The Piscataway have been excluded from government assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite many of our community members being high risk. We are raising money to meet our basic needs to keep our community safe.
Hey family, hope all is well with you. We’re out here with our family and our people in southern MD, our ancestral homelands, quarantined with loved ones. Those of us running this fundraiser are Piscataway youth from Cedarville. Unfortunately, we have some tribal members who are unable to quarantine and are still in need of basic necessities. This is always an urgent matter, but during the time of COVID-19, these issues must be handled immediately. We are raising money to support some loved ones in dire need during this time. (While this is a fundraiser that was created by Cedarville band youth, we've stated this fundraiser is for general "Piscataway" folks in order to open this opportunity up for others outside the Cedarville band.) The state of MD has never prioritized the wellbeing and safety of its indigenous people so we are stepping up ourselves to support our family and loved ones. We are calling on all of our friends, relatives, acquaintances, to all folks who live on our ancestral homelands currently known as the state of MD, VA, and Washington D.C., and to anyone with a big heart willing to help us during this time to support us with money donations.
The funds we raise will be used to fund housing for family who are currently experiencing homelessness. Being without a home is particularly dangerous at this time because of the risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus and violating the stay at home orders that are in place.
In particular, we are looking to support a two spirit relative who suffers from severe PTSD and ADHD. This is someone near and dear to our hearts, someone trusted and loved that we want to support by helping alleviate their daily pain of finding an adequate place to live, accessing healthy food to eat, and suffering from mental health issues that have deeply changed their life by making survival extremely challenging.Other tribal members have been supporting the community by collecting and distributing supplies needed during COVID-19. Unfortunately, most indigenous communities are not prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic because in addition to experiencing generations of structural disenfranchisement/marginalization, native people have been excluded from receiving the recent government stimulus checks- something these tribal members have also failed to receive. However, most media outlets neglected to cover the experiences of native communities and the realities that indigenous people face. Like many other native communities, Piscataway people have a high number of diabetic, elderly and immunocompromised individuals. While the governor of MD has taken precautions, the basic needs of some Piscataway people still have not been met. The added burden of not having access to housing makes surviving during the pandemic even more difficult. Indigenous people who experience homelessness- especially in areas that are urban or quickly urbanizing like the DMV- are at an increased risk of contracting COVID due to a variety of factors that convolute the act of social distancing such as dense populations, potential physical assault and a denial of basic resources due to implicit biases or systemic failures.
We are not all prepared for this pandemic and some of our people are left vulnerable. These funds will allow us to reassert what our sovereignty looks like in our community and allow us to appropriately prepare for future emergencies. We are asking for help not just to support us during the time of COVID-19, but also to empower us in the face of state failures as we explore the possibilities of community sustainability in the midst of a climate crisis caused by colonization and a continued destabilization that has continued since settler contact. Please support us in our healing process as the Earth offers us a wonderful time to slow down and create. May we use this time to check in and be present with ourselves, support those most vulnerable, and contribute to a collective effort of creating the world we dream of.
WE ARE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE YOU SHOULD BE SUPPORTING. Please take this moment to also show up for other communities. Below is a list of groups and organizations to donate to. Please take time to ask others how they are doing and how you can support them. Wanishi (thank you)!
EDIT: 5/1/2020 Our Two Spirit relative has a video message to share with you all.
PLEASE SUPPORT OTHERS BELOW! These are in no particular order. They begin with local DMV efforts, then indigenous/ indigenous led efforts.
Can’t donate? Please share. Even a quick share on Facebook can help.
The average share raises $97.