#followfriday - 4 Indigenous Activists to Follow
By Erin Blondeau
We live in interesting times, whether it be a curse or a gift. All around us, we can see rapid social changes and deep facets of oppression. At the same time, there are strong Indigenous matriarchs who are upholding our traditional knowledge and standing up for what’s right. Indigeneity offers a critical lens through which to view these contemporary social issues.
For this week’s #followfriday, we’ve selected four Indigenous activists that are shining a light on important issues like climate change, racial justice, and economic oppression. Their social media accounts provide inspiration, beautiful imagery, and easily digestible content.
Dr. Adrienne Keene
Adrienne is a member of the Cherokee Nation and currently lives on the east coast. She is a co-host of the All My Relations podcast, which focuses on what it means to be Indigenous in a digital world. Though her online content has a social science foundation, she also discusses lived and academic Indigenous realities, helping educate the world to advocate for Indigenous peoples. She is an assistant professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, where much of her research focuses on American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian studies. She is interested in the phenomenon of cultural (mis)appropriation of Indigenous culture (for example, the many sports teams boasting racist names like The R*d Skins).
Her social media is a mix of her own personal exploration of Indigenous identity, as she showcases her experience learning how to bead. She is also an author, with her new book Notable Native People available for pre-order––I can’t wait to get mine! She also writes about Indigenous world views and experiences on her popular blog, Native Appropriations.
Larissa Crawford, also known as Larissa Speaks, is a passionate activist focussing on climate justice, mobility justice, and anti-racism. On her Instagram, she discusses important issues but most importantly, also recognizes the need to unplug and care for our health––something that is often neglected in colonial culture.
As a Matriarch with Métis and Jamaican ancestry, her diversity shines brightly through in her feed. She is the founder of Future Ancestors Services, which is described as “a youth-led professional services social enterprise that advances equity and climate justice through lenses of ancestral accountability and anti-racism.” Larissa dreams of a just future for her community and for Indigenous people everywhere. This is shown clearly through the work that she does. I am grateful to have found Larissa on social media, as her knowledge and passion acts as a guide for myself and other activists who want to work toward a better, more inclusive, and equitable future.
Be sure to follow Larissa and learn about what it means to deconstruct our colonial biases around climate change, mobility justice, and Indigeneity.
A citizen of the Couchiching First Nation and born in Minnesota, Tara Houska is the founder of Giniw Collective––a self-described “Indigenous womxn, two-spirit led resistance to defend our Mother & live in balance.”
She can be seen speaking courageous truths in an incredible TedTalk, informing all of us about the injustices against Indigenous people in America. Her TedTalk was aired in 2017, and yet, many of the issues she discusses are still front and center. Both Tara’s and Giniw Collective’s Instagram accounts tell the brave stories of water and land defenders fighting the Enbridge Line 3 worksite near Hay Creek, Minnesota. The information is valuable for anyone interested in activism, climate action, and fossil fuel divestment. Tara’s Twitter also keeps us up to date on the important fight against capitalist oppression.
Following Tara is essential for everyone to learn about the fight against corruption and greed. You can donate to support water defenders here.
Jade Begay, Diné and Tesuque Pueblo from New Mexico, is the climate justice campaign director at NDN Collective and the Environmental Justice Advisory Council at the Whitehouse. She also has experience as a multimedia producer and filmmaker and has worked in many Indigenous communities around the world.
One of Jade's latest posts promotes a new book, and I now have another incredible purchase to add to my pre-order list: Required Reading: Climate Justice, Adaption, And Investing In Indigenous Power by the Climate Justice Team at NDN Collective. Jade describes this book as “a practical guide for seasoned politicians and grassroots advocates alike to establish equitable and meaningful solutions to the climate catastrophe.”
Her artfully curated Instagram feed shows beautiful photography with an important message. As Jade explains on her Instagram, “climate justice must be a soft place to land - a place to imagine, a place to grieve, to feel strength from and be emboldened by.” More of Jade's powerful writing can be read in a recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Understanding how the climate crisis is inexplicably tied to Indigenous cultures and communities can be challenging; Jade’s words and social media presence make it easier.
Following Jade’s creative collection of inspirational activism is essential for any Indigenous activist and ally.