Our mission is to empower Native communities to become healthier, happier, and safer by providing information, support, and resources for animal care programs in Indian Country.
This means that the Native America Humane Society (NAHS) shares our expertise to help tribal communities learn how to humanely manage and care for the animal populations in their own communities. NAHS connects tribal communities and animal welfare service providers, NGOs, foundations, and other agencies to assist tribal communities in resolving their challenges with animals through regular animal care, population management, and community activities.
To put it simply, our love for the well-being of both Native nations and the animals therein is the driving force behind our work.
Indigenous communities in North America are dynamic and rich with knowledge, and Indigneous life ways have always cultivated a keen reciprocity with animals based on mutual respect and support. It’s no exaggeration to say that for millennia Native people have understood and held sacred their role as stewards of Mother Earth.
However, settler colonialism has disrupted systems that were in place for thousands of years. Relationships were jolted out of balance due to displacement, forced (and often violent) assimilation, and the resulting loss of language, culture, and access to resources such as land and medicine that were traditionally depended upon for subsistence and well-being.
Tribes now have a wide range of community needs to attend to, coupled with a lack of resources to address them all. Most tribal nations do not have animal welfare offices and lack the funding that non-Native communities rely on for these community agencies. They end up making difficult choices as poverty is a very real issue that impacts the welfare of both people and their animals.
Research and the work of international animal welfare groups has shown that the well being of animals in a community has a direct link with the health, safety and happiness of the community as a whole. So, while we can be proud of the scrappy survival instincts of rez dogs, we can also recognize that when they are left rampant and uncontrolled in communities they can spread disease to humans, cause injuries, and sometimes even cause death. In healing the relationship with animals, tribal communities can also heal their people remembering that all life is sacred.
“At the Pueblo, we have seen firsthand the value and impact of NAHS’ efforts to organize animal health care services such as vaccinations, spay and neuter services, and community education on animal care for our community. Further, we have been very impressed with NAHS’ responsiveness to the needs of the Pueblo government, community members, and our department and also, their commitment to honoring the laws, traditions, and values of our community.”
– Jesse Orozco, Director, Public Safety Department, Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico
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