Weekly Resistance: Support Native Communities for Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples Day marks an excellent moment to reflect on issues facing Native communities across the United States and beyond. While Native Americans make up a relatively small percentage of the population, they experience an outsized amount of injustice and reflect incredibly diverse communities. Take some time this week to advocate with Native people who could use your voice in solidarity on their issues.

You can find information on how to contact your officials at all levels of government here. As always, if you haven’t had a chance yet, sign up for our newsletter, and stay up-to-date on the latest!

1. Protect the Violence Against Women Act

Addressing violence against women should be uncontroversial, but rather than just reauthorizing this legislation, Republicans settled for temporarily extending funding to December 7.

Know:

  • Until very recently, tribal courts had limited authority to act on violent crimes against women involving non-native perpetrators.
  • Native women experience extremely high rates of physical and sexual assault.
  • VAWA provides funds to help with investigating sexual and physical assault, stalking, and other kinds of violence.

Act: Contact your lawmakers to ask them to work on formalizing VAWA reauthorization to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of needed services and supports.

2. Preserving Land and Resources

Native communities are at the front lines of climate change, resource exploitation, and attempts to expropriate the land they live on — seizure of lands stewarded by Native communities has never really stopped.

Know:

  • Some Native land is sacred, like Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and other land has deep emotional and cultural meaning, but the government has attempted to sell it for profitable development.
  • As many people are aware, oil pipelines often pass through indigenous communities, while oil and gas extraction wreaks havoc on Native lands.
  • Meanwhile, climate change is affecting coastal communities, among others, where small shifts in climate are causing huge changes to the natural environment that affect religious, cultural, and traditional practices.

Act: Contact your legislators to remind them: Hands off Native land! Ask them to support measures that protect Native sovereignty and push for comprehensive climate policy that will address issues like sea level rise.

3. Protecting Access to Opportunity

Native Americans growing up and living in reservation settings face extreme inequalities that can make it challenging to develop personal or social opportunity.

Know:

Act: Native people shouldn’t have to leave their communities to experience opportunity, especially when starting out with significant childhood inequalities can leave people playing catchup for life. Push your federal lawmakers to increase funding to Native communities and your state lawmakers to take their obligations seriously.

4. Not Your Mascot

Despite decades of advocacy work and anti-racist education, Native American people and themes are still used as sports mascots, Halloween costumes, and more.

Know:

  • Whether it’s Washington’s football team or your daughter’s Halloween costume, using cartoonish versions of actual Native communities is racist, and it entrenches harmful stereotypes.
  • Some mascots and costumes rely on visual iconography that’s associated with sacred regalia, making it doubly offensive.
  • There are tons of harmless alternatives to racist mascots and costumes; finding a new one could turn into a fun challenge!

Act: If your beloved sports team (or its archenemy) uses a racist mascot, tell them it’s time to kick it to the curb. And with Halloween coming up, this is a great time to kindly remind people to consider costumes that are fun and enjoyable for everyone, and don’t reinforce racism.

5. The Injustice System

Many white people are more aware of injustices in law enforcement and the legal system, thanks to the work of movements like Black Lives Matter, but the issues faced by Native Americans aren’t as widely understood.

Know:

  • Native Americans are killed by police at rates higher than any other group.
  • They are also disproportionately represented in the prison system, reflecting the roles of profiling and limited access to quality legal representation.
  • Conflict between tribal and other systems of law can create loopholes and compound injustice, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Act: Think of this as an additive action item: In addition to advocating on the racist policing and social structures that endanger Black and Latinx people in the injustice system, think about how these issues affect Native communities as well. When you call for action on racist practices, take time to check in on what Native advocates are doing to learn more about how you can work in solidarity with them. The Lakota People’s Law Project is a great place to start.

Take Action Now!

Join Care2 activists signing petitions like these:

Already signed all of these petitions and recruited friends, too? Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue

30 comments

Camilla V
Camilla Vaga2 months ago

thx

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Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer2 months ago

Well, the article is about various topics not just supporting native communities.

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

Thanks

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

Thanks

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Sue L
Sue L2 months ago

Thank you for all the information.

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Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

Thanks, Care2 for these great ideas. And for the list of related petitions. I'm signing all those I missed signing already.

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Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

Obviously the US should change this holiday to honor the true discoverers of this land. And finally act toward our indigenous people with compassion and respect.

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David C
David C2 months ago

thanks

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Anne M
Anne Moran2 months ago

The planet belongs to everyone...

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Janet B
Janet B2 months ago

Thanks

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