Now that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is gaining the traction it deserves, it's important that we acknowledge one immensely important fact: when we address the systemic disenfranchisement of Black people in the United States, we are also speaking of the systemic disenfranchisement of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. You and I have made homes of land that was seized from Indigenous Americans through brute force, and was subsequently built through the brutalization of Africans who were stolen from their homeland. They are two sides of the same coin.
If you have ever found yourself utilizing the acronym "BIPOC" (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) as an umbrella term, I need you to question what you have done to advance the liberation of this nation's Indigenous communities? If you are willing to show up for one, you must show up for ALL. Remember, all lives CANNOT and WILL NOT matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter as well.
Today, our commitment towards liberating our Native brothers and sisters begins with the Lakota youth of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, located in South Dakota. Founded in 1988, the Cheyenne River Youth Project "is an essential community development organization on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. We are from Cheyenne River for Cheyenne River — an authentic grassroots initiative designed to meet the specific needs of our community through innovative youth programming, vital family services, and educational public events and activities."
For more information on the Project's incredible mission, please refer to https://lakotayouth.org/about/. For more information on the lived experience of the Lakota, refer to the short film "Lakota in America" which was created under the guidance of the CRYP.