This past week, the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH), the California Native Vote Project, and Advancement Project California released the report: “We the Resilient: Stories and Data from American Indians and Alaska Natives in California.” It presents in-depth data and stories detailing the challenges and resilience in the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population of California.
“Native peoples in California have been invisible too long. We hope this report counters that erasure, and brings visibility to the diverse Native communities in California who are building power despite colonial structures and systemic racism,” said Chrissie Castro, Executive Director of California Native Vote Project. “We also hope this report, which shares stories and data, can illuminate a bigger picture to inform how funders, policymakers and allies can advance efforts to include us in the fight towards liberation. With this report, we seek to write ourselves into the contemporary struggle for racial equity and justice.”
The report contains data on AIAN for demographics, economic opportunity, employment, food security, education, health, housing, crime and justice, and political engagement. In addition to lifting up stories from AIAN communities in California, the report calls philanthropy to action by asking that it commit to the long-term process of decolonization, racial justice, healing, and increased diversity in philanthropic boards, decision-making spaces and senior leadership of Native peoples, as well as pushes for increased funding for self-determined, community-controlled, and sustainable solutions.
The report is also targeted at policymakers. It calls for California state and county governments to adopt “free, prior and informed consent policies that establish bottom-up participation of AIAN people in all areas that affect access to natural resources, traditional health and any impacts of development to ancestral lands.” The report also calls for local governments to prioritize actions that focus on reconciling disparities in funding, budgeting, and strategic planning and take part in the #LandBack movement by returning “traditional stewardship, access and rights” back to Native peoples.