Reclaiming Native Truth

Native Americans and tribes face discrimination and bias at every level of society, institutionally, and within government. They are held back from reaching their full potential by the negative stereotypes, damaging misperceptions, and lack of awareness that prevail within the media, entertainment industry, popular culture, and among thought leaders

Credit: Jeff Henningsgaard PhotographyFirst Nations Development Institute is co-leading with Echo Hawk Consulting Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions, a groundbreaking project made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This initiative will consolidate and build upon previous research efforts in order to create a long-term, Native-led movement that will positively transform the popular image of and narrative about Native Americans.

From 2016-2018, our team will work with an advisory committee of Native leaders, stakeholders, and racial equity experts and advocates to understand the underlying reasons for society’s negative and inaccurate perceptions of Native Americans. Based on this improved understanding, we will have the tools necessary to build consensus around tackling this long-standing problem.

The Reclaiming Native Truth project team has retained Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR) to assist in developing and conducting the national research component of this effort. It is one of the world's premier opinion research and strategic consulting firms. For over three decades, GQRR has used sophisticated polling and opinion research to help leading candidates, parties, government leaders, corporations and advocacy groups across the United States and around the world. They have a proven record of advancing the interests of people and organizations seeking progressive change, like the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Campaign to Ban Landmines, and the Human Rights Campaign's work to mobilize around the referendum for marriage equality. The GQRR staff includes experts in the issues shaping America's future — such as immigration, national security, religion and values-based politics, technology, globalization, energy and the environment.

This video was presented to participants of the Reclaiming Native Truth Stakeholders Meeting in Chandler, Arizona, December 4-6, 2017, as part of the Reclaiming Native Truth Project. "Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions" is a two-year research and strategy-setting effort that will serve as the basis to create a long-term, Native American-led movement that positively transforms the image of and narrative about Native Americans. This video was produced by Buffalo Nickel Creative.








When you sign up, you'll begin receiving the monthly News Digest and the less-frequent Project Update.

The Reclaiming Native Truth News Digest  is a compilation of the latest media coverage
of Native awareness, perception and image issues from across the country.
These are the stories shaping and shaped by the narrative on Native Americans.
To view past issues, please visit the News Digest Archive.

The Reclaiming Native Truth Project Update  provides information about our
preparatory efforts to create a long-term, Native-led movement that will
positively transform the popular image of and narrtive about Native
Americans. To view past issues, please visit the
Project Update Archive.


Future National Campaign

We expect that Reclaiming Native Truth will lead to the creation of a national campaign to achieve greater awareness, respect and equality for Native peoples. We will:

  • Secure greater inclusion for Native Americans in public policy development and resource allocation
  • Address philanthropic disparities in grantmaking to and inclusion of Native peoples
  • Improve the accurate portrayal of Native Americans in the media and entertainment 
  • Ensure the inclusion and accuracy of Native American history and cultures in educational curricula
  • Find other solutions that will propel Native American communities forward


Project Co-Directors

  Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit) 
  President & CEO
  First Nations Development Institute
  Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee) 
  President & CEO
  Echo Hawk Consulting


Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee comprised of Native leaders, influential stakeholders, and racial equity experts will offer oversight, expertise and leadership to guide the project. To date, confirmed committee members include:

Chad Boettcher
True North Media
Dr. Carew Elizabeth Boulding
University of Colorado Boulder
Political Science
Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota)
American Indian College Fund
Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota & Diné)
Indigenous Environmental Network & 1491s Comedy Group
John Govea
Director, Immigrant Rights & Integration Programs
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
Ray Halbritter (Oneida)
Oneida Indian Nation Representative & CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee)
The Morning Star Institute
Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq)
Executive Director
National Indian Child Welfare Association
Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee)
Scholar, Writer, Blogger & Activist
Judith LeBlanc (Caddo)
Native Organizers Alliance
Denisa Livingston (Diné)
Community Health Advocate
Diné Community Advocacy Alliance
Nichole Maher (Tlingit)
Vice Chair, National Urban Indian Family Coalition
President, Northwest Health Foundation
Sen. John McCoy (Tulalip)
Washington State Senator
Floripa Olguin (Pueblo of Isleta)
Brown University
Youth Representative
Jacqueline Pata (Tlingit)
Executive Director
National Congress of American Indians
Ken Ramirez (San Manuel Band of Mission Indians)
Tribal Secretary
Business Committee for San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
Erik Stegman (Assiniboine)
Executive Director
Center for Native American Youth
Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota)
Executive Director
Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation
Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock)
Editor & Writer
National Trahant Reports
Brian Walker
Culture and Entertainment Advocacy Director
Color of Change
Kevin Walker
President & CEO
Northwest Area Foundation



Project Team

  • Michael Roberts (Tlingit), President & CEO, First Nations Development Institute, Co-Project Leader
  • Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee), President & CEO, Echo Hawk Consulting, Co-Project Leader
  • Jodi Archambault-Gillette (Standing Rock Sioux), Policy Advisor, Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry/Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Randy Blauvelt, Senior Communications Officer, First Nations Development Institute
  • Dr. Sarah Dewees, Project Director, First Nations Development Institute
  • Dr. Raymond Foxworth (Navajo), Vice President, Grantmaking, Development & Communications, First Nations Development Institute
  • Jackie Francke (Navajo), Vice President, Programs & Administration, First Nations Development Institute
  • Isabelle Gerard, Policy and Opinion Research Manager, American Heart Association/Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Carter Headrick, Director of State and Local Policy, Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association/Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), Native Solutions/Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Simone Klein, Project Coordinator, First Nations Development Institute
  • Shirley LaCourse (Oglala Lakota), Project Manager, Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Benjamin Marks, Senior Research Officer, First Nations Development Institute
  • Wilson Pipestem (Otoe-Missouria), Attorney and Government Relations, Pipestem Law/Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Ryan RedCorn (Osage), Red Hand Media/Echo Hawk Consulting
  • Tom Reed, Finance Officer, First Nations Development Institute
  • Betsy Theobald Richards (Cherokee Nation), The Opportunity Agenda/Echo Hawk Consulting


Media Contact

Randy Blauvelt, APR, Senior Communications Officer
First Nations Development Institute
Office: (303) 774-7836 x213
Mobile: (303) 915-2579


General Inquiries or to Offer Research Findings

For questions that are not news media-related, please email our general address at If you have relevant research that you would like to offer for consideration in this effort, please also use this email address.


* Photo at top-left of page by Jeff Henningsgaard Photography