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Supporting Native American communities to protect their land

Special Interest Programme / Partner story

Photo provided by Colorado Plateau Foundation 2019 Grantee, Acoma Learning Center.

The Colorado Plateau in the southwestern United States is one of the world’s richest bio-cultural landscapes. It is probably best known for being the home of the Grand Canyon, a place of solace for many and a region of great significance for tribal nations. The area contains the ‘four corners states’ which are Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Eight tribes govern more than a third of the Colorado Plateau region.

Industrial development and extractive industries threaten the Plateau’s land, water, and cultures. The Colorado Plateau Foundation (CPF) helps Native-led organisations to protect water, sacred places, endangered landscapes, and sustainable agriculture. In addition, CPF strengthens the organisational and community capacity of its grantees.

 “We respond to community needs and seek direction from cultural and community leaders to identify key focus areas for work on the Plateau,” says Jim Enote, CEO of the Colorado Plateau Foundation. Most of the Colorado Plateau Foundation staff are tribal members who live in the communities where they work. “This means we are well-positioned to communicate and share how the Native communities in the region live and what they need to be resilient and to protect the natural environments we live in,” says Jim.

Since 2012, the Colorado Plateau Foundation has provided USD 3.5 million in grants for more than 125 Native initiatives. These grants have supported projects including: creating a language app to help preserve the Acoma language; setting up a trauma-informed learning programme; strengthening leadership capacity; and protecting the Colorado Plateau’s water and Hopi community health.

“We know Native communities have solutions to solve some of the Plateau’s most pressing challenges,” says Jim. “The CPF staff are deeply concerned and informed about the Plateau’s Native communities, including their economic, cultural, social, and political outlooks, and we have seen the immense power of Native people to catalyse change.”

To find out more about the Colorado Plateau Foundation, check out its website:

This grant falls under our Special Interest Progamme (SIP), which reflects the Trustees’ interests in making dynamic, diverse, large, innovative, and challenging grants. You can read more about the programme by clicking here.