The Aspen Institute‘s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council hosts monthly dialogues on timely issues of interest to staff as part of a conversation series entitled “Moderate This!”. CNAY co-hosted the November conversation, with a focus on visibility of Indigenous issues.
Using recent events in Indian Country – specifically, demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota – the CNAY team prompted Aspen staff to think critically about the reasons that such an important and historical moment may have taken such a long time to garner attention from national, mainstream media outlets.
Participants went on to engage in thoughtful dialogue around common misconceptions and myths about Native history and culture, including the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday and the derogatory name of Washington DC’s NFL team.
The discussion was framed in consideration of the long and tenuous relationship between the United States government and Native American tribes, and the ways in which that history has contributed to issues that persist and regularly surface in CNAY’s work. CNAY highlighted the work being done by Native youth advocates to protect clean water, combat racist mascots and imagery, and address other pertinent issues facing Native communities. As CNAY’s Erik Stegman wrote earlier this month, Standing Rock has presents a unique opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues besides the pipeline that Native youth are actively fighting to change.