UW Combined Fund Drive

November 23, 2020

Reframing Thanksgiving

The nuances of the Thanksgiving story have changed the way many of us celebrate. The story is no longer a commemoration of a shared meal between pilgrims and Native Americans. We recognize that many of us are colonizers and such have put our interests ahead of Indigenous people’s interests.

Even as we move toward a holiday that celebrates family and offers an opportunity for gratitude, Thanksgiving is more than the meal many of us feast on. This holiday reminds us to feed the hungry in our community, a cause the UW Combined Fund Drive is proud to champion featuring Northwest Harvest this year.

However, the fourth Thursday of November is also an opportunity to reflect. It is important to think about ways to support people of the First Nations. The UW Combined Fund Drive is honored to support charities that empower Indigenous people.

Give with purpose by paying real rent to the Duwamish Tribe, the first people of Seattle. Celebrate expression by supporting Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre (RES) which exists to empower American Indian and Alaska Native youth to express themselves with confidence and clarity through traditional and contemporary performing arts.

Below are other ways to support efforts to protect and enhance the First Nations of this land.


Duwamish Tribe (Charity Code: 0337178): In 1983, after more than 100 years of broken United States treaty promises, the Dkhw’Duw’Absh established Duwamish Tribal Services as a non-profit 501[C]3 organization to provide social and cultural services to the Duwamish Tribal community.

Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition(Charity Code: 1482785): From pollution source control to habitat restoration, addressing environmental health is essential to the long-term success of the river cleanup and the health of the local community.

Native American Rights Fund (Charity Code: 0316272): Provides legal representation nationwide to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals in cases of national significance involving tribal sovereignty, natural resources and human rights.

Native American Treatment Intervention and Education Project, The N.A.T.I.V.E. Project (Charity Code: 1480885): Provides medical, dental, pharmacy, children and adult behavioral health, and prevention programs.

Red Eagle Soaring Native American Theatre Group (Charity Code: 0315118): Founded in 1991 to produce and support traditional and contemporary Native American performing arts. Its highest priority purpose is to serve the youth of the Seattle/King County Native American/Alaskan Native Communities.

Washington State Native American Coalition Against Domestic Violence (Charity Code: 0522060): The Coalition recognizes violence against Native American women as a public health, public safety and human rights issue. Our goal is to inform the fields of education social welfare and social change for domestic violence and sexual assault victims.

Nakani Native Program (Charity Code: 1482580): The Nakani Native Program, led by Native people, recognizes the deep cultural conflicts that exist between mainstream society and Native Americans. Consequently, we advocate for equity and social justice so that we can enhance our lives, build our resilience, and contribute to the survival of all.


Honoring Place Training (December 2) is a conversation with the UW Tribal Leadership to discuss pathways to UW land acknowledgement and research partnerships with Tribal nations. We use a tribal government-to-government framework and history to define and breakdown the process. This will be done through the lens of tribal sovereignty and self-determination created via treaties, acts of congress, and executive orders. This event is part of an EarthLab series on partnering with Tribal nations and is offered in connection with the College of the Environment DEI Office.

UW EarthLab is proud to co-sponsor a virtual Indigenous Speaker Series, hosted by the Northwest Indian College – Nez Perce. The series amplifies voices of Indigenous people and promotes a dialogue about Indigenous people’s cultural and traditional lived experiences.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: Dos and Don’ts (Teen Vogue, October 2019): In this op-ed, Ruth Hopkins, a Dakota/Lakota Sioux writer, biologist, attorney, and former tribal judge, offers advice on avoiding offensive stereotypes and being a better ally to Native nations.

UW Native Life and Tribal Relations: The purpose of this web site is to centralize the Native-focused resources available on the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle. We understand the University can be a challenging environment for those coming from American Indian/Alaska Native communities and difficult to navigate for anyone who is new to the campus.


For non-Indigenous communities, land acknowledgement is a powerful way of showing respect and honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the land on which we work and live. Acknowledgement is a simple way of resisting the erasure of Indigenous histories and working towards honoring and inviting the truth. The Duwamish Tribe suggests crafting your own version of the following land acknowledgement:

I would like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People past and present and honor with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe.

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.

–Contributed by Noam Soker, UWCFD Graduate Student Intern