Changing the Narrative
For Indian Heritage month and anticipation of celebrating Thanksgiving, we wanted to share an amazing resource from Illuminative about creating a new narrative. They state that a narrative refers to “the broadly accepted story that reinforces ideas, norms, issues and expectations in society”. The dominant narrative is the “lens through which history is told from the perspective of the dominant culture”.
Illuminative is an initiative, created and led by Natives. Their project, Reclaiming Native Truth, is a national effort to achieve equity, inclusion and policy changes that will improve the lives of Native families and communities.
They state that narratives are transformative and have power, and that we can use existing narratives to challenge dominant ideas.
The False and Harmful Current Narrative About Native American Peoples
Excerpt from Changing the Narrative About Native Americans.
What most people in this country know — or think they know — about Native Americans is rooted in myths, stereotypes and half-truths. Information they have received since birth from movies, television, the media and school lessons has created a false narrative (or commonly accepted story) about historic and contemporary Native Americans and tribes.
From a young age, most people in the United States have been immersed in the current dominant narrative about Native peoples. It is a largely false and deficit-based narrative, meaning it focuses on challenges and weaknesses — real, assumed or exaggerated — rather than being based on strengths and opportunities. These narratives are almost always created by non-Native people, often with the intention to oppress Native nations, peoples and cultures.
The research and examples provided in Reclaiming Native Truth provide a better understanding of the values behind the existing narrative and how it relates to power and privilege, and gives examples of how we all can begin to change the narrative.
- Our homework to learn how to be a better ally.
- Stepping out of the leadership role and playing a supportive role to Warm Springs Tribal members at the Warm Springs Community Action Team. Instead of leading the conversation, advising, fixing the problem or facilitating the solution, we are listening and supporting tribal efforts in the joint food sovereignty project, Shuwiyasha,
- Passing through funds to support Warm Springs tribal members who are leading the way to innovative solutions for food sovereignty
What You Can Do:
- Visit Illuminative and Reclaiming Native Truth
- Read the Guide for Allies
- Take Action and download Illuminative’s toolkit
- Use a new narrative in your work
- Learn about The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs: The Wasco, The Warm Springs and the Paiutes.
- Donate money to tribal communities and support their efforts