How To Be An Ally for
Native American Voices in 2021
Start your year off right
Happy New Year from Vision Maker Media!
1. Stop Talking and Listen
2. Learn more than what you were taught in school
3. Celebrate the triumphs of Native Americans today
4. Support Native American Organizations
Support organizations who are advocating for Native Americans. While acknowledging the hardships and disadvantages presented to Native Americans, using a place of privilege to give back is a vital way to be an ally. Vision Maker Media continues to support and amplify Native voices, but here are a few other organizations doing their part:
- Native American Rights Fund (NARF) has provided legal assistance to Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who might otherwise have gone without adequate representation.
- The American Indian College Fund invests in Native American students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities.
- Women Empowering Women for Indigenous Nations strives to strengthen and sustain tribal cultures for the benefit and destiny of the children.
5. Support Native American artists
An important part of Native American culture is artistic expression. Native Americans celebrate their unique tribes, heritage and culture through artistic expression. While Vision Maker Media works to amplify Native American communities through film, it doesn’t end there. Whether it’s through jewelry making, clothes, writing, or music, Native Americans utilize many different outlets of expression.
You can shop all Native-owned companies through Etsy here:
Or check out Beyond Buckskin:
You can also support the next generation of Native artists through the Native Arts Initiative, an organization striving to bring opportunity and celebration for Native youth. Keep up with more of the work they’re doing by visiting their website:
6. Celebrate Native American culture – Don’t Appropriate
Native American culture is beautiful, and it can be tempting to want to wear that headdress or hang up that dreamcatcher, but as allies we need to think twice. It’s important to understand the difference between celebrating Native culture and appropriating it.
Appropriation creates harmful stereotypes and reduces thousands of years of rich cultural heritage to a cheap gag. It’s dehumanizing to our Native friends when you don a Native American themed costume on Halloween or sport a headdress at a music festival. A Headdress should be looked at on the same level as the “Medal of Honor.” Native American regalia should be regarded as deeply religious garb.
If you want to celebrate culture, consider talking to your Native friends about the best way to do so. Buying directly from Native American artists is also a great way to support and celebrate Native culture appropriately. In short, celebrating Native culture requires respect, historical and cultural knowledge, and the consent of Native American people.