The Golden Eagle is a supernatural figure from shishalh (Sechelt First Nation) folklore here in British Columbia. Closely related to the Thunderbird, stories of this wondrous creature revolve around service to humankind and the notion of building unity to accomplish fantastic feats. As an organization we have called on this powerful image to preside over a great task: to protect us from threats to our very existence. These threats come in many forms and evolving complexities. Under Golden Eagle we have therefore endeavoured to create a lean, fluid, and responsive organization capable of addressing them.
Although we use many novel approaches to meet our mandate of protecting Indigenous lives, key in our success is the work of our Champions. Consisting of leaders from all walks of life (political, cultural, spiritual, legal, business, grass-roots, and so on) these individuals have committed to working collectively to turn the tide on many unacceptable realities. We acknowledge that individually our voices may be weak and that alone we may be vulnerable; together we will shift Nations.
Golden Eagle’s work follows two tracks: initiatives and inquiry
The first track consists of our Initiatives efforts. These are long term projects aimed at alleviating stresses and conditions inhibiting our health or our social, cultural, or spiritual wellbeing. Golden Eagle initiatives include our Clam Garden project which is designed to provide healthy nourishment and food security to our Indigenous communities and our Rising Eagle App (currently under development) which aims to help Indigenous youth deal with mental health challenges arising from the often insurmountable pressures they uniquely face growing up. Finally, we offer cultural workshops and engage in a variety of Indigenous youth outreach projects. All of our initiatives are undertaken in consultation with and the support of other organizations and allies who share a similar objective.
The second track consists of our Inquiry efforts. Under the Inquiry track, Golden Eagle will inquire, and where necessary investigate, the systemic factors which have resulted in the unnecessary and untimely loss of Indigenous lives. Where possible, we will engage our Champions’ broad areas of expertise to identify the causes and risk factors behind these tragedies and determine whether they are attributable to discrete areas or are systemic in nature. We will rely on our findings to make recommendations to address the specific and systemic factors underlying these losses. Golden Eagle will then formulate action plans to ensure all recommended measures are widely publicized and adhered to by relevant officials and leaders. Currently, we have established a Standing Committee which is focuses on identifying the systemic and specific factors which give rise to why our Indigenous women and girls are vulnerable to human trafficking.
At Golden Eagle we believe knowledge is power, and even more so, truth necessitates justice. It is for this reason that we will devote much of our resources toward collecting data relating to our Indigenous wellbeing. The pages in the Resources portion of the Golden Eagle website will be in Wiki-like format and will house an ever increasing amount of useful information.
Along with a novel organizational structure and approach Golden Eagle also possesses a very unique funding model. Although much of our work is based on the contributions of our volunteers and Champions, Golden Eagle also relies on a full time staff. Generally for this Indigenous non-profits must rely on non-Indigenous government or corporate funding. This leaves us, whether real or perceived, beholden to the interests of these parties. Because of the subject matter we address, and the trust we must maintain with our communities, Golden Eagle will not seek this type of core funding. Our administration will be funded in whole by private Indigenous donors with no strings attached. Our mandate will remain clear and unimpeded.
Golden Eagle will accept public donations to fund its many initiatives and projects. These contributions are appreciated and we show this appreciation through the efficiency of our work and our full accountability. Further to this we have developed a ground-breaking feature. It is an online, publicly accessible, real-time ledger showing precisely how our donors' money has been spent as it is spent.