Culture is defined as "the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group."
Growing up within my tribal community there was nothing that struck me as different or unique about how I lived.
Interacting with others outside of my community I have come to realize that there is a MASSIVE lack of knowledge about Tribal people that has led to a perfect environment for misconceptions and stereotypes to take hold. Not only that, but people are profiting from these stereotypes.
Many of the industries that profit from our absence rely on this ignorance to survive. So my goal is to fight these misunderstandings wherever possible, and to help people understand Tribal life today and in history.
There are 570+ Federally Recognized Tribes in the U.S. today, and each one has a unique culture, language, and religion. But that's not what most people learn about... for the most part we are reduced to less than a chapter in American history, western movies, mascots, and other trivial forms of entertainment.
Claiming space in the environments people already expect to see native people in and then flipping the script is a powerful tool that helps me to reach a wider audience and open up conversations that many have never had before!
One of the most common questions I get is "how do I learn more/do more/help fix these issues?"
My advice is always to take what you're already interested in or passionate about, and find a way to connect with native people in that shared interest.
Native people make up ~2.9% of the U.S. population (about 9.7 million people) today. The ongoing genocide of the U.S. and Canada have taken a heavy toll on our communities in the modern world. The last Boarding School closed in 1996, between those, sterilization through the 80's, and general violence against Tribal people, our opportunities for outreach have been stunted. So now that we have this historic opportunity, we have to grab it with both hands and RUN with it.
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