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At the invitation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6, the Native Nations Institute is making sure that tribal governments and communities are represented in FEMA’s coronavirus-focused speaker series “Equity, the Foundation of Resilience.” Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacts Indian Country and communities of color across a broad range of indicators, the speaker series engages the nonprofit, academic, and government sectors both in identifying equity issues and in strategizing to address them.
The series addresses broad topic areas in which pandemic resilience is necessary, including housing, health and workforce issues. The first session, held on July 30, 2020, explored overarching racial inequities in the region, which includes the states of Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Karen Diver (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), NNI’s Director of Business Development, spoke about the trust responsibilities of the federal government towards Native Nations. Her presentation underscored the importance of supporting tribal self-governance in disaster recovery and making sure that data is inclusive of tribal communities.
The second webinar, held August 27, 2020, focused on housing insecurity. At the invitation of NNI, Anthony Walters, Executive Director of the National American Indian Housing Council, ably represented Indian Country perspectives. On September 24, Linda Austin, Director of Operations for Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, a long-time NNI partner and national expert in tribal workforce issues, joined Heather Sobrepena, Project Manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Center for Indian Country Development, to discuss tribal workforce development concerns in the era of COVID-19. Future sessions in the series “Equity, the Foundation of Resilience,” to be convened in October and November 2020, will address community wellbeing and the intersection of public health and the built environment.
NNI also is exploring a national series with FEMA that is focused specifically on building Native nations’ economic resiliency. To watch the next sessions and stay updated on our work with FEMA, join us on Facebook.
Check out Karen's upcoming online course, co-taught with Dr. Chellie Spiller
"Indigenous Leadership for Native Nation Building" for our Indigenous Governance Program's January in Tucson 2021.