The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation acknowledges that the site of our main campus in Seattle, Washington, is located on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary unceded lands of the Duwamish, other Coast Salish peoples, and their ancestors. This includes all peoples who were moved from this land through the following treaties:
We commit to continuing to learn, support, and advocate for the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations.
The Association of Indigenous Anthropologists has requested that we not use land acknowledgments in a performative way, but in a way that has some reparative follow-through.
In honor of this reclamation, the Gates Foundation’s Community Engagement team, in partnership with the Indigenous Communities Engagement Employee Resource Group, made the following 2021 grants to celebrate and support local Native organizations:
- Chief Seattle Club ($300,000/3 years) to operate the Pioneer Square Day Center and nearby satellite locations. In addition to critical housing services, Chief Seattle Club provides 100,000+ meals each year, healthcare, chemical dependency care, legal aid, job training, traditional healing practices, and cultural programs.
- Duwamish Tribal Services ($150,000/3 years) to support COVID-19 relief funding, emergency food assistance, scholarships, youth and families support programs, educational and cultural programs, land restoration efforts, and health and wellness programs.
- Na’ah Illahee Fund ($150,000/3 years) to support grantmaking, capacity-building, and intergenerational programming. Focused on Indigenous ecology and food sovereignty, the Na’ah Illahee Fund works to advance climate and gender justice, while creating pathways towards self-determination.
- Mother Nation ($70,000) to support culturally appropriate response and prevention programs to Native individuals experiencing sexual assault, domestic violence, and homelessness.
- Native Action Network ($75,000/3 years) to increase Native women’s representation, participation, and leadership through intergenerational leadership forums, youth academies, capacity building workshops, and community development programs.
- Seattle Indian Health Board ($70,000) to provide culturally appropriate and accessible health and human services to American Indians and Alaska Natives including behavioral health services, primary healthcare, dental care, traditional Indian medicine, and cultural practices.
In addition to the above grants made by the Communities Engagement teams, the Washington State Intiatives team and other teams at the foundation are dedicated to decolonizing their grant-making practices and funding other native-owned, native-led, and native-facing organizations as a part of their work.
We also acknowledge that land ownership is not a value shared by native communities, especially prior to colonization. Thus, we also recognize the sovereignty of those people who have been in relationship with this land as a part of the centuries-old ecosystem of keeping the land and waters we benefit from balanced, and thus extend this to other Coast Salish communities, such as:
Why a meadow?
The Indigenous Communities Engagement Group (ICEG) is an Employee Resource Group at the Gates Foundation whose aim is to honor our indigenous identifying colleagues and all native wisdom, history, and storytelling by promoting the responsibility of non-native treaty partners to engage with our local and global communities. ICEG believes that inclusive engagement requires encouraging a decolonial way of philanthropy, which includes decolonizing the information, ideas, and structures inherent to our organization, creating space for indigenous identities and wisdom, and amplifying indigenous voices in our communities across the globe.
To learn more about Land Acknowledgements and find whose ancestral land you reside on, the following website is a helpful tool: www.native-land.ca