cheyenne, Pend d’Oreille, Plains Cree, Salish, Sioux, Hidatasa, Mandan, and Arikara. Today this land is home to twelve sovereign tribes with over 67,000 enrolled members.
When MNA hosts large, ticketed events, we have made a commitment to partner with a Native led and serving organization to take our acknowledgement into action. Past partners have included Western Native Voice, Helena Indian Alliance, and Chief Dull Knife College. In most cases this partnership includes a donation in the amount an MNA Member ticket registration, sharing a Call to Action or message written by the partner, and an invitation to provide a welcome at the event. We also sometimes invite audience members to make additional donations to the organization throughout the event. This is always dependent on the partner and their needs and wishes.
We are still learning in this practice and expect it to evolve. At this year’s 2023 MNA Annual Conference in Missoula, Montana and online, we are honored to partner with All Nations Health Center.
Please enjoy the note below from Skye McGinty, All Nations Health Center Executive Director:
All Nations Health Center welcomes you to our beautiful Missoula community! Established in 1970, All Nations is one of 41 Urban Indian Health Programs (UIHP) located throughout the United States. While its services are designed by Natives for Natives, All Nations honors traditional values such as charity and generosity and makes its services available to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, or income status. In the spirit of interconnectedness and reciprocity, I ask that you reflect on what you learn here today and let it inform your professional and personal perspectives. Take back the lessons and connectedness you leave here with and bring it back for the betterment of your communities. Even though Montana is a big state, we as non-profit leaders are here to support one another in our mutual goals to support a thriving Montana. I hope you will leave our beautiful valley with a renewed sense of passion for your work, and the reminder that none of us are in this alone. Sky McGinty, All Nations Health Center
You can support All Nations Health Center through donating to their programs or capital campaign here.
Why do we do land acknowledgements?
The United States is Indigenous territory and has been stewarded by Indigenous people since time immemorial. This knowledge provides us with an opportunity, not only to recognize the painful history upon which the state of Montana exists, founded on state-sanctioned and state-funded genocide, which included warfare, displacement, and dispossession of ancestral lands, broken treaties, desecration of sacred sites, destruction of the environment through extractive industries, and near-genocide of buffalo, criminalization of religious and cultural practices, residential boarding schools, allotment, removal of children from families, but also the ongoing efforts to diminish tribal sovereignty, the violence directed at these communities through Murdered and Missing Indigenous women, and the disparate impacts of poverty, voting barriers, incarceration, and police killings on Indigenous people. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, which only emphasizes the need for change.
Moreover, this knowledge necessitates solidarity and collaboration led by Indigenous people, alongside Black, brown, and other people of color, and including others because true liberation will only come from confronting our history, understanding the divisions, celebrating our love, joy, laughter, and knowledge, and uniting against the oppression of this earth and all people.
Land acknowledgements cannot repair inequity or return stolen land. No one entity can fix these issues, it will take a community guided by duty, responsibility, reciprocity with care for each other and the land. Therefore, as an association, MNA strives to represent all our members, but our mission is to serve the entire nonprofit sector in Montana. We know we are stronger together, but to truly come together we must all commit to education, action, and change. We are slowly beginning this work, and humbly invite those of you ahead of us to help lead, and those of you just beginning to join alongside.
Thank you for joining us for this moment of reflection, and we welcome your suggestions for ways we can continue growing together.