photos by Mel Ponder and Chantel Baker
Native Action Network (NAN) was founded in 2001 by Claudia Kauffman (Nez Perce) and Iris Friday (Tlingit). NAN received the Bernie Whitebear Unity Award in 2003 and the Flying Eagle Women Award for Community-based Philanthropy in 2011.
Native Action Network is a nonprofit organized to promote Native women’s full representation, participation, and leadership in local, state, tribal, and national affairs. NAN achieves this by hosting intergenerational leadership forums, youth academies,10-month Legacy of Leadership cohorts, leadership luncheons, nonprofit capacity building workshops, as well as other community development and civic participation activities. All of NAN’s programming and resources are intended to empower Native women of all ages.
Our mission is to enhance the beauty, strength, and integrity of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities through personal empowerment and civic participation.
Our greatest inspiration comes from the founding members of the American Indian Women's Service League who recognized early on the social issues Native people would face when the federal government passed the Indian Relocation Act in the early 1950s. Thousands of Native Americans across the U.S. were relocated to major cities and Seattle became a stopping point along the way. The American Indian Women's Service League welcomed Native newcomers to the area, and provided resources including food, clothing, and shelter, along with a wide range of health and human services. Recognizing this vital legacy inspired NAN's founders to document the strength, endurance, and contributions of Native women through an annual Native Women's Leadership Forum and Enduring Spirit Honoring Luncheon, and more programs soon followed.
Native American traditions teach us respect through many different actions and ceremonies. Many Native American traditions also teach us the value of looking beyond the past, to look at our present and to the future. Native Action Network's Leadership development work incorporates these Native values.
Provide an environment in which Native daughters, mothers, granddaughters, and great-grandmothers can interact with one another and share knowledge
Unite Native women of all ages and create a forum that celebrates the power which women have in creating positive change within their families and communities
Honor Native women making a difference in their communities
Create lasting achievements and strengthen Native populations through community organizing, skills building, leadership development, and by advocating for equity and preservation of culture
Our Network is comprised of committed volunteers who give their time, energy, and expertise to make a positive impact on community affairs. We extend a huge thanks to those who have participated! Please contact us if you are interested in volunteering.