The day after the 2020 presidential election, a graphic from CNN dominated my Fb information feed. Illustrating voter turnout, it included the phrase “one thing else” to seek advice from voters who usually are not white, Latinx, Black or Asian.
Many Native Americans, fast to unite round a motive to chortle, responded with their very own graphics and memes, playfully and sarcastically congratulating themselves.
In actuality, although, individuals had been indignant at one other occasion of erasure – and on the chosen phrase, which furthered Indigenous invisibility on the nationwide stagewhen there have been so many tales that might have amplified the importance of Native American participation within the election course of.
This yr noticed a file six Native People elected to Congress.
Native voters had been additionally essential to the Democratic occasion’s success in key swing states. Flipping Arizona, which went blue for simply the second time in 70 years, might be credited to the state’s Native vote. The Navajo’s Nation’s roughly 67,000 eligible voters confirmed up for Biden at a price of 60-90%, leading to a tally that far surpassed his lead of 12,813 votes within the state.
CNN’s insult was notably ironic on condition that it is usually Native American Heritage Month. Past tales of voter turnout, it’s time mainstream media, cultural and political establishments, and all People replicate on methods to extend engagement with Native American individuals and Nations. Analysis from the non-profit group IllumiNative reveals that 87% of state-level historical past requirements fail to cowl Native individuals in a post-1900 context and that 78% of People wish to study extra about Native individuals, cultures, and up to date tales.
My very own want to facilitate these reflections and broaden the area for Indigenous narratives led me to pursue an oral history project with the non-profit Voice of Witness. Over the past three years in cities and on reserves and reservations throughout the continent, I’ve listened to and printed Native peoples’ tales of loss, injustice and resilience within the ongoing struggle to guard Indigenous land, rights and life. From the intergenerational legacy of Indian residential faculties, to the impression of environmental destruction on fishing, searching and conventional life-ways, to the disaster of lacking and murdered Indigenous girls and ladies, I hope that these tales of resistance will likely be moved into American faculties and public discourse. They provide options to over-told tales such because the colonialist-absolving and traditionally inaccurate Thanksgiving narrative.
There are such a lot of extra tales that must be heard, and a lot extra work to be carried out. Listed below are some concepts to get you began:
1. Do not forget that we’re all occupying tribal land. You’ll be able to study whose conventional territory you reside on by utilizing the searchable map developed by Native Land Digital. Do analysis into the Indigenous peoples who traditionally occupied the territory, who at present does and the historical past of the way it was stolen.
2. Do a land acknowledgment to lift consciousness of Indigenous peoples’ presence and to acknowledge our ongoing relationship with the land. For a information on observe this follow, go to landacknowledgements.org. Nevertheless, don’t let the land acknowledgment be a token gesture. Know your historical past and keep in mind that an acknowledgment also needs to be a dedication to take motion in direction of a extra simply future.
3. Learn the work of Indigenous writers equivalent to Tommy Orange, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Lee Maracle, Terese Marie Mailhot, Vine Deloria Jr, Louise Erdrich and N Scott Momaday to learn the way Native individuals characterize themselves and their cultures, histories, and communities. Native lives are sometimes solely coated if the people are one of the 4 Ds: drumming, dancing, drunk or useless. Native authors supply extra balanced depictions of our lives.
4. Advocate on your native faculty boards to incorporate Native American children’s literature, historical past and views within the curriculum, particularly these of native tribes. If you’re an educator, add extra Native content material to your syllabi. Because the United Nations states, a scarcity of respect towards and sources about Native cultures could cause a critical education gap. Begin with these free lesson plans exploring colonization and up to date Indigenous experiences.
5. Even when your formal training didn’t make area for Indigenous data, it’s not too late. Search #NativeTwitter to search out Indigenous customers, opinions and occasions. Comply with @IdleNoMore4, @WinonaLaDuke, @The_Red_Nation, @repdebhaaland, @repdavids, @NDNCollective, @jnoisecat, @CrystalEchoHawk, @SimonMoyaSmith, @apihtawikosisan and others.
6. Assist your native Indian heart. Yow will discover them in Los Angeles, Toronto, Denver, Winnipeg, Chicago, Oakland, New York Metropolis, Victoria, Minneapolis and plenty of extra cities all through North America.
7. Donate cash or time to Native-led applications and organizations. For instance, you may help the work of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center to finish the disaster of violence in opposition to Native girls, ladies, and two-spirit people; or the work of the Bear Clan Patrol, a grassroots initiative selling security and help for Winnipeg’s Indigenous inhabitants. Take a look at the Native American Community Response Fund to help those that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
8. Divest! Keep away from banks, like Wells Fargo and Chase, that violate Native treaty rights by bankrolling environmentally devastating fossil gas developments. Go to the Indigenous Environmental Network for an summary of the case for fossil gas divestment, steering on contact CEOs and executives, and steps you may take to divest and reinvest.
9. Marketing campaign and vote for Native candidates in any respect ranges of presidency – we want extra illustration on the native, state and nationwide ranges. Demand extra of at present elected governments, too; advocate for coverage and laws that helps Native communities. Add your voice to the motion for Consultant Deb Haaland’s nomination as the primary Native American secretary of the inside.
10. Educate your self in regards to the Land Back movement, which goals to revive stolen territory to Indigenous nations. If you’re fascinated by repatriating land, pursue relationships with native Indigenous individuals and organizations concerned in land return. If direct repatriation doesn’t make sense the place you may have entry to land, help the wrestle by promoting land you personal and donate the earnings to the motion. It’s also possible to donate to land tax or land returns actions.
Historical past because it’s been taught to most North People too usually excludes Indigenous peoples, treating them and colonization as peripheral to the continent’s story. By making this historical past extra broadly accessible and by amplifying up to date Indigenous voices, we will change the narrative for future generations – and keep away from any extra references to “one thing else”.