Broken System Can’t Keep Track of Native Deaths; from Medical Health Privacy Laws to a Maze of Siloed Information Systems, a True Accounting of COVID-19’s Impact on Indian Country is Impossible to Know

by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye, Sunnie Clahchischiligi, and Christine Trudeau | June 2021
In May of 2020, the Navajo Nation reported one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the United States. Since that milestone, official data reveals that the Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit populations during the pandemic. The Navajo Nation boasts the largest population of any Indigenous nation in the United States, and thousands of Navajos live outside the nation, in towns along the border, cities across the country, and in other parts of the world, making it difficult to tally the virus’ impacts on Navajo citizens. It’s made worse by a labyrinthian system of local, state, federal and tribal data-reporting systems that often do not communicate with each other or share information.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Health Disparities] [Indigenous] [Politics] [Myths] [Systemic Racism] [Silencing POC] [Denial]

The Indigenous Connection to the Underground Railroad

Submitted by Roy Finkenbine | June 2021
Most stories of the Underground Railroad follow the narrative of white people helping Black people escape slavery, but overlook the involvement of Indigenous allies who often risked their own lives to help freedom seekers cross into Canada safely. Historian Roy Finkenbine is among those rewriting that history. He’s working on a book tentatively called, Freedom Seekers in Indian Country, while teaching African American history at the University of Detroit Mercy. He spoke with Falen Johnson, host of Unreserved, about his research on Indigenous involvement in the Underground Railroad, and why he feels a moral obligation to write about it. What questions are you trying to answer in your upcoming book, Freedom Seekers in Indian Country? I’m looking at how and why Native Americans helped freedom seekers. How they helped includes providing sanctuary among their communities – often to boost their populations – and in assisting people to cross the border. They shared a kinship based on a common enemy, if we can use that term, in terms of white expansionism. Many groups like the Ojibwa referred to African-Americans as cousins and brothers. Peter Jones, a [Mississauga] missionary, said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Negroes,” as he said, “have it even worse because of the iron bands of slavery. So we have an obligation to help.”
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Slavery] [Indigenous] [History] [Myths] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy] [Systemic Racism]

Time Will Not Heal: 5 Ways to Address the Inheritance of Black Poverty, Starting Now

by Richard V. Reeves | June 2021
In white families, poverty is almost never passed down “like a disease”. Our just-published paper shows that just 1.3% of whites are experiencing third-generation poverty. By comparison, more than one in five Black Americans (21.3%) are in the third generation of their family to be poor. (The full paper, co-authored with Scott Winship and Santiago Deambrosi of AEI as well as Christopher Pulliam and Ariel Gelrud Shiro from our own team, is “Long Shadows: The Black-white gap in multigenerational poverty”). Our paper represents the first attempt to analyze income mobility patterns across three generations, back to the Civil Rights era, and it is an empirical challenge. But the overall pattern is starkly clear. Black Americans are sixteen times more likely to be in the third generation of poverty, defined as the bottom fifth of the income distribution (i.e. less than around $48,000 a year for a family of four in today’s money).
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [Economics] [Systemic Racism] [Black Lives Matter] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [History] [Social Justice] [Reparations] [Housing] [Indigenous] [Justice System]

The Grave of a Former Slave Turned Florida State Senator May Be Buried Under What’s Now A Tampa Parking Lot

by J.L. Cook | June 2021
As Juneteenth approaches, Tampa’s local NAACP wants the city to commit to finding the graves that once rested at College Hill Cemetery. Robert Meacham, who became a Florida state senator after being freed from slavery, is one of more than 1,200 people buried at a site that is now believed to be a parking lot for the Italian Club Cemetery in Tampa, Fla. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Meacham’s unmarked grave was located in the College Hill Cemetery for Blacks and Cubans–which has long been erased. In an effort to rectify this, the local NAACP branch in Tampa has challenged the city to commemorate Juneteenth by funding an archaeological survey of the Italian Club Cemetery lot to find out if Meacham’s body and others are there.
TAGS: [Collective Action] [2020’s] [History] [Systemic Racism] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [Politics] [Silencing POC] [Black Lives Matter] [Social Justice] [Slavery] [Accountability]

Indigenous Women Still Forced, Coerced into Sterilization: Senate Report

by Fakiha Baig | June 2021
A Cree woman had just given birth to her sixth child in Saskatoon, when she was presented with a consent form for her sterilization. “She tried to wheel herself away from the operating room, but the doctor wheeled her right back in the direction of the same operating room,” says a new government report, which details the woman’s sterilization in 2001. “When she was in the operating room, she kept asking the doctor if she was done yet. Finally, he said, ‘Yes. Cut, tied and burnt. There, nothing is getting through that.”’
TAGS: [Racial Terrorism] [2020’s] [Indigenous] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [History] [Health Disparities]

Why Issa Rae Says Diversity Questions Should Be Asked Of White People Who Run the Industry

by Jordan Simon | February 2020
“Every time there’s an interracial romance, it feels like it centers on whiteness, and it doesn’t have to,” the Insecure star said to Variety. “Just so you know, there are people who don’t procreate with just white people.” In the wake of Joaquin Phoenix’s speech at the BAFTAs calling out institutional racism and discrimination in Hollywood, Rae said it’s about time discussions on inclusion be asked of the white people make major decisions in the film and television industry. “I don’t feel like it’s up to me to answer those questions. Like, I’m doing the work. I’m out here. I’m employing who I need to employ, I’m telling the stories that I need to tell,” she said. “Those questions need to be asked to the powers-that-be. It needs to be asked to the white people who run this industry.”
TAGS: [Strategies] [2020’s] [Art & Culture] [White Culture] [Systemic Racism] [White Privilege] [Employment]

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