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Giving Compass' Take:
• Chip Giller talks asks Nick Tilsen about indigenous solutions for sustainability and community resilience during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
• What are we learning from coronavirus about the importance of sustainability and different community needs? How do indigenous solutions reflect the importance of sovereignty in providing a path forward for vulnerable populations?
In some parts of the country, the undeniable tragedy of COVID-19 has spurred discussions of reinvesting in our communities — funds, relief efforts, and creative endeavors have emerged all over the world to support frontline workers, keep people connected, and build a path forward. Grist 50 Fixer Nick Tilsen is behind one such effort as the president and CEO of NDN Collective, an organization dedicated to building indigenous power and creating sustainable solutions on indigenous terms.
I talked to him about his work before and after COVID-19, and what he envisions for the future.
The pandemic has begun to take off in these already extremely under-invested, poorest, most isolated communities in the country. There’s a lot of immediate response that’s needed. We’ve launched a goal of creating a $10 million COVID response, with two sides. The first $5 million of it is dedicated to this immediate response, to fund things like PPE, water access, food delivery, all the sort of immediate-response things that people need. The second $5 million is dedicated to this idea of making our communities more climate-resilient for the future, the development of local and regional food systems.
We see this as a pivot moment. We act like the world has realized many of the things that some of us have been talking about for generations: that we need to democratize the energy system, build local and regional food economies that decrease the footprint on the climate and improve the health of the community, get away from bailing out corporations and corporate structures, and build community wealth and structures aligned with the values of the people. In other words, actually create a better world and make us more resilient.
Read the full interview with Nick Tilsen about indigenous solutions for pandemic resilience by Chip Giller at Grist.