From Protests, To the Ballot Box, and Beyond: Building Indigenous Power

Nov 01, 2020
  • Description

The 2020 Indigenous Futures Survey is the first ever study, conducted for Indigenous Peoples and led by Indigenous Peoples, aimed at understanding the priorities and needs of Indigenous individuals and communities in the United States. For too long, Indigenous Peoples' voices have been omitted from important conversations, reduced in importance to a mere asterisk on graphs and lumped into an ambiguous category labelled "other". Too often, the goal of research is to learn about Indigenous Peoples. The purpose of the Indigenous Futures Survey is to learn from Indigenous Peoples--how we think about ourselves, what we find important, and what galvanizes us to make change; to give Indigenous Peoples a platform; and to hold politicians, educators, policy makers, and researchers accountable to hear our collective voice and to preclude them from claiming a dearth of data. 

With 2020 being a national and state election year, the first report from the 2020 Indigenous Futures Study takes a closer look at what motivates voting and political engagement among Indigenous Peoples. We were particularly interested in what issues, experiences, and identities motivate Indigenous People to stand up politically or as the late distinguished Senator John Lewis proclaimed, get in "good trouble." To do this, the report combines statistical findings with quotes from Indigenous People who participated in the survey. What this report clearly reveals is that Indigenous Peoples:

  • Vote and are politically active and engaged in a variety of ways.
  • Feel as though our voices are not being heard, that politicians do not care, and that our individual and community's needs and priorities are not being adequately addressed.
  • Do not trust the U.S. government and are worried about the direction of the country.
  • Prioritize improving mental health, caring for tribal elders, and addressing violence against women, children, girls, and LGBTQ2S+ individuals.