Photo splitting a tropical water line with fish below and an island above

About Nia Tero

Working in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and movements worldwide

Our Mission

Nia Tero works in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples who sustain thriving territories and cultures to strengthen guardianship of Earth and all beings.

Who We Are

Nia Tero is a US-based non-profit working in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples and movements worldwide to support their efforts to protect their territories. Nia Tero is not an Indigenous organization – we are made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders who work together with Indigenous Peoples committed to guardianship of their territories. Below are highlights about our leadership and global teams:

A core strength of Nia Tero is that our Indigenous team members – who come from our priority regions of North America, the Pacific Islands, and Amazonia, and who hold lived experience and knowledge as Indigenous Peoples – manage our grantmaking relationships with our partners.

This Indigenous leadership and partnership model has been a core aspiration of our operations since Nia Tero’s inception. We are incredibly proud of this, and recognize we have further to grow – it is something we understand as key to the success of our mission.

Our Work

Indigenous Peoples sustain at least 40% of Earth’s remaining intact ecosystems, an essential foundation of a livable planet. Nonetheless, Indigenous Peoples and their territories are under existential threat. Nia Tero exists to support the self-determined needs of Indigenous Peoples and to play an active role in accelerating true allyship globally. Nia Tero provides direct funding via grants and contracts to Indigenous Peoples' organizations, networks, and trusted allies worldwide.

  • 92% of grants have been awarded directly to Indigenous organizations, their fiscal sponsors, or allies selected by the Indigenous partners that manage funds.
  • Since 2017, we have distributed $85 million in grants. We expect to reach $100 million in distributed grants by the end of 2024.
  • Nia Tero partners with 271 distinct Indigenous Peoples around the world, with special focus in three key regions: Amazonia, North America, and the Pacific Islands.
  • Our support helps protect 128 million hectares of lands and waters, sequestering 24.4 gigatons of carbon.
  • In just seven years, Nia Tero has become one of the world’s largest and most trusted financial and technical partners for Indigenous Peoples.
  • In 2023 alone, Nia Tero awarded over 170 grants, totaling more than $22 million to these partners or to the ally organizations our partners asked us to support.
Bow of a boat heading down a river edged with trees

Nia Tero follows Indigenous leadership and wisdom for the health of our planet, providing lasting support to Indigenous Peoples protecting their homelands.

Our Founding Story

In 2017, Conservation International Founder Peter Seligmann and a small group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders decided to launch a new, highly diverse organization devoted to supporting Indigenous Peoples in their efforts to protect their ways of life and their territories. The impetus to start a new organization came from the founders’ realization that humanity’s fate is directly dependent upon the ability of national governments, and the public, to support Indigenous territorial rights and embrace Indigenous Peoples’ understanding of the reciprocal relationship between all beings and the Earth. Our organization was founded with an inherently different approach than our peer environmental and social justice-driven NGOs – one that centers Indigenous Peoples and their worldview from inception – not speaking for but rather in partnership with Indigenous Peoples in support of the work already being done through Indigenous leadership to safeguard the Earth.

Our work is deeply grounded in Indigenous wisdom, practices, worldviews, and protocols. Our North Star is the foundational principle of reciprocity, which is the interdependency and relationship between the Earth, humanity, and all other species. Across all of our work, we honor and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

About Our Name

Nia Tero means “Our Earth” in Esperanto, a language created in the late 1800s to promote peace and harmony. Esperanto is a second language to all, first to none, allowing people who speak different native languages to communicate while retaining their own language and cultural identity. This concept of unity while upholding identity embodies the heart of Nia Tero.

Nia Tero Logo
Aerial wave of ocean

Annual Reports

As you read our annual reports, please join us in our efforts to support Indigenous Peoples to fight for their rights, retain and transmit their cultures, and sustain the deep wisdom and the vibrant health of their vast, globally significant territories.

Advisory Council

The Nia Tero Advisory Council is comprised of experienced individuals guiding the growth of Nia Tero’s institutional culture and relationships towards a global set of partnerships that can amplify Indigenous Peoples’ voices and influence, secure thriving land and sea within their territories, and fulfill the Nia Tero mission.

dried flowers with leave
A leaf

Board of Directors

The Nia Tero Board of Directors is composed of the founding partners, other individuals of goodwill, and globally-recognized representatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.


Nia Tero’s governing bodies, leadership, and team are of diverse non-Indigenous and Indigenous identities and life experiences. We are committed to Indigenous self-determination and an inclusive culture guided by Indigenous wisdom, practices, and protocols.

balanced rocks

Global consultants

Meet Nia Tero’s global consultants, who work across and within our key regions, and are comprised of diverse non-Indigenous and Indigenous identities and life experiences.

Pine cone

Our Founding Partners

Strengthening Collaboration


Read the latest news about Nia Tero.

Delve into highlights and stories about Nia Tero and our partners around the world.

See All News & Press

May 10, 2024

Solutions Insights Lab

Interview with David Rothschild and ‘Aulani Wilhelm (Nia Tero)


March 26, 2024

Stanford University News

‘Win-win solutions’ in the Pacific can balance environmental conservation with human development


March 2, 2024

The Washington Post

In the Amazon, a New Way to Live Off Nature

View of a colorful starry sky from the shore


Key to our mission is harnessing diverse perspectives, life experiences, and work experiences in an environment that promotes innovation, creativity, trust, and teamwork. We seek candidates who demonstrate passion for our goals, deep technical expertise, and an ability to excel in an organization with a global focus.