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]
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]
by Steve QJ | April 2021
Every black person has a story about racism. It might be about a chance encounter on holiday or being denied entry to our own home. It might be about the statistically improbable rate at which we’re “randomly selected” for additional screening or those awkward moments when a poorly thought out comment backfires.
If there’s such a thing as “the black experience”, these stories are a part of its oral tradition. A collection of life lessons, clapbacks, and cautionary tales through which we celebrate our victories and vent our frustrations. They’re in-jokes that provide a sense of community and solidarity. They’re touchstones that help us to navigate a world that doesn’t always treat us as it should.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Policing] [Police Shootings] [Social Justice] [Black Lives Matter] [History]
by Nanette Kelley | May 2021
Small museums and private institutions that accept federal CARES Act money or other stimulus funds could be forced to relinquish thousands of Indigenous items and ancestral remains now in their collections.
Under the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, museums or other institutions that accept federal funding must compile an inventory of Indigenous cultural items and initiate repatriation of the collections and remains to tribes or family members. At least two museums are now facing possible scrutiny – the nonprofit Favell Museum of Native American Artifacts and Contemporary Western Art in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and the End of the Trail Museum, which is connected to the Trees of Mystery gift shop in the redwood forest in Klamath, California.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Indigenous] [Art & Culture] [Silencing POC] [History] [Politics] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [Economics] [Systemic Racism] [Advocacy] [Social Justice]
by Sarah Boxer | December 2020
Quick, name one iconic Depression-era portrait each by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Russell Lee. My guess is that you’d choose Lange’s Migrant Mother, a portrait of Florence Owens Thompson and her children taken in Nipomo, California, in 1936. For Evans, you’d probably pick a 1936 portrait of tight-lipped Allie Mae Burroughs standing before the wall of her family’s cabin in Hale County, Alabama. For Lee, you might draw a blank, but you’d likely recognize his 1937 group portrait Saturday Night in a Saloon, showing four drinkers in Craigville, Minnesota. (It was used in the opening sequence of the TV show Cheers.)
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Silencing POC] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [White Supremacy] [Art & Culture] [History] [Systemic Racism] [White Defensiveness] [Politics] [Denial]
by Maia Niguel Hoskin, Ph.D. | June 2020
Because Whites are the nonracialized majority, they live in an insulated environment of racial protection and comfort, which makes them unable to tolerate racial stress. Whiteness scholar Robin DiAngelo refers to this as White fragility and says this about it: Once White people are confronted with racial stress, it triggers various defensive responses in them, such as anger, guilt, silence, outward displays of emotion, defensiveness, and shutting down. Some argue that color-blindness has been used as a way for Whites to accommodate their racial fragility and ease their guilt. Feelings of shame and defensiveness associated with racial injustice can be minimized if its existence is denied. Like color-blindness, performative activism is manipulative and maintains systems of racial privilege by Whites centering their desire to seek comfort over addressing racial injustice.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Myths] [White Fragility/Tears] [“All Lives Matter”] [White Defensiveness] [White Blindness] [White Supremacy] [Social Justice] [Policing] [Black Lives Matter] [History] [Colorblindness] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [Anti-Racism]