Swift Foundation Newsletter – February 2018

February 2018 Newsletter – Transitions

We are on a long journey of partnership at Swift. And life is a circle with transitions, loss, change and birth.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of two people who meant a lot to me in this work: Bruce Hill of the Headwaters Initiative Project (now part of SkeenaWild), Canada and Ricardo Marin, of the San Martin community, Vaupes, Colombia who partnered with Gaia Amazonas.

Bruce Hill worked with many Indigenous leaders including Gerald Amos to fight for the protection of land and people’s way of life in Northwest British Columbia. He was fierce, loyal and dogged. He loved the land and its people. I admired Bruce’s commitment. He insisted I join him on his boat (with Gerald and Greg Knox) for a trip on the Douglas Channel. There I met the Gitga’at Indigenous community, fished for salmon, and watched as his crew documented illegal fishing. In his final years, he and his wife took in a Syrian refugee family in their basement apartment, a final gift before passing last year.

Ricardo Marin led his community as a kamu spiritual leader in San Martin, Vaupes, Colombia. In November, I had the good fortune of meeting him for the second time in his Basarona community when traveling with Fundacion Gaia Amazonas (he attended the International Funders for Indigenous People’s meeting in 2011 in Oneida, New York). He was a storyteller, a visionary, and a knowledge keeper. He showed us the maloca he was building to further his people’s ancestral practices. He showed us the headdresses he had prepared for ceremony and how the stars aligned with the maloca. He laughed and chewed coca powder. He was full of dreams for his people.

They both gave me the gift of insight into what is needed to protect the beautiful planet that we live on today. They mobilized countless people in their communities to care of the land they loved and the people who inhabited that land. They took time to share that love with a stranger. May their lives serve as an inspiration to all.

In the spirit of growth and renewal, Swift’s Board is delighted to announce the addition of two new members: Y. Elaine Rasmussen, CEO of Social Impact Strategies Group in Minnesota who comes with experience at Native Americans in Philanthropy and in impact investing and Humberto Rios Labrada, Regional Coordinator Latin America at ICRA, working on participatory approaches to biodiversity and agroecology and a Goldman Award winner.

Life is a circle and at Swift, we have been blessed by the arrival of two newborns. Karen Swift and Jose Proaño gave birth to a boy Katari in July, and Sonja Swift and Marcus Lund gave birth to a boy Zia Atlas in December. The families are thriving, as is Swift Foundation.


Wayuu People in Bogota

ELAW Joins the Wayuu People at the Colombian Congress 
Swift grantee partner, ELAW, joins approximately 40 Wayuu people who traveled from their remote villages to the Congress in Bogota to voice their concerns to the national Colombian authorities, the Mining Society of Colombia, and to the media. The event was broadcasted nationwide and covered by the most important newspaper of Spain, El País. Read article here.

The Whitman Institute Interviews Swift Foundation on Trust-Based Philanthropy
Swift Foundation, which predominantly funds Indigenous-led social justice efforts, is on a journey to reverse the Western-centric paradigm of philanthropy. Through their trust-based approach, they prioritize relationships and listening with grantees. They are continuously evolving their process to better reflect their values of inclusion and justice. As part of our ongoing series on trust-based philanthropy, we sat down with Program Officer Galina Angarova to get the scoop. Read the interview here.

VICTORY against Taseko Mines in British Columbia!
Have you heard? The Federal Court just dismissed Taseko’s last-ditch attempt to overturn the federal rejection of their doomed “New Prosperity” mine at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)! Read article by Swift grantee, Raven, here.

Langscape Magazine – Winter 2017
Resilience and Resistance: Why the World Needs Biocultural Diversity
In this issue of Langscape Magazine, we set out to explore why we need biocultural diversity as a source of ecological and social resilience and resistance. Click here to read excerpts or purchase the magazine.

Finding The True Cost of Food
The Agenda, on TVO Canada, interviews Swift grantee, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Executive Director, Ruth Richardson, taking a look at why food prices don’t reflect the true cost of what’s on our tables and how that may actually be hurting us all in the long run. Click here to watch this short 1-minute video.

Embridge Overlooks Cultural Impacts
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently voted 4-1 to declare the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Enbridge’s controversial line 3 as being “inadequate.” The vote gives several false impressions. Click here to read more of this Minneapolis Star Tribune article by Winona La Duke of Swift grantee, Honor the Earth.

Indigenous Woman Now Leads COIAB
One of the largest indigenous organizations in South America, Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations from the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), has for the first time in its history, elected an indigenous woman to serve in its top post. Click here to read more.

If you know of anyone who would benefit from this type of content, please feel free to pass along this newsletter or send me their contact information and I will add them to our list serve. In the meantime, you can unsubscribe at any time.

All The Best!

Karen Mehringer
Executive Assistant & Grants Administrator
Swift Foundation

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