About The Nakani Native Program
“Nakani” is a Tlingit word for a person or entity which serves as a connector and go-between for different people, places and cultures.
The Nakani Native Program was formed in 2017 after the American Friends Service Committee laid down its Northwest Indian Program. AFSC supported the former staff and committee members in forming a new nonprofit organization to carry on work grounded in the roots of sixty years of service to Pacific Northwest Native American communities.
Governed by a committee composed mostly of members of Native tribes, Nakani’s priorities reflect the perceived needs of Native communities. We discern these through frequent contact and involvement with our partner organizations.
The Nakani Native Program builds and strengthens leadership and organizational capacity in the Native community. We recognize the deep cultural conﬂicts that exist between mainstream society and Native Americans and bridge gaps to promote equity and social justice for all.
An Outgrowth of AFSC After the Quaker non-proﬁt, American Friends
Service Committee (AFSC), laid down its highly regarded Northwest Indian Program, AFSC supported the former staﬀ and committee members in continuing their work.
Same Vision, New Strengths
Nakani carries the same vision and passion of the Indian Program under AFSC, but now has greater autonomy to continue the legacy of sixty years of service regarding Paciﬁc Northwest Native issues.
“To provide social and political support to Native Americans in the Paciﬁc Northwest, expressing values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equity.”
Powerful Indigenous peoples lead the world in protecting Mother Earth!
Supporting the Tribal Canoe Journey
Nakani provides technical support and training for canoe families and hosts involved in the Tribal Canoe Journey. One of our projects is a guidebook for communities hosting the canoe journey.
Advocating for Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Nakani monitors current threats to tribal rights and informs the public on how they can support the interests of indigenous peoples.
How We Do It
Building Bridges Between Cultures
As a go-between Nakani provides education and cultural sharing opportunities for the mutual enrichment of Native and non-Native people. A current initiative is providing Indigenous equity and social justice training to both of these groups.
Our Program Committee
Our multicultural board weaves their experiences together to expand consciousnesses to Native ways of being.
Esther "Little Dove" John
Identifies as African American and Native American. She was part of the American Friends Service Committee Northwest Indian Committee since 1999 during the Makah whaling dispute. She also served on the AFSC’s Northwest Region and West Region Executive Committees. As a Quaker, Dove brings the values of peace, simplicity, integrity, community and equity to her work on the Nakani Native Committee.
Is an anthropologist with many years experience working with Native Americans.
Is an enrolled tribal member of the Tlingit Nation, Raven Clan. She’s worked as a cultural consultant, event planner, coordinator, facilitator, trainer, curriculum developer and fundraiser. Ellany has life-long experience working with Alaska Native, Native American, First Nations communities, and is a trainer, traditional drummer, singer, and dancer, and activist.
Identifies as Ashkenazi Jewish American. He was part of the American Friends Service Committee’s Northwest Region Executive Committee, and is currently a member of the AFSC’s Corporation, representing North Pacific Yearly Meeting. He was also a long-term volunteer with the Community Coalition for Environmental Justice and continues to build a justice-oriented version of “Ecotopia”.
Greg B. Urquhart
Is a Tsalagi (Cherokee) descendant and water protector. He serves as the President of the WSU Chapter of the Society of Indian Psychologists and as a board member of Urban Indians Northwest. In the past he has served in leadership positions within the American Psychological Association’s Division 17 (Human-Animal Interaction) and 18 (Psychologists in Indian Country).
He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Washington in 2011. He holds a M.A. in Community Counseling from Washington State University as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Washington and associate degree’s in Arts and Sciences and General Studies from Tacoma Community College. His interests include, Earth Justice, Tribal sovereignty, veterans’ issues, Native American psychology, social justice through research, career counseling, human-animal interaction and psychology across cultures. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, from Washington State University.
Our Program Staff
Is an enrolled member of the Makah Tribe. He served as staff person for the American Friends Service Committee’s Northwest Indian Program, where he built a strong support network for the Tribal Canoe Journey.
Become a Volunteer Today
We are always looking for dynamic and passionate people to volunteer with Nakani Native Program. If you have Community Organizing, Non-profit, Fundraising or Development experience please contact us to see how you can help!