The East Colfax Neighborhood Association maintains a fund for the reparations of native peoples. The fund is a way to recognize the history of the land on which the East Colfax neighborhood is plotted as the traditional tribal grounds of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe peoples (among other tribes). Denver got its start only about 160 years ago, and the fund is a way we as a neighborhood can acknowledge the inception during that time of deeply tragic patterns of involuntary displacement that have continued to echo into the present day.
At the start of each monthly meeting, we'll have a brief land acknowledgment that we are on the traditional territories of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe tribes. But we read with Theresa Stewart-Ambo and K. Wayne Yang in "Beyond Land Acknowledgments in Settler Institutions" (linked here) how "such acknowledgments are easily co-opted into settler projects of recolonization" and are too often a precursor to, for example, zoning logistics, "dividing up the spoils," political posturing, and added layers of displacement that finds its echoes today in Ukraine and Palestine. Still, land acknowledgments form our context, define our effort, with a key role for the ENCA reparations fund, for financial and land-back donations (thanks to all who have donated so far). Including with the East Colfax food bank, free bookstore, community garden, and all of our volunteering, we build a "constellation of relationships ... entered into beyond land acknowledgments." And we take note of the first and only principle of the ECNA neighborhood plan, to prevent displacement.
Please consider donating to the fund. We will send all donations to tribal leaders on an annual basis and track our payments on this page.
Donations may also be mailed to:
East Colfax Neighborhood Association
7935 East 14th Ave.
Denver, CO 80220
We are aware that the fund could not possibly approach an actual “reparation,” but we believe we can actively pay our respects to those whose ancestors experienced genocidal patterns of settler colonialism, right here where we live today. The fund is a way to keep the door open to the continuing conversation around these abiding and often systematically obscured truths.
(image: tipis near Denver, 1874, Colorado History Museum. Early East Colfax?)