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10 Indigenous-Led Human Rights Organizations To Know

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On Monday, October 14, 2019, indigenous communities joined to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the United States. Native activists and non-native allies work nationwide to reframe the narrative from colonialism to indigenous cultural heritage and resistance. To further the movement, here is a resource round-up of ten indigenous-led human rights organizations you should know about. 

The Red Nation

The Red Nation is dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism. They center Native political agendas and struggles through direct action, advocacy, mobilization, and education.

Resource highlight: Listen to The Red Nation Podcast to hear from indigenous peoples on their struggles for liberation.

Indigenous Alliance Without Borders

The Indigenous Alliance Without Borders (Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras) works to affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples, their right to self-determination, their collective human and civil rights, sovereignty rights and the protection of sacred sites, and the free unrestricted movement across international borders.

Resource highlight: Learn your border rights in this Trilingual Know-Your-Rights Manual written in English, Spanish and Nahuatl.

The Mayan League

The Mayan League is a Maya organization whose purpose is to promote, preserve, and transmit the cosmovision and worldview, culture, history, and contributions of our ancestors and the values of their traditional knowledge and stewardship of the earth into solutions and actions against current threats and violations affecting their peoples, the earth, and humanity.

Resource highlight: The League’s Maya Women Delegation provided language translation assistance to over 400 people at the border in one day.

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)

The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect their sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both their people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

Resource highlight: Spirit Resistance Radio from IEN broadcasts a variety of programs, including updates from the front lines of direct actions.

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a Native nonprofit organization that was created specifically to serve as the National Indian Resource Center (NIRC) Addressing Domestic Violence and Safety for Indian Women. Under this grant project and in compliance with statutory requirements, the NIWRC will seek to enhance the capacity of American Indian and Alaska Native (Native) tribes, Native Hawaiians, and Tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations to respond to domestic violence.

Resource highlight: Learn how indigenous peoples redefine NativeLove and resist violence against native communities.

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)

The International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) cooperates with indigenous peoples’ organizations and international institutions to promote recognition and implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples. IWGIA works to empower indigenous peoples through documentation, capacity development and advocacy on a local, regional and international level.

Resource highlight: Use data to monitor the state of indigenous rights with Indigenous Navigator.

Amazon Watch

Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. They partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.

Resource highlight: Sign this pledge to help protect the Amazon rainforest and defend the rights of indigenous inhabitants.

The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC)

The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center (NAWHERC) works to protect the health and human rights of Indigenous Peoples through cultural preservation, education, coalition building, community organizing, reproductive justice, environmental justice, and natural resource protection while working toward ensuring safe communities for women and children at the local, national, and international level. 

Featured Resource: Learn more on indigenous women’s reproductive health and how you can support their reproductive rights with NAWHERC’s Reproductive Justice program.

Cultural Survival

Cultural Survival advocates for indigenous people’s rights and supports indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience since 1972. Cultural Survival envisions a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance.

Resource highlight: Read about indigenous peoples’ cultural sovereignty and traditional lifeways in Cultural Survival Quarterly.

Indian Law Resource Center

The Indian Law Resource Center provides legal assistance to indigenous peoples of the Americas to combat racism and oppression, to protect their lands and environment, to protect their cultures and ways of life, to achieve sustainable economic development and genuine self-government, and to realize their other human rights.

Resource highlight: Check out Safe Women, Strong Nations to see how the Center helps address the cycle of violence against women in Native communities.


Want to support other social movements? Check out the growing list of resource round-ups on our #HRCBlog!


Email us at [email protected], browse our organizations and initiatives in our online library leave us a comment on Facebook, tweet us @rightsconnected and interact with us on Instagram @rightsconnected.

This post was written by Research and Operations Associate, Matt Parsons, and edited by Education and Communications Associate, Sabrina Sanchez.


The featured image has been borrowed by The Red Nation.

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