Native American Rights Fund

"We ask for nothing more, and will accept nothing less than the U.S. government keeping the promises made to Native Americans." -John Echohawk

aka NARF   |   Boulder, CO   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Native American Rights Fund

EIN: 84-0611876


NARF's objectives are to protect the rights of and seek justice for tribes and Native peoples. In the words of Executive Director John Echohawk, "We ask for nothing more, and will accept nothing less than the U.S. Government keeping the promises it has made to Native Americans." NARF currently represents more than 60 tribes in 20 states on a wide range of critical matters, including land into trust, federal recognition, subsistence hunting & fishing, federal trust responsibilities, protection of sacred places, voting rights, sovereign immunity, Indian Child Welfare, water rights and environmental issues.

Notes from the nonprofit

NARF is also affiliated with: Native American Voting Rights Coalition Colorado Nonprofit Association Native Americans in Philanthropy Boarding School Healing Coalition Tribal Supreme Court Project with NCAI Tribal Education Departments National Assembly

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. John E Echohawk

Deputy Direcotry

Matthew Campbell

Main address

1506 Broadway

Boulder, CO 80302 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts and culture

Cultural awareness

Public interest law


Ethnic and racial minority rights

Population served info


Indigenous peoples

American Indians

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Cultural, Ethnic Awareness (A23)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms



What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

For many years, tribal communities across the United States struggled. The treaties, signed by ancestors and the early United States government were continually being ignored. Federal, state and local governments drafted laws and policies about our nations without our consent or knowledge. Our children were being taken from our communities and our natural resources were continually pillaged in the name of western progress. Then in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) changed everything. As the nation’s oldest and largest high impact legal defense fund for Indian Country, NARF takes on issues and cases of national importance to America’s first citizens, Native Americans. Our five priority mission has allowed NARF to protect, defend and advance Indian Rights over the last 50 years in a way that had never been done.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

National Indian Law Library

National repository of, and clearinghouse for, materials in Indian law.  Collects and distributes catalogues and other materials used for legal and educational purposes.  Provides reference and research assistance.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Provides legal representation, assistance and education to Native American People

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Where we work


21st Edition of Best Lawyers in America 2014

NARF Senior Attorney Melody McCoy

21st Edition of Best Lawyers in America 2014

NARF Executive Director John E. Echohawk

Honorary Order of the Coif 2016

NARF Senior Attorney Steven C. Moore

Edward E. Cremer III Environmental Law Award 2016

NARF Attorney Wesly James Furlong

Affiliations & memberships

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2021

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

- Protect the sovereignty, natural resources, language and traditions of Native Americans.
- Enforce the treaty, constitutional and statutory rights of Native Americans.
- Educate the public, elected officials and regulatory agencies on the rights of Native peoples.
- Federal recognition of all tribes
- Shelby fix
- Carcieri fix

- Produce publications, presentations and archives detailing the rights of Native Americans and the responsibilities of the government to protect and enforce those obligations.
- Inform governments and their agencies of rights violations.
- Initiate legal action if rights violations are not rectified voluntarily.

- Seventeen staff attorneys
- The worlds largest archive of tribal documents
- Three offices easily and readily accessible to tribes and Federal Government offices strategically situated.
- Funding of twenty five Indian Legal Services offices in Indian Country
- Formal and Informal cooperation with law schools, private law firms, expert witnesses, government agencies, consultants and other Native nonprofits.

- American Indian Religious Freedom Act
- Native American Voting Rights Coalition
- U.S. v. Washington
- Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
- Indian Child Welfare Act
- Menomonie Restoration
- Trust Reform
- Supreme Court Victories
- Supreme Court Project
- Alaska Voting Rights/Native language voting materials
- TEDNA securing of federal appropriations
- Klamath Basin Adjudication water volume victories
- Agua Caliente groundwater rights determination
- Shinnecock recognition (as well as a number of other tribes)
- Katie John v. United States

Yet to accomplish
- Federal recognition of all tribes
- "Shelby fix"
- "Carcieri fix'

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Native American Tribes, Organizations and Individuals

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Native American Rights Fund
Fiscal year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 18.21 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 21% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

Native American Rights Fund

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Native American Rights Fund

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Native American Rights Fund

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Oct 01 - Sep 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of Native American Rights Fund’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $901,550 $551,673 $2,302,563 $19,107,971 -$7,088,762
As % of expenses 7.1% 4.4% 20.1% 138.4% -49.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $835,400 $490,736 $2,240,117 $18,973,856 -$7,290,450
As % of expenses 6.5% 3.9% 19.4% 136.1% -50.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $13,265,349 $13,057,847 $16,394,707 $30,510,271 $17,548,546
Total revenue, % change over prior year -56.9% -1.6% 25.6% 86.1% -42.5%
Program services revenue 10.1% 3.7% 3.6% 22.6% 5.5%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 9.6% 12.1% 9.0% 4.5% 6.4%
Government grants 15.5% 21.2% 8.2% 8.4% 6.5%
All other grants and contributions 61.6% 60.5% 70.5% 48.4% 77.5%
Other revenue 3.2% 2.5% 8.7% 16.1% 4.2%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $12,754,275 $12,677,716 $11,460,649 $13,804,967 $14,375,935
Total expenses, % change over prior year 16.0% -0.6% -9.6% 20.5% 4.1%
Personnel 46.7% 47.6% 52.2% 49.3% 57.1%
Professional fees 13.1% 8.7% 15.9% 23.4% 11.7%
Occupancy 2.5% 2.4% 3.6% 3.2% 3.7%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.5% 0.0%
Pass-through 8.7% 5.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 29.0% 36.3% 28.3% 23.6% 27.5%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $12,820,425 $12,738,653 $11,523,095 $13,939,082 $14,577,623
One month of savings $1,062,856 $1,056,476 $955,054 $1,150,414 $1,197,995
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $19,010 $20,987 $18,474
Fixed asset additions $942,853 $125,170 $86,747 $7,680,789 $2,208,124
Total full costs (estimated) $14,826,134 $13,920,299 $12,583,906 $22,791,272 $18,002,216

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 4.1 3.0 5.7 7.9 3.9
Months of cash and investments 38.9 39.6 48.6 45.7 35.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 36.1 36.8 43.0 45.6 36.0
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $4,336,625 $3,186,005 $5,459,355 $9,053,297 $4,631,036
Investments $37,044,923 $38,669,064 $40,940,734 $43,560,875 $38,312,774
Receivables $2,725,824 $2,572,671 $3,266,436 $11,192,640 $10,662,274
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $2,302,513 $2,373,766 $1,653,982 $9,244,957 $11,428,710
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 51.8% 50.5% 27.5% 5.4% 5.9%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 3.5% 3.1% 3.9% 2.1% 3.0%
Unrestricted net assets $39,453,057 $39,943,793 $42,183,910 $61,157,766 $53,867,316
Temporarily restricted net assets $3,397,513 $3,447,512 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $1,027,503 $1,034,947 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $4,425,016 $4,482,459 $7,066,996 $10,115,367 $8,913,048
Total net assets $43,878,073 $44,426,252 $49,250,906 $71,273,133 $62,780,364

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Mr. John E Echohawk

John Echohawk, a Pawnee, is the Executive Director of NARF. He was the first graduate of the University of New Mexico's special program to train Indian lawyers, and was a founding member of the American Indian Law Students Association while in law school. John has been with NARF since its inception, having served continuously as Executive Director since 1977. He has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by the National Law Journal since 1988 and has received numerous service awards and other recognition for his leadership in the Indian law field. He serves on the Boards of the American Indian Resources Institute, the Association on American Indian Affairs, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. B.A., University of New Mexico (1967); J.D., University of New Mexico (1970); Reginald Heber Smith Fellow (1970-72); Native American Rights Fund (August 1970 to present); admitted to practice law in Colorado.

Deputy Direcotry

Matthew Campbell

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Native American Rights Fund

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

Native American Rights Fund

Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization

Native American Rights Fund

Board of directors
as of 05/22/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Mrs. Lacy Horn

Cherokee Nation

Term: 2017 - 2023

Board co-chair

Mr. Kenneth Kahn

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Term: 2017 - 2023

Lacey A. Horn

Cherokee Nation

Kenneth Kahn

Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians

Camille K. Kalama

Native Hawaiian

Rhonda Pitka


Rebecca Miles

Nez Perce Tribe

Robert Miguel

Ak-Chin Indian Community

Rebecca Crooks Stratton

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux

Jamie Azure

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa

Geoffrey Blackwell


Stephanie Bryan

Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Gayla Hoseth

Curyung Tribe

Michael Petoskey

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Chippewa Indians

Louie Ungaro

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/20/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native/Indigenous
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/20/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser