Nonprofit Spotlight: Tewa Women United

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In January, PennyLoafer donors collectively gave to Tewa Women United!

The Rundown

  • Years founded: 1989

  • Leadership: Executive Director, Dr. Corrine Sanchez, is from the San Ildefonso Pueblo and holds a PhD in Justice Studies. With over 25 years working in the field of sexual violence, she was one of 16 visionary leaders selected across the country to take part in the first cohort of NoVo Foundation’s Move to End Violence.

  • Issue they address: Social injustices facing Native women and communities.

  • What they do: Work to end all forms of violence against Native women, girls and Mother Earth.

  • How they do it:

    • Environmental Health and Justice Program: increase awareness and education of environmental justice issues impacting their community. Organize and advocate for just policies. Transformed 2 acres of vacant land into a community garden + educational workshops on dry land farming techniques and sustainable permaculture practices.

    • Indigenous Women’s Health and Reproductive Justice: Run a doula training and certification program to provide culturally-relevant care to women during childbirth. Improve access to reproductive healthcare and early childhood services for low income and Native women through advocacy + policy. Run a health education program for youth.

    • Women’s leadership and economic freedom: develop the leadership and capacity of Indigenous women. They coordinate a circle of grandmothers, a youth council and provide access to business training resources.

Why they were chosen

TWU is a multiracial, multicultural social justice organization that for 30+ years has lifted the voices of Native women. Founded and led by Indigenous women, they design direct services and community interventions based on their needs. Their holistic approach addresses the root causes and historical trauma experienced by their community and centers on intergenerational healing.

  • TWU is a 2019 recipient of the Courageous Innovation Award from the Santa Fe Community Foundation and the 2015 Chispa Award from the New Mexico Community Foundation, which recognizes “exceptional nonprofits that accomplish a great deal with few resources.”
  • They partner with several agencies to protect community waters impacted by toxic runoff from a nearby nuclear weapon facility. And in 2021, successful helped advocate for 3 bills passed by the New Mexico Legislature to advance environmental and reproductive justice in the state.
  • They’ve provided hundreds of Native women and families in Northern New Mexico with access to culturally-relevant reproductive care.

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Today, there are 574 federally recognized Indigenous nations in the U.S. About 3.7M people in the country self-identify as solely Native American and Alaska Native, while in combination with one or more races that number jumps to 9.7M (or, 2.9% of the U.S. population).

Due to the historical trauma of colonization, genocide, forced relocation and more, Native people today face a myriad of disparities. Consider:

Organizations like Tewa Women United serve, empower and give voice to Native women who are so often the “backbone” of Native communities, and integral to the care and economic stability of their families and communities.

If you enjoyed this and want to get involved, you can support the Racial Justice cause on PennyLoafer, starting with as little as $5/month. Each month, you’ll support and learn about a different nonprofit creating a more equitable world.