GUEST POST: Alan Lechusza Aquallo, Ph.D. (Maidu, Luiseño)
Our Peoples, Our Tribes, Our Ferguson: a Native response to the socio-political issues of Ferguson, Missouri and the Michael Brown murder
In the aftermath of the grand jury decision resulting from the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday August 9, 2014, the Native communities come together in an active position to voice a Native/Indigenous/First Nations call-to-action in support of the African American communities within Ferguson.
For centuries, Native/Indigenous/First Nations Peoples have been subjected to numerous conditions of mental trauma, physical abuses, political marginality and assimilation, and, environmental devastation. With the passing of the grand jury’s decision on Monday November 24 in Ferguson, Missouri, as related to the Michael Brown murder case, mainstream America once again had to face issues of racism, and socio-political injustice. The plight of the contemporary African Americans – in what is presumed to be a postmodern cultural climate within the United States – falls directly in-line with the horrific conditions which continue to plague Native/Indigenous/First Nations Peoples. Not only are the conditions of Native/Indigenous/First Nations Peoples tactfully removed from mainstream news and popular American media, but, the true ghettoized conditions of African American people(s) within the United States equally fall within this politically constructed category. Therefore, it is crucial that now, more so than possibly any other time in the past, Native/Indigenous/First Nations Peoples come together with the African American communities to support and work together in order to eradicate these atrocities.
Given the complex, forced, and strong historical relationship between African/African American and Native/Indigenous/First Nations Peoples, these two communities must now, November 2014, draw upon their dynamic agents of change that are available within their own areas. Outside of the civil rights movements – 1960s for African Americans, and the 1970s for Native Americans – which captured the spirit of the forming contemporary American landscape, this time, location, and space is ripe with the necessary energy and direction for true, and positive change. To remain idle at such a provocative moment and time, invites further tragedies to be seated within these combined communities: African American and Native/Indigenous/First Nations Peoples. It is important for these communities to focus upon the issues at hand – socio-political, educational, environmental injustice and equity – in order to directly apply their individual and collective strengths as a vehicle for notable, longstanding, positive and peaceful change as deemed appropriate and necessary for their communities. To remain a silent majority is no longer sufficient; to be outcast within Ourown lands/communities is no longer acceptable.
Rise, change, and see that the storms that bring water to the four directions, for strength, unity, wisdom and peace.
Maggie Hundley is a citizen of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation, Wind Clan. She is a mother of two young girls, was born in Phoenix, AZ and currently lives and works in Southern California. Collaborations include actions focused on accurate and positive representations of Native peoples and cultures, civil rights/religious leaders outreach and partnership with other groups with common goal of eliminating Native mascots, harmful anti -Indian racism and stereotypes. She is a founding member of NotYourMascots.org.