As part of The Christensen Fund’s commitment to Indigenous communities, leaders and organizations, we are excited to announce our inaugural cohort of our Indigenous Leaders Program. The program celebrates four Indigenous leaders from Mexico, Kenya, the United States, and the Philippines who are advancing the inherent rights, dignity and self-determination of their communities, Nations and Peoples, and work to achieve the promise of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The program provides 100,000 USD to each leader to advance their unique vision and work. These Indigenous leaders will also have access to the full range of The Christensen Fund’s philanthropic efforts, including networks, covenings, and speaking engagements.
The Leaders Program was developed collaboratively with these Indigenous leaders in order to respect their prior commitments and demands on their time. In the spirit of self determination, these leaders will focus on issues or projects that they determine themselves.
We are honored to introduce and welcome our 2022-2023 Indigenous Leaders Program Participants:
Joan Carling (Philippines)
Joan is an Indigenous activist from the Cordillera, Philippines with more than 20 years of working on indigenous issues from the grassroots to the international level. Her expertise includes areas like human rights, sustainable development, the environment, climate change, and additionally the application of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. She is currently the Global Director for Indigenous Peoples Rights International.
Ole Kaunga Mali (Kenya)
Malih Ole Kaunga is a Laikipia Maasai – a practicing pastoralist (keep Goats and Sheep) and a father of three daughters and two sons. Ole Kaunga has a proven track record of defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples locally and globally. He is the founder and Director of IMPACT and a co- founder of Maasai Cultural Heritage. He leads the PARAN Alliance, a movement that connects and promotes learning, agency and voices among indigenous peoples led organizations in Kenya.
Andrea Ixchíu (Mexico-Guatemala)
Andrea is an Indigenous Maya K’iche environmental and human rights activist, born in Totonicapán, Guatemala. She is a recognized land protector of Totonicapan’s ancestral forest where she has also served as an Indigenous community government authority. She works as a journalist, filmmaker and radialist, and collaborates with local and international media. Andrea is coordinator at Hackeo Cultural, a community-based with global reach initiative that seeks to build and strengthen collective strategies, narratives and technologies for the defense of Indigenous territories across Latin America. She also leads the Futuros Indígenas project that seeks to raise not awareness but actions, aimed to face the climate emergency.
Fawn Sharp (United States)
Fawn Sharp serves as the 23rd President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country. President Sharp is also the current Vice President of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington, after being a five-term past-President. Ms. Sharp has held numerous leadership positions, including a number of state appointments.