We are pleased to announce that Kate R. Finn has been appointed Executive Director of First Peoples Worldwide. Kate has served as Staff Attorney at First Peoples since 2018 and has expertise on articulating how the impacts of development in Indigenous communities must be addressed at all levels of business and investment in order to build healthy Native economies and communities for generations. As Executive Director, she will devise and implement First Peoples’ organizational strategy, oversee staff and projects towards mission fulfillment, and forge and maintain relationships of trust with partners and program participants.
During her time as Staff Attorney, Kate led standard setting initiatives to accelerate the rights of Indigenous Peoples in global spaces, advocating for more robust considerations of Indigenous Peoples in the Equator Principles and in the Principles for Responsible Banking. She has supported Indigenous leaders through trainings and capacity building for full participation with banks, investors and other stakeholders where development infringes on Indigenous lands, rights and lifeways. She has also worked to align corporate and industry behavior with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to assess and expand the UNGPs with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
Among several papers, Kate co-authored Social Cost and Material Loss: The Dakota Access Pipeline and Responsible Resource Development and Prevention of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women and Children on the Fort Berthold Reservation. Her article “Recalibrating Risk Assessment for Indigenous Women” appeared in the March 2020 issue of Green Money Journal.
As an enrolled member of the Osage Nation, Kate continues a tradition of Native leadership of First Peoples carried forward by founder Rebecca Adamson (Cherokee), and Carla Fredericks (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation), who homed First Peoples at CU and served as Director after Ms. Adamson's retirement.
Kate holds a J.D. and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado, and a B.A. from Princeton University. She was the inaugural American Indian Law Program Fellow at the University of Colorado Law, where she worked directly with Tribes and Native communities. She serves on the boards of the First Nations Community Financial and Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group. Prior to her work with First Peoples, Kate served as a Program Coordinator with the Denver Victim Services Network, working on the local level to connect service agencies and advocated at the federal level for adequate protections for victims of crime.