Article Responses, Articles/Information, Sports and Entertainment

Native People are coming into our own in American pop culture.

MTV has been stepping up to the plate in the acknowledgement of indigenous people in North America. Last week, MTV premiered its first episode of the new season of the show, ‘Rebel Music.’ Last year, the series made a huge impact on audiences. This season’s premiere, just shy of 20min features, Indigenous musical artists and activists from the US and Canada. Amongst the artists featured is Redbud Souix rapper, Frank Waln, First Nations singer Inez Jasper, and Souix rappers, Nataanii Means and Mike “Witko” Cliff.

The musically talented individuals are all teaming up to create a more inspired native youth. Like many in this generation believe, they feel that it is time for today’s “7th Generation” of Native people to take the torch from the elder’s and speak up about social issues in Indian country; give back to the community; bring positive feelings to indigenous people; and reach out to those who don’t know of indigenous struggles.

These “rebel” leaders are using their words and music to send teachings and motivation to carry on the culture and strength so precious to indigenous survival.

Watch the full length premiere on Facebook, or below.

Article Responses, Movements and Organizations

Technological Impact for Indigineous People

More and more Natives are getting access to the Internet and social media has begun to put cracks in the marginalization effect that has stifled so many voices. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WordPress have given a place for support among indigenous people to speak out and express themselves.

These media sources have created an easier base to communicate thoughts feelings and tribal issues. Which allows for intertribal correspondence on environmental issues, fundraising, pow wows, language reclamation and the connection of tribal traditions.

An example of social media influence on indigenous people, Twitter has impacted a movement called Idle No More. It started in 2012 as a small group of Canada First Nations people conducting teach-ins of government bills, laws and actions that have impacted the native people. The mass movement has now grown international recognition through social media for its strong environmental, historical and spiritual focus. Currently with 10 twitter pages for areas across the country and the main page reaching over 20 thousand followers, Idle No More has inspired many. Peaceful rallies, sit-ins and educational teach-ins continue to be conducted all over North America about similar Indigenous beliefs and rights.

It is in these successful social media impacted movements that smaller, local groups like the Shinnecock-Sewanaka Society, an 18 year old non-profit organization for the advancement and cultural preservation of the Shinnecock tribe of Long Island find hope at becoming a familiar name around New York and other surrounding states. These activities have affected Indigenous people’s morale across the world and lots of changes and improvements have begun.

However, while this technology has done wonders for certain indigenous communities, there are still so many who struggle to have minimal access to these forms of communication. Making populations unaware of the events that take place due to the poverty they face.

According to a poverty rate survey between 2007-2011, the amount of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in poverty are 27%, the highest in the nation. Due to the majority of Native people living in poverty, not having this access to basic Internet and broadband connection creates further setbacks. Being unable to speak up about certain issues to the rest of the country in a timely and reliable manner, people are being left behind and forgotten in such a fast-paced country like America.

Having been forced to live within dangerous circumstances without opportunities that are granted to so many others it is a struggle for hundreds of Native communities to survive on a daily basis. In many cases even to apply for minimal technology and even health services you now must apply online for grants and funding.

Currently, technology is direly needed in Indian country to improve and rebuild infrastructure, create new energy-efficiency and renewable resources, and continue intertribal and native to non-native communication.

With natives focusing more on receiving technological advancement and opportunities it has created a whole new platform for the impoverished native areas. It’s sparking a continuous amount of native people to speak up on social media for themselves and other voiceless natives, encouraging the acknowledgment of the power and significance within native people and demanding advancement.

Article Responses, Movements and Organizations, Sports and Entertainment

Proud To Be: NFL Controversy

Currently trending in Indian Country is the NFL Super Bowl ad that was never aired due to its controversy, called Proud To Be. The ad has been produced by the National Congress of American Indians to promote the movement to change the mascot name for the Washington NFL team from its culturally offensive “Redskins” to something much more appropriate and acceptable.

Throughout the week and the evening of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII game of 2 Feb, between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, hashtags such as #NotYourMascot, #changethename, #changethemascot and #ProudToBe have flooded Twitter and Facebook in support of the movement.

The movement to change the mascot name took off in 2013, as Native American leaders and activists cited research and testimony of the defined offensive slur and stereotypes that have effected the Native community.

On Friday 31 Jan, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell was reported saying that the team name is honorable to the American Indian people, however, the Native community does not feel the same way. Goodell also stated that due to a poll conducted on the general public it was resulted that the mascot name was not offensive. However the poll that he was referring to was 10 years old. A recent 2013 poll shows a decline in support for the name by Americans. When Goodell was asked if the term was appropriate in reference to a Native American, Goodell said, “this is the name of a football team.”

More demands from the Oneida Indian Nation have been made in the demand to change the name. In the past week the Oneida Nation leader, Ray Halbritter approached the UN for the support in the change. However, even with the various attempts, the Redskins team owner, Daniel Snyder has responded saying he “will never change the name of the team.”