Partnerships with Native Communities

October 11, 2021


As a national organization, our work extends across America to reach many communities. We readily share our knowledge and resources with local shelters and rescue groups so they can impact the areas they serve.

We celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor their history and culture. Our partnerships with Native communities aim to keep more animals in loving homes through community engagement, preventative services and resources.

Northern Tier Grant Funding


The Northern Tier Shelter Initiative (NTSI) provides consultations, training and grants to animal welfare agencies in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The NTSI team works to improve the quality of life for companion animals in those regions, while collecting and analyzing data to address long-term challenges.

Here are a few ways the ASPCA supported pets and people in the Northern Region: since 2020

  • $40,000 COVID-Relief Grant awarded to Snake River Animal Shelter, Idaho Falls, Idaho.
    Snake River Animal Shelter collaborates with the Shoshone Bannock Tribe to host spay/neuter and vaccine clinics for community members. The team also provides community pet owners with behavior support services.
  • $80,000 Grant awarded to Blackfeet Tribe’s Medicine Bear Shelter in Browning, Montana.
    The Medicine Bear Shelter provides temporary housing for homeless community members. The grant supports work to add 20 pet-friendly, co-housing spaces for vulnerable clients and their pets.
  • $15,000 Grant awarded to Stafford Animal Shelter (SAS) in Livingston, Montana.
    SAS works with representatives from the Crow Nation’s Animal Control, Indian Health Services and Tribal Police to provide community animals with access to veterinary care, spay/neuter services, and other supportive services.

Going Above and Beyond for Western Montana Communities

NTSI is also supporting the Humane Society of Western Montana’s (HSWM) pilot Petworks Veterinary Rural Services Program with a $160,000 grant. The animal welfare organization is working collaboratively with the Blackfeet (Browning, Montana) and Chippewa Cree (Box Elder, Montana) communities to bring much-needed, consistent veterinary services such as spay/neuter surgeries and vaccine clinics.

This work has started collaboration with other Native American communities and HSWM to reach more animals.

We have also worked with HSWM beyond providing financial resources. Their team traveled to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina in early 2020 for a Learning Lab Core Retreat. The Core Retreat is an interactive, multi-day workshop where select shelters participate in an intensive education program facilitated and taught by ASPCA experts.

Through attending the Core Retreat, and subsequent engagement with the Learning Lab Partnership Community, HSWM has elevated their behavioral care program and empowered more staff and volunteers to support animals' behavioral health.

We also hosted HSWM at the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance where we shared best practices for high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter services.

The organization has implemented what they learned from the Learning Lab and ASNA to improve access to spay/neuter services and provide behavioral support in their community.

Navajo Nation Horses in Need


Animal Protection Of New Mexico (APNM) was awarded $25,000 in financial assistance from the ASPCA to expand a successful Ramah Navajo Community horse protection project already in progress. The project will include veterinary care of equines, education, skills and interest in healthy equines by the local community and contributing to training and delivery of fertility control vaccines.

The long-term goal is to humanely reduce the growing population of free roaming horses on the Navajo Nation. Currently, there are about 40,000 free-roaming horses on the Nation and New Mexico is a funnel for horses going to slaughter in Mexico from all over the US.

By implementing gelding, and veterinary support to as many of the approximately 400 horses on the Ramah chapter as possible, the Ramah Navajo equine protection project aims to serve as a documented success story that can be replicated by other Navajo chapters.

With ASPCA funding, APNM provides assistance and training to Navajo chapters and implement their expertise and knowledge for better health and welfare of the horses in their communities.


Photos taken by APNM of horses with their families. 

As we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we champion Indigenous communities and their collaboration with animal welfare organizations to improve the lives of animals in their nations. By supporting the ASPCA you are reaching animals throughout America to help them live their happiest, healthiest lives.