The Center for Indigenous Health marked its 30th Anniversary on April 12th 2023 with a special celebration at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. Joined by friends, donors, partners and staff, the Center paid tribute to a remarkable three decades of partnership with Tribal communities as we look ahead with great optimism. Guests heard from JHU President Ron Daniels, the Center’s leadership team and honoree George Siber. The speaker portions were complemented by Indigenous dancers and musicians, who brought their traditional arts and cultural strengths to the celebration.
Allison Barlow, Executive Director reflected on the Center’s course ahead, “Over the past five years, I’ve spoken personally with many of you about the urgency of recruiting and growing Indigenous leadership…. And so many of you have answered my call with resources to help us realize this vision. With YOUR help, since 2017, the Center is proud to have welcomed 28 new Indigenous leaders into our family. Many are here and sitting at your tables. Along with Melissa Walls and Don Warne, these colleagues are the lifeblood of our Center’s work to promote community health and scientific innovations that are centered in Indigenous knowledge.”
One highlight of the evening was the announcement of The Willow Fund, a special fundraising initiative to grow vitally needed resources for Indigenous leadership in public health, pilot public health projects and support for CIH’s program teams in Tribal communities. The name Willow Fund has deep resonance as willow trees hold a special symbolism in Native American culture, representing flexibility and strength with a powerful intertwining root structure. They have the ability to grow and thrive amidst challenging conditions. The Willow Fund will support flexible programming and sustain a strong, supportive root structure for our work with Indigenous communities for years to come.