Chase Iron Eyes: Activism is evolving in Indian Country

"What do we think when we hear the word activism? Maybe we immediately think of somebody with their fist in the air, defiantly persisting against something. Maybe we think of protestors and demonstrators visibly making their point. Maybe we think of angry people, better yet angry Indians, with loud drums. Maybe we think of the Zapatistas or the Republic of Lakotah. Whatever we consider activism, we are well advised to consider it with an open mind.

This definition of activism was pulled from the web: “Activism: a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, especially a political or social one.” However, activism for Indians requires an expanded definition as we cannot only think of activism as an indigenous response to the attempted conquest (occupation) of our land and minds. Indian activists are not only pursuing ends within this system, such as equal rights, access to religious sites, access to education, capital, etc. Indians are also pursuing their own survival on their own terms. When it comes to Indians, we recognize that our “activism” is born out of an inherently free spirit; it is not always reactionary. We are born with existing responsibilities for life on earth, ceremonial and otherwise."

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Chase Iron Eyes: Activism is Taking Over (Indian Country Today 10/24)

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