The Democracy Collaborative – working in close collaboration with Jill Bamburg of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Marjorie Kelley of the Tellus Institute, and supported by the Northwest Area Foundation – is spearheading a year long intensive training and advisory program designed to help Native communities better engage in comprehensive community economic development. The first session of the program, recently completed, brought together leaders from six Native organizations in Oakland, California, where they were able to engage with key experts from the thriving ecosystem of green and worker-owned companies in the Bay Area.
As the project directors wrote in their welcome letter to participants:
We’re excited about our coming time together and the potential for making a difference for Native people. In these difficult times, we’re all searching for new economic paths forward. Our challenge is nothing less than to create together a new economy – one that respects the Earth, builds for seven generations, and includes those previously excluded. Doing this means claiming ownership of enterprise – at the same time that we transform the very nature of ownership. Native values and Native voices are critically needed in this work. Working together, we believe this Learning/Action Lab can help us all unleash ways our communities can thrive amid disruption, and create resilience in the face of crisis.
The purpose of the Learning/Action Lab is simple: to work collaboratively to build community wealth for Native communities, by learning about how to operationalize the Community Wealth Building approach. The approach has been pioneered by The Democracy Collaborative, as well as by others. In brief, Community Wealth Building means creating local economic prosperity through democratizing wealth and ownership.
Kandea Mosley, Co-Director of Solar Richmond, talks to the Learning/Action Lab cohort