Native American Heritage Month: Colorado organization highlights
As the celebration of Native American Heritage Month continues, we are excited to share a list of local organizations that are working to uplift the voices and experiences of Indigenous communities in Colorado. These organizations also seek to break down those systemic and structural barriers faced by Indigenous people that stem from racist policies and practices. After reading through this list, we encourage you to take time to learn more about other organizations that are working to create more equitable opportunities in your community, and celebrate the many contributions Indigenous people have made to what we now call the U.S.
- Denver Indian Family Resource Center (DIFRC), Denver – Through direct service and systems change, DIFRC works to respond to the overrepresentation of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children in the child welfare system. DIFRC uses culturally responsive services and community programs to assist families and support reunification efforts. The organization works with the larger Denver metro AI/AN community to strengthen social and cultural connections and help them gain practical skills. To learn more about DIFRC’s empower-oriented, strength-based services, click here.
- Haseya Advocacy, Colorado Springs – Haseya Advocate Program is a Native woman-led and operated organization that serves Indigenous survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Their advocacy services include one-on-one support; safety plans; education about types of violence; support groups; financial, legal, and housing options; and referrals for additional support services. They also offer women’s wellness groups, Positive Indian Parenting (PIP) classes, culturally centered and financial empowerment workshops, and more. Haseya serves survivors for as long as it takes for them to live healthy, safe, and peaceful lives. Learn more about their work to protect, respect, and honor Indigenous women here.
- Four Winds American Indian Council, Denver – Four Winds’ mission is to work toward the liberation of Indigenous people and lands through education, support, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. Located on a “liberated zone”- a facility where Indigenous people are free to use the building for empowerment, without explanation to the settler society now surrounding it – Four Winds serves as a place for Native people to build community and celebrate culture. You can read more about Four Winds and their various areas of service here.
- Spirit of the Sun, Denver – Spirit of the Sun coordinates economic development plans with four different Tribal nations. They partner with Native communities across the nation to create and maintain open dialogues with their numerous partners and ensure their work serves the unique goals of the communities they serve. In the Denver area, they provide regular programming to meet the needs of the urban Native community, with a special focus on Indigenous youth empowerment. Spirit of the Sun is always searching for new ways to expand their programs to more communities. You can read more about their efforts here.
- Denver Indian Center Inc. (DICI), Denver – DICI works to meet the unique needs of the American Indian and Alaska Native communities (AI/AN) in the Denver Metro area. As an urban cultural gathering center, DICI serves Native youth and communities through programs that empower individuals, encourage economic self-reliance, and celebrate AI/AN culture. Some of their services include a food bank, Native Workforce Program, and Elders program. Learn about DICI’s mission to educate, advocate, and promote AI/AN mental and physical health here.
- Denver Indian Health and Family Services (DIFHS), Denver – As Denver’s only culturally appropriate care provider for AI/AN adults, children, and families, DIHFS is uniquely positioned to provide high quality, primary care for the AI/AN community. DIHFS is an Urban Indian Health Program offering a full range of services including traditional health care and cultural activities that meet the needs of AI/AN individuals in Denver and surrounding areas. Their services include dental care, behavioral health care, diabetes management and disease prevention, and health insurance enrollment, among other things. Read more about DIHFS and their various services here.
While November is nearing its close, it does not mean recognition and celebration of Indigenous heritage should be reserved just for this dedicated month. In our series, we recognize that the resources, events, and stories we have provided have not and cannot fully encapsulate any singular Indigenous experience. Throughout the rest of the year, we encourage you to learn more about your own home, and the people who have inhabited the land since long before it was called Colorado. What Native land do you live on?