IFIP held a funder dialogue on December 6th, 2017 with participants from philanthropy as well as Indigenous partners and leaders. The initial focus centered on efforts to support Indigenous communities protecting their land and territories. This space allowed for an earnest reflection on what philanthropy has learned throughout the years. It also provided a fruitful discussion on how to move forward with approaches and partnerships that genuinely support the self-determination and rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Lourdes Inga, executive director of IFIP, presenting at the IFIP Convening: Philanthropy with Indigenous Peoples around Territorial Stewardship.
During the exchange, the diversity of the participants became increasingly evident. This included those involved in Indigenous philanthropy for decades, those new to the field, and a variety of definitions, strategies and frameworks used to approach this work. Participants wrestled with tough questions, including how funders prioritize the self-determination of communities in practice, especially if the community’s primary concern is not conservation. Participants considered how philanthropy can best relinquish power and co-labor with Indigenous partners, how the language of philanthropy can be problematic, as well as the nuts and bolts of operations.
These questions cannot be answered in a one-day meeting. This space did, however, provide the groundwork for future peer groups to convene and reflect together. For IFIP, it was recommended that we continue to create and nurture these peer spaces rooted in trust, a key direction going forward.