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View Diary: There's A Suicide Epidemic Among NDN Youth. Okiciyap. (107 comments)

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  •  A Catastrophe (10+ / 0-)

    This is very painful to read.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 02:29:45 PM PST

    •  It is devastating, isn't it? (9+ / 0-)

      I found that I just wasn't equipped, today, to delve into the individual stories from our communities.  The pain was just too overwhelming.

      We've got a lot of work to do.

      Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

      by Aji on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 02:35:27 PM PST

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      •  Aji (8+ / 0-)

        What kind of leadership is there at the national level to address issues like Native American poverty, education and family support?

        It seems like I only ever see Native issues addressed with a sort of despairing complacency -- everyone agrees that something should be done, but then shoulders are shrugged and we hear, "It's a pity, but I suppose there is nothing we can do."

        I know that Native Americans vote overwhelmingly for Democrats -- why isn't support for these communities getting more visibility on the party platform? Does Obama visit distressed Native communities? Does the media go there when he does?

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 02:40:33 PM PST

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        •  We have been invisible for so long. (10+ / 0-)

          Frankly, Obama is the first President in my lifetime who's really given a damn about Indians and our issues.  (Yes, I know there are still folks here at the Pueblo who revere Nixon for returning Blue Lake, but that was, as he made clear, purely a political calculation.  I'm glad he did it, but I also know that he pronounced himself perfectly willing to have "dead Indians" out of Wounded Knee in '73, so no reverence from me.)

          President Obama has done some very important things, but to be honest, we've never mattered to the American polity (other than as something to be exterminated, in earlier years).  The reservation system did what overt attempts could not, creating genocide by other means.  We're not merely not at the table; we're not even in the same building.  Listen next time a liberal or progressive starts discussing racial issues, and I can virtually guarantee that you'll hear this:  "African American, Latino[/Hispanic], and Asian American." We don't even exist.

          And we suffer mightily from what race theory experts refer to as the "white gaze" and "white voice" - that is, as long as we're willing to fit into non-Indian stereotypes, and as long as we're willing to let white folks dictate take the lead on "helping" us, everything's cool.  Let us try to take the lead ourselves, and we get nowhere.  It's why I don't ever finance or support ventures by non-Indians designed to "help."  Wings and I route all of our giving through Indian endeavors.  There are enough non-Indians making money off us through outright theft; I don't need to give my money to "Great White Father" ventures, too.  Yes, some are well-meaning (and some are positively malignant).  But there's a real problem when folks will support putatively pro-Indian efforts led by a white person, but will not even give the time of day to those led by an Indian.  And that's where we are today.

          That's why Native American Netroots has been so aggressive on these issues.  And it's why I personally work on supporting projects like Okiciyap.  Because for us, this is where hope and opportunity live, in the spirits and hard work of our people.  And if we have to fix things by saving one life at a time, well, we've faced down 500 years of systematic attempts at extermination.  We can do it one at a time, if need be.  But this is where our allies can help:  When you read about these projects, support them not only with your $$, but by spreading the word.  Emphasize the importance of giving to an NDN-run org like Okiciyap, over giving to, say, the local Catholic Charities arm that says it gives $$ to the area tribe's food pantry.  Awareness, education, funding, moral and political support.  Support for our sovereignty and autonomy.  Support for forcing the government to adhere to its treaty obligations (not one of which has ever been really kept).  All these things will help our children survive and thrive, and keep our peoples and our cultures alive and well.

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 02:58:12 PM PST

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