As a program, Young People For operates daily with the understanding that the lands upon which our movements organize–– and upon which our own offices are situated –– have been ripped from the hands of their historical inhabitants through the sustained, continued genocide of Native and indigenous peoples. By stripping Native Tribes of their sovereignty, divesting resources from indigenous communities, and consigning Native peoples to the dustbins of history, the U.S. government and agents of imperialism continue to perpetuate the structural violence which began hundreds of years ago. YP4 believes strongly that we as an organization have an obligation to name our complicity in colonialism, support Native activists in their necessary work, and hold communities of colonizers accountable to our actions. In the service of that work, we’ve supported Fellows preserving Native languages and land, advocate for trans* and queer liberation within Native communities, ensure economic prosperity across Native lands, and create self-empowerment for Native youth.
An example of a Fellow’s work in this issue area is that of 2011 Fellow Tiffany Bahnimptewa, who developed a youth council so young Natives in her community could have a space in which to express themselves and discuss civic engagement, tribal heritage and politics, and more.
Many thanks to Alray Nelson ’12 and People For the American Way Foundation staff for their help in the shaping of this issue area. Featured image from Al Jazeera article on YP4 2012 Fellow Alray Nelson.