How You Can Help Native Americans | Volunteer on Reservations & More

How You Can Help Native Americans | Volunteer on Reservations & More

Here are some real, practical, and meaningful ways that you can give support to indigenous people in your community and around the country.

Donate Money to Programs That Support Native Communities

Donating money to the right charities and programs can be the best way to help Native communities. If you aren’t sure who to donate to, you can use Charity Navigator to learn more about the different options. It is a website that measures charities based on their accountability, transparency, and other factors. This can help you to choose between the many charities in the US that help out Native communities so that you can ensure that your money is going to a good cause.

Some of the highest-ranked Native American charities on Charity Navigator include the American Indian College Fund, Native American Heritage Association, the First Nations Development Institute, the Native American Rights Fund and the Adopt-a-Native-Elder Program.

Visit or Volunteer on a Reservation

If you have never visited a native reservation, it is difficult to understand the actual reality of what the lives of modern native people are like. Take the time to visit a reservation and volunteer there – there are many ways that you can contribute such as teaching, doing medical work or doing manual labor.

There are many volunteer opportunities, such as in the Blackfeet Nation or the Navajo Nation. Connect with a volunteer program and if you have the skills to contribute you can arrange something. Of course, beware of being guilty of voluntourism – only take part if there is something of value that you can contribute that will make a difference. If not, it may be better to make a donation instead.

Talk about Native American Issues

One of the most important things you can do is to talk about Native American life and issues, rather than avoiding the topic. Simply sharing stories and talking about native issues will help to raise awareness. Did you know that approximately 90,000 American Indian families are under-housed or homeless?

Or that only 13% of American Indians have a college degree?

Many people don’t know this, which is why awareness needs to be spread.

Whether it is by sharing articles and stories on social media, bringing up topics with your friends or participating in discussions both offline and online – being part of the conversation is important.

Buy Native Products

Whenever you purchase an artwork, a handmade piece of clothing, or another product created by an indigenous person, you are not only supporting the native economy but also preserving the culture. Plus, the beautifully handcrafted products are truly high quality and will be something special that you will cherish for many years.

However, this is easier said than done because a lot of non-Native businesses falsely suggest that their products are Native-made so that they can sell more. This is, in fact, illegal. If you see a product that is promoted as Native when it isn’t (such as a Navajo purse or Apache earrings for example) then you should report them to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Their dishonesty is taking business away from actual Native American artists.

To find out where to buy native products, you can check out our directory of Native products – Shop Native. There are many great native artists on this list that sell their beadwork, jewelry, fashion and much more. You can know for sure that all of the artists and brands on this list are Native American.

Learn About American History Relating to Native Americans

It is important to acknowledge the history of the native people who lived on this land before the European settlers arrived. Don’t presume that you know the answers – the version of history you were taught in school may have been European-focused and may not have included a lot of details about Native culture and history.

Take your time to read and educate yourself about the local tribes in your area and what their civilization was like before the Europeans arrived. Visit museums such as the National Museum of the American Indian to view the displays and read more about the past of America’s native communities. The more you discover and read, the more you will gain a deeper understanding of the complex history of Native American people.

These are just a few of the ways that you can offer support and empowerment to Native Americans – so how will you take action?


Last Updated on September 2, 2023 by Paul G

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

10 Comments on “How You Can Help Native Americans | Volunteer on Reservations & More”

  • Avatar for Mariette c

    Mariette c


    I’m native, I would like my continent back.

  • Avatar for diana



    I am interested in me and my 17 year old volunteering on native american reservation this summer. Hopefully we can learn much more about native american culture, beliefs and issues and also hopefully our volunteering can be of some use.

    Does anyone know a volunteer program on a reservation where we could volunteer for 3-5 weeks? We can contribute financially for our volunteer program, but not a big amount unfortunately.

    • Avatar for Joanna Weston

      Hi Diana! My name is Joanna and I am working with an organization that is located back east called Unlimited Possibilities. I am scoping out service projects that we could do for a period of about a week where 2/3rds of the time is spent on the Reservation and 1/3rd of the time is being emersed in the culture. I’m not sure where or when our next project will be but I can let you know in case you’re interested in joining us.

      If you know of an indigenous tribe that needs help in terms of a project on their reservation, please let me know!

  • Avatar for Taylor Hicken

    You made a good point when you shared that when you are buying products from native Americans, you are not only supporting their economy but also preserving the culture. My sister just mentioned the other day that she is thinking of helping the locals since she has a student who has been complaining about his living condition. I will suggest to her getting products from them as a way to support their business.

  • Avatar for Aherne



    Can you give me a contact that I could purchase a sewing machine to that would help an Indian Family?

  • Avatar for Polly craigs

    Polly craigs


    I am not Native American. But I believe the belief system it more true than anything European people think we know. I broke away from Christianity over 20 years ago. My motto at that Time is that the Indians had it right. Look at what people are doing to the environment. You his isn’t right. The preachers talk about guilt towards other people’s actions never looking at themselves. What are they learning as they point the finger of guilt towards the people who listen to them??? I have had lots of energy to help the Indian people. But there doesn’t seem to be a way to help them. Just watch on TV about the problems they have. Not enough!!!! I have wished to do SOMETHING. something. I am here. What can I do?

  • Avatar for Kemly Nixon

    Kemly Nixon


    Love know more .Im tired of the lies. zI do mot want my children to continue listening to false info. I want to make a difference on Thanksgiving.

  • Avatar for Douglas Findley

    Douglas Findley


    Greetings. I am a non native who is concerned about native issues. I am looking for some way to raise awareness within the non native community regarding these issues. Is there in place any organization that deals with this?

  • Avatar for Carolyn Brown

    Carolyn Brown


    Where does the money go, I have been through these reservations and they have a hard time, family is hurt, left and family are on the streets, someone needs to help our people, lets get out there and help, there are many of you with money and we can help these families..Let’s do this!!!!

    • Avatar for Ruperto Garcia

      Ruperto Garcia


      I am a Mexican American. I know the crime that the white man has done ro us. I would like to donate $ to my native brother, but want to make sure my $ goes directly to my native American people.

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