Rebecca Adamson – USA

Linked with INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND PHILANTHROPY, Colonialism by other means, and with Articles for Indigenous Peoples on our blogs.

Biographical Highlights: Rebecca L. Adamson, half Cherokee, established and continues to remain president of the First Nations Development Institute as well as the founder of First Peoples Worldwide. With her belief that Native Americans should be in control of their own schools and education, she soon became a promoter of economic independence for tribes as well. She has sought ways to develop sovereignty among the Indigenous People through creating projects that stem from their original cultures and beliefs. Since 1970, Adamson remains working directly with the tribes and assists them in finding the most sufficient ways of developing successful small businesses and economies apart from the Federal Government without compromising their customs. Furthermore, her organization has raised and distributed millions of dollars to help with these ventures. Adamson obtained a Masters of Science in Economic Development from the University of Southern New Hampshire1 where she also teaches a graduate course on Indigenous Economics within the Community Economic Development Program (Indian Country Today) … (full text).

She is mentionned as betterworld heroe.

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Rebecca Adamson – USA

Find her Bio on Native-Wiki.

She says: “Economic development, more than any single issue, is the battle line between two competing world views. Tribal people’s fundamental value was sustainability, and they conducted their livelihoods in ways that sustained resources and limited inequalities in their society. What made traditional economies so radically different and so very fundamentally dangerous to Western economies were the traditional principles of prosperity of Creation versus scarcity of resources, of sharing and distribution versus accumulation and greed, of kinship usage rights versus individual exclusive ownership rights, and of sustainability versus growth. In the field of economic development, economists like to think Western economics is value-neutral, but in truth, it is not. Success is defined according to production units or monetary worth. The contrast with successful indigenous development is stark. For example, since they understand the environment to be a living being, the Northern Cheyenne have opposed coal strip mining on their reservation because it kills the water beings. There are no cost measurements of pollution, production, or other elements that can capture this kind of impact. There is an emerging recognition of the need for a spiritual base, not only in our individual lives, but also in our work and in our communities. (betterworld heroes).

Rebecca Adamson selected as 2003 National Women’s History Month Honoree, her work to be archived in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.

She writes: … First, we have to peel away the widespread misconception that conservationists speak for Indigenous people. They do not, many of them have a different agenda. They can be complementary but right now they are not, and often they are in opposition. Donors, in particular, have to become much more aware of the unintended consequences of their funding of these kinds of conservation strategies. In many cases NGOs are putting themselves on a track where they have to get so many thousand hectares into protected area status and the clock is ticking. They?’re getting more and more and more aggressive in order to meet the donors’ objectives. So they’re running roughshod over whatever’s in their way to bring these projects in on line … (full text).

Public Women, Public Words: A Documentary History …

… She has worked directly with grassroots tribal communities, and nationally as an advocate on local tribal issues since 1970. Her work established a new field of culturally appropriate, values-driven development which created: the first reservation-based micro-enterprise loan fund in the United States; the first tribal investment model; a national movement for reservation land reform; and legislation that established new standards of accountability regarding federal trust responsibility for Native Americans. Adamson’s international work with FPW created the first Indigenous community foundation – The Lumba Aboriginal Community Foundation in Australia; established capacity for the Sans Tribe to secure land tenure in traditional homelands in Botswana, Namibia, and southern Africa; launched an international corporate engagement strategy (that includes Alcoa, Texaco, Rio Tinto, Merck, Ford, and Occidental) whereby investment criteria protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples have been adopted by a mutual fund, an index fund, and numerous investment advisors. Adamson established a Masters in Public and Private Administration (MPPA) scholarship program for Native People at the Yale School of Organization and Management. She also established an MBA scholarship at the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota. Through her activism, she led The World Bank to recognize the necessity of creating the First Global Indigenous Peoples’ Facility Fund established in May 2003. This fund will make small capacity building grants to Indigenous communities throughout the world … (full text).

Circle of giving: Issue Number Two, January 2006.

Most people assume that conservation groups work very closely with the Indigenous people whose land they aim to conserve and whose interests they often claim to represent. According to Rebecca Adamson, Founder and President of the US-based First Nations Development Institute, this is not the case. Over the last decade, while conservation funding has been increasingly concentrated in the hands of a very few big NGOs, it seems that the two agendas have moved a long way apart. How has this come about, Alliance asked Rebecca Adamson, and what can be done to bring these two important agendas back together? (full text).

Honoring Rebecca Adamson: A life of many firsts.

Every summer, Adamson would hitchhike south from her hometown of Akron, Ohio to see her destitute relatives in Lumberton, North Carolina. The visits gave Adamson a first-hand taste of the injustices faced by Native Americans. They also shaped her into a teenage misfit unable to embrace the suburban life of the Midwest … (full text).

The National Women’s History Project.

American Indian tribes are the single largest private land holders in the United States. There are 613 federally recognized tribes with reservations that range in size from less than 100 acres to the 1.6 million acre Navajo reservation. There are 384 federally recognized tribes in the lower 48 states, and 229 Alaska Native Villages; now legally recognized as tribes. In the lower 48 states, reservation lands account for over 55.7 million acres, and if the 42 million acres of Alaska Native lands are added, the aggregate amount would qualify as the fourth largest land base in the United States, smaller than only the states of Alaska, Texas, and California. Along with the timber, grazing and crop lands, other natural resources include 5 percent of the U.S. oil and 10 percent of the gas reserves, 30 percent of the low sulphur coral reserves and 40 percent of the privately held uranium deposits … (full text, 14 pages)..

Find her and her publications on Indian Country (scroll down); on Google Group-search;
on Google Blog-search.

She has worked directly with grassroots tribal communities, and nationally as an advocate on local tribal issues since 1970. Her work established a new field of culturally appropriate, values-driven development which created: the first reservation-based micro-enterprise loan fund in the United States; the first tribal investment model; a national movement for reservation land reform; and legislation that established new standards of accountability regarding federal trust responsibility for Native Americans. Ms. Adamson’s international work with FPW created the first Indigenous community foundation – The Lumba Aboriginal Community Foundation in Australia; established capacity for the Sans Tribe to secure land tenure in traditional homelands in Botswana, Namibia, and southern Africa; launched an international corporate engagement strategy (that includes Alcoa, Texaco, Rio Tinto, Merck, Ford, and Occidental) whereby investment criteria protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples have been adopted by a mutual fund, an index fund, and numerous investment advisors. Ms. Adamson established a Masters in Public and Private Administration (MPPA) scholarship program for Native People at the Yale School of Organization and Management. She also established an MBA scholarship at the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota. Through her activism, she led The World Bank to recognize the necessity of creating the First Global Indigenous Peoples’ Facility Fund established in May 2003. This fund will make small capacity building grants to Indigenous communities throughout the world. Ms. Adamson serves in the corporate sector as a member of the Board of Directors for the Calvert Social Investment Fund (the largest socially responsible mutual fund) and the Calvert Small Cap Fund. She serves on the Calvert Group Governance Committee, is Co-chair for the Calvert Social Investment Fund Audit Committee, and is on the Calvert Foundation Board. Ms. Adamson co-founded the Calvert High Social Impact Investments, the first financial instrument whereby mutual fund shareholders and other individual investors could invest in community development loan funds. Offered in October 1990, it now has placed over $32 million in community and micro loan funds throughout the world. Ms. Adamson is very active in the non-profit sector currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Enterprise Development, The Bay Foundation, Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, and First Voice International. She also serves on the National Editorial Advisory Committee for Indian Country Today, and the Editorial Advisory Board for Native Americas … (full text).

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