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Voting, Organizing & Building Indigenous Power

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Our partners at IllumiNative and NDN Collective held a weekend-long event, Indigenous Futures, that featured powerful programming that wove together the knowledge and experiences of Natives in the arts with organizers from the movement for Native political power.

Judith Le Blanc (Caddo), Executive Director of the Native Organizers Alliance (NOA) had the opportunity to be a part of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA)’s Centennial Santa Fe Indian Market.  Judith was invited to be on the Visions for the Future: Voting, Organizing & Building Indigenous Power panel alongside Nick Tilsen, CEO of NDN Collective, Holly Cook Macarro of Spirit Rock Consulting LLC, and Crystal Echo Hawk, the Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative.  As a panel, they discussed how this is the time to build Native grassroots political power for transformational social change and sovereignty through cultural organizing and narrative change. “Everything we do must be a part of shifting power back to our communities – from film and art to voting and organizing for sovereignty,” said Le Blanc.

“We’ve been organizing since dirt,” said Le Blanc. She was featured on UNITY’s 2022 National Conference on a powerful panel of matriarchs, “Activism: Then and Now” Movement Building for Native youth, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Le Blanc stated that “at the core of Native Organizers Alliance’s work is the belief that organizing a grassroots, ecosystem of Native leaders and organizers who share a common theory of change rooted in traditional values and sacred practices is the critical foundation to achieving tribal sovereignty and racial equity for all. We practice, as we say in Indian Country, being “a good relative.” Based on this principle, we pursue a spiritually directed organizing strategy rooted in total awareness of the environment, past, and future, and acting in harmony with all in the natural world and humanity, in the present.”

IllumiNative is a Native woman-led racial and social justice organization dedicated to increasing the visibility of—and challenging the narrative about—Native peoples. To build power for Native peoples, we must build a movement of many movements. High-impact moments, which are key to shifting narratives about Native peoples, are created when narrative, culture, and grassroots organizing come together to effect change. Our Movement Building + Organizing program houses our grassroots-centered organizing efforts across Native communities. We build power for Native peoples by strengthening the ability of Native organizations and tribes to utilize narrative and culture change strategies effectively.