Honoring & Learning From Indigenous Communities


Fall 2020 has been a wild ride for people and planet! In the midst of Native American Heritage Month, it’s a great time to ground ourselves in the history of the indigenous communities whose lands we live on. The area that makes up our District is ancestral lands of the Piscataway and Anacostan (Nacotchtank) peoples. If you’re not in DC, you can find more about your land here. The lands and rivers of our District and the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia had thriving communities of these and other tribes, but after the arrival of the Europeans, indigenous communities were decimated by new diseases and war. The Anacostans are a powerful example: less than 25% of their population survived European invasion, and survivors were adopted into the Piscataway, “the people where the rivers blend.” You can learn more about the Piscataway here, and the history of the Anacostans and other peoples of the Chesapeake here.

While this month obviously looks a little different this year, there are lots of great events online – including the Native Cinema Festival and sessions on youth activists working towards food sovereignty – that make connections between indigenous communities, our land, and environmental justice. You can also head in person (while following physical distancing and COVID-19 precautions) to visit the newly reopened National Museum of the American Indian and the outdoor National Native American Veterans Memorial which opened on Veterans Day. The memorial, which honors the service and sacrifice of Native veterans and their families in defending the United States, was designed by Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), a Native American Veteran himself.

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November 13 & 14, 2020 – Virtual

This year’s DC Climathon is seeking innovative business, tech, and social enterprise solutions to address the urban heat island effect. In partnership with Sustainable DC and Climate Ready DC, the Climathon brings together students and community members to develop solutions to keep residents safe and cool in the face of rising temperatures and existing inequities. Typically, the Climathon takes place over 24 hours, but this year, the virtual event launched on November 9th and the hackathon will take place on November 13th and 14th. Teams will work to refine their ideas over the week, and pitch to a panel of judges on November 21st. Winners are eligible to receive up to $10,000 in implementation funds, and winning teams with a GW student are eligible to move forward to the George Washington University’s New Venture Competition, which offers more than $200,000 in prizes.

Learn more and register here.

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Residents, businesses, and the government all play a role in keeping DC clean, safe, and healthy. Only by involving all residents and each community can we create a #TrashFreeDC. Success begins with one neighbor and one community deciding to make a difference. Anyone can participate in the Adopt a Block program - individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools and other groups and organizations – by committing to quarterly cleanups. In these challenging times, adopting a block can also strengthen community relationships and build resilient networks. Check out the NEW website to see what blocks near you have been adopted and decide if you’re ready to adopt YOUR block!

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Through November 18, you can bring your jack-o-lanterns to compost OR bring your full pumpkins and squash to be rescued by food access organizations making delicious pumpkin treats at all of DPW’s food waste dropoff locations. That’s Saturday, November 14, 9 am – 1 pm at Columbia Heights, Uptown, UDC, Brookland, Eastern Market, SW Farmers Market, and 10 am – 2 pm at THEARC Farms. You can also visit Dupont Farmers Market on Sunday November 15, 8:30 – 1:30 pm or Kelly Miller Middle School on Wednesday, November 18, from 3 pm – 6 pm.



Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), Green Fellows

DOEE’s Green Fellows Program is a leadership development program in the fields of energy and environment. This Fellowship is a competitive, paid opportunity for graduate students attending local-area higher education institutions or DC residents enrolled in local-area graduate programs in the Washington Metropolitan area. This year, positions are available in Health Equity, Energy Affordability & Efficiency, Energy Data & Benchmarking and in Sustainability, Equity, Climate & Buildings with the Urban Sustainability Administration (including writing this newsletter!). Please pass along to graduate students in your network: the deadline has been extended until November 22 so apply today!

For more information and to apply, please visit here.

DOEE, Urban Agriculture Program Analyst

Located in DOEE’s Urban Sustainability Administration, this position will work to advance the efforts of the District’s Office of Urban Agriculture (OUA) to strengthen existing farms, spur agricultural entrepreneurship, and undo institutional and structural inequity in the food system. This employee will administer the urban farming grant program to support development and operations at District farms, while also engaging urban farm stakeholders to maintain clear understanding in the areas of support needed. They will research new sources of funding for OUA, provide support in grant writing and grant management, and support the research, development, and implementation of needed policy and regulations to advance urban agriculture in the District.

For more information and to apply, visit here.

Building Innovation Hub, Advisory Board & Associate Director of Outreach and Engagement

The Building Innovation Hub (Hub) helps building industry professionals in and around Washington, DC create and operate high-performing buildings. The Hub’s strategy and programming will be guided by an Advisory Board of the people it serves: building owners, operators, designers, service providers, contractors, and other building industry professionals. To learn more about the role and the nominating process, visit here.

The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) seeks a seasoned professional to lead, create, and implement educational programming, resource development, and industry outreach strategy to support the on-going growth and long-term success of the Hub. To learn more and to apply visit here.

National Housing Trust, Sustainable Development Manager

The National Housing Trust is a national non-profit engaged in preserving, improving, and maintaining affordable housing through public policy advocacy, real estate development, and lending. The Sustainable Development Manager is an exciting opportunity at the cross section of energy and affordable housing.  Initially, this role will project manage National Housing Trust’s current pipeline of portfolio-scale solar development on top of affordable housing while also working with the CEO to build a pipeline of renewable energy projects. It is anticipated this position will play a central role in crafting the newly formed Energy Solutions team’s strategy, especially as it relates to ensuring that marginalized people in under-invested communities equitably benefit from the health, economic, and environmental advantages of energy-efficient and sustainable affordable housing.

To learn more or apply, click here.

DC Green Bank

DC Green Bank is currently hiring for multiple positions in the investments team, including a Senior Investment Manager and Investment Associate, as well as several positions in the Operations team, including the External Affairs & Communications Partner, a Sustainability Guru, and an Equal Access Advocate. The Sustainability Guru will bolster internal and external sustainability efforts to ensure alignment of values, procurement, and the most appropriate disbursement of investments. The Equal Access Advocate will ensure the DC Green Bank is implementing best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) internally, in the Bank’s lending operations, and in the strategic direction.

To learn more about all available positions and apply, please visit here.


Food & Friends Thanksgiving Food Distribution

November 9 – 26, 2020

Join Food & Friends to ensure that seriously ill clients are able to enjoy a festive Thanksgiving meal with loved ones. Together, volunteers will help prepare and home-deliver 3,500 full Thanksgiving meals with all of the traditional holiday favorites – an entire roasted turkey, dressing and gravy, sides and pie, delivered to each of our clients’ homes. Volunteer opportunities will start early this year to allow for proper physical distancing in the kitchen, and on Thanksgiving Day, delivery volunteers will get their assignments and meal bags entirely outside and only a limited number of volunteers will be working in the building.

For more information or to sign up, visit here.

Forest Hills Rain Garden Maintenance Day

Saturday November 21 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Forest Hills Park and Playground at 3200 Chesapeake Street NW

Join the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and Rock Creek Conservancy to help maintain the rain gardens at Forest Hills. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and get your hands dirty while helping the community and local environment. Youth of all ages are welcome to participate with adult supervision. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, registration will be limited to 5 volunteers per hour. 

For more information or to sign up, visit here.

Thrive DC Winter Items Drive

Ongoing through November

This winter, it will be crucial to keep Thrive DC’s clients experiencing homelessness healthy and warm amidst the pandemic and flu season. You and your community can play an important part in ensuring this happens! This year’s Winter Items Drive will look a bit different due to the current circumstances. If you are interested in bringing items in to donate or gathering items from your neighbors or colleagues, please carefully review this document, or consider checking out the Wish List for a contact free way to donate!

For more information on how to safely donate, visit here.



Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 7 pm EST (and on demand until November 23, 2020), Virtual

The National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. For this year's 20th-anniversary showcase, the museum presents the full program online — including streaming films and conversations with filmmakers. Conscience Point will be streamed on Wednesday, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers and heroines of the film: it is about Rebecca Hill-Genia and her fellow Shinnecock activists in the Hamptons who made it their mission to protect their land and fight for the tribe’s community, heritage, and home. The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers and stories from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and the Arctic. Learn more and register here.

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Thursday, November 19, 4:00 pm, Virtual 

Native food systems and agricultural practices were disrupted upon European settlement and the displacement of Native peoples from their lands. For the last century, new foods introduced by U.S. Federal policy were unhealthy and substantially different from traditional diets. The introduction of unhealthy food, combined with uneven quality of and access to medical care, continues to leave many fighting an uphill battle for their health. Today we see many young people returning to traditional food sources and sustainable ways of living through political action and sustainable practice. Join the National Museum of the American Indian in a conversation with Samuel Lopez (Tohono O'odham), Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet, Cherokee), and Alecia Lennie (Inuvialuit) to learn how these young Native foodies are working to decolonize their diets and restore balance in their bodies and communities. Register and learn more here.


Through November 15, 2020
Throughout DC and Online

DMV Black Restaurant Week (DMVBRW) is a chance to celebrate the incredible Black-owned food businesses throughout the District. You can attend virtual sessions on how to start or grow your own business, learning from leaders in the field, or support food businesses on the DMVBRW list with special dine-in, take-out, delivery, catering, private chefs, and food truck options!

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November 15, 2020 – December 31, 2021

This participatory exhibition opens a year-long season of programming that examines the relationship between food, art, and women as part of the Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. RECLAMATION is an evolving exhibition and ingredient archive that examines food as a creative medium for visual art and a connective tool for exploring intergenerational and intercultural experiences. Conceived as a virtual experience that re-contextualizes the traditional role of women in providing sustenance and healing, RECLAMATION features nine interdisciplinary artists, as well as content submitted by the public, interwoven with the artists’ work. Submissions can be uploaded starting on November 15, 2020. To learn more about the exhibit and making your own submission, click here.

what we're reading

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

Indigenous Environmental Network’s People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy

Honor Native Land: a Guide and Call to Acknowledgment

We Have A Story to Tell: Native Peoples of the Chesapeake Region

The Arrow-Weeds: Environmentalists, Activists, and Artists

Down ballot environmental wins

Eagle Poem by Jo Harjo, the first Native American Poet Laureate




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